Saturday, August 18, 2012

Independent Man

We made it through Ethan's first day of Early Learning! I was a bundle of nerves all day.  It was a little weird to see his name on a lunch box, pack him a back pack, and leave him with someone I hardly know.

Ethan didn't help my nerves by being incredibly fussy all morning.  He was insisting on playing with one of my makeup brushes, and would not give me the time of day for a decent "first day of school" photo.  So this is what we ended up with.

Walking my boy in.

We walked into Ethan's classroom, gave him a kiss and put him down.  Without even looking back, he made a beeline for the slide and started to play.  Jason and I stood there for a few minutes, not really sure what to do.  Do we slip out and leave?  No, what if he freaks out when he realizes we are gone?! Do we make sure he knows we are leaving? No, that may freak him out and he may throw a fit. So we just stood there.

He glanced back once or twice, and we would smile and wave and say "bye-bye!"  He never acknowledged our words, and continued battle for slide time take his turn on the slide like a well-behaved child.

I could feel a knot in my throat, so glad he wasn't struggling with his new environment, but so sad that he was doing so well.  He seemed so big.  So independent.  I knew this day would come, I just never realized it would come so soon.

We slipped out, and I managed to hold back most of my tears.  We stood at the window for a few more minutes, watching him go down on the slide.  I guess we were waiting for a meltdown, so we could rush in, pick him up, and make it a million times worse for the teachers.

Work was killer.  It took forever to reach 2 o'clock.  I wanted to call and see how he was.  I wanted to sneak back behind his door and make sure he wasn't afraid.

We made it to 2, and found him sitting on top of the slide, just as we left him.  His teachers told me that he was wonderful all day.  They said that anytime they had free-time for play, Ethan was on the slide.  He didn't nap all day, but they just made the adjustment to his needs and allowed him to eat lunch early instead.  Cue proud Momma.  Cue really tired baby.  Within moments of being in the car, he passed out from a successful day at school.

Now we can only hope it wasn't a fluke and that Monday goes well.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Letting Go

There's a small pit in my stomach today.

Today my BABY takes another new step and enters his very first Early Learning Program at a local church.  He will go two half-days a week while I work, and continue to spend the remainder of my working time with my Mom.

It's time for him to play with other kids, I know this.  I know how much this will benefit him when he starts kindergarten, and how much his knowledge will grow with trained professionals beginning to teach him.  But my stomach still hurts.

See, it's not just about leaving him.  I am sad that he is growing old enough to benefit from these types of programs.  While it sucks, I've been leaving him with my Mom, three days a week for 8 months now.  I've grown somewhat comfortable with this.  It's about letting go. My mom honors all of our wishes when it comes to Ethan.  She feeds him what I ask, she disciplines him the way I ask, she even follows the exact routine that we established before I returned to work.  She's definitely been the easiest caregiver of all because I don't have to worry about something happening with Ethan that I wouldn't approve of.  That all changes today.

His nap/rest time will change.  His lunch time will change.  The discipline rules *thankfully* strongly resemble my own.  But I don't get to choose that.  While I got to choose which ELC to enroll Ethan in, the rest is out of my hands.  Today I have to put my trust in a program that won't see him as the greatest miracle to be born.  While they may be wonderful, they won't love him like I do.  Like Jason does.  Like my Mom does.

It's so much more than letting my baby grow up and encounter new adventures.  It's letting go of a little piece of control I have had over Ethan's daily life.  I have to hand that over today, and to be honest, I'm quite nervous.  Drop-off could become an ugly, horrible, crying mess that results in clinging tighter than ever before.  And that's not even mentioning what Ethan may do.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh! The Places You Will Go!

Even though it was over a month ago, I still have to share with you Ethan's Dr. Seuss party.  We worked so hard on it, and he seemed to really enjoy his day (although he was a bit overwhelmed by the massive amount of people that we crammed into our house.)

So here we go, mostly in pictures:
Our foyer

Living Room

Jason made this sign for Ethan for our front yard.  Isn't it cool?!  I also LOVE his t-shirt.  It was a great Etsy find.

The food table.  In case you are planning on your own Dr. Seuss party, our menu consisted of:

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Colored Goldfish crackers)
Truffula Tree Pops (Cream cheese wraps)
Hop on"Pop"corn
Poodles with Noodles (Pasta Salad)
Crummies in Tummies (chips, and a few other veggies with dip)
Green Eggs (yes, I put food coloring in deviled eggs)
Roast Beast and Three Decker Sauerkraut and Toadstool Sandwiches (Roast beef sandwiches, ham & turkey sandwiches)

The small arrow sign that Jason helped me make that listed our menu.  And yes, the centerpiece does consist of real fish.  One goldfish in one vase, two goldfish in another, one red beta fish in another, and one blue beta fish in another.  Get it? The three goldfish died within about 12 hours of the end of our party, but the two beta fish are still going strong!  We attempted to give them away as favors, but only my sister obliged.  So now we have a blue fish (rightfully named Seuss) hanging out in our house. Yay.

The actual favors that the parents allowed their kids to take.  Green Egg sugar cookies! Made from scratch by yours truly.

Ethan's cakes.  Oh my gosh these turned out wonderfully.  I really debated on getting a baker for this first party, but just couldn't part with the money for it.  Cakes are so expensive!  Luckily, my Mom was worked in a bakery during her college days, so she helped me out.  Ok.  She pretty much did it all.  I just kind of sat there and told her what I wanted it to look like.  But I will take credit for the Jolly Rancher fish on the side of the big cake.  I did make those.  Shrug.

Ethan LOVED his smash cake, and made a huge mess with it.  He is certainly not like his Momma, and pretty much stuck to the icing.  However he got a huge kick out of sharing bites with other people.  He thought that was hysterical.  Singing "Happy Birthday" to my little boy was one of those kicker moments for me.  He was a little confused at the loud chorus in our backyard, but I couldn't help but think: "No, no no! I'm not ready for this, he's not a year old yet! He's still my brand new baby." Luckily, the moment passed quickly before I made a total fool out of myself and burst into tears in front of 30+ people.

A post cake bath in the kitchen sink was absolutely necessary.
One of the other cool things we did was set up a photo booth for all of our guests to take a picture with our birthday boy.  We printed each copy and mailed them off in our thank-you notes.  I'm very proud to say that I made those truffle trees all by myself, and Jason made the other arrow sign.

Ethan could have cared less about opening gifts.  He opened one, maybe two, and was ready to play with his new finds.  If there hadn't been so many people wanting to see their gift opened, I think we would have just let him open them in his own time, even if it took a few days.  Thankfully, Riley stepped in and helped me out with ripping the paper and showing Ethan his new massive amount of toys and books.

I LOVED how many books Ethan got that day.  We made the request in our invitation to bring Ethan a book instead of a card and sign that instead.  We didn't care if it was new or used or came off a cereal box (haha Grandma Lucy! He loves those!)  They are something that he can keep and use for years to come.  I'm so glad we decided to do that instead of birthday cards.  Our boy loves to look at books, and he has already gotten so much entertainment from flipping through them all.

Our gift to Ethan was a water table.  It wasn't fully set up yet in this picture, but he liked it.  However, he doesn't care to much for it anymore.  Shrug.  Maybe he will like it next year?
My parents got him a wagon (per my request) so we could have some fun evening walks.  He LOVES it.  He climbs in and out of it, giggles and squeals when we pull him around.  He especially loves it when we put Fenway in there with him, but Fenway kind of hates it. 

I really expected Ethan to be EXHAUSTED by the end of his party.  However, Jason and I were the only ones exhausted.  I was so glad that we had such a good turn out for our sweet boy's first birthday, and that he seemed to have such a great time.  A friend told me that children's birthday parties were a mother's Super Bowl, and I couldn't agree more.  I'd say this year was a total touchdown.