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The Last Month of Pregnancy and the Dread of Nursing My New Baby – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Between the aching hips, violent heartburn and general exhaustion of being pregnant with my third child, I have to find time to keep the house running. Insert howls of laughter here.

My family’s been really great – my husband tries to do things the way he thinks I want them done, but still just doesn’t understand that a kitchen isn’t really clean until the sink and counters have been wiped down. I’m trying to let go and I love him even more for trying.

Even the kids are trying really hard to be helpful. I made them a sticker chart and after 10 stickers, they get a prize – nothing fancy, just dollar store junk – and I am blown away at how fast they try to get those stickers. Anything that requires bending over has become their thing and they are now happy to do it and look for things they can do to earn those stickers.

Now if only I can feel ready for this baby. All my repressed memories are starting to resurface and I’m getting scared. As I start to write this I realize that most of that fear revolves around nursing.

I did it for four months with my daughter, but barely three with my son. I’ve read all the books, have all the support in the world, but between the cracking, engorging, wondering if they get enough, wondering if I make enough, pumping, watching what I eat/drink – I dread the whole song and dance of breastfeeding more than anything.

I remember being blown away with my daughter by all the stress and insecurity that it brought. I thought it would be easier with my second child, but it was harder. Maybe I’ll get lucky this time and everything will fall in place, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

I’ll do it because it’s the best thing for my baby, and I’ll try for as long as I can as with the other two, but I am definitely not looking forward to it. And maybe I’m psyching myself out, but I am not a quitter and I’ll give it another shot. I blame National Geographic for making it look so easy!

Amazing Cookie Decorating Tip – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Although the holidays are over, this is one of those tips you’ll probably need at some point during the year. Just tuck it away for when you do – it is just so brilliant, I feel compelled to share.

Now perhaps this is an old one, or some of you may roll your eyes and think this is nothing new, but when my husband, yes, my husband, suggested it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner!

cookie-blogMy kids had made a huge batch of Christmas cookies with Grandma, cut out all the cute little shapes, made a giant batch of frosting for decorating, but I was stumped as to how best to distribute all the colors we wanted to use. Buying a pastry bag for each color would be expensive, besides my market only had one left. Plus, I wanted something the kids could use that would be more fun, less mess.

Then in walks my husband, as though he’s been doing this for years, and suggests we use the medicine droppers that have piled up in the kids’ drawer for all the different colors. Cue thunderous applause.

I got out little bowls, mixed the colors up, and let the kids squirt all the different colors all over our delicious holiday cookies. It was so easy, so fun and worked like a charm. I can’t wait to do it for Valentine’s Day!!

Holiday Hangovers from the Pregnant Lady – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Boy, do I wish it was from liquor but instead it’s just from over exhaustion. You see not only am I pregnant with my third child, in my desperate need to not be too pregnant or carrying around a newborn in the summer months of Arizona, my other two were born in the winter. And who knew we would conceive immediately, so they have birthdays that sandwich Christmas.

xmas-blogAs for this pregnancy, I guess I can safely say that I am in the third trimester – as for the weeks or even months, I’m too tired to do the math anymore. Plus, it’s my third baby and I really just don’t care. I’m huge, I can barely walk and I’m miserable – that’s all I need to know. I actually consulted the trusty old What to Expect…  for reasons I’m sure you would thank me for keeping private, and discovered how much I’m glad I don’t remember, and quickly put it back down. Whatever is going on with me now is from doing too much this past month, and can only be remedied by rest and Preparation H.

So, needless to say, but I will anyway, the holidays were killer this year. On top of birthday parties, Christmas parties, keeping Santa gifts, birthday gifts and “From Mom and Dad” gifts separate, all while trying to block my stomach from any photos, I also got into my first ever major blowout with my brother. He’s always been my best friend, and he didn’t come home for Christmas. It was hard.

But I made it, barely. The holidays were gorgeous, my kids were darling and my husband and I are closer than ever. I think I’m still sane, but I know one thing for sure, I’m sober. Having a glass of wine amidst all the stress and celebrating would’ve been nice, but instead I just ate my ice cream that my husband makes for me every night and tried to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. How many more months do I have to go again?

Struggling With Your Little Student's Teacher: Part 3 of 3 – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins 

My daughter’s Kindergarten class is constant chaos, between the walls where you can’t tell where one things ends and another begins, to the desks all over the place, as well as the kids, it makes my head spin after only an hour – no wonder my daughter comes home so hyper and over stimulated. It is the most ridiculous ADD breeding ground I’ve ever seen. 

In a classroom full of rowdy toddlers, some of whom are eager to learn, others who are eager to play, splitting them up into groups where one is always left under-supervised, makes things more hectic than it needs to be.  Wouldn’t working as one big group, where everyone’s on the same page be more conducive to actual learning instead of just completing things? Questions would only need to be answered once instead of 20 times, the kids could have a nice pleasant pace without having to constantly stop in the middle of what they’re doing to switch activities, and there wouldn’t be a batch of 10 five-year olds left to their own devices at all times.  

The other two Kindergarten teachers don’t appear to be like this – I’ve watched and from what I hear, this is not standard operating procedure. I tried to voice some of my concerns at the parent-teacher conference but even then, she appeared totally rushed and flustered – I don’t think she heard a word I said.

So what do I do, switch her to another class? She would be devastated and it would probably cause more emotional harm than good. I’m trying to sign up for as many days as I can to be the parent helper, but I have a two-year old and my own work to do – my time is limited.

Should I talk to the principal? I can’t stand watching some of these poor kids who just sit there with blank stares on their faces until someone comes by to help them – they’ll never learn anything in that environment!

 

Or do I just watch my own kid, go over everything with her after school and help her make sense of the mayhem she “learned” at school that day? I’ve created a little station by my computer where I can get some work done while she does hers so I’m right here to answer any questions and look over what she’s done. It’s just the other kids I feel so bad for – you can literally watch some of them get left behind.

Has anyone else ever had a teacher they were unsure of and what were some of your solutions?

Struggling With Your Little Student's Teacher: Part 2 of 3 – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

In my daughter’s Kindergarten classroom, there is a full-time helper, along with a parent and the teacher. Now, the teacher is a mother of three, so I will give her some slack, but her actions are shaping the lives of a lot of children and I’m not sure she’s providing a standard she would find acceptable for her own children.

I will only go by what I have seen first hand which now tells me a lot about why my daughter’s work has come home so sloppy. Twenty kids are separated into four groups and there are three different stations – art, reading and “jobs.” The teacher calls a group to her reading table, the helper’s art table, while the rest are left to their own devices to get through their actual “jobs,” which is where the parent comes in.

We are the ones who wander all over the classroom (because of course the groups are random), to help the kids, one at a time, on the work that really matters – how to sound out their letters and match words to their pictures or something along those lines. At all times. there are 10 kids who are all over the place, have no idea what to do, or are sitting there by themselves, struggling or waiting until the parent helper can come over to help them. And then there are the kids who are advanced, who are done right away and bored out of their minds. On top of that, every 15 minutes, the teacher claps her hands and the kids all get up and move to another activity.

There is no consistency with the thought process constantly going from one thing to another, and with a different parent each day, there’s no consistency with how they’re taught. Everyone is rushing to get things done before the teacher claps her hands and the kids are not getting any real guidance on the things that matter the most in their education. I am even more grateful than ever that I work from home and have the flexibility to go regularly!

And I’ll admit, I may be a little of a control freak and perhaps, I’m just over-sensitive about my daughter’s first forray into school, so before I go crazy looking at everything with a negative eye, does any of this sound familiar or completely different than what other kids experience in Kindergarten? I just can’t imagine this is normal because it seems like such a hectic environment for children to spend their day. 

Check back in the next couple of days for some possible solutions, and any suggestions our wonderful community of moms may have, are greatly appreciated.

Struggling With Your Little Student's Teacher: Part 1 of 3 – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

So my daughter started Kindergarten and loves it. She’s made so many new friends and is constantly singing cute little songs and bringing home the most darling art projects – anyone remember the five little pumpkins sitting on the gate? Anyhow, it’s her actual work that I am a little concerned about.

Now I know this is just kindergarten and I don’t expect her to be writing essays or anything of the sort, but I would at the very least, expect that what she does already know, would be expanded upon. Instead, it has been quite the opposite. The “jobs” are very often wrong and not corrected, not to mention rushed. Things I’ve seen her do at home, are not being done at school and my little perfectionist has turned into a spaz.

So I didn’t panic, at first. She’s still adjusting, probably just not focusing because of all the fun the kids are having and I can’t imagine a room of 20 toddlers – I’m sure it takes some time to establish order!

But it’s been about three months now and I have since spoken with other educaters and moms. I have also had a chance to spend some time in the classroom as the parent helper and what I see is quite disconcerting.

Aside from my own disagreements with how the teacher and helper handle the children (always very rushed, unprepared, flustered and snappy), or the classroom setup (ridiculously clustered walls, desks facing every which way so the kids are constantly moving around to see what’s going on), what concerns me the most is where the teacher’s priorities lie – more on the completion of things instead of the actual learning of things.

Check back to see how our Kindergarten experience is shaping up and please, feel free to share your own stories.

Adjusting to Kindergarten – Part 2 – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

 My first post on this subject garnered quite a bit of interest so I thought it might be worthwhile to provide an update.

 As I mentioned the first time around, we were dealing with major tantrums after school in the first couple of weeks – completely irrational and unexpected tantrums. My husband and I decided to just keep things calm and come home right after school to let her unwind a little bit until she got into the routine.

On most days, we come straight home, have a snack together and talk about our day, then we all get started on our “homework.” She loves that she has work to do with me, and she’s even taken to teaching her little brother what she learned in school that day. I’m really astounded at all she’s learned so fast, all the little songs I hear her singing, adding and subtracting everything and just wanting to learn more and more. We’ve even had some playdates, met some really nice new mothers and are currently trying to infiltrate the PTSO – that’s another post!

 It was interesting because last week was her fall break and yesterday was her first day back at school. I had a million things to do, so after I picked her up, we ran to exchange something at the mall – meltdown central, stopped by a friend of mine’s to drop off a present – RUDE, then I had to go let a client into a house – I just left her in the car where she screamed the whole time.  It was like the first day of school all over again! It was a nightmare, but I should’ve known better.

So, it seems to be working really good as long as she decompresses after school first. Now, if only I can find a way to love her teacher. Our first parent/teacher conference is tomorrow – that’s another post as well!