Work, worth, value and I ate Cheerios for dinner at 11:25 PM
The most average of days

He takes after his dad in the chips department

Okay, the first part of this post goes like this: what in the world do I do with my kid while his sister naps for FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS? 

In the olden days I would have been dancing a jig because dude! Four hours! Jesus loves me! I have been blessed with excellent nappers, folks. But Child Number One no longer takes a nap. Well, sometimes he does, if preschool was especially strenuous, and he almost always naps at Grandma's house since she wears him out way better than I do in the mornings. But usually he is up. Usually he plays his computer for a good long while. Then he goes into his room to "take a little rest". He used to fall asleep, but no more. Now he shouts, "I done with my rest!" and I have to figure out what to do next. About half the time he plays quietly in his room and leaves me alone. The other half he makes us both miserable until Molly finally wakes up and we have someone else to occupy our attention. 

Today was one of the miserable ones. Obvs.

I really want to establish Quiet Time - play in your room, read your books, drive your cars, do your puzzles, all that stuff. But none of those toys are new to him and he's done it all with Molly and shoot - I'M bored too! We're BOTH sitting around waiting for Molly to wake up so we can DO something. So when I get all short tempered and snippy because he won't stay in his room or he keeps asking me for stuff, I feel like that's my fault. If Molly's going to sleep for four hours, if we can't go anywhere, if we're stuck inside with only each other to look at, I better find something for him to do! 

I talked to my mom about it and she suggested a Quiet Time box or cupboard full of fun things he 1) only gets to do during Quiet Time and 2) Molly doesn't touch. So I'm printing out some stuff from a homeschooling site and I ordered a few things off his preschool book order and I think a trip to the dollar store may be in order. I also bought him a little folding table and chair for his room, just for quiet time. But I'm really wondering how you guys handle this. What do your older kids do while the younger ones nap? I mean, at this point I feel BAD for Jack because seriously, it is SO BORING in our house right now! And poor kid, his mother is stomping around feeling bad for herself that she can't ENJOY a four hour nap! Anyway. Ideas welcome!

The second part of this post is about Curriculum Night at preschool. Ahem. 

I asked my sister to babysit so that Phillip could come with me and help me not be scared of the other preschool moms. Which was nice. And you guys, I love our little preschool even more. The teachers are just so nice and the room looked so fantastic - artwork EVERYWHERE, snapshots EVERYWHERE - and all the veteran parents were saying wonderful things about the preschool and I was super self congratulatory. I'm all, "Dude, self, you picked an AWESOME SCHOOL. You did SOMETHING right in this parenting gig! Go YOU!" 

But there was something about it that left me a little insecure, and after thinking about it for a while I think it's about the other kids. I mean, it's about comparing Jack to the other kids, except I haven't really met the other kids, so I'm comparing him to what the other parents SAY about their kids. WHICH IS STUPID I KNOW. Like, HEIGHT OF STUPID. 

Like you can stay up to an hour after preschool - eat lunch and play outside. We haven't tried this, though I've kept it in mind. Tonight I learned that the other kids do this ALL THE TIME. And two of the kids in particular wanted to stay after school for lunch so bad that the teachers talked to the parents about it! And now they stay at least once a week! And it's so nice! And you know how many times my kid has mentioned wanting to stay for lunch? NEVER. 

And then the mom talking about how her daughter wants to go to preschool every morning, how the mom had to lie about where she was going tonight so the daughter wouldn't get upset about not being able to come with. And me thinking about how when I told Jack he had to stay home sick he didn't seem to care. 

And how social some of the other kids are and things the teacher would say, about how they have no problem going potty in a new place or things they talk about all the time or how one kid is so chatty. 

And I know I KNOW this is ridiculous. That these aren't even REAL THINGS. I mean, why in the world do I care about whether or not Jack wants to stay for lunch?! But there's still this way that I left feeling sort of... I don't know. Like my kid isn't doing what all the other kids are doing. How COME he doesn't want to stay for lunch? Is he getting LEFT OUT with this lunch stuff? Are the other kids just more ADVANCED somehow? Are they all BESTIES? Does Jack not LIKE preschool? Is he counting the minutes till I come pick him up? HOW COME HE DOESN'T WANT TO STAY FOR LUNCH?!

When what I should really be thinking is: I am specTACularly skillful at turning anything into a full fledged blog-worthy problem. Someone needs to write me a prescription.

That said, I introduced myself to the mom of the kid that Jack talks about the most, and it turns out she is all about The Playdate and while I'm not particularly a FAN of the playdate I am a fan of making friends and she was nice and her kid's little story about himself on the wall next to a super cute snapshot was pretty funny and hey, why not, right?

And I really like this preschool. I like it so much that I told Phillip we'll just have to stay renting in this neighborhood until we can find a house to buy in this neighborhood. So, uh, maybe when Jack is thirty-seven? We'll see. 

Anyway. I trust that you all will have fantastic ideas for quiet time AND you'll say a few prayers for poor Jack's future dealing with his neurotic crazylady mother. Thanks. 

Jstory


Comments

Jessica

My daughter also has a go-with-the-flow attitude towards school (daycare). She's excited when she gets to go and excited when she gets to NOT go. Personally I'm happy she doesn't whine all the time saying she wants to go either more or less often. Of course, she's only a year and a half, so this may not apply to a 3-year-old. But at least Jack doesn't whine, whine, whine about not getting to stay for lunch or having to stay home sick.

Beldon

Re: what to do with Jack during Molly's nap-- how about letting him "help" you with whatever chore you need to do? I know, it will take 17 times as long and not get done as well, but he'll enjoy it and if you're both sitting around bored anyway it's better than nothing, right? Let him help you push the button on the food processor or mix batter for muffins or stuff clothes in the washing machine. Give him a pile of socks to "sort" while you fold laundry. Give him a spray bottle of water and let him help you clean the counters/cabinets/whatever. Give him a broom and ask him to sweep. Nothing will get swept, but it might occupy him for a bit. Maybe let him do things you can't do while Molly's awake? Play a simple board game with him that she would otherwise steal the pieces to? (Bad sentence construction, sorry.) Do some painting on an easel and not worry that Molly will stick her fingers in the paint?

katie

1. My 4 year old has recently given up naps and its always a struggle to get her to be quiet enough just to get her 2 year old sister down for a nap. Quiet time usually begins with Jo watching an episode (or 2) of something not so toddler-esque (NO ELMO! but SuperWhy has been a big hit lately) on netflix. Jo is usually pretty good at playing quietly with her toys for a while - but after 30 min she starts looking for interaction. so we either begin an art project that involves cutting (I'm fairly certain she has an obsession with scissors) OR, she has a few board games my husband picked up at goodwill that i pull out to play with her - which she is totally excited about (simply because her sister is too little to play them) for exactly 10 minutes. IF I remember, I'll put the baby monitor on in little sister's room before she goes down, so that Jo and I can hang out in the back yard so we aren't confined inside the house. Just in the past 2 weeks, the neighbor girl (11 years old) has magically become a fairly regular playmate/entertainer for Jo in the afternoons when she gets home from school and CoCo is napping -- which has been a godsend! Neighbor girl is VERY polite and seems to actually have fun with Jo - like for HOURS. I almost feel like I should be paying her -- but then they come inside for a drink and a snack and I realize they are happy together, almost friends? Crazy.

2. DO NOT fret about preschool. Jack is still new to the environment and is probably still warming up to whole experience. This is Jo's second year at our neighborhood preschool and she has completely come out of her shell and is now the chatty girl who BEGS to stay and play everytime after preschool - which is fine by me. I'm all for more time for her to blow off energy on the playground. Now if only I could carry an adult conversation with the other moms while Jo romps around for 45 minutes...

3. LOVE Jack's preschool musings on his life, especially the part about Molly right at the beginning.

Sarahd

First part: Do you still have a baby monitor? Because I can remember lots of one-on-one outside time with my oldest when the youngest naped because we took the monitor and knew when the baby woke up. Also: Noggin. (And yes I was always a little ashamed of myself but it made us both so HAPPY.)

Second part: Have you tried letting Jack stay for lunch at preschool just once? Maybe he just doesn't know how awesome it is yet.

P.S. I am also totally intimidated by the other parents at school functions. I always feel like they are "really" grown up and I am just pretending. Glad to know it's not just me!

-R-

"I would go to the airport." Aww, that is the cutest!

During Molly's nap time, either instead of or after quiet time (if Molly's nap gets really long), could you do a project with Jackson that is too advanced for Molly? Like let him color with markers? Or play Candyland or some other preschool-type board game?

It doesn't sound like Jackson is less advanced than other kids. He likes preschool; it's ok that he's not obsessed with it. I understand the worrying and comparing, but it sounds like you are all doing great!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Your mom is a genius - I never in a million years would have come up with a QT-only box of toys. Hope it works!

And I love Jack's bio. He sounds like an awesome kid.

jaimie

I think that the quiet box is a great idea, and so is the helping. And personally, I'm okay with some TV time if it comes to that. I was pretty adamantly against TV until age 2, but now my daughter is almost 4, and half an hour of Blue's Clues won't kill her (we do the free "on demand' stuff so that when it's over, it goes off and she doesn't get sucked in).

We also use that time for cookie decorating. I buy a roll of refrigerated cookie dough and we make two or three cookies in the toaster oven, then decorate them. You can kill a lot time this way, especially if you incorporate clean-up-- bring a stool over to the sink, make some soapy water, and there you are.

As for the preschool acclimation, give it some time. It takes a loooong time for part-timers to adjust. My daughter's daycare offers an activity for parents once a month. It comes with free childcare until 7:30pm, and the kids have a pizza party and play games. At the first one, my daughter cried and we had to leave early, so for the next bunch of times I didn't try it.

By the summer, she was demanding to go to the party, like I was a mean mom for keeping her from her freeze dance contest. I think that Jack probably just needs to try out the lunch time. He's not asking to go because he's still new to preschool and he doesn't know what it is. He will get there, don't worry.

Elizabeth

I don't know, but I am taking notes from your comments.
Also, it might make you feel better to know that Eli spends the 24 hours before a preschool day telling me "I don't like preschool. I don't want to go." and reminding me to pick him up at the end of it. Hell would freeze over before he'd volunteer to spend an extra minute there.

The Sojourner

Re preschool: My newly 4-year-old sister is the most extroverted creature on the PLANET. I am not kidding. "Hi, how you today?" to complete strangers she sees on the street. But when Mom asked her what she thought of preschool she said, "I stay home with Mommy." So I wouldn't worry about Jack not being too gung-ho about preschool.

Dr. Maureen

I love his note. So cute.

If I ever blogged anymore, I would have blogged about Jack's "nap box" which I resorted to about 7 or so months ago. It's full of toys with small parts that babies are not allowed to play with and thus can only be brought out during nap time. It helped a lot. We don't bring it out much anymore because Jack is totally getting older! Or something! And understands that he has to entertain himself while I put Nora to bed!

Except, now that I write this I realize that that is not your problem, because I usually have to play with Jack when I come out from putting Nora to bed. So the nap box only really works for us as a means of keeping Jack from banging on the door while I'm trying to put Nora to bed. But still. I'm basically seconding your mom's suggestion of special quiet time toys.

HereWeGoAJen

Do you want to know what I bet the preschool thing is? I bet Jack doesn't really think he CAN stay after school for lunch. Their little minds get so used to "this is what we do" that he probably doesn't even realize that it is an option. But what do I know, I'm not a three year old.

I think the special quiet time only toys are a really good idea. And I've heard of these visual alarm clock things for kids that you can set to change colors when they are allowed to get up. Maybe Jack would stay in his room if you told him he could only come out when the light changed?

Christiana

I'm skipping the above comments, due to a headache and needing to get off the computer, but have you thought about letting Jack trying to stay for lunch and see how it goes from there? 1) Jack strikes me as a kid who isn't going to want to do something unless he knows what the deal is and 2) he might not get the concept that he CAN stay for lunch - that it's an option. He's not really old enough to pick that up on his own. Just a thought.

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