Leo’s last day of preschool

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His last day was a Knight themed dress up day, hence the crazy outfit.

I remember dropping Leo off for his first day of preschool almost three years ago, he seemed like such a baby.  The playground was filled with veteran preschool parents smiling and greeting teachers and friends after the week-long Summer break… and then there were the newbies like Lenny and myself, unsure of where to put our children’s lunch boxes and how to leave without causing a scene.

A kind pre-school teacher leaned over two children fighting over a toy in the sandbox and told them to “use their words.” I was so scared for Leo, just a few weeks into his second year he barely knew any words. When it was time for the parents to leave, Leo sobbed hysterically, for a second I considered taking him home. Maybe he wasn’t ready.

Then a teacher explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were leaving but would be back.  It turned out he was only sad because he thought he had to leave too!  He ran away from us into the sandbox, then it was my turn to cry in the parking lot. My baby was no longer a baby. That sadness and hesitation melted way quickly. Preschool has been wonderful experience for Leo and for us.

His school is play-based with monthly changing themes which have exploded Leo’s imagination. Without any direction or props Leo can play in space, in the ocean, in the jungle only using the power of his mind.

He has learned how to make friends and how to treat he peers. He has his own rich social life at school complete with “best friends,” bickering and the occasional bully- and he can handle it all with grace. He knows how to resolve conflict and recognizes when a friend is feeling sad or left out.

With Kindergarten around the corner, we know that Leo is well prepared.

Along with Leo, Lenny and I and I have also had a great experience.  We have made wonderful friends whom with we share play dates, dinners, holidays and vacations. Through lice scares, toddler tantrums and countless viruses we have had a great support team in the friends we have made through preschool. I have learned that having friends who share a same-age child is essential to dealing with the stresses and joys of parenting.

Above all, we trust our preschool.  We have been able to drop off our son and know that he is with teachers that truly care for him.  When he is there, I know he is happy and engaging in an awesome activities. That is priceless.

In September Lucy will be starting at the same school, I can’t guarantee that it will be a tear-free drop off that first day but I am so excited for her and the new friends she will make and the experiences she will have.

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Another lovely vacation, mother-son trip to Oregon

Summers are made for vacations, the long sunshine-filled days are begging to be enjoyed. I am already starting to get weepy about the end of this summer which will bring Leo’s first day of Kindergarten. A mother-son trip was in order.

To be totally honest, it’s been a rough few months for me and Leo. He has tantrums, I yell, we both feel bad. Leo is finding his way in the world and testing us constantly, it’s part of growing up but also one of the hardest parts of parenting. I wanted to have a chance to spend some time with him one-on-one without the chaos of the million things that always need to get done around the house and without Lucy. I see that Leo feels that she gets more attention, he’s partly right about that. I trust Leo to dress himself, play in his room or the backyard alone… because he’s a big kid and for the most part he makes good decisions.  But I can see how leaving him alone to play while I hover over Lucy’s every move can seem to an almost five year-old… more like neglect and less like privilege.

We started our trip off by having a cookie for lunch at LAX because… why not right?Leo

The first part of our vacation was spent in a tipi at the awesome Tipi Village Retreat; about a thirty minute drive from Eugene, Oregon, this place was just awesome and the perfect place for Leo and I to relax and hang out… and I got some serious cool mom points for booking a vacation in a tipi. Nestled in a grouping of tall fir trees, each tipi has a stone floor, lights and electricity, bed (or beds), chairs, nightstand, and unique design. Leo and I were in the Calapooya tipi which was perfect for the two of us.

I have to say sleeping in a tipi is great, it was pretty cold the nights we were there and Leo and I snuggled in the bed with a warm duvet and wool blanket. Compared to Los Angeles it was so dark and quiet,  I had some of the best sleep I have had in years.  The first night we slept 11 uninterrupted hours! The food was so good, everything cooked by the owner in the outdoor kitchen and served buffet style.  We dined at communal tables and met some nice people at the retreat. Luckily for Leo, there were a lot of kids the two nights we were there. I happily put our bonding on hold so he could play with the other kids.

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“Let’s take a selfie” said Leo. Note to self: wear make-up all the time.

There is a creek that runs next to the resort that Leo loved, as an L.A. kid he has only ever played in the man made creek at our Natural History Museum, he jumped in with his clothes on twice! He found snails and tadpoles in the creek and a tremendous amount of sticks in the forest. Of course we used the sticks to make s’mores at night around the communal campfire.

We had a very relaxing time at Tipi Village Retreat; we swung in the hammock, read The Jungle Book, told stories and just played in the sunshine.  The weather was perfect while we were there but it starting raining shortly after we left, we were very lucky.

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Next we were off to my parents who were “camping” themselves in their fancy RV outside or Eugene, Oregon.  Eugene hosted the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and my Dad, or “Bubba” to Leo, was on the organizing committee.  We had a ton of fun there as well; I enjoyed watching the track meet and Leo enjoyed the Fan Festival which featured live music every night and all the free Chobani yogurt he could eat (it’s not allowed at home so there was a considerable amount of yogurt eating).

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Leo coloring an “America Flag” at the Chobani booth

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Leo literally levitating with excitement at the Fan Festival

 

Though it sounds like a weird thing to say about my kid- who I am with all the time– I definitely got to know and understand Leo more on this trip.  Leo still has his toddler tantrum moments, but more and more I see that he is growing into a kind a caring little boy. I’m really glad that we did this mother-son vacation and I hope to do more in the future. Leo is already taking about the next time we are going camping… I can’t wait!