Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ms. Jen and Wet Shoes

So far this school year has been great! (Minus the crying every day when I put Dom on the bus... it's not really crying, more like whimpering... and as soon as he sets foot on the bus stairs, he stops because I think he's embarrased. Although his chin continues to quiver as he fights back the tears and he breaks my heart sitting there on the bus seat with his little harness on, looking so forlorn as I tell him goodbye.)
I really like his teacher. Ms. Jen seems super-sweet. When we went to meet the teacher night, she said hi to me and then devoted all her attention to these little guys and played with them there on the floor for about 15 minutes...trying to get Dominic to open up to her.
Dominic says he doesn't like preschool. He says "Preschool is scary. People are scary." and that breaks my heart. But I wonder if he's just trying to own the situation a little bit. For instance... when he gets off the bus I ask him what he did in school today and he usually tells me that he cried in school. Every day for a week and a half, he told me this. So on curriculem night, I decide to ask Ms. Jen about it, and guess what... he's feeding me lies! LIES! I guess after the first couple of days, he hasn't cried at all. He just wants me to think he is.
He has been singing (SINGING!) preschool songs to me and asking me to sing along. He has never done this before. He has told me numerous times, "I don't know how to sing" and flat out refuses to sing anything for me. When I try to sing to him, he usually tells me to stop. But he has been coming home and teaching me songs and singing with me whole-heartedly. I love it! I don't know what brought this on, but I'll take it!
Ms. Jen did say that Dominic doesn't utter a word in class, really. That he's soooooo quiet, and that he doesn't really want to play with anyone, and just likes to play by himself, which is concerning to me... but I've heard it before...last year. So, that's just something they'll continue to work on I guess. ;) He does miss his beloved Ms. Julie from last year. He's told me a few times that he wants to go back to Ms. Julie's class. Change is hard. I'm sure he'll adapt soon and love this new school as well as Ms. Jen. She seems really fun.
Dom came home with soaking wet shoes a couple of days ago. They were, like... 4 days old. So, I was a little bummed...and a tiny bit perturbed. Until I got Ms. Jen's message on my phone that afternoon, it went a little something like this:
"Hi, this is Ms. Jen! I just called to let you know that Dominic is coming home with wet shoes today. He and I were jumping up and down in the puddles together. We had a lot of fun with all that water out on the playground today (we just had a monsoon the night before) and we tried to dry our shoes out during classtime but they are still wet. I hope that's ok!"
I deleted her message with a little smile... thinking of my shy, scared little guy at school... who won't play with anyone and who is, for whatever reason, refusing to talk... jumping up and down with his teacher in the puddles and (probably) laughing and loving it. I decided I like her. A lot. I'm thankful that she's trying to pry her way into his little shell.
And I'm glad he came home with wet shoes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We Interrupt the Vacation Posts to Bring You...

...the First Day of School!

Dominic: 4 Years Old!

Higley Elementary 2012-2013

Ms. Jen

We tried reeeally hard to get a "thumbs-up" picture...
And guess who gets to ride the BUS this year!? (I actually drove him that first morning, but he rode it home and will ride it to and from school from now on.)
Guess who wishes with all his little heart that he could ride the bus...Guess who was so excited that even though we are going to a new school with a new teacher... we recognized a familiar face on the bus! Mr. Chris is one of our favorite bus drivers.
Last year, Mr. Chris was one of the 3 bus drivers that let Dominic climb aboard for a high-5 every.single.day. after preschool, even though Dom didn't ride the bus last year. We like him a lot. We're glad he's Dom's bus driver this year.
We've been in school a full week now. So... how is it? Hmmmm... I don't really know because since he rides the bus, I don't get to have a little mini-conference with his teacher at parent-pick-up. I know his first day was rough, because I dropped him off. He layed down on the sidewalk kicking and screaming at anyone who tried to pick him up. I walked away after the teachers told me they "got it" with a couple of tears in my eyes as Dominic screamed, "Don't leave me! I don't know how to use my brave!" I know he has cried every day. He tells me.
And he told me that he saw his beloved Mr. David (bus driver from our very 1st year of preschool who Dom used to high-5 and who let Dom ride the bus home twice, just because he's super-awesome) and that he ran away and tried to get on Mr. David's bus but his teachers made him get off and told him that he would be taken to the wrong house if he rode that bus...and Dom told me that he cried.
So, lots of tears. But maybe it's just first week jitters.
Dominic comes home from school every day and traces his name over and over again. It's our "homework".

And on the very last line, he writes it all by himself. Pretty good huh?
And he can wite Damon's too. He's pretty proud of himself.
Aaaand... he actually just started reading. Really reading. Without my helping him. He can read C-V-C words (consonant-vowel-consonant) and words with digraphs (ck, ch, tch, sh). Anyway, I'm so proud of him and his desire to learn. We'll work on his desire to attend school. :)
Happy school year 2021-2013!

Monday, August 13, 2012

PTSD...and an otherwise beautiful hike.

So... for the PTSD business, just scroll to the end of this post and bypass all the gorgeous pictures of Provo Canyon and our hike to Stuart Falls.
Now... let's just talk about Provo Canyon for a moment. Just absolutely beeeee-autiful. Probably one of my favorite places to be on Earth. Really. Next to Mexico. I love it that much. Something about the mountains, particularly these mountains, makes me feel so alive. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy, but it's true.

While we were in Utah, (I swear... my next 5 posts are going to start with "while we were in Utah". If I would just stop taking so many darn pictures, I wouldn't have so much to blog about!) -anyway... while we were in Utah, Rich's some of siblings and parents and our families decided to drive up Provo Canyon and hike Stuart Falls.
It wasn't a long hike. 4 miles round trip... so not too long. We figured the kiddies could totally hack it. They did pretty great!
Our little group consisted of Ross, Angela (Rich's sister), and their two little ones Ali, and Elizabeth, Jake and Amy (Rich's sister), Rich and I and Dom and Dame, and Rich's parents... who decided to stay (even though I begged and begged them to come with us) at the bottom of the trail with Drew.
I just love the smell of the mountains! I wish I could bottle it up and take it home with me to spray all over my house. Nothing smells better.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and we were all having a wonderful time. :)
Amy and Miss Ali:
Daddy and Damon:
Ross, Ang, and Elizabeth:
Best Buds, Dominic and Ali. I wish we lived by all the cousins. I wish. I wish. I wish.
About 3/4 of the way up, the boys started to lose steam. It was HOT and their water bottles were already getting low. Dom and Dame hitched rides atop Daddy and Uncle Jake.
Amy, Jake, and Dom:
We are about 3/4 of the way up here. So beautiful.
Damon... polishing off Uncle Jake's Sobe. We should've packed more water...
Group picture... thanks to Amy. Check out Ross, the pack mule. Awesome. :)
Kiddies during another pit stop.
We are almost at the top! We are all hot, but super-happy. My kids love, love, love to go hiking in the mountains!
Ali, Elizabeth, Dominic, Damon:
Tired Dom...
Little Damon... nearing the end of our trek. (The upward end, at least.)
That's one tired grin. :)
Views from the almost-top:And finally... we made it! You can see part of the falls in this picture... and sadly, that's ALL you'll see of them. At least on my blog. Why?
Well... you see Amy there? She's laughing because just as we got to the top, it started to rain. I was excited because we were so hot and we really didn't pack enough water. Perfect. Some nice refreshing rain to cool us off a bit. Right?
Refreshing is not quite the word. Try "drenching". Or "anxiety-inducing". Try "downright scary." At least for me. Definitely for all the poor little kiddies involved. This is where the nightmare began. It quickly went from drizzling, to raining, to pouring, to freaking HAILING.
And to top it off... winds were blowing, it was freezing, and the thunder and lightning were terrifying for my boys. (If I'm being honest... I was actually really scared too.) The trail we were on quickly turned into a pouring river of mud. All of us were trying to press our backs against the mountain for some sort of shelter... and there was the drop-off on the opposite side. Rich and I got into an arguement about whether or not we should try and run back down the mountain. I had Damon screaming in my arms and when the next bolt of lightning hit the sky, I bolted. Amy and Jake followed me. I didn't make it very far. Slipping and trying to navigate my way up the trail while being pummeled by hail and rain. I stopped running after a few hundred feet, turned to Jake and asked (with a few tears in my eyes... I admit) if he would please take Damon and run down the mountain because I couldn't carry him by myself. And... not to sound uber-dramatic... but I felt soooo bad listening to Dame scream as I passed him off to Jake and Amy and watched them take off down the mountain with him, Damon's eyes big as saucers, outstretched for his mommy, screaming for me. Just sayin'... all I could think about was "Thank you, thank you Heavenly Father for making sure that Drew, somehow, stayed at the bottom." I don't know what I would have done if we would've had my sweet little 8-week-old baby with us. I can't even imagine.
Anyway... at this point, I decided to turn back and go help Rich with Dominic... who is, of course, absolutely BESIDE himself with fear. Poor boy. Hands over his ears. Screaming and crying, "Help me! Please! Help me! I'm scared, I'm scared!" Breaking my heart. Rich passed him off to me as soon as I made it back and he buried his face in my neck while Rich and I argued some more about whether or not we should wait it out or try and run down. We couldn't have gotten more drenched if we had jumped right into a lake. We were freezing. It was still hailing and storming like crazy. And while we were arguing, Dominic's fear got the best of him and he BIT down hard into my shoulder... and didn't let go. I feel soooo bad about how scared he must've been feeling to do something like that. After that little episode, we decided we needed to just do whatever we could to get him down to the car as fast as we could because he was so obviously traumatized. So we (and Ross and Angela and the girls) all took off.
It was a long.way.down.
Because it was hailing. Because it was freezing. (The kids' lips were blue and we were all shaking... my hands were numb.) And because my little man was fuh-reeeak-ing out. We got to listen to this commentary the entire way down the mountain...
"Say a prayer! Pleeeease say another prayer!"
"I scared! I scared!"
"Heeeellllp! Help me pleeeease!"
"Sing a Primary song! Sing a sooong!
"This is bad! This is very bad!"
"I'm so scared! Help me, pleeease!"
...hands over ears, face buried in Rich's neck. All the way down. Holy crap. And all I could think of was "I'm so glad I wasn't a pioneer. I'm so glad I wasn't a pioneer. Thank you Lord, for not making me be a pioneer!" Haha!
Anyway, we (obviously) made it down, and the rain stopped about 10 minutes before we hit the bottom. Drew and Rich's parents had found some shelter in a little ampitheater made of stone. Jake and Amy made it down to their car quickly with Dame, stripped him nekid... and wrapped him in blankets with the heat on high. They were waiting at the bottom of the trail for us and for Ross and Ang's girls in their nice warm car as we finished our hike. We stripped all the kids down and stuck them inside to warm their poor shaking little bodies up.
...in a few minutes, lips turned pink again. Wet clothes were stowed in trunks. Crying was quieted. Parents wrung out our clothes......and surprisingly, were were already able to laugh at the ridiculousness of what just happened.
Here are my two traumatized little men...
...but after a bag goldfish and an episode of Team Umizoomi while we drove down the mountain, they perked right up (and fell asleep):
Sweet Dominic... grateful to be safe and warm:
So all is well, right? Well... yes. Now, at least. But for two weeks after we got home, Dominic had some serious ish going on. He was absolutely positive that it was going to rain. Every day. Obsessive questions about clouds and storms, wind and ouchy-rain (hail) made their way into almost every conversation. Our two attempts at going outside to play that first week ended quickly with Dom covering his ears again, terrified and bawling to go inside because a breeze, a BREEZE... was lightly blowing some leaves on the trees. Seriously, the branches weren't even moving. He became scared of EVERYTHING. Couldn't sleep anymore. Wouldn't play outside. It has been ridiculous. Hence the reference to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lol!
He's a little better now... and will totally go outside to play. But at the slightest hint of wind or rain, he makes a beeline for the house, covers his ears and cries. (And it reeeeally stinks that it is monsoon season right now. Not particularly helping his recovery.) We went through a week of him refusing to sleep at night and waking up 4-5 times bawling with nightmares. So we've moved Damon into his room... which was going to happen soon anyway... and which came with it's OWN set of trials.
But things are slowly returning to normal around here. Now if only I could get the two of them to stop jumping on the flipping bed at night and go.to.sleep!