Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Matthew Starts Preschool

And so it begins... open houses, new teachers, classmates, volunteering, programs, papers to return, and getting out of the house (sort of) on time. Matthew is attending preschool 2 days a week at Sprouts Learning Center. He has been so excited about going to school ever since we went there a few months ago and he saw the playground. Priorities, right? Then the excitement grew when we visited his classroom for the first time during a playdate. He discovered cars, trains, and most importantly, 3 dump trucks to play with. I think he may have said three words to his teacher, he was so engrossed in playing with the trucks. After the playdate when I asked him what he liked best about school, he said "I played with the dump truck, and it went around in a circle and then made a dump." And he repeated this phrase each time some asked him about school. In fact, a week into school and he still talks about the dump trucks. At least the boy knows what he likes!

Last year I struggled a lot with the decision to send him to school or not. Most people I knew with kids his age were going, I had a newborn at home and could have used the break from two kids, but I just wasn't ready to give him up. Now a year later he is much more independent, (not to mention a bit stubborn, bossy, and particular about things) and we are both ready. I know that if I had taken him last year he would have cried, I would have cried, it would have been rough. This year, he was completely excited and not at all concerned about me leaving him. And me? I cried the morning he went to school, but not because I was sad about him going. I cried because I had just experienced a VERY rough few days with him, and I was at the end of my rope after a morning filled with crying about the collar on his shirt touching him, having milk instead of juice in his cup, not wanting to wear shoes that weren't his crocs, wanting to pull not wear his backpack, you name it he was upset about it. So when 9:00 came we were both ready. In fact, this picture was taken in the parking lot at school because there wasn't a time all morning where he wasn't upset about something! I'm so glad I waited another year.

In light of the fact that this starts a new chapter in our lives, I wanted to take a minute and paint a picture of our little guy. While it's true, he does have his moments (and a lot of them came last week), most of the time he's sweet, funny, and full of entertainment.

He's really into imaginative play right now. Most of this play involves cars, trucks, or trains, and he likes to make them crash, play on a playground, or chase each other. There are also quite a few conversations about his cars going to chick-fil-a. It's really funny when I hear him reenacting a conversation that we had earlier that day, or using phrases that I know I repeat to him quite often. Pretty much anything also becomes either a mommy, a daddy, or a sister. Another favorite is to pretend that something is food and bring it to me to eat. Caroline gets involved in this one too, and I end up with a pile of random objects next to me that I "ate".

Matthew is really starting to figure out how things work. When we drive somewhere he likes to ask where it is, and where our house is, and if it's a place we go to a lot he tells me where to turn. He asks lots of questions. He's always curious to know more and why. He also wants to know what words say in the books we read, so I've had to start pointing to each word as I read it. If he missed part of a conversation (that of course didn't involve him) he's quick to ask what we said and will keep asking until we tell him something!

I love his negotiating skills. Pretty much everything is negotiable, according to him. Not so much according to his parents, which does not make him happy. However, he doesn't quite understand quanity and number relations, so when I tell him that he needs to take 2 more bites of something he says, how about 4. Sounds great to me!

He loves his sister (most of the time). He likes to keep tabs on her, and when she gets upset or cries he'll say "Mommy, Caroline wants ____. That will make her feel better." He likes to sing songs to her when she's sad, and recently discovered how much positive attention he gets from giving her hugs! They spend a lot of time chasing each other around the house and climbing on and off furniture together. Matthew still isn't great about sharing with her, but we're working on it. Hey, maybe preschool will help!

He is still cautious, a little OCD, and definitely on the shy side in large groups. But that is nicely balanced with his affinity for running through the house at breakneck speed, talking my ear off, and leaving the playroom in a constant state of disarray.

I am amazed at how in-depth his conversations are, how strong and athletic he's become, the compassion he's starting to show, his ability to memorize books and random information, and the fact that he's developing his own opinions. I love how his smile lights up a room, how his hair is always sticking up somewhere, how he wants to snuggle with me at bedtime every night, and how much joy he has brought to our family.

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