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Friday, March 21, 2014

Kindergarten. {Sigh}. It's really happening.

So it happened. 

This past week I crossed over into an unfamiliarly familiar world. 

The mailbox, the week prior, so kindly gifted me 18 forms (6 a piece) to fill out to make the kids school legal.  :) I sat at the kitchen table that same night and filled out each form with a silent diligence, periodically wondering if I was having a heart attack. ( I decide it's not a heart attack, just nostalgia pain straight to my heart.) It was a test. I just knew it. A test to determine whether my stamina as a kindergarten parent rivaled my stamina as a kindergarten teacher. 

About 13 forms in, I start to obsess about how I filled out each form. "Did I write out the other kids' full names on this form or just their middle initial? Hmm...I better go back and check." WHY? WHY SHOULD I GO BACK AND CHECK? It doesn't matter. It's not a college application. It doesn't matter. Stop being so ridiculous I scold myself. They're not going to reject kid #3 because you only used his middle initial and not his full middle name. {Sigh..} 

To continue this foolish obsession with 'order', I then gather their birth certificates and immunization records and clip them all BY KID (of course) and placed them neatly in the folder, IN BIRTH ORDER EVEN,  that I would carry to their Roundup the next week. NEXT WEEK. 

Never fear I checked that folder and ALL of its contents no less than 8 times that week to be sure I hadn't forgotten anything. You know, like an X in the box indicating that my child speaks English at home, or that I hadn't accidentally clipped Ethan's immunization record to Colton's forms. I mean, can you even imagine how I would've appeared?!@# What kind of first impression would I have made to the office staff at my kids' future home.  (Yes, laughing is appropriate here.) 

And then it came. Tuesday, March 12th.

We talked about it, rehearsed the procedures, and TOTALLY made it sound like THE coolest day EVER. Hunter was stoked. There's no other way to describe it. Girl is ready for kindergarten and wants to know everything about it. Ethan exclaimed, "I don't WANT to go to kindergarten!" (and my heart naturally sunk). But this was promptly followed with "I want to play with my Switch-Go Dino!" {Sigh of relief...crisis averted. It wasn't that he didn't want to go to kindergarten, he just didn't want to go right THEN, because of course, playing is WAY more fun!) 

But I could see real nerves building in Colton. He got quiet and was keeping to himself in the playroom. I of course, scooped him onto my lap and asked what was wrong. "Are you nervous, buddy?" I asked him. His response? "But, are you going to leave me there?" Immediately I knew that this stemmed from my informing them that they would get to see the classrooms and meet the teachers while Daddy and I listened to the grownups talk. He was nervous about being left there. That's a valid concern. And though I was immediately brought back to the gut-wrenching feeling I had on their very first day of preschool, I also remembered how happy they were when I picked them back up. I assured him that tonight was just for a little bit, but that he would get to leave with us. And it's these moments that I thank God he's a triplet.  I knew that when push came to shove, if his brother and sister went with the teachers, he'd go. 

We arrived, parked and headed in. Can I just say again, how STRANGE a feeling it was to be bringing my kids to the SAME school I attended about 28 years earlier? 

Man, some days, I still stare at them, in awe. We've finally arrived at an age where my kids have been alive for longer than I spent trying to have them. :)   :)   :) They drive me bat-sh#t crazy some days, but my goodness, I am blessed.

Really, Ethan? You think you rule this school?

Now, if first impressions are as important as they say they are, then Gale, YOU ROCKED! Honestly. Talk about warm greetings all around. Office staff, kindergarten teachers, first grade teachers, the Principal, you name it! This wonderful woman below is one of the kindergarten teachers. She and I graduated high school together. I wish I had snapped this photo from the other angle so you could see how captivated the boys were with 'Mrs. Schlak.' I mean, talk about welcoming little people with open arms. I am so beyond grateful that she is there. I have no doubt that their little nerves were put to rest the moment she hugged and greeted them all. Kindergarten Teachers are a different breed. They have different issues to contend with, and making new kids WANT to come to school is one of the toughest.

As if that weren't enough, the other 2 teachers are equally amazing. They, too, were loving and welcoming and I left feeling....good.  :) And let's not forget that I am a kindergarten teacher myself, so my standards might even be a touch higher because I know what to expect and what hurdles need to be overcome.

Anyhoo, the kids wrote their names on an apple...and with varying degrees of success, I might add.

Ethan just ran out of space...

Colton gave himself an extra 'o' and got out of order when he ran out of room.  :) 

And Hunter, well, she pretty much nailed it.  

And there you have it-my 3 Gale Tigers! 

Remember what I said earlier about the kids being captivated with Mrs. Schlak? Well this is the Principal and as you can plainly see, they were smitten with her as well. I just love adults who 'get' little kids. If you could have heard her talking to them, you'd have fallen in love just as I did. In this particular moment, she was explaining that they were going to get to go see the classrooms in a few minutes and that she wanted to know afterwards if they liked it. If they didn't, they were to come and tell her!  :)  Thank you, Ms. Ingle for making my littles feel so comfortable.  

I, of course, forced the husband to take a photo of me AND the littles, because after all, we are 
ALL Gale Tigers!  

Getting ready for the presentation to begin...

Meeting all the teachers... L to R Mrs. Schlak, Mrs. Peregrina and Mrs. Pessin.  :) 

And now, let the cat herding begin....Here Mrs. Peregrina is ushering the new kindergartners to come see the classrooms.  :) 

Be still my heart. 

In case you're wondering, they all went willingly.  :)

Brian and I sat back and listened to Ms. Ingle talk all about the school and about kindergarten. We heard from PTC representatives. One, who mentioned that they would be looking for a new PTC President.  (And as if he was reading my mind as I contemplated just HOW I could make that happen... I received a Swift elbow to my arm, followed by the words, "NO. YOU. CAN'T" with a smile. He knows me so well.) Okay, well maybe not PRESIDENT, but surely I could do SOMEthing...  :) 

When the presentation was over, we were able to go collect our littles and see the classrooms for ourselves. 

Now, I love my school and I love my district, but there's just something about schools with hallways lined with student work that makes me giddy. :)

Some shots of the classrooms.  Again, I LOVED everything about them.  :) 

Alas, if nothing else made it official, then I'd say these little TIGER MASKS did the trick! 

So there you have it. My babies are growing up. They are officially ready for kindergarten! We are all anxiously awaiting those next envelopes that come in our mailbox telling each of them who will be their teacher! As luck would have it, it's a WIN-WIN-WIN situation.  :) 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jose Eber, he is not.

The 24 hours leading up to my arrival home tonight included, among other things,  Hunter throwing up every hour through the night, a school day with all 44 kindergartners present, and the first 27 parent teacher conferences. 

Tired? Yes. 

Happy to see my own little crazies after spending all day talking about everyone else's kiddos? Yes. 

And when this little face said, "Mom, come see what happened to George Sanderson!", I knew my night was about to get even better.  

That's George's backside. 

That's George's hair.  :)

I'll give you ONE guess as to how this happened...

(And I'll help you out...his hair did NOT just fall off)) 
 Nope. Colton Bunch, hairstylist to the monsters, gave him a new style. 

Luckily, George doesn't seem too upset. :)

Note to self: Next time, put away the scissors. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

I just signed their childhood away.

The last time I had to sign really important, life changing papers, the babies were 3 and 4 weeks old and I was being granted permission to take my 3 and 4 pound babies  out of the NICU and bring them home. (Yes, I was allowed to bring Hunter home weighing 3 lb. 8 oz!!!) The magnitude of that day has not diminished with time. I clearly remember saying to Brian, "Holy crap! They're letting us TAKE them?" And then, upon our arrival home, something to the effect of, "Now what do we do with them?" 

Two days ago, I rushed to the mailbox, as I've been doing for weeks now, eagerly awaiting 3 specific pieces of mail. I opened the lid and knew instantly that my wait was over.  Before me, nestled between grocery store ads, credit card offers and my Family Fun magazine, were three identical envelopes welcoming my teeny preemies to college kindergarten. Goodbye baby-hood, hello big world. With just three swipes of my pen, I granted, with hesitation, my "consent" to let my kids grow up. My babies officially became "Gale Tigers!" 

The fact that I, too, was once a "Gale Tiger", puts a smile on my face and maybe a tear (or two,) in my eyes. It's weird. Like 'de ja vu', life-full-circle weird. 

The boys don't really get it, or don't really care, but Hunter does. She senses my pride and also acknowledges my hesitation to let her go..."I don't want to get big, mom." But she does. She just says that to me because she knows it's what I want to hear. I love her for that. It's all the other moments that her true colors shine through. 

It's the "Mom, can I work on my letters so I'm really good at them in kindergarten?" and the, "Will I have homework like Autumn?" moments that I sense her desire to rule the world. I hate that she wants to grow up and I love it. Why is parenting so hard?  

The boys are much more my babies. They're smart. (All three of them.) They love to learn, but the boys, well, they may be mama's boys... They still want boo-boos kissed and they don't care about writing their letters. (Though they do love their sight words and numbers and letters.) It's been part of our nightly routine for a while now, to practice our words and numbers, (because we learned letters and sounds long ago) and only recently have they acknowledged or understood that we do this in preparation for kindergarten.  :) 

Being a mom is hard. Being a kindergarten teacher to three kindergartners at once is going to be even harder. I have high expectations of my students and I have high hopes for my babies. The teacher in me can't help but acknowledge that though their development has been pretty similar so far, there may  come a time when that is no longer the case. 

It is my hope that their teacher will welcome them with a kind heart. It is my hope that she will continue to mold them into responsible citizens; that she will discipline with love, firmness and fairness, that she will always help them right their wrongs, calm their fears, praise their successes and always know that she will be remembered for a lifetime for her patience and ability to instill a love of learning in even the littlest minds. It  is my hope that she will love them for the unique individuals that they are, while recognizing the "triplet-ness" that does also define them.   (For the record, I happen to know that the kindergarten teachers there are pretty amazing and I may or may not have even graduated with one of them. :) {no pressure, Amber.  :) }

And so the countdown begins...Look out July. 

(And because I'm sure many of you are wondering why I'm not sending them to my own school, my own class or even my own district, I'll just say this- For many reasons, the stars were not aligning. This decision felt right and I'm happy about it.) 

On a much lighter note, as if THAT mail wasn't great enough, look what ELSE came in the mail this same day! My Life Planner from ErinCondren.com. I was the last one to jump on this bandwagon in my little group of friends. So my sister granted me an early birthday present and got me my own planner so that I can be in the cool kids' club too.  It's ah-mazing.

And it comes with a whole page of personalized stickers to help keep me on schedule ESPECIALLY when I have three kindergartners and a husband who works out of town a LOT. {Thought I was exaggerating? A whole page of 'Brian Gone' stickers and he says, "Did you only get one page?"} 

And the cherry on top of this already great day? 
Two heart shaped rocks. 
I haven't seen any in months and today, I found two.  :) 

Happy Me. 

Much, much more to come in this kindergarten story.  :)
Thanks for coming along. 

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