Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just When you Think You Have it Figured Out

I will fess up, one of the issues keeping me from this blog (aside from 2 sick kids, a sick Mommy and Daddy on the road) was my shock last week when I received a note from the daycare that Jack, along with most of his current Toddler class, would be moving up to a K3 classroom. And I wasn't the only one, let me just say, this news unleashed the Odyssey Mommy Girls Club to a new level.

By Tuesday morning, there were no less than 15 e-mails flying around and several phone conferences with and the Assistant Director, along with firm plans for 9 of us to meet for lunch on Thursday to discuss the "transition" as they gently call it. It's more along the lines of "leave the room and teachers you've been bonding with for the past 6 months after you are now having fewer days peeling your child off of you and coaxing him to wave through the window as you walk away quickly each morning on the Friday at the end of this month and enter a new room and new teachers bright and happy and start the bonding process all over again the next Monday morning". Needless to say, I was not thrilled at this prospect.

On top of it, the entire class is not moving together into one K3 room, they are being split into two. One plus, Jack will stay with the majority of his classmates and friends (just 3 of the 13 will move into the second room), but on the down side (and this is a big one in my opinion) he will be merged with 12 other kids (who are all older than him, some up to a year) to form a room of 22 kids, with 3 teachers.

I did not take the news of this as lightly as I have in the past for several reasons. First, the last time the OMGC got together was because of the last transition...they were moved last June and then we got notice they were moving yet again in August. Nothing like hopping, skipping and jumping your way through the center. At that time we were told they would be in the current room until this next August, and we were thrilled. Finally some time to really concentrate on goals and maybe even potty training can be a nice, consistent process to start near the end of the year. Not so much apparently. Second, we are having a few "discipline" issues at home, nothing serious, but enough that I've had to shift my punishment and reward process some and it's taking some serious creativity on my part for the first time. Thankfully, I have had Amy and Missy, Jack's current teachers to bounce ideas and feedback off of for what seems to work for them (even though he is an Angel at school for them). Soon I will have new teachers that will inevitably need some time to catch on to the little stinker's smarts. Third, we are just starting the potty process and it's been going pretty well so far, but I fear that the gains we've made may take a big leap backwards. However, I leave the option open for being wrong on that one (and hope I am!). Fourth, K3 in the Odyssey program is really the start of the journey to Kindergarten, out of the Toddler rooms and into the Pre-K drive. Is he really old enough, mature enough, emotionally and cognitively for that? Really? Fifth, there are only three class levels folllowing the one he is currently in, from here it's K3, K4 and then Pre-K...this move for some parents based on school year cut off could potentially mean they need to split the next 4 years in just three classroom levels.

Finally, any changes in our life in January or February usually are not timed well as it is already the time of year Cory is most on the road. So having this additional change will probably incite it's own share of battles and meltdowns for no apparent reason than things are not as they always have been (or have been for the past six months). I've come to that conclusion upon realizing through conversations with other mothers that in our life, other than his father, his brother and myself, his teachers and friends at Odyssey are really the only real "family" that Jack is familiar with on a daily basis. With us living out as far as we do from Birmingham, our weekends are usually spent at the house and not many of our friends from our life prior to kids make the 45min-1 hour drive out to visit. Of course, there is church on Sundays, but with the 45 min drive there, it's not like there is much time to socialize before or after since naps are due shortly upon the end of the service and we can't quite get out of the house in time to make it to the 8am (well, we could, but that would necessitate a sixth day of the kids eating breakfast in the car during the week and I just won't do it). And there are so many children in the nursery, depending on when we check in, there are two room possibilities and numerous children that might or might not be there that day.

So long story made longer...I had quite the decision to make. Let Jack move up to the K3 room and face what may come, or hold him back in his current room and away from the majority of his friends. My 45 minute discussion with the AD consisted of stressing to her my expectations that would come if I decided to allow the transition to go through, including the K3 room goals being updated to reflect the items the kids did not meet in their current room, my opinion that these moves are necessitated not by the development of the kids but by a need by the center for increased income in this economy and therefore increased enrollment at the younger (higher $) levels which result in moving the kids above them early (which she denied) and how I felt they needed to take a better look at their enrollment policy as well as have a better overall plan for the movement of the kids from the moment they are enrolled. Finally I shared that I expected there would always be 3 teachers in the room regardless of what emergencies arose elsewhere in the center (even though she kept referring to the room as an 11:1 ratio regardless of the fact that Jack falls into the under 36 mo group along with the 10 others that are moving up and DHR rules require 8:1 at a max at his age and I am certain my tuition will not be adjusted down until he officially turns 3).

After our discussion and overnight consideration of all the pro's and con's for Jack, I made the decision to allow the move to go through.

At lunch on Thursday, I was thankful for the 8 other moms that I was able to share my fears and concerns with. I was also thankful to hear their dilemmas and feel that mine were valid and even help some of the others in their consideration of what to do for their children. I was most thankful knowing that Jack has at least 4 of these 8 women who will have children in his room and therefore will be 4 extra sets of eyes (actually 5 if you count Payton's grandmother in Virginia Beach who is GLUED to the system daily) watching on the video monitor as well as giving him their love when they are in the room, just as I do for their kids. I will be sad that Sammy Dunkin will be apart from them for the next months since his mom has opted to hold him back, but hopeful he will rejoin us in August. I am overjoyed that they considered the closeness that Jack, Madison and Payton have shared since their first days at Odyssey and that the are moving them together to the same room.

And although I feel I have made the right decision; Jack will remain with his friends, he will fall age-wise, right in the middle of the class, we have really just started discussing the potty and aren't too far into it that a setback would destroy anything already established, and most importantly in my mind-he really only has 2 1/2 years left at Odyssey so he will not stay in any one classroom level for any inordinate amount of time while here (he is enrolled in 4K at Briarwood Christian School for 2011), it does not come without reservation. I don't think any decisions you make as a parent really do (other than maybe diaper changes!). However, God must have realized my concern today and decided to give me a just a little sign that this was the right one for Jack.

Tonight, while I was stacking some blocks with Duke so he could knock them all down, a trick he LOVES, I decided to make it a little game that Jack might be interested in as well. (Brother bonding, taking turns, and sharing is big on my radar right now.) These blocks are soft and each side has a picture of something, a cow, a ladybug, a sun, etc. so as I stacked, I asked Jack what each one was. I know he knows most every one, but still, it was fun and I like to actually hear him tell me just how much he knows. I guess it's satisfaction for me that even though I have had to split my time between the two of them for more than a year now he's developing on track (another issue I need to get over - they really know nothing different and I certainly don't need to coddle Jack or else I may have a spoiled one on my hands!)

So, as I'm running through the penguin, the moon, the elephant, this one comes up

and Jack doesn't even pause when he yells out "FIVE!"

Now me, I would have said Hand, but I'm not moving to K3 either.

Guess we are headed in the right direction after all.

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