The question I am asked the most is what Jake and I do during the day. I think I am asked a lot because Jamie and I don’t send Jake to preschool so there is curiosity on how we fill our days. I thought I would give you a glimpse of our fun week together. This was a week about a month ago. I had written this but didn’t post until now.
My feeling on preschool is that children are in school for years so why start so early since there are only a few precious years that they are so little and at home. Having said that my husband likes the idea of preschool and wanted Jake to have that experience and more structure. We found a preschool that came highly recommended and we know a lot of people that go and that are very happy so I went with Jake for a tour and thought it may be fun for him and we would try 3 days a week from 9-12. We started last September. Leading up to school Jake and I picked out a backpack that he loved, we read stories about school, we talked about school, we drove by the school and we went to different family programs the school hosted. I remember the night before school started I couldn’t sleep I was so nervous, it felt like to took forever for 9am to arrive. Jamie and I both went with Jake to school and he was fine when I dropped him off which made me so happy. I ran a few errands but I really couldn’t wait to go and pick up Jake from school to see how his day was. I made sure I was early and right there waiting when we was done, I imagined him running to me smiling and happy but instead I found him hysterical crying and the teacher was holding him. I have never seen him cry like that and I started crying too. There we were sitting on the floor of preschool both crying. We left that day and I gave Jake a little present I bought him that was in the car to celebrate his first day and then we went home snuggled in my bed together and took a long nap. Just writing this is making me so upset remembering that day, I remember feeling pressured to leave the room quickly when I dropped him off and even though he was ok at that point I wished I had more time with him to explain what was happening. So, we tried again on Wednesday and he got upset as we walked into the building this time. Luckily good friends of ours walked in behind us and then he was ok. Again, he was ok with me leaving and then at the end of the day got upset again. This happened on Friday too so by the next week he started getting upset when I was going to drop him off. I just couldn’t leave him hysterical crying, I knew it wasn’t great for Jake and I knew it wasn’t good for me either so I didn’t leave him. The school really encouraged parents to leave your child crying and leave as quickly as possible, I just didn’t understand that philosophy so I didn’t do it. My mom bought a small train set for the class since they didn’t have one thinking Jake would love the train and it would be fun to stay but that didn’t work and after talking to the director she agreed to let me sit in the back of the class so Jake would get comfortable with his surroundings and then after a couple of weeks I would transition out. I think at this point he was so nervous so he would play a little but he would still want to be with me and I could tell this wasn’t working great for the class or Jake so we decided to leave the school. After I decided to send Jake to preschool I went into this with an open mind and excited. I joined the PTO and I was even home room mom, the school had such a wonderful, warm family community but it just wasn’t right for Jake. The director kept telling me that so many children cry and after a few weeks they get used to it but that just didn’t feel right to me and I have learned through my experience that you have to what is best for you and follow your heart. Also I have learned that you are your childs biggest advocate and at the moment they wanted to take him from my crying I just walked away with him and we went to the zoo to enjoy our day together. I had flash backs to the day in the NICU when the nurse was putting an IV in Jacobs head and I asked to stay with him and she said no, well if I could go back I would have insisted because the truth is he is my baby and I knew he needed me at that moment for love and comfort just as I knew he needed me that day in preschool. I tell Jake everyday that we are a team, mommy and Jakey and we listen to each other. Mommy listens to Jake and Jake also has to listen to mommy and we will have a fun day together so this was one of those times when Jamie and I listened to Jake. We sat him down and said, Jake, Mommy and Daddy are going to listen to you and we hear that you don’t want to go to preschool right now, one day you will go to school but right now we will listen to you. I just don’t think that timing was right for Jake or me and I was more then happy to have Jacob everyday as my little teammate!! There is nothing I would rather do then spend everyday with Jake, it brings me more happiness then I could ever imagine, everyday feels magical!!!
Having said this, I do want to say this is my experience and my feelings which do not work for everyone. Every child is different, every parent is different, every family is different and every situation is different. I know moms that absolutely love being a mommy but love their jobs too and want to work and that is a great decision for them and their family. I also know some mommies that would love to stay home but can’t financially so I realize how blessed I am to have this opportunity. What ever decision you make I have learned can never be wrong if you follow your heart. Even if it doesn’t work out you won’t have any regrets because you followed your heart and your intuition which is so important. Looking back in my heart I knew the timing wasn’t right but I wasn’t sure if that was just my stuff or Jake too and I didn’t want to hold him back so we did try but I should have listened more and I keep learning more from all these difficult lessons.
One lesson I have learned is that we are put in this universe to be happy so if we are sad then we know that we are not doing what we are meant to do. Our spirit will search for happiness so follow your intuition because it is your spirit guiding you on the right path. I have learned to be grateful for everyday and feeling healthy and well everyday so if I want to go somewhere I usually go, I try and fulfill every moment. Jake and I talk about being happy, every morning I ask Jake what he wants to do. We open the curtains and say, it’s a pretty day! Since I stay home I do have errands to run and things to do around the house but I try and spread them out through the week so most of the day is geared towards Jake and we sneak in a few mommy things too. I’m teaching Jake about happiness, I will ask him what will make him happy today and I tell him that he should do something everyday that makes him happy. Below I will outline a week we just had for you, so know while reading that Jake and I follow our happiness during the day and that is why many say we have a busy schedule but I like to call it a happy schedule. At the end of the day I lay in bed with Jake, we read books and talk about our day. One of our books we usually read is called, Wherever you go my love will find you. This is one of my favorites, it talks about how even when we are not always together physically my love is always with you. We talk about what we did and what are best part of our day was, we talk about our happy day together and we thank g-d and our angels for protecting us and keeping us and our family happy and healthy.
Park hopping, Jake and I have a playground we go to all the time which I’m sure you all do too. We have a playground in walking distance from our home but Jake loves the one that is about five minutes away in the car, not far at all but lots of fun. We actually started the morning at the park in our home where he found a little girl to play with and then decided that we wanted to go to the other park. Some of the fun of this particular park is that there is a track around the playground and Jake loves riding his plasma car at the moment, it actually comes with us in our car wherever we go just in case we were to stop at the playground we want to make sure we are prepared. So, we went to the track park and he played with his car for a while and played together on the playground. Lots of the equipment has stirring wheels on the jungle gym so we pretend that I’m Izzy and he is Jake the pirate from Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Jake has the most fun spirit so he always finds friends to play with or his favorite is to find kids to race around the track with. After this park we did a mommy activity and had to stop at the post office then tried to get Jakes hair cut but they couldn’t get us in so we were off to another park down the street just for something new. We came home from our day and Jake was so excited to play with his friends in neighborhood. We are so blessed to have such great neighbors we can call our friends with lots of children. I feel so happy for Jake because I remember growing up with lots of neighborhood friends which is so fun. We had leftovers from sunday for dinner took a bath and then off to bed. It was a beautiful day out and we both had lots of fun!
Today was unusually hot for this time of year so I decided I wanted to go the beach. We are lucky to have the jersey shore beaches not too far from us which makes a fun day trip. I didn’t tell Jake of the plans right away just in case we ended up not going but he actually asked himself so I knew it was meant for us to go. My mom joined us which was lots of fun, we stopped for lunch on the way and had a picnic in the sand. It didn’t take Jake long to make friends on the beach, they obviously had the same idea that we did and he even splashed in the very cold water. I love the smells of the ocean, the sounds of the waves and seagulls, it just feels like you are away and we are again so lucky to have this great place so close to us. We spent a few hours in the sand and then drove back home again to play outside with our neighbors. I love watching Jake play with his friends and using his imagination and words that is learning everyday, I love being the mom standing on the side talking to the other moms while watching our children play. Today was a great day!
Today I had a routine doctors appointment. Jake has become used to joining me and is really good in the office. We bring his IPAD and cars to play but he actually is interested in what the doctors are doing and will mimic them. If a doctor touches my ankle, Jake stands next to him while I’m on the exam table and he touches my ankle too. He has a doctor kit at home and pretends to play doctor so he gets a kick out of the situation when the doctor listens to my heart and does the things that Jake and I do at home. Also, my doctors have really become part of our family and they have known Jake since the day he was born so they are great about having him too. After the doctor we went to lunch together and stopped at a playground out that way that we have been to before and was fun to visit a new space. On the way home we had to stop at Target and of course whenever we go we stop by the toy section to see what is new and shop around. Since my little niece Stella was born Jake will pass the doll aisle and say, Stella. So impressed how he is always thinking of others. The funny part about our target trip was that during my doctors visit with my nephrologist I had to pee in a cup. Jake has seen me do this before but I guess he found this funny today so while at target I said I wanted to find a cup for Jake, a plastic cup that he could use to drink from at home without a spout. So, Jake starts saying very loudly jakey pee in the cup. I said not we will drink from the cup and he said mama pee in cup. One of those funny, embarrassing moments. We never did find those cups. We then heading to whole foods which is really almost a daily stop, I love our whole foods and Jake does too. He pretends he is riding in a choo choo ( the cart) and he is a conductor. He will help me count out mushrooms or avocados and loves to play with the bath salts and of course in the play area at the end. We usually say, pay then play. We have to pay then we can play. I guess this day was a great example of how we listen to each other, we did things I had to do but I always make it fun for Jake. It of course takes longer but at the end of the day we both had a happy day and the day is just as much his as it is mine.
Jake is not a good sleeper so this whole week my mom stayed over to sleep to get up with Jake so I could sleep and get well more quickly since I was fighting a cold. Your body heals while it rests so its important to get your sleep. We woke up realizing our air conditioner wasn’t working so I had to make some calls but we were excited because we were meeting our good friends at the philadelphia zoo. We are members and we go at least once a week sometimes twice. Its so fun to be outside and walk around, they have fun kids rides too and just opened a beautiful new childrens zoo that we go to visit today. Jake had so much fun wondering through the new area they had fun ropes to climb up to a big slide. Jake is fearless and is so cute being so little and climbing to the top. I went with him the first few times to make sure he would be ok and then he was off having so much fun! We enjoyed eating lunch together on a bench overlooking swan paddle boats, riding a train and carousel and visiting lots of animals including Jakes favorite, the monkeys and the snakes and alligators. We love the otters too. On our way home we stopped at whole foods and then we were home. We did puzzles in the afternoon and worked on some legos Jake loves too, we always fit in time to play cars and trains. These are times I try to put my phone away and just get on the floor and play. Be totally in the moment with my little boy who has the best imagination and is so fun to watch.
Since we stopped preschool we were so happy to hear that gymboree started a program called School Skills which is a program for preschoolers. It was a perfect program for us because parents are encouraged to stay with your child and when they are comfortable and you are comfortable you can leave. Jake has been going to gymboree since he was just a few months old but he was even upset at first so I stayed with him and now he runs in on his own. I sit in the lobby and wait for him and wait for his big smile when he comes out so proud. He has learned more in the class then he did before and thats because he is happy and comfortable. He is counting and saying his abc’s, it has been such a great program and this is what we do on friday afternoon. Jake and I went searching for a new preschool for next year. We have decided to hold him back since his birthday is in august so he will be turning 4 this august but he will be with the 3′s because we want him to be the oldest not the youngest in school. We have a found a great preschool that has a transitional program in place which starts with a tot and me and then the first few days of school the moms stay and gradually leave the room. So, this friday we had our tot and me in the morning which Jake is really enjoying and then usually we have been going to gymboree school skills after but instead we went to the mall because I had an appointment with a sales girl I love in children’s shoes for Jake. She is amazing and its great to have an appointment so you don’t have to wait. Jake is not a shopper but he picked out blue lego crocs that he loves and wore them the whole day! We then made a stop at the lego store and had a nice lunch together before heading home. We went to whole foods once again but Jake started screaming he didn’t want to go in so this is one of those moments I listened and we went home instead. He usually goes really well so I knew this was something he really didn’t want to do or maybe felt it was too much today so we went home instead to play.
The weekends we spend together as a family visiting the zoo, the aquarium, a museum, the beach, pool, playground… the list goes on but you get the point, usually a fun activity. We love, well Jake and I love Sesame Place, Hershey Park, Dutch Wonderland too and Jamie loves seeing Jake so happy so he is a good sport about coming along to play. We try and visit my sister a lot and see my parents and grandparents during the week or on the weekend. It doesn’t always have to be a big activity, just being together is so fun and Jake gets to be more and more amazing everyday! I learn from Jake everyday. We roll down hills together, jump in puddles when its raining, watch the sunset, look up at the moon, smell the flowers and watch for the moon. I try to show him the beauty the surrounds us in our world and now he points these things out to me. The other day we were driving home and he said, mama-pretty sky. I looked up and there was the most beautiful sunset. Our weeks are never the same but our days are always filled with love and happiness!!! Wishing all of you days filled with happiness, love and great health!!!