Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Caleb. (Mom's Day Out)

  Caleb finished his first year of preschool yesterday! (can we call it preschool? It was really only a 1 day a week mom's day out program coupled with a one day mom's bible study with similar structure 😂)  Since he began in September, Caleb has grown SO much. Physically, developmentally, and emotionally. It's amazing to look back!

His physical growth is pretty obvious. He lost a ton of his cute baby chubbiness and has grown like a weed in the last few months! He shot up from 2t to 3t clothes, wears 3t/4t undies, and is in a size 7/8 shoe. I have a hunch that at his 3 year appointment in June he'll be on the top of the charts for height and weight! 

  Developmentally, this was also a big year for Caleb and I really do accredit being at school for some of it. Since September, he has learned his full name (and everyone in our family), his alphabet, his colors (he's still stubborn about them though!), some shapes, and his ability to tell and retell stories. His language absolutely took off around early January and he is such a talker now! I think his language development and being able to express full thoughts/emotions through his words was his biggest growth this year.

  If I'm being honest, Caleb's emotional growth over this last school year was the most challenging (and most significant)- for him and us. When he started school in September, he began to bite. And it was awful for all of us- lots of shame, defeat, and sadness. Lots of upset parents in his class when he would bite their child. Lots of me feeling like an awful mom when I'd overhear another mom at pick up asking "will the biter be allowed to stay in school?" Lots of talking and praying with Caleb over his anxiety at school that was leading to the biting. Guys. SO. MUCH. ENERGY. He started school as one of the younger kids and with less verbal communication. Caleb is also a big feeler- he experiences all of his emotions in big ways. He can be SO HAPPY, but also SO MAD or SO SAD. Not a bad thing at all, but something we needed to help him learn to manage. And, unfortunately for him, biting happens to be the one expression of frustration that requires an incident report and note to another parent (hitting, pushing, taking things, etc don't require that because they don't leave marks).

  It led to us focusing on kindness and incorporating a lot more prayer into our time with Caleb. We prayed for kindness, pointed it out when we noticed it in ourselves, others, cartoons, books, etc. Working on his biting was such a humbling thing for me as a mom (maybe that's another blog post?). In hindsight though, I can see how sweet of an opportunity it was for us to start teaching the Gospel to our kids. It was our official segue-way from one stage of parenting (meeting needs, managing, keeping safe) to the next (teaching, guiding, raising up). 

  Now, after a full school year- Caleb is amazing at speaking up when he feels sad, mad, happy, or scared. He doesn't respond with biting anymore (knock on wood!) and is able to express how he's feeling in a better way. That is absolutely due to a combination of prayer,  time, wonderful teachers, and intentionally on our part. So great to be on the other side and see him doing much better with his emotions! 

  Justin and I can confidently say that enrolling Caleb in a simple preschool-type program this year was the best thing for him. It seemed silly at first- I'm a stay at home mom and isn't that the point of me not working now? To be home with the boys? I realized, though, that school can offer him structure and social exposure that I can't do at home. He's been challenged in the best ways and I can't wait for him to go back in the Fall and begin real preschool!

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