The Often Untold Story about Preschool Drop-off

I’ve been writing this post in my head ever since we started having issues with transitioning Cooper to Preschool. I wrote a premature post at the beginning of the school year, when I thought we had things figured out. I’ve spoken about the things we’ve been dealing with on multiple occasions – to close friends and family – on various social media outlets – but, I wanted to compile everything. I wanted to tell our story, because I feel like it’s not one that is told often.

It has been my experience, as a parent, that how you think parenthood is going to look – is not really how it ends up looking. I really thrive when I know exactly what to expect out of a situation or person. I’m not some uber planner, I just have a greater peace of mind and am able to perform better when things are not unexpected. And I know. I know. You may read that and think that’s totally normal. We all feel that way Ashley. Ok, I hear you. I believe you think you’re just like me. However, I don’t think you understand the level of fear that rises within my being when dealing with the unexpected. I don’t think you understand how abruptly I can be moved to debilitating physical and mental inaction when things don’t go the way I expected or was told they would. I know that you don’t know how it devastatingly affects my ability to interact with other human beings if they all of a sudden start to do or say things that are contradictory to how they previously presented themselves. The unknown. The uncontrollable change in plan. Those things force me into crisis mode. An immense panic rises from the depths of my mind, and I am overcome with self doubt, mistrust for those around me, and I question EVERYTHING. I cannot ask for help. I only know to throw overboard all non essential tasks and focus on the monster at hand. In that moment I can only trust myself. I only know myself. No matter what you say or do – I cannot calm down until I have talked myself down.

So, I’ve totally had to adjust my expectation level when it comes to expectations in general with raising children. I can’t just break down…or shut down in the face of change. Being a parent has made me a stronger person – because I have to be strong for them. And, I’m telling you all of that about myself because I feel like Cooper is the same exact way. He’s four. He can’t articulate his feelings and thoughts as well as I can..he doesn’t completely comprehend or care about social expectations of behavior so he literally and quite loudly freaks the fuck out. He may not even fully understand all of that about himself until he’s much older – but I see that part of me in him. I understand that part of him. I get it deeply. I feel it profoundly. And I turn into a raging Mama Bear when others aren’t sympathetic to that.

I know that we’ve all seen the ‘first days of school fairy tale’ that is repeatedly told by parents and caregivers at the end of summer. That happy little picture of a child holding a sign proclaiming what school grade they are about to embark upon. You hear the parents exclaim about how HAPPY their child was to go to school. The parent says that the child was so ready to go that he or she didn’t even offer a kiss/hug goodbye! And oh. They had a FANTASTIC first day. I mean. The whole experience is just usually presented as one exploding with rainbows and sunshine. Little babes marching off to school, one by one – calmly and without any major push back. 

That’s really just all great. Honestly. But – – what happens when your child suffers from such a vast and stormy expanse of separation anxiety  that he just can’t do what he’s ‘supposed’ to do? What happens when the school you sent him to just doesn’t want to deal with his atypical behavior? What happens when the staff at that school does absolutely nothing to help ease your child’s fears? What happens when they become so annoyed by your child that he senses it and screams – and cries – and kicks – and begs you not to leave him there? What happens when you don’t realize the gravity of the situation, because you thought he’d eventually adjust, you know – as all kids do – and you tried to stick it out for two months? What happens when the school gives up on him?

What happens?

You feel like you’ve let your baby down.
You feel like you could have done things differently.
You weep over his hurt.
You fear that you’ve scarred him.
You feel hopeless.

And then, you take a moment to regroup. You let him breathe. You bring him back to a place he knows. You let those he trusts take care of him. You start researching options. You become more diligent in your inquiries. You question your expectations. You adjust your expectations. You do whatever you have to do so that your child will feel safe and be successful. You will make whatever sacrifice you need to. You will take care of your child – and you will forgive yourself for being so careless before.

All of that led us to private school. A school we have quickly come to love and hold dear. A school that Cooper looks forward to going to each day.  I cry whenever I think about how fortunate we are to have this happy ending. We were welcomed with open arms. We were never looked down upon.

Those first three weeks – Cooper’s  Dad exclusively took him to school. It was his turn to help lighten my load, and I really felt like Coop would respond better to his Dad’s ability to not wear his emotions on his sleeve like I do (aka – his Dad wasn’t going to also break down crying at drop off…like I had been known to do). And even though I wasn’t physically dropping Coop off, I was not immune to how difficult those days were. He cried. He had to be carried to the classroom. He ran out of the school doors one morning. He screamed. His Dad would call me every.single.day. to say that he couldn’t do it anymore. BUT – every afternoon Coop said he’d had a good day. Every afternoon he had something that was happening the next day that he was looking forward to. The staff was incredibly supportive. The swept in to help. They established plans and routines that we didn’t even realize were happening. Plans and routines that made Cooper feel wanted, safe, excited, challenged, and happy. I just kept saying that if none of us gave up. If we continued to persist. If we believed in Cooper – that we’d make it through.

And, I know that life can change in an instant. I know that a child’s behavior is insanely unpredictable – but I really feel like we’ve overcome. It’s still scary to Coop when he has to walk through his classroom door. We just had a Fall Break and coming back after those five days off was rocky again – but no where near the chaos that was the beginning of his journey.

So, he still whimpers a little when he has to let go of your hand and sometimes he even cries – but he isn’t scared of where he’s going. He isn’t worried about who’s going to take care of him. He doesn’t mistrust his teachers and the other school staff. He’s just fearful of that jump. He’s just unsure of that first step away. And I tell him everyday – how that’s OK. It’s OK to be fearful. It’s OK to get scared. Big boys do cry and that doesn’t make them not a big boy. He knows that he is going to be cared for, and I see that in all the other tiny and big reactions he has to school. I’m not going to let those two minutes in the morning at his classroom door define his entire experience and neither do his teachers. 

I’m writing this so that other people will understand that children don’t and shouldn’t be expected to all fit into some predetermined mold of behavior. I’m writing this for those educators who go the extra mile, so that you know how much you are appreciated and desperately needed.

However, I’m really writing this for any parent who has or is going through what we did. I want you to know that you are not alone. This whole situation may seem so small in comparison to the seemingly insurmountable crosses that other parents have to bear – but I want you to know that I don’t think it’s insignificant. My child’s obstacles are not insignificant. Your child’s obstacles are not insignificant.  

And, whatever you’re going through – whatever your child is going through, if I had any one piece of advice… I’d say listen to your child. Really listen. Really pay attention to their behavior and reactions. And never ever distrust your Mama or Papa bear gut instincts. Don’t let other people or society tell you what your child should or shouldn’t do. I believe in routine. I believe in traditional education. However, I believe it is so much more important that my child be in an environment where he can thrive and grow and learn so that he will be able to function in this world that we live in. Sometimes, the environment that your child needs to do those things is not the one you originally planned for. If you find that to be the case, I say to you, listen to your child. He or she will help you see what’s right for them. Be willing to adjust your expectations from the Fairy Tale.

What We Wore Wednesday

Hey hey! Here are again to show you what we’ve been putting on our bodies for the last week. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for coming by! And also, don’t forget it’s Wine Wednesday Live on our Facebook page..tonight at 9pm. Be there or be square! Alright to the outfits….

Rhonda –

Dress: Target. Chambray top: old JCPenney. Shoes: Target.

Tee: Old Navy men’s, cut up by me. Jacket: Target. Leggings: Lularoe. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Tank: Old Navy. Shorts: Target. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Top: Marshall’s, Sienna Sky brand. Jeans: Target. Shoes: Jessica Simpson. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Tank: FanPrint, no longer available. Jeans: Old Navy. Shoes: Target. Cardigan: Walmart. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Tunic: Amazon. Leggings: Lularoe. Shoes: Target. Jacket: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Ashley –

This is just literally me in a bunch of black and gray…per the usual. lol

Shirt: Amazon Pants: Target Shoes: Target Earrings: N&S Gypsy Teal [not available]

Jacket: Green Bomber from Target Jeans: Target Shirt: Target  Earrings: N&S Blank Canvas
I should have just said Outfit: Target 

Shirt: Cheap Walmart one that I cut up myself Brallette: Target Tank: OLD Forever21 Leggings: Danskin

Shirt: KMart Pants: Walmart Earrings: N&S Signature Gold 

 

Week In Review: Ashley

Hey there party people! Welcome back to another Monday of recapping what fabulous things we’ve been up to. 😉 What are those things you ask? Let’s see, shall we?

I was off Monday, instead of my usual Wednesday, since it was Columbus Day and my office was closed.  That was nice because I got a three day weekend and an extra day to recover from the routine interrupter that was Hurricane Nate. The kids stayed with my parents Sunday night – so after I picked them up, we just spent the day doing a little grocery shopping, cleaning, and preparing for the upcoming week.

I also felt like it was the longest short week ever…seems like short weeks tend to turn out that way sometimes. Cooper had his very first field trip on Tuesday. He got to go to a pumpkin patch, but the thing he was most excited about was getting to ride a school bus! Simple pleasures really are the best. 😉  Speaking of Coop and school, he is still doing really really well. He started speech class the first week in October – so I got to have a meeting with his teachers which was even more encouraging. It just really makes a world of difference when your child’s educators actually care about the success of their student(s). Everyday I hurt for Coop and the experience he had to go through, but I am grateful for the path we took because it led us to his current school. I’m not a big believer in coincidence and ‘meant to bes’ – I think we forge our own paths from the circumstances and situations we put ourselves in…but I can’t help but say that this is the school he was meant for. These are the teachers and staff that he needed in order to be successful. He is so incredibly happy there…and we are so incredibly overjoyed that he’s happy there. 🙂 🙂  IF you have no idea what I’m talking about…check out most of my other WIR posts for the scoop on our rocky road to PreK. 😉

Wednesday was Wine Wednesday Live on our Facebook Page! We had a blast!! If you guys aren’t joining us…you totally should. 🙂 🙂 I got some new Lipsense in the mail this week which is always always a highlight!

It dawned on me Thursday morning, that Sophie’s long awaited 2 year birthday party was happening on Sunday, and I need to get my shiz together to start planning for it. That actually just meant that I started making more concrete plans in my head and didn’t actually buy or execute anything until Saturday – like a true procrastinator. 😉 So yeah. I spent a lot of Saturday running around – gathering things for the party. I had a minor hiccup when searching for croissants at my nearest WalMart. They had none. I mean. Are you surprised? Cause I was. I don’t normally buy croissants, BUT I know I always seem them there…except you know, when I needed them most. Why did I need croissants so badly? A Pinterest endeavor…duh. Whatevs..Winn Dixie came through for me on Sunday morning – so it all worked out.

Sunday was party day! We just had a low key, immediate family gathering at my sister’s house. Sophie really enjoyed herself which was all that mattered. It was also super fun for Coop – he loves when we all get together.

Anddd there you have it…my week in a nutshell. What were you guys up to? Any fun fall activities??

3 Handmade Hidden Gems

 

We have a great appreciation for handmade small businesses.  Knowing that someone carefully crafted something and our purchases help their family is amazing.

Today we bring you three shops you probably don’t know about, but definitely should.  Please support them by clicking over and seeing what they have to offer.

 

Created by Rhonda’s friend Bennett, Baths and Bliss expertly handcrafts bath bombs and wooden wick soy candles right in the kitchen in Gulfport, Mississippi.  The products are high quality, amazingly fragrant, and fairly priced.

Shipping is available all over the United States.  Head over to the Facebook page to see current offerings and pricing.

A business run by Ashley’s friend Heather, Mississippi Mayhem offers “Eclectic art for your life” and it definitely eclectic.  With a wide range of There is something for everyone with a sense of humor or a taste for geekery.

Embroidery, cross stitch, keychains, bracelets, and more!  Check out the Etsy shop and start adding to your cart.

Rhonda ran across the shop Hazel & Faith while looking to order custom RATMM wine glasses.  The price was so unbelievable, that she jumped on messaging shop owner Andrea about doing a custom design.  It came out perfectly and more orders are in the works.

The customer service as H&F goes above and beyond, with Andrea sending Rhonda new letters after a dishwasher incident.  Shop Hazel & Faith on Etsy now!  So many fun designs waiting for you.

What are your favorite shops that are currently flying under the radar?  Holiday shopping season is basically here!  We’ll be purchasing from all of these three!

2017 Fall & Winter Bucket Lists

Hey hey you guys! Thanks so much for stopping back by…today I wanted to share with y’all what is on our bucket list for the Fall and Winter Holiday Season that is fast approaching! It sure doesn’t feel like Fall here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but I decided I didn’t want to let that stop us from really revealing in and celebrating this magical time of year. I thought it would be fun to put together a couple of bucket lists so that we can actually plan some things and have a little bit of accountability – you know, so we don’t end up doing the same ole same old thing… 🙂 Anyhow – here’s what I came up with:

 

What do you guys think? Any of these things on your bucket lists?? I tried to keep ours fairly simple and realistic. I’ve got two littles – so venturing out on a grand adventure every weekend is not really in the cards for us. 😉 I think all of these things are definitely obtainable and will spice up our regular routine!

 

What We Wore Wednesday

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Welcome back to another week of amazing designer outfits.  Just kidding – welcome back to another commercial for budget fashion.

Rhonda –

Top: Old Navy, no longer available. Jeans: Old Navy, no longer available. Shoes: Target. Earrings: BaubleBar.

Top: Marshall’s or Ross, I can’t recall now. Leggings: Lularoe. Shoes: Steve Madden. Jacket: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Dress: Amazon. Shoes: Jessica Simpson.

Tee: Target, no longer available. Skirt: Amazon. Shoes: Jessica Simpson.

Dress: Target, no longer available. Kimono: Ross [similar]. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Ashley –

Cardigan: Forever21 (no longer available) Tank: Target Bralette: Target Earrings: N&S Silver Leggings: Walmart Shoes: Target [similar]

Shirt: Target Earrings: N&S Gold – horrible lighting I know…but…it was so foggy that morning…

Shirt: I honestly can’t even remember now where it came from….. probably Target LOL Shoes: Target [similar] Earrings: N&S Leopard (not available)

Week In Review: Ashley

Oh my gosh you guys…happy Monday! We didn’t do our WIR post last week – So, I feel like I have TONS to share. I feel like SO much has happened in the span of two weeks. However, I also feel like I am overwhelmed by how much I have to share that this may end up being short and sweet. ha!

Sharing pictures in no particular order…

Alright alright…where to begin? Let’s see, so why didn’t we do our WIR post last week? Well, the shooting tragedy that happened Sunday night  in Las Vegas was on our minds. We had to address that, and it just felt like carrying on with life as usual on the blog that day was not right.

What did I do that weekend? I got to spend Saturday night and all day Sunday with my family in a cabin that my parents rented. We did lots of outdoor activities including spending some time floating around on a pontoon boat. It was a blast…well except the no cell phone signal part – I survived though. 🙂 😉

Then, we (those of us on the gulf coast) started preparing for the possibility of being hit by a hurricane. Yup. You heard right .. ANOTHER hurricane.

Really that whole week was a whirlwind…and went by SO quickly. Cooper was on Fall Break from school on Thursday and Friday. Cruising the coast was also happening along the coast…so traffic was insane. What’s cruising the coast? It’s an annual week-long car show that happens down here. Thousands of people hop in their fancy vintage cars and head to the MS Coast. There are different events hosted, but mostly people literally park and/or cruise along – showing off their hard work. 🙂 This year’s Crusin’ was rudely and abruptly interrupted by a very fast-moving Hurricane Nate. We were originally expecting to be hit early Sunday morning. However, on Saturday morning Nate decided he was ready to make landfall and started moving with unprecedented speed toward us. I’d gone Thursday night to buy essentials and prepare, but Saturday morning I woke up in a panic when I realized I’d forgotten the ICE! I did a whole story time about it on our Snapchat (RAtheMOMachine)…and I posted a little clip on our IG (rageagainstthemomachine)… so go check that out when you get a chance. 😉

After we got our ice…we spent all Saturday morning enjoying the sunshine before Nate made landfall. Once we got home around one, I turned on the weather channel and we hunkered down for the day. Cooper was all wrapped up in the Hurricane Nate Watch.

I am incredibly thankful that this storm was only a Category 1, and that we didn’t suffer much damage – the real only inconvenience was that we seemed to be some of the very last people to get power back late Sunday night. 🙁

Anddd that’s what has been going on…what were you guys up to???

Weekend Roundup: Top 5 Posts

With a growth in readers and followers, it’s time to once again link you up to our most read posts.  Whether you’re new around here or just missed something, take a moment to go back and read our top 5 posts.

5. Three Years – an ode to Claudia Love on her third birthday

4. The Story of My Tattoo: Ashley – a tale of a spontaneous decision made in the Fort Worth Stockyards

3. From Arrest to Engagement – the story of how poor decisions can lead to something amazing

2. Nipstick – how to find the perfect nude for your lips, while nude

  1. A Drinking Problem – a response to some cowardly and ignorant accusations

 

Which of these posts is your favorite?

What We Wore Wednesday

Hey hey! Great to see you guys – it’s Wednesday…and you know what that means?? We’re going to show y’all some of our ensembles from the past week.  Alright, so settle in and enjoy, and as always, say hi in the comment section. We love hearing from you guys!

Ashley –

Jacket: Green Bomber from Target Tank: Target Choker: Target [charmShoes: Walmart [not on the site] Earrings: Nickel and Suede Blank Canvas

Flannel: Target – from last year  [similarDress: Walmart? [similarLeggings: Danskin Shoes: Target Necklace: Oldie from CATO Earrings: N&S Silver

Shirt: Amazon Pants: Target Earrings: N&S White Cut Outs [currently not on the site]

Shirt: Kohl’s from … last year? [similar] Pants: Target Earrings: N&S Black

Rhonda –

Top: CATO, circa old AF.  Shorts: Target. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Top: Marshall’s. Jeans: Old Navy [this style no longer available]. Shoes: Kenneth Cole [style is Norton, but I can’t find them online anymore]. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Dress: Target [no longer available]. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Are you able to dress for fall yet where you are?  We are dying to break out ankle boots and jackets!

Thinking of Vegas

Today, we felt like we couldn’t just go on with life without saying something. Without acknowledging the horrific shooting that happened in Las Vegas. Both of us woke up in the wee hours of the morning to news of this awful and unnecessary tragedy.

We’re postponing our WIR post – because. Well… this is what is on our minds today. The ‘deadliest mass shooting in modern US history’ is not something any of us thought we’d wake up to today – and it is not something any of us should ignore.


I am sad
Because I don’t even know
What words to think
What words to say
Emotion
And terror
Get in the way of
Forming a coherent
Thought.

I feel guilty
Guilty that I even  dare
To steal your emotion
Your fear
Your terror
Your sadness
Your devastation..

I can’t help but feel
I can’t help but hate
I can’t help but cry

Over you.
Over your many
Loses.
For your families
And loved ones
For those awful moments
You, and they lived through
For the moments to come
The ones that stretch before you in uncertainty.

I won’t pray.
Because.
I don’t pray.
I’ll think of you
I’ll speak of you

This thing – I can’t imagine why
I can’t imagine the reason
I can’t imagine a way to justify
Except to blame 

the Depravity that is oftentimes human nature.

We must teach each other
We must urge each other
We must exemplify to each other

LOVE
COMPASSION
RESPECT
COURTESY

Because – those things don’t come hard wired within us.

We are just human beings fighting for survival,
But we can be more than that.
We must be more than that.

I don’t know you.
But-

I’m thinking of you.
I’m hurting for you.
I’m hoping for you to gain


Peace
Comfort
Healing.

-Ashley


It is incredibly baffling to us that you can’t even feel safe at an event like a concert. Our thoughts go out to you Vegas. That seems like a futile thing to say in the wake of what has happened. How does that even help? But. We can’t not say anything. We can learn from this. We can each strive to be better because of this. We can make a more deliberate effort to be good to each other because of this.