Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kids Day Out

Today was Kohen's first day of Kids Day Out. It started bad....and ended worse...

Here's the whole story (I feel I need to document this day, so it may be boring to you!):

The whole idea of even sending him to KDO came unexpectedly. Kohen and I were riding with my friend Sherri to go pick up her little boy at the church where he goes to pre-school. She mentioned to me that they had a KDO program and I should check it out. So, while she was waiting in the car line to pick up her son, I ran inside to get info. I talked to the head of KDO and took a tour of the classrooms. Later, I talked to Jason about it. I have to admit, he wasn't crazy about the idea. I told him that Kohen needed to be exposed to more kids his age (not to mention the opportunity to learn numbers, colors, shapes, songs, discipline, following rules, listening skills, reading time, etc.). All Kohen has known is his house and his mommy. Every day. Jason agreed, so late last night we went to buy a lunch box! This is my first lunch I've ever packed for Kohen and I had NO IDEA what to put in it! I'm not allowed to send peanut products in his lunch, so his PB&J and peanut butter crackers were out. SO if any of you have any lunch ideas, let me know. I ended up packing ham, cheese, crackers, fruit, yogurt melts, Gerber fruit bar and cheese crackers. Yes, I know that may sound like a lot but I had no idea if he would eat the ham and cheese. I figured he would find something good to eat in that spread! I packed some of his lunch the night before and finished with the cold stuff this morning.
I had a horrible night sleep. If I wasn't awake thinking about his first day, then I was dreaming about it.

Here is Kohen eating his breakfast with Buzz Lightyear (also dressed as Buzz Lightyear)

Here's his lunch. Yes, I took a picture of his lunch.
My friend Sherri was with me when I took Kohen inside the church. He immediately wanted Sherri to hold him when he saw her. I was sad and said "Kohen, you're not going to let mommy carry you in on your first day?". He cried when I tried to take him from Sherri :( I took him anyway. By this time he saw some toys in a classroom (the wrong classroom) and went in to play. I took some pictures...

Now this is where it gets really sad. I had to take him from that classroom to his classroom and he threw an absolute fit. In front of everyone. I know the teachers were thinking he was a horrible little boy. As soon as he saw the new classroom and the new toys, he was off. And I mean off. He didn't even turn around to see if I was following him. I didn't even get to kiss him goodbye and tell him I would be back very soon to get him. The teachers were "guarding" the door so I kind of got the impression that I wasn't supposed to go in the room, so I had to leave. I knew Kohen was fine and LOVING playing with all of those toys. But I wasn't fine. I made it to the parking lot before I completely broke down. Thank goodness for Sherri.
Sherri's job was to keep me busy and get my mind off of things for the next 2 1/2 hours. We went to the gym then grocery shopping. Before I knew it, it was time to pick up Kohen!!!
I got to the church and walked to the front office to sign him out. Through the glass windows of the office I could see 3 figures WAY down the hallway. It was a lady, a man and a little kid throwing a fit at the lady's feet. That little kid was Kohen. He was just throwing himself at her leg, raring his head back and obviously wasn't doing what they wanted him to do AND he didn't have any pants on! Let me just say that again... he didn't have any pants on! I about died. I seriously think I quit breathing. (I'm crying now even just typing this). I told the office lady I had to hurry because my son was having a hard time. I started speed walking down this very long hallway. It seemed like a mile. I could feel it...the tears were coming. Before I got to them, the man picked Kohen up and took him inside the classroom. Once I finally reached the door, I stepped inside unnoticed. I watched as Kohen cried and fought tooth and nail to put this Noah's Arc toy onto the table. One of the teachers was pulling him away from the table saying "NO Kohen. We do NOT put toys on the table!". As I got closer, I stood over my little boy who pushed up off the floor to his elbows. I'll never forget his face. I picked him up and he settled down pretty quickly. The teachers didn't say anything. Yes, they were VERY busy putting lunches out on the tables but I really don't think they said anything to me. Maybe they did and I was just too overwhelmed to remember. BUT, I have a very good, vivid memory, so surely I would remember if they said something, right? I packed up the lunch box stuff that they had recently set out for Kohen. No way was I going to have him stay any longer. As I grabbed his bag, I recognized the old lady sitting with a kid on the floor. It was the same lady in the hallway when Kohen was throwing his fit. I apologized over and over to her. I told her (also for the other teachers to hear) that he is an only child and is hardly ever around kids his age. She assured me that everything was fine. I know she was lying, but it was very sweet of her to try and make me feel better. I turned around to the other teachers and said "So....where are his pants???". She pulled them off of a little yarn thing that I think is supposed to be for artwork. She said that he spilled his drink all over himself during snack time. I left the classroom. I got Kohen to the vehicle, buckled him in, handed him Buzz Lightyear, walked around and got in the car. I started Kohen's Thomas the Train DVD, and looked straight ahead. I put my hands on my face and down on the steering wheel and cried and cried and cried.
I called my mom and told her everything. I told her about me not getting to say goodbye when I dropped him off and about the fit in the hallway. But what broke my heart the most was the teacher not letting him put his toy on the table. If you know Kohen OR read my blog, you know that my child LOVES flat surfaces. That's all he does is play with his toys on flat surfaces! I just realized TODAY that he NEVER sits on the floor to play EVER! Seriously! He wakes up in the morning and rolls his train back and forth on the thick railing of his crib. When he plays in the living room he plays with his toys on the coffee table or the arm of the couch. In his room he plays with his toys on the ottoman or the window sill. Even when we go away for the weekend one of the first things we do is make sure there's some kind of "flat surface" in the hotel room! The realization of Kohen not ever playing on the floor has completely blown my mind today. NO WONDER he wanted to put that toy on the table at school! And if that weren't bad enough. Something else I've realized is he is NEVER without a toy. He eats with a toy (I mean come on, did you see the first picture???), takes naps with a toy, rides in the car with a toy, goes to sleep at night with a toy. This is also something I've blogged about! Suddenly all of these things that I have thought were so cute, and that I allowed, and even encouraged, have in the end turned out to really cause a big problem in the "real" world! I feel like a HORRIBLE mom. I really, really do. If nothing else, his first day of KDO has really taught me what I'm doing wrong as a parent.

So. Things have to change. After talking to my mom, my sister and Sherri, we've come up with a few things that can help:

1) Earlier bed time. I had to wake him up this morning to go to KDO so of course he's going to be cranky.

2) No more toys while he eats. I don't know why I ever thought this was a good idea anyway.

3) Encourage him to play on the floor.

I was DETERMINED to get started on these things TO-DAY.

I tried SOOOOO hard to get Kohen to play on the floor. Every toy I would put on the carpet, he would snatch up, run in the living room and put on the coffee table. I would go get the toy, bring it back in his room and act like a crazy, fun, fool to get him to see that playing on the floor is FUN! I know you're thinking to yourself "have they never played with Kohen on the floor before?". Yes, of course we have, but it always seems to be an interaction with him and us on the floor, never really him, us and a toy. We wrestle, play roley poley, play "airplane", tickle, and stuff like that on the floor. So, like I said, I was DETERMINED today to get Kohen to play on the floor. Over and over I took his dump trucks and airplanes and rolled them around on the floor. On my hands and knees, back and forth, back and forth, "beep beep and "honk honk" noises too. This time when he left and took the toys with him to the living room I collapsed on his floor and cried again. WHY DOES MY CHILD NOT PLAY ON THE FLOOR???

I decided to go for the mother load... his trains. I decided to compromise. We would stay in the living room and play BUT not on the coffee table...only on the floor. I started taking the trains off the table. He started FREAKING OUT. As I put them down, he would pick them up and put them back. Luckily I was faster than him. I eventually got enough train cars on the floor. I got them connected then said "All Aboard!" and started choo chooing on the floor. He liked it. He brought his train cars down to the floor and connected them. He loved how he could make a longer chain of trains on the floor then he could on the coffee table! He laid down and watched the wheels roll. He played on the floor for a very long time. When Jason got home, one of the first things he said to me was "Why are your knees so red?". I just had to laugh. He had no idea how long I had been scooting on the floor today!

Kohen ate lunch and dinner today without a toy. And guess what...I don't think he even noticed. I am also happy to report that he went to bed 45 minutes earlier tonight than he has in the past. We're on the right track. I can do this. KDO is only 2 days a week and I pick him up after only 2 hours. We're going to give it another try on Tuesday. Hopefully with these 3 things we're working on will help make this experience a good one. I'll keep you updated.

The picture below shows what my poor child looked like with no pants on when I picked him up...

This picture was taken as soon as we got home. He went straight to his "flat surface" to play with his trains :) I hope tomorrow he remembers how much fun he had with them on the floor!

I'm exhausted...


Rose Ellen said...

Stephanie, Keep up the good work. Things will get better. Keep going to KDO. It is important that Kohen learns to play with other kids his own age. Most important, keep a set bedtime (not too late) for Kohen. This will make him feel better and also give you and Jason some time at night. Love, RE

Delta Bost said...

Step, you make me smile, even when you are sad. I know this week has been horrible for you, but it will get better I promise!! You and Kohen will always have new learning curves thrown at you! I think KDO will be great for both of you! Go get your nails done Tuesday, forget the grocery store!! ;)

Stephanie Wood Smith said...

Thanks Rosie! It's good to hear encouragement :) Mom told me that day that I should call you and ask what you think! Thanks :)

Delta, I would LOVE to get my nails done, but I would feel so guilty if I did that, LOL! I think for now I'll stick to grocery stores and scrubbing toilets!

~ Cindy said...

Don't be so hard on yourself! You're a great mommy!