Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Truth of the Matter...

Not an exaggeration...Justin has worn this shirt every other day this summer (it would've been every day it I didn't instead on washing it after each wear!).
I love when answers become clear. If you read my last blog post, you might remember that I did not know what I was going to do about Justin (almost 4) and preschool this year. For some reason, preschool decisions have caused me great stress for years! When Gianna was almost 5 and she could not go to Kindergarten because of her September birthday, I spent countless hours worrying about making the right decision for her 3rd year of preschool. The past month I've been going back and forth about Justin.

I know those of you reading this who have older children are probably thinking to yourselves, "These are the EASY decisions of parenthood...just wait!"

Anyway, the answer about Justin suddenly became clear yesterday morning. I got the older three kids off to school, and I was really looking forward to a playdate at a friend's house. It had been a difficult morning of making lunches, ironing school uniforms, followed by lots of preschool, toddler, and baby issues, but I knew good coffee and conversation were just a short car ride away...

Justin usually plays really well with his older siblings!
Until...dead battery in the minivan. NO!!!! I called AAA and then waited over an hour for them to show. The technician was there for over an hour confirming that it was a dead battery and then replacing it. My husband reminded me more than once that I was very lucky that I was at home and not in a parking lot somewhere with the kids in the car. True!

But, during these two hours, I was finally able to make up my mind about preschool once and for all :).

True or False? During those hours, Justin was a bad boy and I was a bad mommy. Both TRUE!

True or False? We both had quite a few meltdown moments, temper tantrums, and loss of impulse control? TRUE again!

True or False? We were both acting age appropriately. This is FALSE, of course. Justin is almost 4. It is practically his job to test me and drive me to my absolute limits. And, to torture his little sister (luckily, only the 2-year-old...he's quite sweet to the baby)...can't forget that! I am 39. I should have enough virtue and grace by now (at least in theory!) to deal with 4-year-olds, right? After all, I've had three of them already, and I always swear that I love age 4 much more than age 3 (although Justin is still technically still 3 for another 10 maybe that's the problem!).

This is Justin at his end-of-year preschool show in May. I was SO proud of my adorable boy!
It was a rough two hours. I didn't want him to watch TV because he watches it when his little sisters nap (and I really need him to watch it then so I get a break!), and I feel very strongly about limiting screen time.

However, letting him watch a little TV might have preserved my sanity and prevented some ridiculous behaviors (here's a few: daring Lucy to eat chalk, squeezing out almost an entire bottle of sunscreen and promptly getting it into his and Lucy's eyes, running in and out of the house and successfully locking all of us out (twice)...luckily, I used the hidden spare key (twice), dumping pieces of games that he couldn't possibly play alone anyway (Candy Land, etc.), opening a package of cookies, spilling them all over the kitchen, and eating just enough to ruin his lunch (and Lucy's too)).

Of course, I had said NO to each of these (the ones that he bothered to ask about), but I was trying to talk to the AAA guy and take care of an infant at the same time, so I wasn't as watchful as I usually am.

I felt like an out-of-control woman as I yelled at him for each of these offenses (aware that a stranger was in my garage!). And then it hit me...he needs to go to school! He's not even trying to be bad...he's just bored!!! Lucy (when not falling under Justin's influence) was quite happy pushing her baby in the stroller up and down the sidewalk. The baby, despite an ear infection, was content crawling around and exploring. Justin needs more than this now...

So, Justin will go to school! Justin will go to two schools (see previous post!). He will (hopefully) make friends, complete crafts, sing songs, dance, play at the playground, etc. After 2.5 hours, I will pick him up and I will be so happy to see him again!!! I pray that he will learn, grow, and have fun. If it is too much for him, then of course, we will reconsider because...

True or False? I do love Justin dearly (at every age). I want to make wise, educated decisions for each of my children as individuals. I fail as a mother (miserably) constantly, but I want to do better. I can do better by avoiding (as much as possible) situations that lead me and others down the wrong road. TRUE!!!

Blessed Mother, St. Justin, and Justin's Guardian Angel, please stay close to Justin and me as we begin this new stage in his life...

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