Category Archives: School Days

On feeling like a terrible mother.

I got a call from the school the other day. It was a Thursday, right around noon. I wasn’t expecting to receive a call from the school for anything. Before I even answered the call, I thought, “Oh no, what’s up with Reese?”


Back in September, a note came home from Reese’s teacher with an offer to send home an optional homework packet. I wrote a note back to the teacher telling her we’d love to have a homework packet and one was sent home the following Monday along with a daily reading log.

Soccer started for both girls that same week. With soccer came practices and an inconsistent schedule. We weren’t getting home for game nights until after 7 PM only to have to rush a dinner and get the girls showered before bed.

A few weeks after school had started, the last week of September, I suppose, I opened Reese’s weekly folder to discover an un-touched homework packet and a reading log with nothing more than Reese’s name scratched across the top, and two squares colored in.

In that same folder, on the opposite side, I found three permission slips. Two for upcoming field trips and one stating that Reese has been identified as a kiddo that could use some extra reading help and that they’d like our permission to take her out of class to join a reading program.

My heart sank. Her teacher must think we are horrible parents that don’t give their kid the time of day. I felt like it was my fault she needs extra help. Maybe if I hadn’t forgotten about that homework packet. Maybe if I had been more diligent about squeezing in reading every night. Maybe if I was more creative at working “learning” into our conversations. “what are you making for dinner, Mom?” “Reese, I’m making Tacos. What letter does the word T-t-taco start with?”

The next day I emailed the teacher. Mainly to check in and see how Reese was adjusting to kindergarten. The teacher replied that same afternoon saying she would send home test scores from their recent assessments and assuring me that Reese is doing fine.

Her scores from the beginning of the school year showed Reese as “high risk.” The most recent scores on the test showed great gains and progress. Of course, all I could see was that label.


I took a deep breath in and answered the phone. The call from the school had nothing to do with Reese. It was in regard to her sister. Why did I assume it was going to be a negative call about Reese?  I chatted with the teacher that called, hung up the phone and despite the pleasant nature of the call, I felt like a terrible mother.

That Reese

I witnessed something remarkable the other day.

I took part of the day off of work so that I could chaperone Reese’s first field trip. We went to the pumpkin patch, but the field trip itself has nothing to do with this story.

Once we were back at the school, we had about 20 minutes to kill before the end of the school day. After the kiddos had the classroom cleaned up, and their week’s worth of papers stuffed in their backpacks, their teacher let them have free time.

At that point, she looked at me and said I was welcome to take Reese and get an early start on our weekend, but I had to wait for Rylee either way, so we hung out in the class. I stood off to the side and watched the classroom dynamic.

Somewhat off-topic: I’ve really been curious about the classroom dynamic and how Reese is adjusting to kindergarten. Often times she’s over-tired and very emotional when she gets home, so I can’t help but wonder if that’s how she is throughout the day, or if it’s saved up for when she’s at home. I was really thankful I had some time to just sit back and observe.

Immediately, all of the kids but one headed to the back of the classroom where there are books to look at and tubs of toys to play with. The one kid that didn’t go with the rest of the class? Mine.

Reese walked over to her teacher asking something I couldn’t quite hear, waited for the answer, smiled and quietly went up to the front of the room, where it’s clear they do their circle time, reading/letter practice, etc. She turned on the little karaoke machine, had the microphone in one hand, picked up the “pointer stick” with the other and started playing teacher. At this point she was “teaching” no one, but was reciting what I can only imagine is their typical daily routine.

All by herself, as content as can be.

After a few minutes of playing teacher by herself, one little girl went over at sat on the rug in front of Reese. Her eyes lit up. She was so excited to have a student. She called up her student to the front and together they practiced their sight words. Holding the microphone for her student, and pointing to each word. Within a few more minutes, there were five kids sitting there, letting Reese be their teacher.

A couple of the kids started arguing about who got to stand up and read the words into the microphone next. Teacher Reese diffused the situation quickly and the group continued playing happily until their real teacher said it was time to clean up and head home.

At home, I see the Reese that is often over-tired from school. I see the Reese that does everything in her power to push all of her sister’s buttons then gets mad when her sister retaliates. I see the Reese that hates brushing her teeth and hates going to bed. I see the Reese that doesn’t want to play what her siblings are playing but also doesn’t want to be left out. I see the Reese that’s loud and that likes to push boundaries.

The Reese that I saw that afternoon in her class? She’s independent. And content. And doesn’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. That Reese going to move mountains. Because when she talks? People listen.

I’m happy I got to see that Reese.

Back to School

Today was officially back to school day in our house.

Rylee heading to first grade. Full day! and Reese heading back to daycare, only this year she will be full time in the two year old class.


Rylee was a nervous/excited hybrid for her first day of first grade. Last week I took her in to find out who her teacher is for the year, look at her class list, check out her classroom and drop off her supplies. Her teacher is a mom of one of her daycare friends and her best friend is in her class. That helped ease the nerves a bit I think. She asked me to take her to school nonetheless.

We dropped Reese off first. Reese was super excited as we were walking in the door at daycare. She had even been cheering on the drive. But the second we walked into the drop-off room she froze up and wanted to be held. She laid her head on my shoulder and didn’t want to get down. I could tell she was right on the verge of tears. It was sweet and sad all at the same time. But cereal bar and banana to the rescue! Crisis averted. We kissed goodbye and as Ry & I walked out she was happily munching on her cereal bar.

As Rylee and I drove back to the school we chatted about the after school plan, since she will be riding a different bus than she did last year. She was clearly annoyed I kept bringing it up. I asked her if she was ok with me just dropping her off in the drop-off line and she asked that park and I walk her up to the school. I had to park across the street from the school and as we walked up, she held my hand. As soon as we got to the door of the school I asked if she was good or if she wanted me to walk with her all the way to her classroom. She asked me to walk all the way with her and I obliged. I mean, how many more years will she want me to do this, I thought. The second we walked in the school? She dropped my hand and walked 2 steps ahead of me. Ha, go figure.

I made sure she was settled in her room, threw her a high 5 and told her to have an awesome day. She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed tight.

This year is going to be pretty great.


Taco Tuesday

We’ve been pretty die-hard Taco Tuesday fans in our house for a while now…so long that I can’t actually remember when it started. Over the course of our Taco Tuesdays we’ve even converted a number of people to following along. It often comes up in conversation at daycare drop off or pick up…especially on Tuesday {go figure}.

A few weeks ago, one of Rylee’s friends at daycare asked if she could come over for Taco Tuesday sometime. I laughed, and told her absolutely and I’d chat with her mom about it. We had a Taco Tuesday date set for the following week. Then Rylee had a TBall game that night so we rescheduled for the following week. Then Reese ended up with HFM so we rescheduled, yet again, for the following Tuesday.

Well, that Tuesday was this last Tuesday and the stars aligned and third time’s a charm and such and we made it happen! This is also kind of a big deal because it was both girls’ first time having a “without parents staying” playdate.

It was so much fun to watch the girls play together. They were glued at the hip. They, of course, excluded Reese which kind of made me chuckle because…little sisters. When her mom came to pick her up I had a serious flashback to when I was 6 years old and my best friend would come over. {We would always, always hide her in my closet and tell her mom that she wasn’t here anymore in hopes that she could stay longer. Go figure, it never worked.} Rylee hid her friend in hopes of getting her to stay even just a little longer.


We all decided a sleep over should happen soon.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am loving this school-age stage that Rylee is in! So many fun milestones to watch her experience.

Opening Night

On Monday night Rylee suited up in her ugly as all get out tie-dyed uniform and played her first official T-Ball game of the season. It was hilarious, adorable and infuriating all at the same time.

Most of the kids on our team {notice I say our team, and not both teams. ahem.} had no clue what to do…wait, I’m supposed to run after I hit the ball, right?…where on the field to go?…what do you mean home plate?

Rylee did a pretty good job all things considered. She batted three times, and made it home 2 out of the 3. She played left field once, right-center once and catcher once.

Reese enjoyed some serious running around, spent some quality time with my mom and dad, and in true potty training form got to use the port-potty not once, but twice. {seriously my own personal hell}

The game went for an hour and a half, longer than I had thought it would be. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this program keeps score, plays three outs and there strikes. Our team got killed.

After the game she said she had fun. Then we celebrated with a drive through Dairy Queen stop.