First Day and Transitions

Monday, August 27, 2012
We are definitely experiencing some growing pains in our house.  Will started high school and while he loves it, it has been a BIG transition. He knew very few kids going into his new school and it is academically very rigorous. Some of the things they are doing his freshmen year are things I did in college (no kidding).  Luckily, he seems to be rising to the challenge and keeping up so far.

Today is the first day of school for Harry and Kate.  You might remember my concern about giving Kate an extra year of pre-school and then kindergarten as I have blogged about it over the past few years.  Well, we DID decide to give her the gift of an extra year of kindergarten.  She was not happy about our decision at first. She repeatedly told me she was going to be " SO embarrassed" in front of her friends.  I let her feel how she felt even though I told her it was nothing she did.  She is just "young."  I knew that the long term benefits of the extra year would FAR outweigh the short term costs of some embarrassment.

Kate is so sweet and carefree.  Aside from reading, she has very little interest in academics yet. She wants to paint and dance and pretend play.  Developmentally, she did not seem ready for 1st grade.  We are at a very advanced IB school.  The school is a great fit for Kate but you need to be really focused in 1st grade. And she was one of the youngest in her class last year.  Luckily, we had experience on our side as we gave Will an extra year way back in kinder too and it was the best decision. He is a summer birthday too. We can really see how much it benefitted him even though it was for somewhat different reasons.  I think it can be very hard to be a summer baby!

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Well, this morning Kate told me she was SO GLAD that she was doing another year of kindergarten.  She specifically stated her excitement at treasure chest, free centers, recess and all the things that make kindergarten so special. She got one of her favorite teachers (the one she thinks smells like champagne--it's actually patchouli).  She is ready to be a leader this year and I think that will be so good for her!

kate and msb_9075

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Three children at three different schools in completely different parts of town (and they all start and end at the same time) sure can make life challenging.  So, we were very rushed taking first day photos.  And no one really wanted to take them....

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Harry is starting middle school today.  Most of his friends will be going to the middle school just down the street.  But Harry applied and was accepted into a magnet program at a different school. It is really an accomplishment to get into this program and we have waffled back and forth whether to do it or not but he finally decided (like a few days ago) to rise to the challenge.  This year, he will have an introductory course of Chinese, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and French in addition to his Pre-Ap courses.  He is very nervous and none of his friends are in this program.  I know he will be fine but he has seemed very anxious and that is hard for me to watch.  He is usually so self assured.  I have been praying for him like crazy.


Harry Late 1st23

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Harry is also really struggling with migraines.  All summer he has been getting about 2-3 per week and they are really bad. If you would not mind saying a few prayers, I would be so grateful.  We are headed back to the neurologist soon but there is little they can do for them at this age.

39 comments:

  1. Did you ever read Outliers? Amazing book and talks about the advantages those who are older have over their younger classmates...

    http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922

    I think Polka dots are the new stripes :)

    And prayers to your family during the transition. I know they will ALL thrives.

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    1. Yes, I did read Outliers and it was one of the things that helped convince my hubby that this was right. Kate really needed the etxra time.

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  2. outliers was one of emi's summer reads. sorry that looks like i snooped but i saw "outliers" out of the corner of my eye & it caught my attention.
    praying for will while he transitions
    praying for harry that those nasty headaches will leave. caroline had a rough year 2 years ago but only mild issues since...praying that's whats on the horizon for harry
    & kate in those red mary "james" ( as emi called them). heaven help me

    love you friend
    ps-i am still posting/editing beach photos. THE kim swales evening post coming soon!

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  3. Your kids all seem so motivated academically! Any tips on how to foster that kind of environment in the home starting when they are young? My husband and I both did well in school and are fairly successful but I have this weird fear that when we have kids they are going to care less about school which would be really tough for us. Is it all about expectations?

    Sometimes I feel like a crazy person thinking about this stuff since we probably aren't even going to have kids for a few years but I really do worry!

    Thanks!

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  4. I am a November birthday and was one of the oldest in my class...I really think I had an advantage. Harry has grown up it seems overnight!
    The kiddos look great and I will keep Harry in my prayers

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  5. I tried to just comment but don't see it so hopefully this isn't a repeat...

    Your kids all seem so motivated academically! Have they always been that way? How do you foster that kind of environment in the home? Is it all just about expectations? My husband and I both did very well in school and were self motivated but I guess I have this fear that we are going to have kids that could care less....

    I realize I am a bit crazy since we don't even have kids and probably won't for a few years but I guess I just worry already!

    Thanks!

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    1. Lia,

      Harry and WIll ARE very academically motivated. Both of them have set their sights high. We do not have to hound them about homework and such. They love to learn and go to museums etc. Kate is a little young but I expect she might be that way too. I do think we fostered that in them a bit and I will do a post on what I think helps very soon. We do not push them and we have realistic expectations but they know that we would not tolerate them not doing their very best either (and that is different for everyone). I was extremely academic and so some of it might be genetics too. And Dave is very very bright. He was not the academic nerd that I was but he is smart and has a Master's degree.

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    2. Thanks for the reply! I'd love to see a post on that topic...

      I'm sure genetics play a big role. My husband is very smart as well - hopefully going to get his MBA next year at Vanderbilt. I'm not brilliant but never struggled in school and got through nursing school just fine. I guess I just pray that we will have kids that want to excel at school without any hounding. If they are anything like my husband they will be VERY curious people. Thanks again! I look forward to reading and learning more on your blog!

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  6. Ah Kim, I can feel your growing pains as I read this. (We too have had our share since we began school last week).
    I agree, being a summer baby can be tricky. My twins (who were born in China) are summer babies. As a teacher and a mom, I did not think twice about waiting. Best decision we could have made! That doesn't stop the girls from grumbling about being the oldest in their class. They would be grumbling about being "the babies" if the situation was reversed! :)
    Definitely keeping Harry in my prayers. I have had migraines since I was a child. I remember the doctors telling my parents that I would out grow them...many decades later and I am still waiting! One of my main triggers is stress. Just thinking about Harry's school program and hoping he doesn't have a stress trigger. Although with his migraines increased over the summer it doesn't sound likely. I know it must be so hard to watch him have a migraine. I remember my parents crying as they held cold cloths on my head. Keeping you in my prayers too! I'll bet boys have a greater possibility of out growing migraines and that Harry will be one of the fortunate ones who does! :)
    Here's to a prayer filled few weeks as we all settle in and then things will get easier!!! God promises to prosper us, not harm us!
    with love,
    Susan in FL

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  7. I have seasons of migrains too and know how hard that can be. After suffering from one that lasted nearly a full week, I went to get medicine. Though I have only since used it once- just knowing I have it helps me. I really hope they can find some things to help him. Water intake, or lack of, when I am stressed, is a BIG trigger for me. I get stressed and busy and forget to drink a lot and then I am sick...and it goes downhill from there.

    As always, your peanuts are adorable! I love Kate's dress and shoes. She has such a cute sense of style for such a young age.

    KK

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  8. It sounds like you guys are dealing with a lot of adjustments, but I'm sure everything will fall into place! It sounds like you have some very smart kids! :)

    Praying for Harry with the migraines. I used to get them in 6th grade and they were awful. Mine were due to stress, and the Dr. told me to stop hanging out with the "mean girls" I thought were my friends. When I took that advice, the migraines stopped.

    The cutoff for kindergarten where I grew up is December 31st. My birthday is December 23rd, so I barely made it, but my parents started me in kindergarten at not even 5 years old. They figured I could always do another year of kindergarten if needed, but they felt I was ready to do it. I did not need the extra year, but I was always one of the youngest kids in my grade. The only kids younger than me were a girl (one of my best friends) born on Christmas, a girl born a New Year's Eve, and a girl who skipped a grade. It kind of sucked being so much younger than everyone else, but it made no difference academically for me. You know Kate best, and it seems like you made the right decision giving her another year of kindergarten. My son is an early June birthday, and I wonder what age will be appropriate for him to start kindergarten because he really could go either way. If I feel he needs another year of it when the time comes, I would absolutely do it. They're so young at that time, and I feel it's the perfect time to have them repeat a grade if needed.

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  9. Praying for Harry's migraines!

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  10. I hope your middle and your little had a great first day!!!!! We started here too!!!! :)

    Love,
    Di

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  11. Looks as if you are in FULL SWING of the school year. I have two grandsons who are gonna be in the same grade in a couple of years. One is an OCTOBER birthday and the other is a JUNE baby. I can see where the youngest grandson would benefit from "another year of KINDERGARTEN". I wholeheartedly wished I had done the same thing with my youngest son, he was alwayst he smallest and basically the "baby in his class" just about. So glad to see THE 3 PEANUTS enjoying their school year.

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  12. Hi Kim,

    My Dominic who just turned 13 also experiences migraines. He has had them for years. His peditrician put him on Periactin, it is a liquid medicine and is taking daily to be proactive. He takes it every night. Apparently it is usually not prescribed for migraines but it was found to be a huge relief for children with migraines. It has helped Dominic tremendously. One of the side effects is that their appetite increases. It is usually used for allergies and a study showed it also is beneficial for migraines in children. Just thought I would let you know about it in case you had not heard of it before!

    Dawn

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  13. Hope Harry and Kate had great first days! Maddy's was last Monday and she was nervous. Your kiddos are so sweet and kind. Praying for Harry and those migraines -- have suffered with those too. Good luck to Will too - am sure he will excel!

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  14. Love those red mary janes!

    I wish all the best for these two cuties.

    the migraine issue is terrible. My oldest had them. She still does. My heart goes out to him!

    lea
    xo

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  15. They look so cute!! Lots of kids seem to be getting on the repeating kindergarten bandwagon, its not for everyone but by all means if it is a good idea for Kate...I say you SO made the right decision. Not unusual and I truly believe it will benefit her in the long run.

    I cannot believe they started already...yikes, summers over??? Last, my middle son graduated with an IB diploma and I will say it goes a long long way in college apps...know you are not there yet but just know its widely and highly respected by the colleges!

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  16. What cuties.
    So nice that your school allows for repeating kindergarten. I am pretty sure where I am they o longer do that. Sure it is a budget thing for them.
    So nice that Kate is getting to enjoy another carefree year. I hate thinking of kids dealing with the pain of a migraine. I hope he outgrows them or something.

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  17. When did your kiddies go and grow up so big??!! kate looks like she has grown inches over the summer... oh my! Awesome that she is thrilled to be back in Kindergarten... makes a Mama's heart glad. :)

    Jill

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  18. Poor Harry...as a former several time per week migraine sufferer for years, I can relate. Thankfully I have made some dramatic changes to my diet in the past 2 years which have helped me immensely but everyone is different. Hope he feels some relief soon!

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  19. LOVELY photos! And Happy First Day of School to all! I will specifically be praying for Harry and his migraines. I am prone to them and just cannot imagine the agony of having several a week... on top of middle school. This has definitely struck a heartstring of mine. xoxo Brooke

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  20. Saying prayers for smooth transitions for your peanuts:)

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  21. It sounds like you made the best decision for Kate. I am a second grade teacher and the rigor that we are putting these kids through now is crazy, and if they are younger, it makes it that much harder. She will be excited when she is 16 and gets to be the first one to drive in her class!

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  22. Kim,
    We held Alexander back for the same reason. I do not believe in holding back for social status, but he too really needed the extra year. I don't want to say that he didn't learn anything during his first year but last year, his second year, you could see him thriving. He was like a sponge. There was no struggle. No one wants to see their child struggle and I believe that had we pushed Alexander along he would have indeed struggled. He will now enter the 1st grade and he will enter it with confidence and ahead of the game. Holding him back was the best thing we could have done and now, he fully agrees!

    Migraines are horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Have you tried giving him Excedrin? Hate to sound like a commercial but if taken at the onset it really does help!

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  23. My daughter has a late October birthday, and so she was one of the oldest in her kindergarten class last year. It was so good that it worked out that way; she was more mature and ready for (as she called it) "real school" much more so than some of the younger ones in her class were. Kate is, as always, just adorable. You can just see her sweet personality in all of your photos.
    I hope Harry finds relief from his migraines. He's such an adorable one. :)
    Looking forward to hearing more about their first days back at school. It's so hard to believe summer is nearly over.

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  24. Praying for all of your peanuts! I think you made the right decision. We did this with our older daughter, Elisabeth, and we are doing it with both girls now. Living in the mission field really affected their maturity. I know that sounds weird but when we put them up against other kids their age here...they are extremely immature. Well...we homeschool but still....maturity plays a huge part. Great job my friend!!!!!

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  25. Love those RED MAry Janes! Oh.. so CUTE! Hope they have a Great YEar!!

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  26. kate's red shoes stole my heart. sending prayers for harry's headaches. donna

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  27. Kate looks so tall and thin and beautiful. She looks like she's just grown into a young lady overnight.

    Have you thought about acupuncture for Harry? I have a close friend who gets migraines almost daily. Acupuncture took them away. 100%! If she stops the treatments they return but it's a small thing to have her life back. May be worth doing a little research.

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    1. Hi Kristi,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I get acupuncture and it does help tremendously but Harry is TERRIFIED to try it and my acupuncturist will not work on kids (most will not).

      I am on day 3 of a killer headache again. I need to call my acupuncturist asap.

      Kim

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  28. Oh my goodness. Migraines are the worst. Praying on that. Poor thing. Transitions and change are so hard even when it's for the best! I struggle with that so much!!!

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  29. Landree is the oldest in her class, but she is in a private Christian school where they encourage the younger students (if they need more time) to stay in kindergarten for an extra year. She has about 5 or 6 'helpers' this year. They call them that-it's encouraging for the ones that are in class for the 2nd time and they make a really big deal about it so that it's not embarrassing for them. L is loving school and I'm so thankful! I hope Kate has a great year!

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  30. Landree is the oldest in her class, but she is in a private Christian school where they encourage the younger students (if they need more time) to stay in kindergarten for an extra year. She has about 5 or 6 'helpers' this year. They call them that-it's encouraging for the ones that are in class for the 2nd time and they make a really big deal about it so that it's not embarrassing for them. L is loving school and I'm so thankful! I hope Kate has a great year!

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  31. Hi Kim, A friend of mine has a young son that has suffered from migraines for years. His neurologist recently suggested trying something called "MigRelief" (you can Google it to learn more) ~ I believe it falls more along the lines of a supplement and doesn't require a prescription but you have to ask the pharmacist for it (this is the west coast ~ not sure if it is the same everywhere). It has made a WORLD of difference for her son ~ his migraines are gone! He went away to sleep away camp and forgot it and ended up with a migraine. I realize everyone is different, but for them it is really helping.
    I'm sorry that Harry is suffering from them.
    Take care,
    Kathy

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    1. Kathy,

      I cannot thank you enough!!!! I suffered this week for a 3 day migraine myself and I immediately went to Whole Foods and bought this supplement. We used to take magnesium for our migraines (and it is one of the ingredients in migrelief). Harry and I thank you. We will be taking this supplement daily!!! I am hoping it works. The reviews of it are very good.

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    2. You are so welcome! I really hope it helps! By the way, you were outstanding tonight on your broadcast! I was very impressed. Way to go ~ what a fantastic radio debut!
      PS. I am the Kathy in your photography class in case you hadn't made the connection. :)

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  32. Poor Harry! I've only ever had a handful of migrains and thought I was going to go insane. Poor thing! He and Kate look so adorable headed off to school! Not sure how you are running around to three different places - ahhh!

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  33. I don't know if you've been to the neuro yet or not, but my 15 yo has had migraines since he was 5. They used to actually cause mild seizures that were labeled a "childhood migraine variant." They gave him propanolol as a preventative. He took it every day and oh wow did it help! It was wonderful for us!

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Thank you for your kindness.