School is in Session

Nine months ago we found ourselves in at a crossroads with Hannah and were weighing one of the biggest decisions first-time parents have.

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Sure, there have been other very important decisions to make in the past 5+ years. For instance, how long do we breastfeed, do we mix formula in there? When and how do we potty train her? Where do we send her to daycare and preschool? And not to mention all the medical issues big and small she’s dealt with (though she and we have been extremely fortunate so far with that stuff compared to what many others have to face). At the end of the day, though, those things all seem to work out and probably would have regardless of what decision we made.

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However, this summer we had to make a decision on when and where Hannah starts Kindergarten. She’s a June birthday and is now halfway to her 6th year of life, so we could have waited another year to start her. And up until a pivotal conference with her pre-K teachers we were comfortable giving her another year of pre-K so that she’d be on the older end of her class instead of one of the youngest. Her pre-K teachers were adamant that she start Kindergarten this year, but we weren’t sure. Our parents and other family members were all very supportive and helpful, but we knew that ultimately the decision was on Sam and I to make. I think we made the right call.

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But that was just half the decision, we still had to decide where she goes. Fort Wayne and our surrounding communities have some really strong options, way more than when we were kids. Public school either at FWCS or East Allen. Christian school. Catholic school. Lutheran school. Montessori school. And there are even more options with that. Sam and I are both proud products of FWCS and we really want to believe in the system, but we’ve all heard the negatives, and Sam hears them louder than I do since she interacts with parents at work day in and day out. Ultimately, after seriously the most intense discussions we’ve had in our marriage to date, we went with St. Joe Central, our neighborhood school.

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It’s still too early, in my opinion, to make an informed judgment on St. Joe just yet, she’s only halfway through her first year. However, while there have been some red flags out of the gate, so far it’s been a very positive experience, and it starts with her awesome teacher, Mrs. Townsend.

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What we do know, though, is she was and is absolutely ready for Kindergarten. I don’t think that would surprise anyone who knows Hannah, but after our first parent-teacher conference we knew we had made the right call. Her teacher said more nice things about Hannah in that 20 minutes than I imagine all my teachers said about me in my 14 years of school combined (we had Reading Readiness when I was in school). I managed to get pretty good grades thanks to the discipline and encouragement of my parents, but Sam was a much better student than I, so it’s no wonder that Hannah is off to a great start with a mom like her.

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One of the best highlights to me so far has been seeing her make strides in learning how to read. Every day she gets better and better at sounding out words and I’m continually amazed. But what made me (and Sam) even more proud was how her teacher gushed about Hannah’s behavior. She was really well behaved at daycare, and for the most part she is at home as well, but socially she’s flourished. She raises her hands and answers questions eagerly. Plus, she completes her work quickly and instead of not knowing what to do with herself, she goes and helps the other kids with their work and she does that on her own, we and the teacher never had to teach her to do that. I think that’s an innate thing that comes with being in our family – I grew up surrounded by professional coaches and educators and Sam has her share of family members who are natural teachers as well.

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This is a really long-winded way of bragging on my daughter, which I try to not do too much, but in this case, I think it’s going to be cool to look back and read this when she’s older and still helping others. I absolutely love that it’s in her mindset at such a young age.

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Other things worth mentioning for posterity’s sake: she loves gymnastics, going to the Y pool (working on going under water and swimming without a floaty), is super sweet with her little brother Logan (most of the time), and lost her first tooth in October.

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On a less serious note, Hannah continues to develop her love for art and potty humor. Everything is a canvas. If there’s a blank surface – scrap paper, cardboard box, receipt, coloring book, steamed up window, doesn’t matter what – she’ll find a writing utensil (or her finger) and draw a picture. She loves drawing pictures of her family and her attention to detail when it comes to hair and dresses is really neat to witness.

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I’m not really sure where she gets her not-so-clean sense of humor. Couldn’t be from her dad, I am way too serious to make fart jokes! The challenge will be teaching her there is a time and place for irreverence –  but I just need someone to teach me first haha!

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December 11, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

Give Me Five

Well, here we are. Hannah is half a decade old. When you say it like that it seems like a pretty long time, right? Well, I think most parents would agree that it flies. I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that when it comes to parenthood the days are long but the years 544466_10150888169785940_187973573_nfly by.  I can’t say that it feels like yesterday we were pacing the basement of Sam’s mom’s house trying to soothe Hannah to sleep, encouraging her first steps, or dismally potty training, because when you throw a second kid in the mix it all becomes a bit of a blur. But I do remember quite vividly the exact moment she was born, completely blue and silent, and that hour-long 5 seconds before they cleared her lungs and she let out the first of a million future wails.

We have a remarkable little girl. I know, I know, you think your kids are remarkable too. And they probably are. But it’s so incredible how much of a pedestal we put our own kids on, I’m not ashamed to admit it.  For all the parental training we went to, I think something that would have been the most valuable is if someone we respected told us: “Look, you’re going to think your kid is the greatest thing ever. Everyone does. But that doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone, including your kid, such a thing.” Humility isn’t easy and we all know plenty of people who are self-declared super-humble beings.

19424285_10109407802220799_8242603081089313193_n (1)My point is, I’m not going to go into all the amazing things Hannah does that your kid probably doesn’t. I’m not going to talk about how she’s pretty much the smartest preschooler in North America or that she’s funnier than Tina Fey and Chris Rock combined. Or even that she’s stunningly cute and beautiful (fact: if you google “cutiful” she’ll be at the top of page 1), but that’s not what I’m writing about tonight. That would be way too obnoxious and I’m way too humble to do that.

For posterity’s sake I do want to write a little bit about what she’s into. If you don’t care because you already threw up from my previous obnoxiousness then feel free to go back to your Facebook stream.

Hannah’s favorite activities: eating sweets, doing gymnastics, doing anything with her IMG_0179older cousins Monica and Mariah, who she completely adores and admires; spending time with her Aunt Heather and her many loving grandparents; going to the park; drawing/coloring, doing projects with her momma, playing with her world of little animals and people (Littlest Pet Shop, Palace Pets, Disney princesses, etc.), playing with Barbies, playing with stuffed animals, reading books, watching movies/shows/videos, swimming, riding her bike/scooter, playing with her friends in the neighborhood and at school, and, of course, making poop jokes.

Hannah’s least favorite activities: eating vegetables, getting her hair washed, taking naps, and sharing with her little brother. And, sadly, t-ball. Maybe she’ll come around in a couple of years, but since she was about two and a IMG_0096half it’s been pretty clear team sports may not be her thing. And I’m totally fine with that as long as she finds things to do that she loves and involve movement.

Dad’s least favorite things Hannah does: she watches those ridiculously useless and pointless surprise eggs videos on YouTube. I cannot fathom what so enchanting about them but she gets complete zoned in on them. I don’t go around kicking people in the shins a lot, I’ve grown out of that, but if I saw one of the people who creates those videos I’d put a boot on and take a Messi free kick right to their tibia. Also, she whines and throws fits a lot when she doesn’t get her way and that’s pretty annoying. But show me a 5 year old who doesn’t do that and I’ll call bullshit.

Sorry, that took a dark turn there. Back to Hannah. If you’re still reading you’re probably aware of most of these things. But here’s something that really only Hannah IMG_6018and I know – every time I drop her off at school I make her pinky swear that she’s going to have an awesome day, or some variation of that, and I usually get a kiss or five. But, I’ve noticed something the last couple months that shows that she’s getting older and makes me want to cry a little – she’s slightly embarrassed to do our little routine in front of her friends.

 

She’s developing some self-awareness, a huge part of maturing, which is awesome, because I want her to be mindful and confident. But while she’s always been a little shy about being in the spotlight, this feels more like “daaad, the other kids are watching, be cool and just leeeave.” I know she won’t say that for at least a few more years, and maybe she never will because I think she probably already knows that’s just going to encourage me to be even more embarrassing. I’m pretty excited about that part of her getting older. She’s as goofy as I am and the older she gets and the more she understands the real world, the more important I believe it is to have a sense of humor and not take one’s self too seriously.

One last story that is more for us to look back on. I mentioned Hannah can shy away from the spotlight and can be a little self-conscious when it comes to other kids.

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But she surprised me a couple of weeks ago when she showed some grit and “who cares what others think” spunk. She ran into another kid at the Y and knocked some teeth out of place – it was pretty nasty, a lot of blood, pain, and tears and we thought they were going to have to pull the teeth. And that would have been the start of an interesting couple of years. However, instead of the teeth coming out they went back into place, but are turning gray, which you can kind of tell from the photos. Hannah told me one of those days that she doesn’t care if the teeth fall out or turn gray and she knows that it might look odd and other kids might make fun of her – “I don’t care dad, it’s OK.” she said. I absolutely love that attitude and hope she carries it with her long after her old goofy dad is gone.

Happy 5th birthday to my lovely little girl. I can’t imagine life without her.

 

 

 

June 27, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

Well…I’m a Dad.

Three words I’ve always imagined saying. Someday. When I met Sam and then was finally able to conviImagence her that this goofball living in Indy was worth the time and effort, I started to feel like that day was getting just a little bit closer. We fell in love, took a couple of vacations, she moved to Indy, life started settling down a bit. Then we got married, jetted off to Aruba and made “history.” After a long 9 months (certainly felt even longer for Sam), the day has come. On June 27, 2012, Hannah Marie Pickett was born and we became parents to someone other than a cute little weiner-beagle puppy. We were blessed with a beautiful, precious, amazing little angel.

Everyone says it’s life-changing, and it certainly is, but not in that TAAA-DAAA-bright-spotlight-shining-down-from-the-heavens-immediate-sudden-revelation way that you expect. To me it’s been a subtle process. Watching the doctor tug Hannah out of Sam like when Harry Dunne’s tongue was stuck to the ski lift. Squeezing Sam and holding my breath waiting to hear our baby’s first sound. Fighting back tears as they squeegeed Hannah off and suctioned her dry. Releasing those tears upon seeing Sam hold our baby for the first time. Awkwardly helping the nurse give Hannah her first bath. All the poop and piss and crying. And all of Hannah’s poop and piss and crying. Staring at Hannah, watching her sleep. Seeing her big new eyes gaze around at seemingly nothing and everything at the same time. Each of these moments are new memories, and it’s tough to shake them, like little bouncy balls in my brain (on second thought, maybe I should see a doctor). I look forward to creating new memories with my family every single day.

As I think back over the past week, the only real sudden feeling I remember is being innately protective. The slowest, bumpiest drive home in history, introducing her to Cleo’s kisses, carefully carrying her down the stairs, attempting to not break any of her limbs putting her clothes on her, balancing her on top of the fridge while I grab a beer (gotta have two hands to open it duh, don’t judge) (OK, I didn’t do that)…but the point is, every little movement, sound and breath has me on the edge of my seat. It’s an overwhelming combination of stress and LOVE. It’s new and will take some getting used to, but man, what an amazing journey we’ve begun.

By the way, Sam was absolutely amazing through the birthing process, she’s friggin’ strong. Couple of pushes into it and they were telling the doctor to get her ass in the room, baby’s ready to go! Sam is going to be the most amazing, caring, loving, fun, protective, smart and HOT mom around. No doubt about that. And no offense to the other billion moms out there, including our own, who are awesome, you are all awesome.

Stay tuned, I feel like this is going to be quite the adventure, so I’ll try to jot some thoughts and musings down as we go if anyone cares to read them.

July 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

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