Sunday, September 15, 2013

Organization Overhaul

This time of year it's always harder to post regularly. Between unpacking, doing laundry, repacking, driving to our holiday hosts, keeping the kitchen only minimally stocked so nothing goes bad, keeping up with school needs, and breathing, there's not really a whole lot of extra time. So naturally, this is when I find myself knee deep in a major organization project at home.

Just to give you some insight into my blogging devotion, I spilled a way-too-full cup of Gatorade on my keyboard on Friday and while it is clearly still typing, none of the letters really want to pop back up after being pressed down. So this may take a little longer than usual to get fully typed!

Our storage unit (our apartment came with a small storage cube by the elevator on our floor) used to be a large tetris box and getting things in or out was a major chore. I realized that more than half of what is in there is really not needed anymore! So now there's about 1/3 of what used to be in there. Most has already been sold or donated or tossed. I have four large tubs of clothing that I separated into the appropriate piles last week and this week I will distribute as required! Between the laundry and repacking. And the Mommy-monitored visit with Bella to her soon to be classroom.

I have also been working hard getting the kids' rooms more organized. Benny had an ugly bookshelf in his room, holding his books and toys. I had some credit on Amazon from survey sites I do so I ordered him a nicer looking shelf and put his bookshelf in our 'entry way' {read: kitchen/living room/dining room} and we turned it into our very own Meyerbrary (hoping to make a cute banner with the kids to hang over it). The kids each got a little box in their rooms and they can switch out their books once a week-ish. No need for thousands of books strewn across each floor!

Here you can see the tubs waiting to leave our apartment. I'm planning on using the top shelf for winter gear baskets. Right now it's all on the top shelf of  our coat closet and I pass things out each morning.

Bella's room is also looking much better. I am tempted to order the same shelf for her room but I really have to get rid of her enormous dresser first. I was originally planning on replacing it with something smaller but I think I can completely eliminate the need for a dresser. I have a set of plastic drawers in her closet that was being used for things she grew out of, but our lovely consignment shop is now in possession of some of that stuff! So I transferred her clothing to those drawers and just need to get more skirt hangers and it should all be fine! I made her a cute little accessory station on the inside of her closet door and she loves it!
I need to add some more hooks for hanging her jewelry :)

I pulled out our 'growing into' box to see what I have for the new sizes of the kids. We had a nice amount of stuff to pull out now and my box is sadly more than half empty! Time to keep stocking up on larger sizes, although I am hesitant to get too much as we don't have a lot of time left here. A year and three months (but who's counting) may seem like a lot of time to some of you but when you feel stuck in the eternity of college life, that is like a sneeze and a cough away!!!!!!

As usual, our bedroom is the dumping ground for everything that needs deciding. I feel like the kids' rooms are just so much more important for our little people to be able to sleep and function nicely! Shuky and I can handle the craziness much better, even though I am hoping to get to our room as soon as Bella starts school! As soon as that is done, I can start on some of my crafting that I am waiting to do. I have been preparing at least, found a pattern sale at Hobby Lobby last week, picked up a couple craft patterns at $0.99 a piece and I can't wait!!

Hope you all are enjoying the holidays and maybe some of you are getting cooler weather already. Would love to hear what kind of projects everyone else is working on now!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Emotional Conflict

Tonight is Rosh Hashana, the New Year of the Jewish calendar. With that, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy, and sweet new year! My standard blessings of 'may the best of last year be the worst of this year' and 'an abundance of health, wealth, and happiness' all stand for this year as well!

The reason I am taking the time to write today is because yesterday, we were faced with a challenge. It is one that I had hoped to never have to deal with but, unfortunately, is not an uncommon thing when you have kids in school.

Benny rides the school bus every day, both to and from school. One of the things that made me comfortable with the idea of having him ride the bus (aside from knowing the safety stats of busses) was the reassurance from the bus company that Kindergarten kids are put on a bus with a monitor, an adult designated to keep an extra eye and make sure they sit nicely and safely, and that they are all seated up front with kids their age. After watching him walk straight to the back on the first morning, I let him know that this was the rule and that, even if the other kids his age were not listening, he needed to be sitting up front. Yesterday he got off the bus with one of the older girls from our building. He didn't look happy and she was walking toward me with him, clearly worked up, ready to tell me what happened. Apparently, Benny tried to sit himself in the front of the bus and the monitor told him to keep moving to the back. He told the monitor that his mother told him he needed to be sitting up front. She got down in his face and started yelling, "THIS IS MY BUS, NOT YOUR MOM'S, YOU BETTER SIT WHERE I TELL YOU!!!" Our neighbor told me she kept going at him. At this point, Benny was already crying. This girl interjected, telling the bus monitor that if his mother told him to do that then he needs to listen. The monitor then turned on the girl and continued yelling at the both of them. This girl pulled Benny onto her bench and started telling him jokes to help him calm down and walked off the bus with him and straight to me.

Benny looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I wasn't crying, it just LOOKED like I was! Mommy it was so RUDE! And you guys always tell me not to be rude, but she was SO rude!!"

I turned back to the bus and started calling out for them to stop, but I realized that confrontation was not the answer. I was upset and didn't want to make a scene. And the other kids on the bus would be late to get home. Instead, I called the bus company immediately and told them what had happened. They didn't know what to say to me and were extremely apologetic. I gave everyone's names (the monitor's, mine, Benny's) and all the information needed and they told me they would start an 'investigation'.

I told Benny how proud I was that he had listened to me and had spoken nicely to the monitor, even though she was being so mean to him. I also let him know that I was so proud that he came and told me everything right away and reminded him how important that is, whenever ANYTHING happens.

Walking back up to the apartment, one of the other girls in the building told me this monitor makes the little kids cry all the time and that she is really mean. Why she has been given this position of watching out for our little kids is baffling to me. Have no other parents called in to complain?

Last night, I was extremely nervous about how this morning would play out. I didn't know if they had addressed things with her yesterday, and if they had, would she then take it out on Benny this morning?

As soon as we got downstairs, Benny started freaking out that he didn't want to ride the bus and that he really just wanted me to drive him to school. He was scared that she would yell at him again and he really didn't like how she made him feel. My emotional side told me to give in and drive him without question. But the last thing I want him to think is that the best way to solve conflict is by running away. So I sat with him on the steps and talked to him about it. I explained that he still has to listen to Mommy and that hopefully the monitor would not be mean to him. I reminded him that the older kids on the bus that know him would be there to help him if he needed it and that if, for whatever reason, she did say anything not nice to him, he should go straight to his teacher and tell her what happened. {I sent her an email this morning with an FYI about what had happened, unfortunately the school uses a bus service so they would not be the people to take issues up with but I still wanted her aware.} I reminded him that the safest seat for him was in the front of the bus and we talked about which of the other kids he could possibly sit with that would make the ride more exciting. As soon as we got to the bus stop, he calmed down and was giggling and playing with his friends. I gave him a big kiss before he got on the bus and watched him. The monitor said nothing to him. He walked slowly past the first bench, stopped for a minute at the second, put his head down and walked straight to the back. His fear of her yelling made him ignore what we spoke about and choose the safer (in his mind) option.

This broke my heart.

Not because he chose not to listen to me, that is something I get plenty of practice with. Because this bully of a bus monitor just won. My five year old had such a fear of this horrible woman that he stopped to think about doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And chose the wrong thing. Even now, thinking about the little battle in his head makes me so sad. Who does this monitor think she is? Why is it just accepted that this bus monitor is mean and can take such an exciting thing for the little kids and turn it into something scary?

I went with Bella to the library afterward and asked the librarian for help. I wanted books that talked about bullying, how to deal with it, why people do it, how to help if you see your friend being bullied. I am still trying to get through to the bus company but have not been able to all day. I don't want Benny focusing on the bad, and I don't intend to keep this storm brewing. We will learn from it and we will move on.

I sincerely hope the bus company will see that it is not fair to place a bitter woman's hand as the one intended for our little kids to hold while embarking on this journey of school.

With all my best wishes, from my family to yours, may this new year only bring joyful tears and moments of pride to all you you.