VPK Graduation… cue the waterworks!

 

Be still my heart! My baby graduated from VPK! 
Aiden won the “Curious George Award” for always asking good questions (some needed to be Googled according to his teacher) and the “Daredevil Award” for always trying to do parkour on the playground. She said she overheard him asking his friend “Do you wanna do hard core parkour?!” That’s our boy! We let him choose where we were going to have dinner. No surprise, he chose Tijuana Flats…again.

First Stitches?

So, I’m at work the other day and the director of Aiden’s daycare calls me. She says Aiden was going up the wrong way on a metal slide on the playground, fell, and busted his chin open. She thought he may need stitches so I left work to take him. I was not looking forward to it. It was his first stitches and I was nervous.

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I called the urgent care office and asked if they would be able to stitch a four year old’s chin. The lady on the phone said as long as they can hold him down long enough, it should be fine. Hold him down?! Time for plan B. I had some surgical glue from work in my first aid kit at home. Although he probably should of gotten stitches, he held perfectly still and I glued it shut. When I told Aiden I was done and he wouldn’t need stitches after all, he said, “See, mommy? That’s why I love you”. Fast forward a few weeks later and the scar is barely noticeable, if I do say so myself.

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Day By Day

With each day that passes, life is getting back to normal. I do think about Sawyer often but I’m not overwhelmed with sadness like before. It’s more like a memory of something that happened, rather than a person I lost. I do get down when I see new born babies or pregnant women, or hear of someone who just had a baby with no problem but besides that, I’m doing better.

On a different note, Aiden has been a little strange. A few years ago we found a song that just became Brian’s song. It’s a less popular country song about a good, strong man/father/husband/etc. Lately, every time we get in the car, Aiden takes my phone, plays the song, and cries. Like serious tears. The first time it happened freaked me out. I heard him crying and when I asked him what was wrong he said, “I just love daddy so much”. I thought it was really sweet so of course I started crying. You should of seen Brian when we both came in crying because “we loved him so much”. Let me paint a picture for you: Brian is relaxing on the couch after his class and Aiden and I walk in the door, crying, and both sit on the couch hugging him while telling him how much we love him. He was thoroughly confused. Also, Aiden has been asking us when we are going to have another baby. He says that he really wants to be a big brother. He also said that families are suppose to have two kids. I spoke to his teacher today and found out that they have been talking a lot about families. She told me that based on today’s kids books, the quintessential perfect family seems to be two parents and two kids. That explains why he keeps saying we need two kids and he wants to be a big brother, but what is with the tears for daddy when we literally just left him? Apparently there are a few kids in his class that don’t have dads. I don’t think Aiden can wrap his mind around the thought of, “Wait a minute. You mean dads can just leave?!” I feel like he keeps in the back of his mind that his dad might leave him. You should have seen his little face the other night when he said, “Where’s daddy”? and I jokingly replied, “He left because you’re driving him nuts.” Oh my God, I’ve never felt like more of an asshole! I immediately grabbed him up and kept repeating, “That was a joke! You know your daddy would never leave you!”. Parenting fail.

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Aiden has been talking about Sawyer a lot lately. He wanted to assign a song to be Sawyer’s song (We decided on Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Sawyer moved like crazy in my belly when I would sing it. He got to where as soon as the song came on, he’d start wiggling). Every once in a while, he’ll say he misses Sawyer. I think he was really excited and now misses the thought of a little brother. We were at JCPenneys the other day and he was being so well behaved and using great manners. The cashier said, “He’s so polite. Is he your only one?”, to which I nodded. Aiden said, “Yeah, our baby died.” The poor woman didn’t know what to say. She had a mortified look on her face and muttered the words, “I’m sorry”. Aiden grabbed my hand, then patted it and said,”It’s okay. Mommy’s okay. Come on mommy”, and led me out of the store. I turned around to smile at the poor girl and I’m pretty sure she was crying.

Later that day, Aiden was playing with Play-Doh. He always makes me things so when I saw he had made a heart, I assumed it was for me. I said, “Oh honey, did you make that for me?” To which he replied, “Nope. This is for Sawyer because I miss him”.

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You’re not going to believe this but as I am typing this now, I looked over at Aiden who was zoned out watching TV and asked him what he was thinking about. Exact words: “I want you to have another baby. I want a baby brother”. This is sweet, but nothing breaks my heart more than when he starts explaining why he will make such a great big brother, like he’s pleading his case. As if he thinks that’s why we don’t have a baby yet. I keep telling him, “Aiden, I know you will be the best big brother one day!” One day.

Parents Night Out

Last night, Aiden stayed with my mom so that we could meet up with friends at Alhambra dinner theater. We saw Beauty and the Beast. We had a couple of drinks, ate a great meal, and watched an awesome show. It was a lot of fun.

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Had to take a selfie with Gaston.

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The show was over around 10pm and Aiden was staying with my mom over night so we decided to go out to the beach.

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We went to a park to go Pokemon hunting for a little bit and there was AT LEAST 100 people there! It was strange. The only light was the soft glow of a hundred cell phone screens. Everyone was walking around like zombies looking down.

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Next, we went to Zeta Brewing and had a couple of locally brewed beers and listened to some live music.

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I had a lemon drop shot made with Carve vodka just because I’m really good friends with one of the guys that started Carve, which is the only vodka distillery in Jacksonville.

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Then, we walked on the beach for a LONG time! We walked and talked about everything: Sawyer, work, the future, etc.

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It was about 3am so we decided to start back towards the truck and head home. The night was perfect until we came up to the top of the dunes just in time to see the truck being towed away! Ugh! We called our friend John and he woke up, came and picked us up and took us to the tow yard. $114 later and we were on our way home. We made it around 4:30am. ? And people wonder why we never go out!

Mini Orlando Vacation

Aiden has been trying to learn how to swim without floaties for quite a while but he was always too scared to try it without holding onto us. We were at a pool party a few weeks ago and I told him that if he swam from point A to point B without any help, we’d take him to Sea World. He jumped right off the side of the pool and never put floaties on again! We left early Saturday morning, spent all day at Sea World, then stayed at a hotel and played at Aquatica (Sea World’s water park) all day Sunday.

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Mommy: “Aiden, on a scale of 1-10 how excited are you right now?”

Aiden: “I’m like 38 excited right now!”

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Sea World has three big roller coasters that Brian and I wanted to do. Brian waited in line while Aiden and I explored and played. Once he rode the ride, he asked for a “child swap card” and brought it to me. This allowed me to skip the entire line and get right on the ride while he & Aiden spent time together. It was perfect.

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Aiden rode everything he was big enough for. He really liked Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

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Shamu was the only show we got to watch but it was pretty neat. The trainers don’t get in the tank with the whales anymore so that was kind of lame but I suppose their safety is more important than our entertainment.

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I didn’t get a picture of it but one of our favorite things was the Turtle Trek. It was a large dome shaped room where images are projected all around. It tells the story of a sea turtles life as if you were the turtle. Brian was holding Aiden and to make it more exciting he was ducking every time an image was projected towards them (as if it were real). During this, Aiden yelled, “Daddy, it’s not real! It’s a hologram.” People around us laughed.

The Happy Harbor kid area was huge! Aiden loved climbing the nets.

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Aiden wanted to take a picture in front of the beluga whales for Uncle Cory (since he always sang Baby Beluga to him as a baby).

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By far, Aiden’s favorite exhibit was the shark encounter! He must of went through it eight times. It’s a tube that runs right through a huge aquarium of sharks. It’s pretty awesome, I must say!

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We rode Journey to Atlantis. Aiden thought it was “really scary”. I love the picture. He looks just like the emoji!

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Our hotel room was pretty nice. It had a queen bed and a pull out sofa bed. As soon as we left the park, we checked in and went right to the pool. We swam for a little bit, then had to get out because it started lightening. So, we ordered dinner to be delivered to our room.

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Still trying to stay with the low carb diet, I had a burger with blue cheese, bacon and sautéed peppers. The salad was the only “green” side they had.

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Once the storm passed, we went back to the pool. Aiden met some kids to play with and Brian and I enjoyed some adult beverages from the poolside bar. We stayed until it closed at 11pm.

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This was at 11:15pm.

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The next morning, the boys had a really hard time getting motivated so I went down stairs and had breakfast by myself. And, lucky for me, there was a Starbucks in the lobby.

Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and a tall coffee with sugar free caramel syrup and heavy cream.

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I thought bringing a coffee to the room for Brian would help him wake up but I still had to wait. Oh well. It was kind of nice having the peace and quiet before heading out for the day.

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Aiden slowly started waking up. I guess that theme park really wore him out!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures while at Aquatica. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting my phone wet and damaging it. Aiden rode the smaller water slides and loved the wave pool but he wouldn’t do any of the bigger slides. He said it was because he was afraid of heights. Year, right. After about four hours of playing, he was ready to go and actually asked to leave.

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It didn’t take long for him to pass out.

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We didn’t leave a moment too soon. Check out that storm rolling in!

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Aiden slept the whole way home. We took a stroll down memory lane listening to music that we use to listen to when we were dating as teenagers. Over all, it was an awesome weekend!

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May 12, 2016-Due Date

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I hear I will have good days and bad days. Today was a bad day. Today was Sawyer’s due date. I was doing okay until I went into the kitchen and noticed our chalkboard on the wall that read “Every Superhero Needs A Sidekick! Coming Spring 2016”. Then I lost it. Aiden was at school so Brian and I went to breakfast and a movie in hopes of finding a distraction. We had some time to kill before the movie so we walked around the mall (which is no fun when you’re an adult, by the way). We went into a store looking for shorts for Aiden (of course, because I never buy myself anything!) and there was a NEWBORN baby, no more than a few weeks old, screaming his little head off in his stroller. His mother completely ignored him…didn’t even look at him, and kept looking through the clothing rack. It was one of those newborn cries that sounds like the baby is going to run out of breath. He sounded pitiful. I wanted so badly to grab her by the shoulders, shake her like hell, and tell her how I would give absolutely anything to hear that right now. And she is taking it for granted. I wish I had the opportunity to hear mine cry, pick him up, comfort him, be there for him, kiss him, smell him, even look at him. Anything. I couldn’t wait for Aiden to hold his brother for the first time. To hear him talk to him. Even their first sibling fight. Now, when I think Sawyer’s name, I hear it in Aiden’s voice. He said it all the time. Now he only says it when he catches me crying…as in, “What’s wrong, mommy? Is it Sawyer?” A part of me wants to try and get pregnant right away. But I’m scared. I think being pregnant would give me something else to think about, but I know I am going to be a paranoid freak. My OB assures me that she has never had a patient have a “cord accident” twice but I know I will worry. I didn’t confront the woman in the store. Instead I left and cried, for that baby, for Sawyer, for me.

 

Baby Sawyer

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I haven’t written anything in almost six months but I feel like writing might be the best source of therapy for me right now. On Saturday, April 23rd, we had our diaper bash. It was a fun time full of friends, bbq, and kids in the pool. We hung out until 9pm. Aiden and I were exhausted so we went right to bed. The next morning, Aiden came into my room and kissed my belly (something I really loved) and it occurred to me; I hadn’t felt the baby move. I definitely hadn’t felt him that morning and I couldn’t recall feeling him the day before. Maybe it was because we had so much going on that I just didn’t notice it. Either way, I was concerned. I called my OB who sent me to labor and delivery to be monitored. At this point, I didn’t think anything serious was going to happen so I insisted Brian stay home with Aiden.

I arrive at labor and delivery around 10am. My OB had already called ahead so they had a room for me. The nurse was cold and gruff. I changed into a gown and laid on the bed. With big sweeping movements she tried to find the heart beat. Twice, she found mine sending me on a hopeful emotional roller coaster. After what seemed like an hour, she stopped. She stated that she couldn’t find it but would get the specialist in immediately to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came in. After a very quick scan she put down the ultrasound, grabbed both of my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eyes. She didn’t have to say a word. I knew. “I’m sorry, sweetie. He’s gone”.

When the nurse told me she was getting the ultrasound tech I called Brian and my mom. Brian couldn’t find anyone to watch Aiden so he brought him with him. As soon as the tech told me the news, my OB came in, crying, and hugged me. She held me and cried with me until Brian and Aiden arrived. Then she took Aiden in the hallway but not before he heard me tell Brian, “He’s gone”. As she took Aiden into the hallway he asked her, “Why did mommy say Sawyer is gone?” She replied, “Because he was so special that God needed him with him”, to which Aiden replied, “That’s so they could keep me”.

My mom arrived shortly after that and she was hysterical. She screamed, “No! God, no! Why?!” She later explained that she wasn’t just upset about Sawyer, but for her daughter too. She knew what was going to have to happen next. He still needs to be born. The nurses told me that birthing a still born is usually more difficult and could take days because the baby doesn’t “help” at all. I was fortunate in this sense. I was induced at 11am, started contracting, got my epidural, had my water broke, and was ready to push by 7pm.  This, I was not prepared for.

It is clear to me now that during that entire day I was in shock. I didn’t start to come out of it for a few days. It didn’t take long for him to come out, but it definitely took longer than Aiden did. He was 7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long. When he was born, the umbilical cord was TIGHTLY wrapped around his neck….twice. Poor Brian has that image burned into his brain. He had to sit down and couldn’t hold him. He said he didn’t want to remember him like that. I didn’t look. I couldn’t. They cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and brought him to me. I held him for….not long enough. How long is long enough? The only words I said to him was, “We tried.” I didn’t tell him I loved him, or that I was sorry. I didn’t tell him about how much he was wanted or what a good brother he would of been to Aiden. I didn’t even kiss him. I didn’t even cry… and I tried. I had six pairs of eyes staring at me, waiting to see any emotion, and I couldn’t even make my self cry. Again, shock. This is by far, the part I feel most guilty about. If I had it to do over again they would have to pull him from my arms. My mom, on the other hand, spent a long time with him. She kissed him and told him all about us, and told him how much he was loved. I am so very thankful for this!

I sent everyone home that night so I could sleep. I was exhausted. They gave me medicine to help me sleep so I drifted off quickly. The next morning was terrible. I woke up in the hospital room, by myself, and realized that everything had actually happened. Our baby boy really did die. I really did birth him. And we really were going home without him. We would have to “make plans” as everyone put it, as to what to do with his body. Brian, Aiden, and my mom came back to pick me up. I went into the hospital a day prior with a full term baby in my belly and left with a memory box. The box included a blanket, hat, footprints and a hand print. We had professional pictures done of him but we haven’t received them yet. I am told that they will be in black and white and edited to look like a peaceful, sleeping baby. I hope so because as of right now, I can’t even remember what he looks like and that breaks my heart.

The most surprising part to all of this is the overwhelming love and support we have received since this happened. Two GoFundMe accounts were created for us, we have received card after card, phone calls, meals, etc. We would not be where we are now, one week later, without the support from our friends and family. I have heard that distraction is the best medicine. So far, it is true. We have tried to stay busy and spend a lot of time with Aiden. This kind of loss really makes you cherish what you have.

Thanks to the donation money we will be having a butterfly release ceremony at a local park in June. We also just purchased a commemorative brick from the zoo in Sawyer’s honor. It will say, “In loving memory of Sawyer Elmore 4/24/16 Taken too soon but loved for eternity”. It should be ready in about eight weeks and it will be placed in front of the carousel. We thought it would be neat for Aiden to find his brother’s name every time we go to the zoo. After the medical bills and ceremony, we will be starting Aiden a college fund. It will be a sort of gift from his brother. We wouldn’t of been able to start one on our own. I bet that will be a “Everything happens for a reason” situation people will try to point out to me in the future. Unfortunately, I am having a really hard time with that saying right now. I think it is still too raw.

 

13 weeks!

SonogramWell, I’m thirteen weeks. I’m feeling pretty good these days and the sonograms are looking more human than alien. I’m not quite showing yet but I do know I am farther along and it is becoming more real. I am worried about how our lives are about to change. It is for the better, of course, but a drastic change none the less. I was in the back yard with Aiden yesterday. He was playing in his sandbox and I said, “Aiden, I am a little worried about when the baby comes”. Aiden, replies, “Don’t worry, mommy. When you have the baby, you’ll be back skinny again”. Ouch. Thanks, kid but that wasn’t what I was talking about.

Me: “No.. Me and you spend so much time together. I am worried that when the baby comes, there will be times when you have to hang out with daddy because I’ll have to take care of the baby”.

Aiden: “Well, sometimes you will hang out with daddy and I can take care of the baby. I’m going to be a good babysitter. I can get the bottle and pacifier.”

Me: “And change their diaper?”

Aiden: “No,  mommy. You can do that!”

This boy is wise beyond his years and knows just what to say to melt this momma’s heart.

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Halloween was a bust.

Transformer 2015If there’s one thing that being a mother has taught me it’s that there is no such thing a “perfect” (hence the blog title). You have to learn to roll with the punches and don’t force your child to participate when he missed a nap and is “over it” (his words). Case in point: Halloween 2015. It started with his class party. They sent home a slip of paper stating that the kids were going to have a parade and be sure to send your child’s costume or send him in it and bring a change of clothes. Thursday morning came around and Aiden woke up telling me that this was the day he got to wear his Transformer costume to school. He put it on, grabbed his mask and bolted out the door. When we get to his school, he pushes past me and goes running into his friends then stops, turns around, and gives me the most disappointed face. He says, “Mom! No one is wearing a costume but me!” in his best whisper-yell. He was right, every one brought their costumes, except Aiden. He wanted to go home and change.  I leaned down and whispered in his ear, “You are the only one in costume because you are the coolest kid here. Now own it”. He didn’t make eye contact with anyone while he walked into his classroom and sat down. That was a disappointment. Later on, all of the kids put them on and Aiden had a great time.

Fast forward to Halloween and Aiden refused to take a nap. We tried for two hours before giving up. We went to a Florida/Georgia cookout that afternoon and he did great. As soon as it started getting dark we headed home to put on his costume. Aiden went to three houses and was done. He was whining, wanted to be carried, and complaining that his feet hurt. His daddy warned, “If you keep this up we are going home”, to which Aiden replied, “Okay!” We headed back to the house to get his wagon. When we got home Aiden whispered in his sweetest voice, “Mommy, can we please go inside and cuddle while we watch a movie? Please.” Of course, we did. He fell asleep ten minutes into the Charlie Brown Halloween movie. Oh well. There will be other Halloweens I suppose.

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Structure Is My Saving Grace.

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I’m sure you’ve all heard the advice, “Kids need structure”. I figured it was true but hadn’t seen it first hand until this past week. My son, overall, is a “good” kid. He listens, has good manners, and is very caring….but something happened this summer. He started acting out at school and at home. He would kick us for no reason, or yell at us when we told him to do something. He’d yell, “You’re not my friend!” This is totally out of character for him. I understand that all kids go through phases. As a matter of fact, when I found out I was pregnant an older friend of mine told me something I will never forget, “I’ve always loved my kids, but there were certain stages or ages that I didn’t like them.” I thought maybe this was one of those stages. Terrible two had nothing on the “threenager phase”. While this maybe true, every time I asked his teachers about a new less than favorable behavior, they would inform me of a “bad seed” in the class that was rubbing off on all of the kids…Aiden included.

During the summer, Aiden’s preschool is more like a summer camp. It’s not very structured, not really a classroom setting and all of the older kids that are out of school for the summer are there. All of the kids are allowed to interact together at a few times in the day. As you can imagine, the little ones enjoy following the older kids around and mimicking everything they do. From the gross humor of fart jokes and talking about poop to rough housing and play fighting. He picked up all of it. He even punched his so-called best friend in the nose. Can you believe that? (Between you and me, I sort of blame daddy for that one. He decided to introduce him to Power Rangers and X-Men.) I was starting to get really worried but then something miraculous happened.

The first day of VPK3 came and Aiden accidently got a lot of sleep the night before. I say accidently because that is an area that we seriously slack on. We are kind of selfish when it comes to bed time. We allow him to lay in our bed and watch cartoons to fall asleep so that we can actually hang out together. Night time is the only time we get to spend quality time together. We can cuddle on the couch, drink a glass of wine, and watch a movie that isn’t animated. Like I said, selfish. Because of this, he just kind of falls asleep when he wants. We are going to work on it. I digress. For whatever reason, Aiden did not take a nap on Sunday and fell asleep at 7pm. He woke up Monday morning at 6am, a half an hour before he had to, on his own and definitely got up on the right side of the bed!

He got dressed without fuss. This is a rarity in our house. My threenager likes to decide what does and doesn’t match and changes his clothes four times (just like his daddy). And usually, when it’s time to leave and tell Aiden to put his shoes on, he throws a fit and says that he has to play with his toys more. But this day? This day when I told him it was time to go he lined up his Transformers and said ” I’m going to leave them right here so they’ll be here when I get home from school”. You could of knocked me over with a feather. In the car on the way to daycare, out of nowhere, he says “I love these mornings!” He marched into daycare and said, “Good morning, Ms. Linda!” His teacher was just as surprised as me. He’s usually a grumpy Gus in the mornings. I’ve come to realize this is because of the lack of sleep he gets. Again, we’re working on it.

That morning was great but I didn’t expect it to last. I figured as soon as he got around the older kids and the bad seeds the bad behavior would come back. I had totally forgotten that the big kids would be back in school. This means Aiden is “back to school” which is hard to get because it is preschool after all. He is now in a class of five kid, he has assignments, has to pay attention to the teacher, and answer questions. There is a lot to keep his attention and let me tell you, it has made a world of difference. I didn’t realize just how important structure was until this past week. And guess what, we have had good reports from school everyday! He came home one day and wrapped his arms around me and said, “I missed you today, mommy. Did you miss me?” I’m telling you, night and day! Now to continue a better night time routine and get him asleep at a reasonable time.

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Side note: Aiden went to the doctor’s for his three year old well check up (two months late). He was very well behaved and used good manners with everyone. The nurse came in and told him that she was going to put something on his arm that was going to give him a big hug. Aiden asked, “Are you going to take my blood pressure?” The nurse was surprised and said to me, “Someone watches Doc McStuffins”. Actually, no he doesn’t. He has spent a few nights in the ER with his accident-prone daddy and picked up a few things. Clearly, he’s going to be a doctor.