⭐️ A Star Is Born ⭐️

The time has finally come. That time that every parent fears: their child’s school performance/play. I’ve seen so many of them as a teacher and principal and they, from that side are amazing. An opportunity to see 300 students whom you work with each day, who’ve you’ve seen grow abs improve each day, put it all together and show off their growth.  

Growth mindset, that’s what it’s all about as an educator. But as a parent. We want to see the end product. We want to see an end product from start to finish and then get the heck out of there. I don’t want to watch everyone else’s kids spin around in circles, or cry on stage. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. You feel bad for the teachers who have to don the kindergarten Three Little Pigs costume and be the only ones up on the stage to know the lyrics and Dane moves. There’s the parents who are standing just off to the side yelling stage directions to their child who they feel should be acting on the next Nick Jr. Hit show and you as the parent who’s just happy your kid hasn’t run off stage and peed in the bushes.  

Then there is the fact that you’ve worked a full day and have nothing in your stomach but a granola bar and three cups of coffee. All you want is every performance to last just long enough to snap a few pictures to stick on Instagram and time it so perfectly that it looks like your child knew every part of the play. Then you can set it as your profile picture on Facebook so it looks like you have the next Robert Deniro on your hands. The worst part though… the transition time in between class performances. Class A runs around the stage, the poor teachers looking like Rocky chasing that chicken. They might as well be herding cats. Poor Class B is having kids who are screaming and crying dragged onto stage so their parents can clap and wave. It’s painful to watch as 17 hours pass in between songs when all the audience wants is a smooths and quick transition like when Netflix only makes you only wait five seconds to watch the next episode. No time wasted, no one hurt, one class off… the next one on… everyone’s happy.  

However, there’s always that one child. The show-stealer, the ray of light, the savior. You know right away that they are meant to be on that stage… to bring entertainment to the masses. To bring joy and happiness to the masses as soon he/she takes the stage. It usually happens after a lull in the show. Maybe a few classes performed a nursery rhyme or too… maybe they just stood still and smiled. But then it happens… a child comes from the clouds and struts his stuff right to center stage. You can tell from that twinkle in their eyes that something special is about to happen. Then you hear the intro. The beat drops like your at an old school Notorious BIG concert. It’s the Lion King… you instantaneously know that child is going to put on a show like no other. “I just can’t wait to be king…” the perfect metaphor for what is about to go down. The king of the Pre-School Play is about to dominate the make shift stage in the center of the parking lot. 

… and that’s just what happens. It just so happens that the new king of the stage was my little boy. Jackson “Fred Astaire” Fragola. It started off slowly, and I could hear the crowd starting to chat amongst themselves. Then it happened, Jax sensing the crowd was in need of something to cheer for, stepped forward and put on a show for the ages. 


The slow clap to get the crowd going, followed by the slow spin into the toe-tap (trip over his own feet) was stunning. The crowd began to buzz and you could see the adrenaline coursing through our new star’s veins. Our savior was here. The clouds parted. The bass seemed to get louder and the energy in the crowd was equal to a stadium full of tween girls at a Justin Bieber concert. 

A few more moves brought ohhhs and ahhhs… and then it happened. The half turn, the look-back smile… and the then… THE RUMP SHAKER! It was over, right then and there. He had officially taken over. The crowd lost their collective minds. It was pandemonium… 

…And then… just as quickly as it started, it all came to an end. With Jazz Hands and a smile… it was at that moment a true star was born. 

Daddy Daycare’s New Employees 

What are you do when you realized that your business is outgrowing itself. When you realize that you’re starting to become outnumbered…  the demand for your product outnumbers your supply?  Easy. You hire more employees to help manage the output.  

With that being said, but I’d like to introduce the newest daddy daycare employee… meet the GE Washer machine.  Providing babies with 1:1 supervision since… well… since 25 minutes ago. Turn it on spin cycle and let it do its work. 

Jax First Day of “School”

  
Here I am. Here we are. Your first day of school (daycare) is today. I’ve spent the past 20 months doing everything, but thinking about not having you in the care of your mom, myself or gram during the day. I took for granted the fact that you never had to leave our family ever. Until today…  

I spent forever worrying about you going to school and how to keep you safe when you weren’t with me and writing about that, that I didn’t see how fast the time was actually going!

When we started looking for daycare sites over the summer, I was a little nervous, but thought it would be good for both you, mom and I because, I figured it would make our hectic schedules a bit easier to navigate… you know get some errands done and even be able to stay a bit later at work some nights to get things finished up. As much as I’d like to relish in the free time I’ll now have since my little guy, wait, I mean, I guess I have to say my big boy, is headed to school– Its more so of feeling empty inside with a tinge of guilt.

Did I spend as much time as I wanted to with you?

Did I savor all the precious moments?

Will I regret wishing some of the days away?

Where did the time go?

Maybe I’m not ready to send you off into the world — just yet.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I woke up on the most uncomfortable faux leather recliner ever constructed when I realized that my life would never be the same… in a good way? I sat, slightly scared, but mostly in awe of the most beautiful little boy I’d ever seen. I was looking into your eyes for the first time and making a promise that I’d always take care of you, and love you unconditionally. You squeezed my finger, just my pointer, with your entire tiny hand. You held it like it was the only thing holding you from floating away. I laughed like crazy when you would laugh, and helped you up each time you fell when learning to walk.

Now, here I am walking you into your first classroom. Saying hello to your first teacher, telling you I love you and That I would miss you all day. Has it really been almost two years since I told Uncle Dupree that Steph had a stomach ache and we were going to the walk-in clinic down the road (meaning you were about to be born)? How did this happen, already?

I tiptoed into your room early this morning and there were so many things I wanted to say to you. Things I know I’ve probably whispered to you a million times while I rocked you to sleep and  already covered in the many blogs I’ve written leading up to this day, but by this point you know me and you know there isn’t a chance I would let this moment go by with out telling you again.  Just incase you’re anything like me and need things repeated 15 times before you “really” hear them. 

1. It sucks being the new kid (even if you’re to young to care).  I know what it’s like trying to fit in… So don’t try to fit in.  Be you.  Be a leader NOT a follower. 

2.  You are going to struggle… A LOT! We’ve done everything for you. Sometimes to a fault. You are going to have to try to do things for yourself and it’s going to be hard.  You ARE going to fail. But when you do, pick yourself back up and try again. Don’t ever give up on yourself.  

3. This is all going to be new, and scary and unfamiliar. That’s normal. That’s the circle of life.  But each day you will become more comfortable in your surroundings. And when you are finally comfortable… look to help the next new person.  You have no idea how much a smile and helping hand means to someone.  

4. I want to tell you how torn I am between wanting to keep you close to me ⭐️⭐️⭐️ALWAYS⭐️⭐️⭐️. Torn between keeping you so close that I know you can never be hurt… and wanting you to have new experiences and see the diversity the world has to offer, because I can’t provide you with that by myself.

5. I want to tell you how I prayed last night that everyone who meets you, teachers, parents and peers will see you as your mother and I see you… Intelligent, caring, inquisitive, funny and creative.  I hope you always see yourself as I do too.  
Most importantly… I wanted to say: I love you… And… Please stop growing up so fast. 

————————————
1st Day was a success!   
    
    

 
    

Daycare Don’t Care

  

Little man at his day care intake. (Anyone else get the feeling that this picture is previewing some Godfather type stuff!?!!  He looks like he’s checking in with his cappos.). #GrahamCrackersForDays #SnackTime #SnackTimeAllTheTime #DayCare​ #DaycareGodfather #JacksonSoprano

I guess it was inevitable… Day care starts in a few weeks.  Today was his “entrance interview.”  He had fun… The teachers were nice, and the graham crackers were tasty. Guess my little guy isn’t so little anymore.  

   
 

What I Want You to Know

As we consider the possibility of sending Jackson to daycare here the four questions that were asked of us:

What are the 3 things you want your child to learn from our center:  Compassion, inquiry, problem solving

What are your child’s favorite things: His Blankie and his brothers Buster and Max

What is the one thing about your child we should know?:   He probably won’t ever know who takes care of him when he is 19 months old… He might not remember you by name… But he will remember you none the less. He will remember how you act, your body language and the tone of your voice. He won’t ever forget how you make him feel. 

What do you expect from your child care center? Communication, Positive role models, and not sending him home with the wrong parent

The Only Thing we Have to Fear is Fear Itself- (Not True)

There was this feeling of dread, like one of those deep pits in your stomach as you take your first few steps into a haunted house. Even if it’s only for a second, its still there. That feeling like you know something is might go wrong, but you just can’t figure out what it is. 
Only I new what was wrong… I knew exactly why I felt that way. I knew I hated the idea and yet knew it was in his best interest. Even still, walking though the door and having to be buzzed in, put me on the other side of the fear that goes through every parent’s mind as they leave their child in the care of someone else. 

My mind slowly began to shift from dad mode to administrative mode… The words flowed from my lips like water from a hose… “What is your security procedure for entering the building?” “Do you practice fire drills and lock down drills.” How often do you check that your doors are locked?” “Are your staff members trained in CPR/First Aid?”  

A reassuring look from the wife told me I needed to take a deep breath and listen to what the woman had to say. Problem is, I didn’t care what she had to say. I could find fault with Mother Theresa if she was sitting across from me explaining how she would care for my child.  

I wasn’t happy with the “curriculum” (he’s one), I didn’t like knowing he had to nap later than he usual does (kids at my school learn to do it without any problem), I was completely enraged when I saw the back door wide open (mistakes happen and become a learning experience). Again, I wasn’t happy because I don’t think I wanted to be happy.  

You’ve heard the horror stories… Kids getting fed mass quantities of NyQuil to shut them up, people picking up the wrong kids, kids being abused… Hell I work in a school named after a student who was tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I know the dangers, I work tirelessly everyday to ensure the safety of the children in my building as if they were my own. 

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I know too much; I’ve seen too much on my end to allow myself to relax. Then again, I don’t want to think I’ve left any stone unturned when it comes to Jackson.  

Im an educator of young children; I have been my entire life. I have convinced numerous parents the benefits of early childhood education, if not for the academics than simply for the social skills and language development that is gained from being surrounded by peers. I have studied research on the brain and philosophies of how young children learn. I can rattle off the increased background knowledge and character development that students gain from structured social interactions away from their parents. I’ve seen first hand parents who are were just like me before the school year started and convinced them we would take care of their most precious possession in the world. 

Yet still…

That feeling of dread that permeated throughout my entire body that day, only increases as the we creep closer to the possibility of leaving Jackson at a daycare facility. (Even just typing that caused a knot in my stomach). It could be for 1/2 a day once a week… I’m still not sure I’m going to be OK with this.