Tag Archives: kindergarten

from there to here

kindergartenIn August, you started here: You were five. You had long, plaited hair and two missing front teeth. You rode a yellow bus every morning at 7:10am and you packed a lunch. You got milk every day at snack time and you played at recess with Mrs. Jen (your aide) close by.

In June, you finished here: You are six. You have short, chin-length hair and two missing eye teeth. You tried hot-lunch for half the week and home-lunch the other half, and that was lovely. You still rode the little yellow bus at 7:10am- Daddy took you nearly every time to the bus stop 4 minutes from home. You no longer needed Mrs. Jen to accompany you to recess.

You can count to 10. You can spell your first name. You can write any letter in the alphabet on command, upper and lower case. You met all of your Occupational Therapy goals and about 90% of your Speech goals this year. Girl, you are on FIRE. You loved school, you loved working, you loved being with friends every day. Your body is showing us that it likes to work work hard and that you can DO this school thing. It will be a lot of work, but your school is behind you 100 percent.

We paid for that hard work and progress with a lot of tears at home. Your body was so exhausted every day after putting in 6 and 8 hours of work. It was so hard to see you fall apart, to watch you sink… but to hear you talk now, Child. It is glorious. You can repeat so. many. things. now, Ry. You can SAY so many new things spontaneously. It’s remarkable. Your body is starting to work together, slowly but surely. It’s a roller coaster of a ride, this whole thing.

We’re trying some medicine. This was a hard, hard, hard decision for us… one we just came to about 2 weeks ago. We’ve always treated your apraxia through therapy… and while it was suggested when you were only 4 to try some medication in addition to therapy, we opted to wait. Everything was so new then, and we wanted to tackle one thing at a time. Now that school will be full-time and extended FOCUS is so important, we’re working with a doctor who’s helping us monitor you using a small dose of a non-stimulant that will hopefully increase executive function (focus) and decrease anxiety. I tell you this only so you know it’s only one piece in a large puzzle of options and ideas for you: riding therapy and speech therapy and medicine and down-time and lots of sleep and multi-vitamins and Oreo cookies.

We’re figuring it our, Ry, one step at time. You are a champion of effort with a killer smile and a dedicated helper. No one, not even your father, can match your work ethic… and that is really saying something. Ry, we are all so proud of you. Proud of your first year in school, proud of how you finished stronger and better than when you started, proud of the joy you take in learning.

May it ever be so.

Have a great summer, Kid.

Best Friends Forever.

2 good + 2B = 4gotten

Stay Cool.

last day of Kindergarten

Sign Ry’s ‘yearbook,’ won’t you? Leave her a message below and I’ll put it in her Kindergarten memory folder ūüôā



a letter to Carson

Hi, there, Carson!

How are you today? I am fine. My name is Mrs. Mulder… Rylie‚Äôs mom. You and Rylie are both in Kindergarten this year, and you both seem to love it. You also get to ride the little yellow bus with Ry because both of our families live out in the country. Do you love the bus? Rylie loves the bus.

I have to apologize to you, Carson, because I only just learned your name. I don‚Äôt know all of the kiddos’ names and faces in Ry‚Äôs class because I don‚Äôt hear the funny (and, oh yes, naughty) stories like most kids tell their parents after school. Much of Rylie‚Äôs day is a mystery to me… at least, from her perspective.

You see, Rylie has trouble talking. She has trouble getting her brain to say the words she wants to say. She can‚Äôt tell me exactly what she wants for dinner or what songs she sang in school… and she can‚Äôt tell me who she plays with at recess or what her dreams were about the night before. Not exactly. The words are coming… boy, howdy they are coming! SO many new words just this year! But nothing like the chatter your mom probably hears.


Kindergarten cupcakes

Carson, I have a story to tell you. I wanted to tell you this story so you will always know that you are AMAZING and wonderful and super, super awesome. See, just before Christmas, Ry brought something special to school and it got lost… immediately. Like, before she even got off the bus. But no one knew what it was because she couldn‚Äôt tell anyone exactly what she was missing.

It was a terrible day. Your teacher told me that Rylie came in the classroom crying and pretty much never stopped until I came at the end of the day to bring her home. It was so bad, she said, that she had to give Rylie a time-out while everyone else went to Gym so she could cry and calm down and collect herself. So, she did. And, she eventually felt good enough to go to Gym.

And you know what happened when she got there?

You were saving her a seat.

And she was able to walk over and sit down and join in… and she was able to feel like she had a friend. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world, to feel like you have a friend! A friend who‚Äôs excited to see you, who misses you when you‚Äôre gone, who plays Lincoln Logs with you during free-time. Thank you, Carson!

Carson, you are a good friend. I hope that I can be the kind of simple, loving, unconditional friend that you are… one who saves seats and plays alongside and waves at the bus stop.

I don‚Äôt know if you will know Rylie all your school-life. But, I know that I will remember you. I will remember the sweet heart that you have and how friendship can be easy and forgiving. That‚Äôs a remarkable lesson for someone my age… and certainly notable that I would learn it from a 6-year old.

You shorter people are always such incredible teachers.

Thank you, Carson.

Let me know when you wanna talk about prom.


Ry’s mom

moveable feast

[Note: This post and all advocacy posts are unsponsored and unaffiliated. I bought any and all items discussed with my own pennies and no one is editing the content of this or any post except myself.  Ever.]

So, lunch. ¬†MmmmHmmm. Let’s talk about this real quick, shall we? ¬†Ry has to take a snack every day to school. ¬†Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays she takes a lunch and 2 snacks since it’s a full day. ¬†Plus, she’s got at least an hour on the bus, and this little girl… her body eats up energy just walking, so we need some good food. ¬†Everyday. Lots of it.

Here’s the situation:

We use this¬†Happy Tiffin lunch box. ¬†Um, love it. ¬†It can go in the dishwasher. ¬†It has 2 compartments and the lid doubles as a plate. ¬†Plastic baggies are¬†unnecessary¬†with the food-grade stainless steel. ¬†The side latches are secure and simple enough for Ry’s little fingers. ¬†It’s $16. ¬†She thinks it’s cute and is so excited to open it every day. Win.

Confession: when this first arrived, I kind of freaked out thinking it was too small. ¬†For the first time EVER [lie], I was completely wrong. ¬†Smaller portions and a variety of options each day ensure that lunch box comes home completely empty. ¬†I just had to re-work my old-fashioned brain a little bit. ¬†Does she need a whole apple? ¬†No. ¬†Would she eat 4 apple slices and some granola in a cute cup? ¬†Yes. ¬† It’s PLENTY of room for her 2 snacks, lunch, and a couple extra snacks just in case of a bus snack attack. ¬†She carries a water bottle separately.¬†¬†

I bought a $4 cookie cutter¬†for sandwiches that fits perfectly in the tin. ¬†It cuts out, like 87% [questionable math alert] of a regular slice of bread, so there’s very little waste (zero waste if you have a 2 year old scavenger around) and she’s super excited to eat it. ¬†You can find bajillions [yes] of cookie cutter options in the baking aisle at the grocery store. ¬†We also use these silicone baking cups when they don’t have rocks and lego people in them GIDEON JAMES.

I’d like to buy a couple sets of these ice pop molds to freeze yogurt in and such. ¬†Or, maybe these ones since they are a little smaller.

It’s a peanut-free school. Tree nuts are ok. ¬†No problem. ¬†I¬†stocked up on peanut-free¬†SCHOOL ONLY¬†snacks to make things easier.¬†I had to hide them because my children are crazy. ¬†We go big on crunchy snacks because they are so tactile for Ry. ¬†Her mouth and speech need lots of activity to make things work better. ¬†Did you know your snacks can help develop good speech patterns? ¬†They can. ¬†I do not lie. ¬†Carrot sticks and pretzels and almonds and crackers… all these things help wake her muscles up.

She loves to dip, so¬†hummus¬†goes in quite a bit using one of these¬†little guys from LunchBots. ¬† I’m saving up to get¬†this triple set¬†from them as well. ¬†There will only be more lunches to pack in the future and it would be nice to have backups in different sizes while something else is in the dishwasher or if¬†[like this would happen]¬†someone left their lunch box at school GIDEON JAMES IN 3 YEARS.

Confession: I don’t insulate anything. ¬†Everything that goes in the lunch or snack bag is frozen or able to survive the day without an ice pack. I can never remember to take the little gel pack out and re-freeze it. ¬†Honestly, it’s like I missed a class or something. ¬†So, it’s out. ¬†FORGET YOU, ICE PACKS! ¬†You are not the boss of me! ¬†[runs to her room, slams door]

Some of our staples:  pretzels, goldfish crackers, triscuits, kiwi, apple slices, grapes, bananas, cucumber slices, hummus, cherry tomatoes, raisins, Monkey Bars, Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit strips, popcorn, string cheese, carrot sticks

Alright, what are your school lunch favorites?

In my day, I took a bagel sandwich with cream cheese and ham.  And a whole dill pickle wrapped in foil.  Every. Single. Day. I did.

beh-bee lellow bahs

alternatively, Baby Yellow Bus

Ry’s bus is actually a little shortie bus that picks up all the kiddos that live outside of the school district. ¬†We didn’t know this was a possibility when we signed up, but it has been such blessing! ¬†School is only 12 miles away, but that’s still 24 miles and 12 kiddo seat belt buckles round trip.

Ry will ride every morning and then home M/W/F. ¬†Tuesdays and Thursdays are half-days, and we’ll pick her up. ¬†Rylie l o v e s¬†the bus. ¬†Mister John the bus driver is smiling.

I love this photo.

Excuse us this week whilst we work our way into a new schedule and routine. ¬†There have been and will be photos every day, but few words. ¬†Make sure you scroll down and take a peek at Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday‘s photos! ¬†And then come back tomorrow for one more.

and so it begins


That’s as good as it gets. #awkwardphotophase

Excuse us this week whilst we work our way into a new schedule and routine.  There will be photos every day, but few words.  Mamma is a little speechless.

breaking bread

Dear Rylie,

A week from today, you will officially start Kindergarten.  s c h o o l.  School with a bus and big kids and little kids and lunch time and recess and raise your hand if you hafta go to the potty.  School.

You, Child, you will love school. ¬†You will love all the people and the routine and the jobs and the walking in lines to new exciting places like music! and gym! and art! I’m a little jealous. ¬†It’s been a long time since I went to art wearing my dad’s old t-shirt.

I wanted to steal a second to talk to you… about talking. ¬†Rylie Girl, you were born thinking differently. ¬†And, God bless you, you were born SAYING things differently. ¬†I pray this works to your advantage.¬† You’re headed to the Big Time now and I won’t be there to interpret for you or speak up for you or prompt you… not like now. ¬†So, I want you to start off on firm ground. ¬†And that has less to do with speech and everything to do with heart.

See, me and you- we’re fighters. ¬†We have strong opinions and we are actually really decent at getting a point across. ¬†I see this in you already, even at 5 years old, even without a voice. ¬†Folks like you and me… well, we need to be careful.

Time was, you could hear something, not understand it or not agree with it, wait until the person was finished talking, and then say your piece. ¬†This is rarely tolerated anymore… not among strangers, and truly- be careful with close friends. ¬†The art, the joy, the discipline of debate and safe discussion is quickly being shelved. ¬† Where you could once spend your life thinking out loud, learning, asking questions, and growing you must now pick a side and run to that wall without being caught or face the consequences of isolation.

*sigh* ¬†Like you don’t have enough to worry about already.

There’s a beautiful concept in the Jewish culture that is literally as old as the sea. ¬†Men would (and still do) spend hours and days, weeks and years debating and dreaming passionately over Scripture. ¬†Interpreting. ¬†Teaching. ¬†Picking apart words. ¬†Counting syllables. ¬†Laying down, as it were, the Law of the land. ¬†Conversations regularly ended with no resolution to either argument. ¬†And they were (are) pleased by this.

These wise men… they did not agree on everything. ¬†Sometimes, reading their commentaries, I wonder if they agreed on anything. ¬† But here’s the kicker: after arguing for hours every day, they would pack it all up and eat dinner together. ¬†They believe (and I agree) that you can debate with heart and still break bread together at the end of the day. ¬†When hearts are on the same page, relationships are more important than resolutions.

Here is what I say to you:

I know, it’s kindergarten. You won’t be debating government policy or church theology in kindergarten. ¬†I know. ¬†But, here is where your table begins to fill up with people other than your family.¬†¬†Here, you will meet people who think and speak and act differently than you, if ever so slightly. ¬†They will pick¬†different¬†colors, go on different vacations, worship at different churches, pack different lunches, ride home in different cars, and dance to different music. ¬†It starts here.

I pray you will meet others… even in Kindergarten… who will join you at your table. ¬†People who are of the same heart but all different shades of mind. ¬†Disagree. Debate. Yell, laugh, cry, and share- passionately. ¬†But do not let it go so far that you cannot return to the table in the evening together. ¬†Be prepared, if not eager, to share a supper when it is all finished. ¬†Hold that concept close to you in everything, for it is the level ground beneath your church.

Take your seat.  Save me one next to you.  And, at the end of the day, may your table be full.

I love you.