Back to School…

Naptime Gnome #39

The Naptime Gnome is back to the Day Shift!

Hurray for School! Hurray for Mommy Time!

Perhaps this is a bit belated for some, but HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! No, I haven’t misplaced my calendar, but I wouldn’t rule out insanity… but we’ll get to that later. First, I should probably apologize for my summer hiatus from blogging. Don’t worry, I’ve been incredibly busy with plenty to share, from closet built-in ideas to kid’s play tables, gluten free recipes and even a few fun and CHEAP ways to get great fabric, and I’ll do my best to get them all posted soon, but first I certainly have some explaining to do!  Shortly after my last post… in MAY… my Little Bear professed in the midst of a monumental fit that he loved nothing so much as technology. This, of course, prompted the Daddy Bear to ban technology for the summer to remind him of all the wonderful things in his life. While this prohibition didn’t apply to my computer usage, another funny thing happened right around the time of the ban: SUMMER STARTED. My big preschooler, who ventured off to school for a few hours right around his sister’s naptime each day, was now home, ALL DAY, EVERYDAY, and to top it off, NAPLESS. Soooooo, the Naptime Gnome became relegated to after-hours duty, and my blogging time vanished all together, not wanting to break out the computer right in front of my recovering self-proclaimed tech junkie.

Shortly thereafter, my smart phone died (yet again, admittedly, I’m quite rough on them), prompting a downgrade to a much older (my friends, and all others trying to reach me, would say archaic) phone while I holdout for the release of the new iPhone… which will be heavily armor clad shortly after its purchase.

So I spent the summer virtually text, internet, and Facebook free!  It was sort of refreshing really. But now SCHOOL has started and with the little guy in KINDERGARTEN(!) all day, and our Little Bug snuggling in for a midday siesta each day, the Gnome is back in daytime action, evening blogging time has been reestablished, and I can’t wait to share our adventures, both past and future!DSCN1838Which reminds me!  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY… again. Don’t worry, I hadn’t forgotten to explain myself. Right around Labor Day each year while I was growing up, all the moms would gather at the bus stop with huge glistening smiles on their faces, cheerfully wishing each other a Happy Mother’s Day while we looked on in utter  confusion… SURELY they’d all gone mad. They’d exchange excitedly about up coming fruit picking trips to Northern California, shopping to be done in the nearest town, riding and hiking trails yet to be explored — none of these plans I might add, included our presence — now I get it! But even though I had seen my mom and her friends bumble about like the first batch of spring honey bees to venture from the hive, I was feeling a little guilty about being so excited to get my little guy back to the bus and the books.

So we walked to the bus the first day both kiddos hefting new backpacks, even though Little Bug is only freshly 2, she is already bursting at the seams to join in the school hype. So, she with her huge grin, and me hiding mine, we ventured to the bus stop. Little Bear, in true Bear fashion needed much prodding and prompting to make the 100 meter stroll. He wore the glummest, most sorrowful face he could muster while Daddy Bear fought back tears, and I did my best to not break into song. The funniest, not to mention most comforting, part was how many other moms were all too overjoyed to stuff their little angels on to the bus the first day!

All joking aside, there was part of me that had a very hard time seeing him off, I don’t want to see my little guy grow up too fast any more than my husband does, and I certainly don’t want him away from us all day each day, but I think we were all pretty ready. Even with all of our adventures, our Little Bug is more than ready for some undiluted “Mommy time,” and there’s only so many more times I could try to calmly redirect so much excess energy. You know, the times when you’re trying not to sound like a mad woman as you calmly and almost condescendingly chant: “Please keep your hands to yourself.” I don’t know about you, but my brain is really saying, “If you touch your sister one more time I’m going to Krazy Glue your hands to an angry wildebeest!!!” The only problem is sometimes I fear I actually would if I had access to anything remotely similar… ok, not really ;). But surely this is good for everyone involved. That being said, all day is a bit long for us, he especially is struggling with being away from home. Apparently the novelty wears off by about lunch time, so we’ve come up with a few little special surprises to help him through each day.

We started by making some gluten/casein free treats that can be kept on hand for when the class is treated to a special surprise that he can’t have. We first realized this would be a bit of an issue when going through the incredible “ABCs of Kindergarten” his even more incredible teacher put together for them. One of the many fantastic things she implements in her class is a program she calls “Kiss Your Brain.” Essentially, when the kids are caught being good little citizens they are awarded a coupon for a Hershey’s Kiss to redeem at the end of the day. I thought this was AWESOME, and was going to talk to her about sending something for our Bear to have as a substitute, but upon his reading this portion he simply got angry and decided he wanted no part. Of course after a bit of chatting it turned out the real problem was that he didn’t want to be left out and preferred to exclude himself. So in true Gnome style, these little beauties found their way into the envelope back to his teacher on the first day with a request that they be substituted should we be lucky enough for him to earn a few.


Chocolate “Smooches” made with melted vegan chocolate chips wrapped in aluminum foil and flagged with parchment inscribed with various encouraging statements in food writer marker.

The next step was making lunch a little more homey. We use lunch time as a fun time to learn and play together. It isn’t uncommon for us to have a meal themed around a favorite book, or play math games with our food. Additionally, Little Bear often needs quite a bit of prompting to finish any sort of meal, but gets uber touchy when hungry, so we certainly didn’t want him skimping on sustenance. So after searching the internet for fun lunch ideas, I’ve totally jumped on the bento lunch bandwagon!  I love it, between the finger food possibilities, the creative potential and the fact that the little man doesn’t have to get to “messy,” you know he hates that (!), I’m totally hooked – and so is he!


Little Bear’s All-Star Lunch for the first day of school.

His favorite was a giant math problem which I didn’t manage to get a picture of, but don’t worry, he LOVED it, so I may have to do something very similar soon. Each step of the problem gave a clue what to do next, and instructed him to eat something from the previous step, so he was using the food to build and solve an equation as he was “eating”… he’s been talking about it for days and requesting another round, the only problem was he was so busy doing the math, that he wasn’t bothering to eat. The next day he was gifted with this little tongue and cheek number:

IMG_0575Being that his main priority in kindergarten is to simply coexist and hopefully play well with others, rather than learning to read, write, etc., I’m having a particularly hard time with the fact that he isn’t really learning anything academic. So he’s also getting a few fun facts with little love letters in his pack each day. So far, he loves it and I love that I can still be an important part of his day. It cracks me up that he remembers the facts with flawless retention, but can’t remember what a single person said to him and anything else he’s learned during the day — we’re working on that. 🙂

So even though he’s on his own adventure for most of the day, I don’t feel like we’re without each other because I’m wondering about his response all day, and he’s getting little reminders that I’m thinking of him throughout the day. The best part? The time apart makes our time together sweeter… Which of course makes our adventures even better!

Speaking of adventures…. Stay tuned, we can’t wait to tell you about the best places to play in giant sand dunes, hang around with “wild” horses and donkeys, enjoy natural hot springs, get up close with exotic birds, visit fish in the desert, wander your way out of a labyrinth and we’ll even share our newest game for learning letter recognition… just to name a few of our crazy summer adventures!

Hope your summer and school year start have been as exciting as ours!

-Mommy Vegas and the Naptime Gnome

2 thoughts on “Back to School…

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