Another graduate

Friday, May 13, 2016

Just one blink of an eye and — BOOM! — we suddenly have another preschool graduate in our house. Clad in a white cap and gown, the Little Sis graduated from her pre-K program last Friday, and tears were shed, but not for the reason you might assume. Yes, my baby is no longer my baby, and it’s moments like these that harshly remind you of that fact.

No, the tears came because, unfortunately, I had to miss my little one’s major milestone because of a work trip that put me in Dallas when I really preferred to be sitting in an uncomfortable metal chair in the preschool’s gymnasium. It wasn’t the end of the world, of course, but it’s difficult as a parent when there are other obligations that force you to not be there for your kids.

I’ve been fortunate over the years because I’ve had such flexible work situations that allowed me to be there for everything else my kids (and/or The Husband and I) have deemed important — trunk or treat events, awards ceremonies, volunteering opportunities, etc. However, I’m in a position right now where I switched jobs recently, and with that job comes somewhat frequent travel (about 10 trips this year). Being such a new employee, I really didn’t feel like I could say, “Hey, so this first trip you need me to go on — but yeah, I think I’m going to bail on it.” If I were a longtime employee, I could see how it might have been easier to say such a thing, but as someone who is still new and learning the ropes, it just wasn’t in my best interest overall to do that.So I sat in a hotel conference room instead of at my baby’s graduation.

But, I chose not to focus on that end of things, and offered The Little Sis my support and excitement before I left, after I returned, and on the phone when I was gone. I had The Husband take plenty of videos during the ceremony, and I recruited some good friends to take some pictures for us. No, it wasn’t the same as actually being there myself, but I know better than to beat myself up about it. Long term, she’s unlikely to remember much about preschool graduation, let alone the fact that I wasn’t there in person.

In fact, now that I think about it more, given how terrible my memory is lately, give it another couple years and I myself will forget that I wasn’t actually there!


Stage kids

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Big Sis had her holiday dance show on the first Saturday of December, with each of the dance classes performing one song. For some reason, most of the classes did holiday/winter-related songs, but her teacher ended up choosing non-holiday songs for her classes. The Big Sis’s class did “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz.

Beforehand, she was so incredibly nervous that I had to promise her either ice skating downtown (at an outdoor rink) or pottery-painting (if bad weather) to give her something to look forward to afterward. Despite the nerves, she did a great job and was definitely proud of herself. The weather was rainy, so we spent the afternoon painting pottery and had fun together.

Unfortunately, The Big Sis’s school axed its music program, so there was no winter music performance this year.

The Little Sis’s daycare had its winter showcase last week, and her class was doing “Frosty the Snowman.” I thought that was an ambitious choice for three-year-olds, but they really were impressive, I thought. The Little Sis didn’t sing the words the whole time (though I know she knew them all), but she did keep up with the hand motions and such throughout. She had been slightly nervous beforehand — but mostly because she was afraid we’d leave the venue without her! We gave her our assurances that she wouldn’t be abandoned, and all was well.

Next up will be The Big Sis’s main dance recital in May.


What IS art?

Monday, November 10, 2014

One big pro of daycare for me is that it has allowed The Girls to do plenty of artwork. I am not an artsy or craftsy person by nature myself and, quite honestly, have little desire to do such projects at home in the time we spend together. (Though, for the record, I do suck it up every once in a while and do something really basic.) So, the fact that they get a chance to do this at daycare (and school for The Big Sis) is awesome. Three cheers for daycare!

However, one big con of daycare for me is all of the artwork (“artwork”) they come home with. At our last daycare, I thought I had finally figured out a pretty good system to determine what to keep and what to recycle. Basically anything with a handprint or a footprint was kept, as well as anything that showed a noticeable developmental progression. That way I was keeping a small selection of the good artwork but didn’t feel pressure to keep every little thing.

Then we switched daycares.

I swear the ONLY projects our new daycare does involve handprints and/or footprints! This is overall not a complaint, as they produce some nice kid artwork — much cuter projects than our last daycare — but it doesn’t help me pare down the volume of artwork that comes home if I continue with my previously successful system for what to keep and what to toss.

Thankfully the amount of artwork to come home has slowed down in elementary school, at least compared to daycare standards, so presumably there’s an endpoint to it within the next couple of years.


Switcharoo

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
We started out going to a small, sole-proprietor daycare with The Big Sis back in April 2007, then The Little Sis started going there when she began daycare in October 2011. Once The Big Sis was in school and needed after-school and summer care, we moved her to a daycare two blocks from our house that has both a daycare and an after-school/summer camp program. (Our original daycare does not offer programs for school-age kids, so keeping her there was not an option.) Ever since The Big Sis started at the new place, I’ve mulled over whether we should switch The Little Sis there too, as it would be incredibly convenient to have them both at the same place. But while there were some annoyances at the original daycare, it was not enough to make me want to uproot The Little Sis and cut our ties there — we had gotten to know the people at this daycare incredibly well, and we knew they liked us quite a bit too.

But ever since The Big Sis’s preschool teacher left, there has been a great amount of turnover in the preschool room at the original daycare, and I really wanted The Little Sis to have a good preschool environment so she gets as much as she can from those years, as she’ll be starting kindergarten as a newly turned 5-year-old and at a slight age disadvantage in that regard.

I kept thinking about it and finally decided to see if we could get a spot at The Big Sis’s daycare, as moving now would give The Little Sis two full years there, and hopefully give her some time to make some good friends there before going to kindergarten in 2016.

We had to wait a couple months, but we were told we would be able to get in once school was out, with The Little Sis’s first day on June 9. Telling our old daycare was hard, but we kept our withdrawal notice positive and didn’t want to leave on a bad note. We couldn’t tell The Little Sis too far in advance about switching, as she’s still only 2 and wouldn’t fully understand, so we finally starting talking about it more this past weekend.

Yesterday, our first day, was difficult. Very hard. She was scared and clingy and frowny and had silent tears in her eyes, poor girl. I knew she’d be fine, but I still emailed the director an hour into my work day asking her to check on The Little Sis. Not surprisingly, she said The Little Sis was doing fine, and she even emailed me an hour later and told me she’d gone in there again, and once again she was doing great, which was certainly a relief. We’ve never really had hard drop-offs with The Little Sis, so it was heartbreaking to see her so sad yesterday. We talked about her day last night, and talked about how she’d get to be brave again this morning. Last night, she was talking about going there just fine, but this morning her tune changed and she said she didn’t want to go there, and she didn’t want to make new friends. She was still sad and clingy and frowny at drop-off this morning, but it wasn’t quite as hard for me today because I knew she’d be fine once she got settled.

I know this is the best decision for us in many ways, but the transition part of it is challenging for sure. Give it a week or a month, and I’m sure she’ll be fine. So far I like the two teachers I’ve met (she has a third one too that I haven’t met). One teacher is one class away from her master’s in early education, and the other one does have her master’s. Between the two of them, I’m pretty sure they’ve exceeded the advanced education of all of the old daycare teachers combined. I think that was the problem with having so much turnover at the old place — I think the old daycare drew teachers that, while good with kids and with childcare experience, didn’t necessarily go into it as a career but more as a job, whereas my understanding is that the new place requires more education of their teachers (and I suspect they are compensated accordingly, helping keep turnover lower). Already she came home having learned a new song and a new way to count, so I look forward to seeing how things go over the next couple of years.


Gimme five

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the door of The Little Sis’ classroom for the month of November, there are cutouts of the kids’ handprints, and written on each finger are things that the kids are thankful for. I smiled when I read The Little Sis’:

  • Sissy
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • friends
  • baby dolls

To know The Little Sis is to know how much she loves her baby dolls. It’s not quite to the point of a comfort object that has to go with us everywhere, and I’m pretty sure she’d be able to sleep without them just fine, but boy doesn’t she love having them in her crib and sometimes playing with them at other times. So yes, if I could think of one other thing that The Little Sis is thankful for besides her family and friends, it would be her baby dolls. πŸ™‚


Picture not-perfect

Friday, November 2, 2012

We have perhaps the smiley-est, happiest baby in the world. It doesn’t take too many clicks to get a good picture of The Little Sis, dimples flashing to the world and radiating sunshine from every pore.

So I was excited when The Little Sis had daycare pictures a couple weeks ago. We put her in a cute little dress and the rest would take care of itself. Right? Right! Oh, wait, not so much.

Today was pickup day for the pictures. They showed me the selection of pictures. The lady said, “Oh, she must not have done very well, because there’s only two poses to look at. Usually they have three for each kid.”

Ruh-roh. That can’t be good. :-/

So I look at the two shots they did get. Maybe there was a good one in there. The first one was merely okay. Nothing close to a smile, but better than the second shot. The second one… How can I describe it? I almost wish I’d bought it just for you to see. Her eyes were starting to well up with tears, the corners of her mouth were starting to turn down oh-so-slightly, and her bottom lip was just starting to poke outward. I think I can tell exactly what happened approximately 0.3 seconds after this photo was taken — poor girl!

I did end up buying the first picture. I can’t say it’s one we’ll distribute to family and friends (there goes THAT plan of including it with Christmas cards), but I bought a copy mostly just as a keepsake for us.

And the even funnier part is that we just got back The Big Sis’ kindergarten school picture proof last week, and it’s just…okay. She’s smiling, at least, but she’s not smiling with her eyes, if that makes sense. I’m actually pretty surprised that they weren’t able to get a better one of her. Again, we’ll buy a small package just as a keepsake, but I can’t say that one will make the rounds with family and friends either. I have two girls who tend to be very photogenic, yet I didn’t get a good school pic out of either of them. I guess we hope for better next year.


Still here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Despite the enormous lack of posts, I’m still here, I promise! I would’ve thought that unemployment would have given me more time to write blog posts, but it turns out I was wrong in that regard. I did, however, get to enjoy three days a week of extra baby time, as well as a chance to get some other things done on her days at daycare. I’ve also gotten a chance to gain some extra time with The Big Sis after school, picking her up from the bus stop and helping her with her homework each afternoon and freeing up gobs of time in the evenings.

However, my stint as a pseudo stay-at-home mom will come to an end on Monday, as I’ve accepted a position working on a new venture with an established publication with several former co-workers. I’m looking forward to it, but secretly a little sad that I won’t have as much time with the girls anymore. However, mostly I’m thankful that unemployment was just six weeks long for me, and it’ll be nice to get back to regular paychecks.

I’ll probably continue to slack on posts throughout the rest of October (and during my final week off, though I do have several meetings related to work and unemployment that I have to attend, so it’s not like I’ll be twiddling thumbs), then I’ll attempt NoBloPoMo next month and hopefully get back on track. πŸ™‚


K is for kindergarten

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I’m writing this as the mom of a kindergartener. Say what? Yes, a kindergartener! We’re still learning the ropes — all of us — but I think we’re adjusting well so far.

We had orientation on the 13th, two days before the first day of school, and we were able to go and meet The Big Sis’ teacher. She said she has been teacher for 25 years and has been at this school for 13 years, so I’m happy that she’s established and (presumably) knows what she’s doing. Unfortunately we were unable to visit her classroom that day, as the kindergarteners are in portables this year (nice ones — with hallways, water fountains, and bathroom and everything), and they weren’t quite ready on orientation night. But we were able to see her classroom when we took her for the first day of school, and The Big Sis was most excited to find out there are two guinea pigs, three turtles, and some hermit crabs in her room. One of them is named Sparkle, but so far I haven’t been able to get the other names out of her.

That’s one of the things I notice that is different so far — we have to ask very direct, pointed questions to get anything out of her now. Really, if I think about it, she was somewhat like that before. However, whereas before I could corroborate information with her teachers and fill in the blanks after talking with them daily, that’s not really the case now. (And it’s really not cool to call or e-mail the teacher to ask the classroom pets’ names.) Thankfully, The Husband and I are Master Interrogators and generally get out of her the information we are seeking, but it can be exhausting sometimes.

The Husband drives her to school, and they just started using the car drop-off line (parents are allowed to walk kindergarteners to class the first few days, but not after that). Yesterday her assistant teacher met the class in the cafeteria (as she did last week), as it’s a long walk outside to the portables, but starting today, they had to walk to their classes all by themselves. I know she did fine, but The Big Sis was kind of nervous about it. It’s actually a pretty straight shot, through the school, out the back door, and following a single paved sidewalk to her portable (first one) right by the playground, but I can imagine that to her it feels like a much longer walk. (Side note: We often had portables in school, as every school I’ve ever attended has undergone renovation while I was there. But we never had paved sidewalks leading us there! Instead, we had gravel sidewalks. That ruined your shoes. Bah!)

She has several “specials” throughout the week, including P.E., art, music, Chinese, library, and computer. I’m excited to have her teach me some Chinese. And who knows — maybe she’ll be able to explain to me the point of Twitter. πŸ˜‰ The Big Sis will have homework soon, probably toward the end of the month or beginning of September. (They have ordered special folders that they’re waiting to receive.) I’m unclear on how often it will be (see also: trouble getting answers out of her), but she should have time to work on it at her after-school program.

Oh! The after-school program. We had two realistic options: 1). The program at her school. This was cheaper (by $10/week), didn’t require her to be transported anywhere off-site, and would allow her to get to know other kids at her school. However, their big drawback was that they are not open during any days school is not in session and we would need to arrange other care. Or 2). The program at a church two blocks from our house. This was more expensive and required them to pick her up and take her there, but they are open during most school holidays (except major ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), all breaks, and snow days. Chances are decent that The Husband or I could arrange to work from home on her holidays, breaks, and snow days, however, we didn’t want to be in a position of both of us needing to be at work and not having anyone to care for The Big Sis.

So, we ultimately chose the church program near our house, which also has the advantage of giving us priority for enrollment in their summer program, which is what I would like to look into for next summer. (Crazy to be thinking about next summer already when technically it’s still summer now.) At this after-school program, The Big Sis will get an afternoon snack, have a chance to at least begin her homework (which will be a huge help since our evening time is pretty limited, though we still plan to be involved and go over her homework with her ourselves, even if she’s already completed it), and will get time in either their gym or outdoor playground. On the days she’s there all day long (like this Friday for teacher professional development), I think they often try to do a field trip or something else different for the kids. There are kids from both her school (including a couple in her specific class) as well as from a nearby school (including one of her best friends from preschool), so hopefully it’ll be a good way to branch out socially for her.

We all have to get up earlier, and we’re just a week into it, of course, but so far we’re doing well on that front. At the moment, The Husband is dropping off and picking up The Big Sis, and I am in charge of dropping off and picking up The Little Sis. We’ll continue to do that and see how it works and tweak if needed, but so far that’s the arrangement that makes the most sense. There will be some times that we will need to change (like next week when The Husband is out of town — ACK!), but for the most part I think this should be our new routine. We have tossed around the idea of seeing about moving The Little Sis to the daycare portion of the church program (there have been a few things at our place that I’m currently not happy with, and I gather that their financials aren’t that stable), but we’re waiting a bit to see how we like it there. No need to rush a decision like that.


School daze

Friday, August 3, 2012

Add together a bum Internet connection at home all week with a busy work week and it equals no post for a while. I’ve had this one written for a week or so but hadn’t had a chance to post it yet.

*******

In general, I try to avoid conflict and (most of all) confrontation. As a result, I am an easy-going person about a lot of things (so as to avoid conflict and confrontation), and perhaps I let some things slide that other people might not. But we recently had a few things happen at daycare that really got under my skin and I felt it was necessary to speak with the director.

The first thing was when The Big Sis told me last week that half the class had to stay inside at afternoon playground time (with one of the teachers present, of course) because they were “being bad.” I don’t really care what they were doing — it is a state regulation that they get that playground time (unless there are extreme weather conditions). And you don’t think that the kids who were “being bad” NEED that physical outlet? Unacceptable. As I told the director, I would equate that to taking away her lunch for misbehavior. Not cool, preschool teachers. Not cool.

Next, there’s one teacher who used to be full time in the 2s/3s room who left to nanny, but now she’s back as a part-time floater with an oops on the way (#5) and a bad attitude to go along with it. The first thing was that The Husband said she was rolling her eyes at him at drop-off one morning whenever any of the kids (but one in particular) would go over to her to tell her something. Okay, on its own, that is probably not worth pulling the director aside, but two other things factored into it. The first is that I saw this teacher in two different rooms — at lunch in the baby room and at pick-up in the preschool room — and BOTH times she was devoting a large amount of time to texting. For probably six months now I’ve seen a memo to the teachers at the school reminding them that they are not allowed to text at ALL while on the job and that needs to be saved for their break time. In addition, this memo mentioned that a child had been hurt in one of the rooms and when the parent was trying to find out what happened, they went back to look at the video tape and discovered that the teacher was texting at the time it happened and very likely could have prevented it from happening. (That’s not guaranteed, of course, as plenty of injuries happen that can’t be prevented even with the greatest attention being paid, but it certainly can’t be prevented when the teacher is texting on the job.)

But the tipping point was this. The Big Sis is going through a daddy phase BIG time. (I was told the other day, “You’re a horrible mommy, and when I have kids, I’m going to be a FUN mommy, not like you!”) She rotates what blanket she takes to school, and she’s been so excited to take this blue afghan of The Husband’s, telling everyone it’s “my daddy’s blanket!” As I may have mentioned before, The Big Sis doesn’t nap anymore, so usually they have her just lie there quietly at naptime or read a book while the others nap. This floater was in there during the first part of nap, and The Big Sis told me in the saddest voice: “She said she was going to throw my daddy’s blanket in the trash if I didn’t go to sleep right then.” Um, no. Just NO. You do NOT tell my child that you’re going to throw away her cherished blanket. Or ANYthing she owns. (I later found out that she also regularly threatens to throw away the kids’ shoes if they don’t go to sleep. Sure, that’s not going to give a child anxiety or anything.)

The two conversations I had with the director were good; she took note of my concerns and said she would address them with the teachers, and I made sure to let The Big Sis know that she needs to tell me if any of this stuff happens again, or anything else that she just doesn’t feel is right. Sure, she has just three weeks left there, but I don’t want it to be an unhappy time for her. The director also asked me how I thought things were going in the preschool room since the lead teacher resigned in early June. I hadn’t planned to get into it, but since she asked, I told her that I felt like the discipline and punishment methods they tend to use are way too negative focused and could stand to be more positive-oriented (which, honestly, I felt was the case even before this teacher left, but it’s a big undertaking to get others to change their entire philosophy in this area, so I never bothered).

I pointed out that instead of rewarding good behavior, they’re constantly punishing bad behavior, and that just ends up feeding on itself. I used the example of adults at work. I said that if I were docked pay for every mistake I made, eventually I’d not necessarily work harder but certainly would develop a bad attitude about it. But if I were offered some kind of bonus for excellent work? Well, suddenly I might be willing to work a little harder to get that desired outcome. I really don’t expect anything to change, and it doesn’t really matter for The Big Sis in her final couple of weeks, but it would be nice to have that in place by the time The Little Sis is in the preschool room.


Congratulations, graduate!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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Changes ahead

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I found out two things earlier today that made me a little sad.

First, it looks like The Big Sis’ best friend and his little sister (in The Little Sis’ room) are going to be going to a different preschool, possibly as early as next month. We knew they’d be in different kindergartens in the fall since they live in a neighboring town, but I was hoping they’d keep the baby at the current daycare. I understand their reasons for (potentially) making this choice, but it just feels like we’ve had so many people moving away lately, so now we’re adding another to that list. Yeah, we can plan playdates and such, but they always seem to be superbusy and it’s really hard to pinpoint them on a day/time to get together, so I’m not all that optimistic about it happening going forward, but I know I’ll at least do my part. They have been going to daycare/school together since they were three months old, so the thought of not seeing them on an everyday basis makes me pout my lip.

But the other thing is that I heard today that The Big Sis’ main preschool teacher is going to be putting in her notice next week and will probably leave soon after graduation and the last field trip. This makes me very, very sad for many reasons. She is the best teacher The Big Sis has had there. She understands the behavior issue from a personal standpoint and is able to keep her (mostly) in line with a good amount of effort. She’s just a nice person to be around and we’re going to miss her. I’m also sad that The Little Sis won’t have a chance to be in her classroom down the road. The Big Sis was going to be out of her classroom in three months anyway, but now I’m a little concerned about behavior issues for the remaining time. And I really hope they don’t move this one floating teacher into the room permanently, as she and The Big Sis clash and butt heads big time. (I personally don’t care for her myself.) It never goes well when this teacher covers for breaks, so I can’t imagine the entire day would go well. But I don’t know the replacement plan, so perhaps I’m jumping too far ahead.

The coming months will mark a huge change for The Big Sis with the transition to kindergarten, and these added changes will certainly compound the stress felt by everyone. We have to really work with The Big Sis through all transitions, big and small, and so this means we’ll really have to be on our toes to remain proactive rather than reactive with her behavior.


She means it

Friday, March 23, 2012

I’ve been sitting on this post for about two months. It’s a difficult thing to write about, and I’ve had to let things sink in a bit, but I think I finally just need to hit the post button and move forward. I’ve made some updates, but this was generally left how I wrote it two months ago.

**********

I recently found out that there is a Mean Girl in The Big Sis’ preschool class.

To say I am not amused doesn’t quite cover it.

Now, what I know about the situation comes just from second-hand knowledge, as I’m not in the classroom long enough myself to observe what’s really going on. But from what I’m told, the Mean Girl has some anger issues and can really lash out when things don’t go her way, and she can have meltdowns on steroids. Sometimes when she’s in Mean Girl Mode, she pinches or pushes or kicks the other kids in the class.

Clearly her parents are at least partially at fault for letting this happen. Why can’t they just teach her how to behave properly? Actually, strike that — her parents probably don’t even care. Or they probably model this same kind of behavior for her and it’s no wonder she acts like this in the classroom. They need to tell her what to do and give her guidance so she shapes up and acts properly in a classroom setting.

I really, really want this Mean Girl to stay away from my daughter.

Except…well…it turns out this Mean Girl IS my daughter.

No one really talks about what it’s like to HAVE the Mean Girl. Everyone makes these assumptions that the parents don’t really care and just let it happen without making any effort to prevent it from happening in the first place. Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth in our situation. Every day is a struggle teach her proper behavior and appropriate coping techniques for her frustration, anger, and disappointment. Everything we do involves managing her transitions, her behavior, and her reactions to things.

In mid-January, we were called in to have a talk with The Preschool Teacher to discuss The Big Sis’ “behavior and anger issues.” If I’m being honest, I can’t say I was surprised; she is quite challenging at home, as well, and has been for a long time. Age three was basically a nightmare for us. I had been warned that it was a difficult year, but I think we were hit more so than many other parents. Ahead of our meeting with the teacher, I started thinking about things, really trying to get at the root of the problem.

And then it occurred to me — a light bulb went off and something clicked in my head. I strongly suspect there is a chance The Big Sis has ADHD. Like for real, not in that joking way that some people say. She doesn’t fit the inattention characteristic (in fact, I think in many ways she’s quite the opposite in that regard, with an incredible attention to detail and a great amount of focus when she’s engaged in an activity that she enjoys), but I think she certainly fits the hyperactive/impulsive version. For as long as I can remember, we’ve noted that she’s always on the go. She can’t sit still, even for reasonable periods of time for her age. She gets overly excited about things. She is very intense emotionally and often very sensitive, and tantrums are a bear; often they are way out of proportion to what is warranted for the situation. She interrupts all the time, again more than what I think is normal and expected for her age.

For the longest time I’ve been convinced that The Big Sis was just more spirited in personality than the other kids but still within the realm of normal, but I’ve observed many of her peers for a while now and I think much of her behavior is just outside what is normal for the age, even more than just having a spirited personality. Though she certainly has that, as well.

So we met with The Teacher in mid-January to basically touch base, compare stories about home and school to see what we’re each dealing with, and work on some strategies for dealing with her behavior. First thing we had already decided to do was to cut WAY back on TV. We had been very good about that for a long time, but then had become more lax about it, especially with The Little Sis’ arrival. So we instituted a system wherein she gets one gemstone per day for what we deem to be good, cooperative behavior. She doesn’t have to display perfect behavior 24/7, but basically if either of us feels like we need to yell at her at any point (which, side note, I HATE doing, but sometimes it’s the only way to get through to her), then she doesn’t get her stone. She may buy a TV show for 2 stones and a movie for 4 stones, so really at most she can watch about 2 hours of TV a week, assuming she has earned all of her stones. (She earns maybe four a week on average.) Every once in a while we’ll offer a bonus stone when we need a behavior incentive for certain occasions when she might normally have trouble controlling herself, like at birthday parties. We have noticed a great deal of improvement since instituting this system, so here’s hoping that continues. I figure it’s a win-win: Either she’s good and earns her much-desired reward while we also limit TV, or else she loses that privilege and is forced to find other productive things to occupy her time. She is better behaving when she is more active than passive, so this is crucial for us and something we should have enforced sooner, to be honest. It’s no wonder we are always on the go all the time — it’s how we have to keep her behavior in check. (Well, as much as that’s possible.)

Anyway, The Preschool Teacher confirmed my assessment that The Big Sis is fine when she’s engaged in an activity, whether an art project or helping sweep the floor. We have always felt like she does better when we’re on the go, and most of our issues seem to stem from inactivity or down time (or when we’ve finished doing something fun, despite the many efforts on our part to manage that transition). So The Preschool Teacher feels like there’s some element of her being bored in the classroom, which I tend to agree with. She knows all of the material they’re going over, so once she finishes the work, she becomes restless and trouble begins. And that’s not to say that “oh, my kid is soooooo advanced” or anything, but it really can’t be denied that she is experiencing boredom, and that’s when issues arise. The teachers are trying to combat this by keeping her as occupied as possible, especially when there’s down time, but they also have a classroom of other preschoolers to deal with, so trouble inevitably.

I mentioned my suspicion of ADHD to The Preschool Teacher, and while of course she wasn’t able to declare “yes, I think that’s it!” (nor would I expect or want her to), she did say that her adult son has it, in addition to her grandson, and she sees a lot of similarities among them. We shared some strategies we each find useful (as well as things that don’t work), and agreed to touch base regularly on this topic as it unfolds.

Basically as soon as I had my first realization about this, I began researching like mad, soaking in every bit of information I could find. I really do live by the “knowledge is power” thing, and this is something I had to do. And a strange thing happened. I began to feel a sense of calm inside — a sense of peace just knowing that it was the right path to pursue. Suddenly everything from the past couple of years began to make sense and I was able to see things through a slightly different perspective. Now, she very well may not actually have an ADHD diagnosis coming, but it cannot be disputed that behavior is an issue and we need to seek help for it. I planned to talk with The Big Sis’ pediatrician at her five-year-old checkup.

However, once we met with the teacher, I pretty much cast all the research aside while waiting for The Big Sis’ five-year-old well check. I think I needed to sit on this idea for a bit and let it just sink in some. It’s not a good thing to have to admit that your child might have a behavioral disorder. As much as I know it’s not our fault and as much as I know that we’re doing what we can to deal with it, it’s a difficult proposition to admit that it might be true. I know we’re good parents, but I’m afraid that other people who encounter her behavior deem us lousy parents for being unable to “control” our child. It’s easy to say who cares what they think, but no one wants that judgment made against them.

So we had The Big Sis’ pediatrician checkup in early February, and this was a concern that I brought up. A friend had recommended the Vanderbilt screening for ADHD, so I had filled that out prior to the appointment and took that with me. Now, The Big Sis can act a little reserved when she meets new people or is around people she doesn’t see very often. So I was a little afraid that I’d talk about all these issues with her behavior and there she’d sit like a perfect angel and he’d wonder what the heck I was talking about. “What, this sweet girl? Impossible!” Well, have no fear — she provided Exhibit A right then and there for him. Thankfully it didn’t come in the form of a tantrum (whew!), but rather with restlessness. While we talked, she would climb up on the exam table, sit for approximately 2.4 seconds, jump down, run around the perimeter of the room until she got back to the exam table, where she’d climb up again and repeat the whole thing. She did this probably 10 or 15 times as we talked, and I saw him notice her doing this; we shared a knowing look as if to say, “See? This is what I’m talking about!” It was a little frustrating at the time, but in hindsight it was a great illustration.

The Pediatrician said he thinks we’re moving in the right direction with this, and he recommended we meet with a psychologist to have a formal ADHD assessment done. He had me send him a list of in-network psychologists so he could recommend two or three for us to choose from (and hopefully some or all of it will be covered by insurance). I sent that list to him and I received an email with the recommendations, but I got nowhere with it because none of them would meet with a child her age, and two of them told me I’d have difficulty finding anyone who would do an ADHD evaluation before age 7 or 8. I understand the hesitation to do this, as much the behavior is developmentally appropriate for this age, to a degree. But the fact is that whether we get an evaluation or not, we still need help managing this behavior.

So I did some research and found some ADHD specialists at the local university. We have an appointment for a meeting with a LCSW as a starting point. He will not do an evaluation for ADHD until age 6, but we still need help here and perhaps he can set us in the right direction, especially need help from an actual M.D. We will meet with him on May 1.

I’m hesitant to put a label on this. I know ADHD is sometimes overdiagnosed (yet it is also a missed diagnosis in many cases, especially for girls). I also know how people perceive others with labels, and it’s hard to shake a label. Knowing that, however, it’s not really too upsetting to me at this point. Whether we receive this diagnosis or not, we will still be dealing with the same behavior, so we might as well seek out some guidance to help us manage it well, especially in light of the fact that The Big Sis starts school in less than four months. There are going to be many aspects of school that will be difficult for her to deal with, and we need methods in place to help her cope, especially if much of the first part of kindergarten ends up being a review of her preschool time, which is what I’ve heard from other parents who have kids who used to go to our preschool. As mentioned, The Big Sis has trouble with boredom, and I don’t want her to be bored and end up causing trouble and getting things off to a poor start and setting herself up for continued trouble.

I received another request from The Preschool Teacher to talk today. She asked how things were going for us at home (eh — some good days, some bad), and she informed me that things are probably worse than ever right now at school. [sigh] She is hitting and kicking her friends at even the smallest trigger and doesn’t back down. Most of the issue seems to be her reactions to when something doesn’t go her way, doesn’t go as she’d expected it to, or when her routine is altered. I’m at the point where I just don’t know what to do anymore. Clearly what we’re doing isn’t working, but I don’t know what will be effective. I’m just at a loss here.

In thinking about things further, I’m also wondering if oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is also something we’re dealing with. I know it can both stand alone or be present in conjunction with ADHD. In fact, our current challenges seem to be more ODD-heavy with a side of hyperactivity. She is usually cooperative with things she wants to do, but if she has to do something she don’t want to do, she fights it tooth and nail. She is defiant to both me and The Husband as well as to her teachers. Basically she has all of the symptoms listed in the link above except perhaps the last one.

So, she’s not a Mean Girl in the sense that you think of it with kids a little older, where sometimes girls will gang up on another girl and purposely exclude her — but I also don’t want it to head that direction, either. The fact is that right now she’s a Mean Girl because she doesn’t have socially accepted ways of dealing with her intense emotions, and her friends don’t react particularly well to that (understandably), and I want that to change. We need that to change. What makes me a little sad is the thought that other parents might have about The Big Sis and us — they may think that we don’t care, or that we are mean ourselves and she learns from her mean parents. But that’s not true at all. We care very much. We, in fact, have to manage most of The Big Sis’ reactions to things, whether beforehand with easing her transitions or afterwards with trying to get her to think logically and not nearly as emotionally. Would parents who don’t care really devote that much to it? Because I’ll tell you — it’s draining and exhausting. We have to be “on” at all times, ready for the next Bad Reaction or preparing her for What’s Coming Next, more so than other parents need to do for their children, I think.

Several people have asked me if I think The Little Sis’ presence is the reason for her behavior, but I really don’t think that’s the case. I mean, I think we’d be a bit naive to think there’s NO effect from that huge change in her life, but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem here, especially considering we’ve been dealing with this for way longer than the amount of time The Little Sis has been with us. In fact, I would almost argue that The Little Sis acts as a salve for her behavior at times…a place where she becomes more focused and centered. She acts out against her parents, her teachers, and her friends — but not her sister. About the worst offense so far with The Little Sis is when The Big Sis gets excited to see her and gets in her face too much and we have to remind her to give the baby some personal space.

So that’s that. We’re in waiting mode until our appointment in just over a month, and in the meantime we’re doing the best we can to manage all of this. I’m trying to remain positive that we’re going to get some useful help shortly and we’ll be on the road to better behavior. I have to think that, anyway, because the thought of this continuing as is, unchecked, is so incredibly daunting that I can’t let myself think that’s going to happen. We’ll get to a better place before long.

The good news is that she’s not like this all the time. In fact, most of the time she’s incredibly sweet, funny, polite, goofy, clever, active, healthy five-year-old and I love her with every cell in my body.


Well check that out

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Little Sis went in for her 6-month well check and came out of it with an RSV diagnosis.

Well, hrm, that’s not how it’s supposed to go.

She started with some very slight congestion and a very slight cough earlier in the week, but it wasn’t enough to even consider keeping her home from daycare and certainly not enough to consider taking her to the doctor for it. However, two of her classmates had been confirmed with RSV in the past week, so when I took The Little Sis for her 6-month checkup this morning, I requested an RSV test. Not too surprisingly, it did come back positive, so she was home today and will be home tomorrow.

So far it’s been mild, so hopefully that’ll continue to be the case, as I know this can get very serious in babies. (The Big Sis dealt with it twice, worse than this though thankfully not bad enough to have to be admitted to the hospital.) Good news is that The Little Sis’ ears looked great, and I hope that continues as well.

They still did the well check while we were there, and The Little Sis is looking great. She was 25 3/4 inches long (25th to 50th percentile) and 16 pounds and 9 ounces (50th to 75th percentile), and her head circumference was 16 3/4 inches (50th to 75th percentile).

She met all of her developmental milestone questions, which included:

*Can your baby roll over?
*Does your baby reach for objects?
*Does your baby turn his/her head to sound?
*Will your baby try to move a toy?
*Does your baby make vowel sounds?
*Does your baby recognize you?

We decided to postpone shots until she’s feeling better, so we’ll go back in two weeks for that.

She sure doesn’t look like she’s too sick, does she? This pic was taken right before we left for the doctor this morning.
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Loose ends

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It’s Friday night and it’s been a long week, therefore I don’t feel like writing coherently, at least not with transitions and such. I’m working on a bigger post, but for now this will have to do:

*The Little Sis had to stay home from daycare on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but she returned there today. Health-wise she seems to be back to normal. She’s still a little fussy, which just isn’t like her, but she’s improved each day. Unfortunately, this ear infection has messed with her sleeping big time, and it hasn’t helped that the (NEW) swing broke earlier this week. A replacement motor head is on its way from Fisher Price, but that doesn’t help us while we wait.

*Each day, The Little Sis is becoming more steady with sitting up, though she still can’t be trusted to sit there alone yet because it’s likely she’ll topple over in one direction or another at some point.

*The Big Sis’ drama class is going well, and she really seems to be enjoying it. I’m glad we decided to have her do it. It’s not something we can do very often since it does require that The Husband leave work early, but it’s nice to add to our rotation of classes. I think next up she’s going to do the Y’s “Little Chefs” class.

*I’ll probably get into this a little more with the bigger post I’m working on, but we have decided to severely limit The Big Sis’ exposure to TV, as it’s become quite clear that it negatively affects her behavior. She watched no TV before age 2, but once she broke her leg, we started letting her watch stuff, and it just got out of control once The Little Sis arrived and we needed occasional distractions for her. She now has an incentive system wherein she has to buy TV time. For each day, she has the opportunity to earn one gemstone (she picked amber), and we’ll have the choice to give her bonus stones for exceptionally good behavior. She can buy a TV show for 2 stones, or she can buy a movie for 4 stones. Her behavior is much improved since we cut back on TV a couple weeks ago, and I’m hoping that our incentive system will also teach her lessons about budgeting and saving in terms she can understand.

*The Big Sis has really gotten into painting with watercolors over the past few weeks. That’s the first thing she wants to do when she arrives at school each morning when they have free play before circle time.

*The Big Sis tends to be super grumpy when we have to go in and wake her up on school days. However, we have figured out the perfect solution to that: Wake up The Little Sis first and take her in The Big Sis’ room. It’s amazing how quickly her mood turns, and within seconds of some sister snuggle time she’s happy and ready to get up.

*The Big Sis has now asked for a new puppy. She wants a golden retriever. (Another one.) She wants it to be a girl. She wants to name it Marcia. I explained that The Little Sis is a lot of work right now, so we can consider getting one when both girls are old enough to help take care of a dog. I asked when she thought that was. She said when The Little Sis is 4 years old. I agreed…yes, we will consider another dog when The Little Sis is 4. Any chance she’ll forget by then? I’m not holding my breath.


Pumped

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I hate pumping. Hate it. I can think of many other unpleasant things I would rather do than pump, but I know it’s for a good cause, so I press on. My feelings on pumping intensified quite a bit on Monday when I returned to work and had to pump every three hours at the office. “This is stupid,” I thought. Our daycare has always been supportive of moms who want to come feed their infants, and my office is less than a half-mile from the daycare. I didn’t do that with The Big Sis because I was afraid of messing up her routine and upsetting her when I left. But it suddenly occurred to me: If I go feed her at lunch, that’s one pumping session I get to skip at work, and I am ALL about that. So I decided to give it a try on Tuesday, and it went just fine, so I’ve done it the rest of the week.

It’s also nice because now that I’m back at work, I don’t get as much one-on-one time with The Little Sis, so I enjoy visiting with her for an hour in the middle of the day. And a bonus: I get the behind-the-scenes scoop from the daycare directors who are in the room for the first part of my time there while covering the teachers for their lunch break, then I get to chat with the teachers when they get back. This is especially good because they leave right at 5 p.m., as do I, so I rarely get to cross paths with them and chat about how things are going, so this allows me that opportunity. (Side note: How in the world is it possible that The Little Sis is usually one of just two babies left in the baby room when I get there between 5:05 and 5:10? Am I the only one who works until 5? What do these other moms do that allows them to get their kid(s) well before then?)

The Little Sis has done well during her first week of daycare. They’ve gotten her to nap in the crib a couple of times — very short stints (less than half an hour each), but it’s more than she does at home. I’d like to attempt to move her to her crib over Thanksgiving weekend so if she has trouble sleeping, we don’t have to worry about getting up for work the next day. I’d also like to give her a little time to adjust to daycare and her new routine before adding on the new transition of sleeping in the crib instead of the swing. Anyway, they say she’s a good baby, very smiley, and generally agreeable.

Getting ready in the mornings has gone pretty well so far. There’s a lot to coordinate to make sure we all leave the house at the right time, but so far the key to success has been doing as much the night before as possible. That was true when it was just The Big Sis, and even more so now. In general, The Husband works on getting The Big Sis ready and I’m more in charge of The Little Sis, and we manage to make it work.

Evenings are a bit busy (though thankfully not chaotic) and we’re trying to find a routine that works for us at this point. The Little Sis may end up wanting to go to bed earlier than The Big Sis did as a baby, so we’re trying to figure out how to handle that and also getting dinner ready and eaten, baths taken, etc. We’ll just play around with it a bit until we find something that works best for all of us. Because of everything that needs to be done (and because I want a chance to catch up on my parenting board and FB), I’ve been getting to bed too late considering what time I have to get up — and I still haven’t incorporated exercise into my evening routine yet; I’m giving that a week or two while I figure out everything else first — but I constantly remind myself that evenings won’t always be so filled. We won’t always have to wash bottles, make bottles, pump, wash pump parts, etc., so that’ll free up some time at some point.

Until then, we’re doing a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best for us. No doubt once we figure it out, things will change and we’ll need to tweak it again. πŸ™‚


Someone was excited to start daycare yesterday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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First day of work was yesterday, and it went well — no tears! It was a press day, so it was busy, but not TOO busy, so I was able to find my footing a bit. I’d better figure it out soon since I have to work all weekend on our biggest issue of the year. I won’t have two days off in a row for two weeks. Ack. Couldn’t have had that baby on time and missed that issue, could I?? πŸ˜‰

I am told The Little Sis did well yesterday, so it appears that we all survived intact. She was in a good mood when we came home and handed out candy (The Husband took The Big Sis trick or treating with a school friend), then I put her to bed a little earlier than usual since she was pretty tired (understandably).

All in all, I would say: success! I can tell things are going to be crazy hectic getting everything done in the evenings (well, and in the mornings, for that matter), especially while I’m still nursing and pumping, but I just remind myself that it’s just for a short amount of time. We made it through all this once, and we’ll do it again just fine.

(And so begins NaBloPoMo.)


…must come to an end

Sunday, October 30, 2011

With my return to work set for tomorrow, I’ve had a lot of people ask how I feel about it. I’ve described my thoughts here, but I came up with a better way to explain it. For me it’s sort of like going to the grocery store. It’s something I don’t necessarily want to do (though generally don’t mind it), but there’s no sense in complaining about it because it’s something that has to be done. Oh, and there’s plenty of list-making that needs to be completed before I do it! πŸ™‚

So that is it; I will return to work tomorrow. It has been a great leave, and for that I am very thankful.

I’m going to attempt NaBloPoMo again in November, though I warn ahead of time that some days may just be a picture that’s posted as we make this transition back to two working parents.


This and that

Thursday, September 22, 2011

*We finally turned a corner with breastfeeding around four weeks, and things became greatly easier after that. The main thing was that my nipples were no longer nearly as sensitive, so feedings weren’t the torture they were before. I’m very glad we stuck with it and finally reached the point at which it’s much easier.

*The Little Sis slept for 8 consecutive hours last night (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.), and 8.5 hours the night before (9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.). I secretly love her just a tiny bit more for this. Now, granted, she’s still sleeping in the swing at night (and in my arms for naps — putting her down only serves to wake up her), so we’re not quite where we ultimately need to be with sleep, but we’ll get there.

*For a while I’ve suspected something was off with my pump, as I wasn’t getting nearly as much milk as I did last time. I began to think that maybe I just didn’t have an oversupply this time around, but then the suction started feeling less strong (though I questioned myself on that). When the rhythmic sucking of the pump starting having some “hiccups,” I knew something was off. However, not really knowing if that was the problem, I wasn’t too keen on dropping another $300 on a new pump. (Side note: It’s a shame that most insurance companies do not cover pumps as a medical expense unless the baby is premature. I suppose I have the choice to feed her formula, and I allegedly have the choice not to work, I guess, but it seems like insurance companies would be all over it considering all of the known health benefits of breast milk. Even just avoiding one or two trips to the doctor could pay for the pump on their end.) Thankfully a girl on my parenting board came to the rescue and offered to let me have her pump for just the cost of shipping it to me. I received it yesterday and I’ve used it only a couple times so far, but the output has been much better. (For example, I got about 2-3 ounces in a five-minute test after I’d been feeding The Little Sis all day long, compared to getting less than half an ounce yesterday morning when I was super full after not having fed her or pumped for about 6 hours.)

*I confirmed with The Daycare Director yesterday that we will indeed have a spot for The Little Sis when I return to work on Halloween. I was a little nervous about the timing of it and not having a space despite being assured that would be the case, so I’m relieved to find out all is well with that. Another younger sibling of a former student (he’s in kindergarten now) will also be starting on the same day. That will make at least four of the eight babies in the class younger siblings of current or former students. (Interestingly, all of them are girls.) No wonder it’s sometimes impossible to get into a daycare and they frequently maintain long waiting lists.

*I’m really enjoying my leave much more this time around. Not that I didn’t enjoy it with The Big Sis, but I remember being under a lot of stress and just counting the minutes until The Husband got home some days. I’m not sure if it’s the difference in baby or the difference in me — maybe both — but I’ve not really had any of those moments. I think I also feel less isolated from society this time around since I’m able to sit in the recliner in front of the laptop and keep in touch with the world via Facebook when I’m nursing. Last time I felt like a pretty boring person since all I had to talk about was baby poop and spit-up and other related things, but Facebook has allowed me to converse with a variety of actual adult humans, so I feel like my brain isn’t turning to mush. (Well, not any more mushy than Facebook itself makes it.)


So much to say…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

…but so little time to write it out!

One definite difference between having one child and having two: With The Husband and I splitting baby duties, there is occasional non-baby time for each of us, but now that time has to be devoted to The Big Sis (as opposed to chores, rest, or computer time, for example).

Anyway, some random bullet-point notes:

*I haven’t taken pics yet to compare (but will soon), but I am fairly certain my belly is already down to its pre-pregnancy size just a week post-partum. As of this morning, I was about 2.5 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. Now, I haven’t tried on pants yet (yoga pants are just fine right now, thankyouverymuch), but I’ll certainly take it!

*Nursing has gone so much better since my last post. She gets her latch on the first or second time, and my nipples are sensitive, but no longer cracked and bleeding.

*The Big Sis has adjusted well so far. She was a little resistant to our baby rules on the first day they met, but ever since then, she has respected the rules and all has gone well. I know we’ll have some bumps in the road along the way, but so far so good. She is immensely helpful, so I’m already appreciating the 4 1/2-year age difference.

*My dad did end up coming to meet The Little Sis in the hospital, and both my parents came to our house to visit on Saturday. I am very glad they changed their minds about coming.

*The Little Sis is just perfect. She has filled in that missing hole in our family; she has completed our family puzzle. In a weird way, it’s almost as though she’s always been with us, as it seems strange to think of life without her — even though she’s been here with us just a week.

*The infertility scars are still there — and maybe always will be in some form — but they are much less obvious now. We’re only a week in, but she was definitely worth everything we went through. (Though I have whispered to her: “Hey, kid, you cost us a LOT of money!” πŸ˜‰ )

*The Husband was able to take off all last week to be home with us, which helped tremendously. With The Big Sis, he had to return to work the day after we came home from the hospital.

*I’ve got so many pics I want to post, but so far haven’t had time to get them ready to post. I’ll try to get some more up soon.

*I’ve almost got my birth story written out and hope to get it posted sometime this week maybe. It’s quite long and extensive, but there are a lot of things I don’t want to forget about the experience.

*The Little Sis still looks exactly like The Big Sis did at this stage. I know that’ll change at some point, but for now, it’s a bit eerie.

*This week I’m on my own with The Little Sis for the first time. (Well, all day, at least.) We still plan to have The Big Sis go to preschool every day, though occasionally we may have a day here and there that we keep her home for extra bonding time.

*Posts may be bulleted like this for a while, but I’ll do my best to post when I can. πŸ™‚ Bulleted posts are better than no posts!


A whole new world

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve given an update just on Baby B, so I’ll focus today’s post on her.

*You know how dogs sometimes do this crazy run around the house, running at full speed from wall to wall for a few minutes just before settling down for some rest or sleep? (Well, our dog does that, at least. I can’t speak for all dogs.) Baby B has taken to doing this, as well, usually when she’s naked before a bath or before putting on her pajamas at night. As she runs at top speed from one end of the house to the other, she always proclaims, “I have to get my energy!” I’m working on breaking it to her that she means to say, “I have to get my energy OUT,” but it’s kind of cute that she thinks that’s how she gets her energy, by running around like that.

*Baby B has shown some signs lately of not wanting to be alone. For example, I’ll tell her that she can play on her new swingset in the backyard while I’m getting some things done around the house, and sometimes she’ll go out there without a problem, but sometimes she says she’s scared. I ask her why, and she always says eagerly (not in a scared way), “Because of the tornado!” Naturally, no amount of explaining tornado conditions — and why a tornado is very unlikely with a perfectly sunny sky — seem to settle down her imagination. (Generally we come up with some sort of compromise, that if she will go out there for five minutes, then one of us will come out there to spend time with her.) We are also working to make it so The Husband doesn’t have to stay in her room with her until she falls asleep at bedtime since she says she’s scared with one of us in there. Now, if staying in there involved 15 minutes of our time, no problem, but it takes two hours or more. It’s definitely a fine line between giving your child the comfort and reassurance they need and making sure these master manipulators don’t play you for a fool.

*Baby B is enjoying her new swingset and has really mastered getting herself started and pumping her legs to continue swinging without need us there for that. For whatever reason, this is something she couldn’t quite get on park swings, so it’s nice to see some development in that area. At parks, though, she still prefers the bucket swings because we’re able to push her super high, which just isn’t possible on regular swings without the fear of us pushing her out of her swing onto the ground. (And yes, that has happened. Multiple times.)

*The Husband has started to introduce Baby B to non-princess Disney movies such as The Sword in the Stone, The Black Cauldron, and Pete’s Dragon. Although they don’t have nearly the production quality that current movies have, that hasn’t bothered Baby B one bit and she’s enjoyed all of them — and has enjoyed asking all the new questions that arise.

*Speaking of movies, she was asking me about magic, like the kind that happens in movies. “Like in Shrek when Fiona turns into a yogurt.” “An ogre?” I clarified. “No, a yogurt.”

*Baby B is quite familiar with Disney songs, so I wasn’t surprised when she started singing along with “A Whole New World” from Aladdin when it came on during dinner last week. What did surprise me was when she started doing choreographed hand motions to the song. I thought, “Why in the world does she know something like that?” Then it dawned on me. Her class is preparing to do the preschool graduation program at the end of the month. I asked her, “Are you all doing that song for the preschool graduation?” She said they were. Listening to the lyrics in that context, I immediately started tearing up. And my kid isn’t even graduating from preschool this year!! I’m going to lose it next year, it seems! A whole new world indeed.

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here
It’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Now I’m in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don’t you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath – it gets better
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I’ll chase them anywhere
There’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That’s where we’ll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me


Telling

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Had a very bad day of sickness yesterday. Like, I probably threw up 20 times throughout the day. Today has been better than yesterday, but still very unsettled most of the day. I am ready to move beyond this part, thankyouverymuch.

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Most people who play it cautious in telling people The Big News seem to do it by about 13 or 14 weeks (if not sooner). But aside from the handful of real-life friends who read this blog, we have not told anyone else, including any family members, work, and certainly not the “general public” on Facebook. And we don’t have plans to anytime soon.

Here’s my thinking.

For my own peace of mind, I’d really like to know that everything looks good developmentally at the 20-week ultrasound. I know the chances are very good that things are fine, but I want to make sure.

They say you show sooner with subsequent children, but I should note that I am not showing at all right now. Even if I lie down (thus allowing gravity to wipe away the pre-pregnancy stomach rolls I began with, I still have no pooch. I am still easily in my regular pants at the moment, and I have expanded my wardrobe to include a few non-obvious maternity shirts, but not out of necessity. Last time I wasn’t visibly pregnant until about 29 weeks, so I think I can get away without telling others until 20 weeks. That’s only slightly more than 6 weeks away, which isn’t that long in the scheme of things.

But further, we would like to find out the gender if we’re able to, and I would like to have that information available when we tell Baby B the news. She has made it very clear that she wants ONLY a sister (even though she doesn’t know I’m expecting). I randomly try to talk up brothers, but so far it’s a no go. So I don’t want to tell her the general news, then have a period of time where she has hope that it’s a girl and it turns out to be a boy. A couple people have told me, “She’s a kid, she needs to learn to get over disappointment.” And I agree in general, but I really don’t want to have to deal with it in this area. We have to pick our battles, and this is a battle I choose not to fight unless necessary. I think Baby B is at an age where she deserves to be the next one told, and I’m afraid if we start telling other people, someone is going to slip up and accidentally tell her (even if we mention she doesn’t know), and I definitely think we need to be the ones to do that, so that means we wait to tell others until after she’s been told.

I think I also hesitate to tell people because suddenly that makes things much more real — and feels like even more is at stake. And truthfully, I like this time where it’s just our secret. We kept the torment of infertility to ourselves (by choice) when going through it, so now it feels good to keep the reward a secret for now. (Several people have asked me if we plan to tell others what we went through to get here. I suspect it’ll be among the first things out of my mouth at times. I really don’t care who knows after the fact. I just didn’t want the added pressure of people knowing while we were in the throes of it, feeling like we were disappointing not just ourselves but others as well.)

So for now we continue to keep it quiet, and if it starts to become obvious I’m pregnant or I change my mind for any reason, we’ll re-evaluate the plan. It’s kind of a fun challenge right now, to see if I can get away with it. If I can get away with puking in the work bathroom multiple times a day, then nearly anything is possible.

(I should note that The Husband did tell the daycare director last week, because I was starting to get worried about getting a spot when we need it, probably come November. I know waiting lists can be ridiculous and I didn’t want to miss out because there are just eight infant spots — and I know of at least two other moms there due before me [and thus likely to need spots]. As of right now, we are basically assured of getting a spot when we need it, as we’ll pretty much be automatically at the top of the list with another child already enrolled. Hopefully that continues to be the case, because I really don’t want to be scrambling for temporary childcare during the last of my maternity leave. Anyway, the daycare director does know, but The Husband made her promise she wouldn’t tell any of the teachers, who most certainly would spread the information among themselves. And no doubt it would easily get back to Baby B.)


McMarketing genius

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yesterday at preschool, there was a note on the activity summary board explaining that the class had talked about restaurants and menus that day. Part of this discussion included a poll of the kids’ favorite restaurants, which McDonald’s won by a landslide. Knowing that Baby B has never eaten at McDonald’s, I asked The Teacher out of curiosity what she’d said was her favorite, but she couldn’t remember right away.

In the car, I said, “I heard you were talking about restaurants at school today. What did you say is your favorite restaurant?”

She pondered for a bit, then proclaimed confidently: “Old McDonald’s!”

Incidentally, the McDonald’s people are GENIUS if they can convince a kid who has never even been there that McDonald’s is her favorite restaurant!

(Her correct answer, for the record, would be Arby’s. We struggle with fast-food restaurants, which are often a necessity for us when on the road, because she’s picky and won’t eat things like chicken nuggets, burgers, or other typical fast-food fare. Put a regular roast beef sandwich in front of her, though, and she goes to town. So if we have to do fast food, Arby’s is typically the first choice.)


Do your homework

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I have to say, I was a little unsure about this preschool homework business when I first heard about it. I could see the many advantages, but a small part of me wondered if it was too much for her age. There would be plenty of time for homework when she began school for real…no need to load her down now.

Now that we’ve been into it for about a month and a half, I can say that I think it’s truly a good thing with no drawbacks. So far each bit of weekly homework has three worksheets: practicing writing the letter of the week, some sort of simple number activity, and a page where they color objects that are the color of the week. It helps reinforce the lessons they are learning at preschool — and helps keep us in the loop regarding what they are learning. It takes maybe 10 or 15 minutes tops, so there’s not a huge time commitment involved.

But best of all? Baby B has begun to look forward to when it’s homework day. When she was home sick with me yesterday, she was actually disappointed that it was only Monday and not yet homework day (Wednesday). So I printed out a worksheet to help her practice writing one of the letters in her first name that she has a little bit of trouble with. This morning at breakfast, she asked The Husband if she could do homework. Recently she has started to ask to pretend-play school, not with her as the teacher as you might suspect but with her as the student because she wants to do worksheets.

I know none of this is a predictor of a future love of learning and school, but I’m glad to see it’s a step in the right direction. Baby B has always loved to learn (like most kids), but learning in a more structured way, like in school, is a different beast — one that some children thrive under (me) and other children outright reject (my sister). I hope she can find a way to enjoy the kind of learning that school has to offer all throughout her academic career.


The good (not the bad or the ugly)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It’s not all doom and gloom in our household, despite the fertility and miscarriage challenges and the typical threenager issues (which we’ve mostly had a reprieve from over the past week or so).

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Baby B moved to the preschool room at daycare about a month ago (easiest transition of them all!), but they began the official preschool school-year curriculum on Monday. There has always been some sort of curriculum at the school, even in the infant room, but this seems like a more intensive curriculum, and I’m curious to see what kinds of things they will cover. Baby B will be in this room for the next two years, until she begins kindergarten in 2012.

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After a little bit of a rest, we have lots of fun plans coming up! We are planning a return trip to the State Fair either this Saturday or next (depends on the weather). We will take Baby B to her first circus on August 27. We were hoping to take her last year, but we were in Denver during the weekend that it came to town. And after our great success with Kings Island and the fact that I can again ride the rides, we’re pretty sure we’re going to go to Cedar Point amusement park over Labor Day weekend.

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Being in the preschool room, we’ve already begun the barrage of birthday party invites. We’d gotten a few here and there from classmates in the past, but it seems as though in the preschool room, everyone invites everyone in the class. (That may be an official rule, but I don’t know yet.) We attended two birthday parties on Saturday (thankfully an hour apart and at the same place), and despite my dread over going, I’m glad we went. I’m just not much for small talk with other parents, but it turned out being pretty fun.

After attending the parties, I still have no real desire to do a huge kid birthday party for Baby B, but I’m at least more open to the idea than I was before. It would have to be at a kid-friendly location (bounce place, etc.) since our house is small and I do not want to play social director for preschoolers, but man those types of parties can cost a lot of money!! At least no decisions need to be made now.

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For well over 2 1/2 years, The Husband has been the preferred parent of Baby B. I don’t know what changed over the last week or two, but something happened and now she’s showing signs of preferring me. (Maybe that’s also why it feels like we’ve had a little reprieve from the threenager stuff. We’re not butting heads because she’s too busy trying to caress mine.) I’ll admit, in a way it’s nice that she’s showing me such attention after such a long spell of often actively trying to exclude me, but honestly I just have no idea what to do with it since it’s not been our norm.


Transitions and travel

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Baby B has two more days in the 2s/3s room officially, then she moves to the preschool room, where she’ll remain until she begins kindergarten in the fall of 2012. However, she’s spent the better part of this week in the preschool room during her transition time, and I am told it is going well. I finally had a chance to meet the primary preschool teacher and chat with her a bit, and she said Baby B is doing great. She said Baby B has come into the room, participates in circle time and other activities, listens to instructions, gets along with the other kids, and generally just has a good time there. Here’s hoping the actual switch goes as smoothly as the transition time has.

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In a few hours, I will be heading to the airport to fly to Milwaukee to spend the holiday weekend with one of my good friends. This is a trip I will be making alone, without The Husband and Baby B. I finally gave Baby B a heads up yesterday that I’ll be leaving for the weekend and played up all the fun she’ll have at home, but she still got upset and cried a bit. It’s not as much that she’s going to miss me, per se, but more that she wants to go too. I kept saying, “Yeah, I wish you could go too!” and she eventually calmed down.

So when she left for daycare this morning, it was the last time I’ll see her until she and The Husband pick me up on Sunday afternoon, and after her reaction yesterday, I didn’t want to make it a big goodbye that was going to upset her further. So I got some extra hugs and told her I’d talk to her on the phone tonight, but didn’t make a big deal about the fact that I’m leaving.

I know The Husband will do just fine in my absence, but I have to admit that the timing on this trip is good (for me, maybe not for him). Baby B has been acting like a typical three-year-old, hitting all the high points of tantrums, aggression when she doesn’t get what she wants, not listening, and testing every boundary possible, and I feel like my patience for it is at an all-time low. Bedtimes are nearly impossible and we’re lucky if she’s settled in her room by 10 p.m., which does not give her much sleep since she has to be up at 6:30 a.m.Β  Let’s just hope The Husband is mostly sane when I return.

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We leave for our Florida trip a week from tomorrow. I cannot wait.


Appreciation

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We received notice yesterday that Baby B’s secondary teacher in the 2s/3s room quit, effective immediately. (Sorry, she “resigned.” I guess that makes it sound better.) A teacher who has been a floater there for a few months has been chosen as her replacement.

Teacher appreciation day at our center is on Wednesday. So now we get to give a gift to this new teacher whom Baby B will have had for two full days. And even better? Baby B’s last day in the classroom is Friday, as she’s being moved to the preschool room after the holiday weekend. So she will have this teacher for a grand total of five days, and even less because I’m sure she’ll spend a good part of her remaining days transitioning in the preschool room.

I know we’re not obligated to give her the gift (an Amazon gift card)Β  we’d already purchased for the teacher who quit, but I’d really feel like a jerk for giving the primary teacher a good gift and the new teacher a lesser, lame gift. (Besides which, I go out of town in 2 days and don’t really have time to go out and get something new.) Really, I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it were just that she was new. That happened back in December, when the secondary teacher started working there about a week before Christmas and we had to give her a Christmas present. It’s more the fact that Baby B is only in that classroom this week and then she won’t be under the care of that teacher anymore. I guess we’re really showing her our appreciation for this week-long stint as Baby B’s teacher.


Snapshots in time

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Scene: I’m in the kitchen getting dinner ready. Baby B has been playing outside in the backyard with The Dog.

She peeks her head inside. “Hey, Mom.” She’s been testing out calling me Mom lately, as opposed to Mommy. “Mom, I’m going to be outside pretending to be an old lady.”

“Okay!” I respond as she runs back out the door. But inside think, “Um, WHAT?!” I later tried to ask her what “pretending to be an old lady” consisted of, but she couldn’t come up with anything concrete.

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Baby B took a baby doll pacifier over to The Dog and opened his mouth, then put the pacifier inside, saying she was putting medicine in his mouth. I reminded her not to put too much medicine in his mouth or else it would hurt his belly. With a tone that came across as “you’re idiotic, Mom,” she said, “No, it’s just pretend medicine. It’s not real.” I still reminded her that maybe we shouldn’t give him too much pretend medicine either. She said, “Well, I have to because he’s been burping a lot. And that’s why he’s so crazy. So if he has all this medicine, then he won’t be so crazy.” Hrm, I wonder if it’ll help with his alleged burping issue too.

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Even though we still have two more classes left, Baby B received her certificate for completing the Pike swimming class at the Y. Baby B has really enjoyed the class, and she’s done well with her skills, though they are recommending that she do the Pike class again next time instead of moving on to Eel (advanced beginner). While I know this makes sense and I was expecting that for sure — she’s at the lower age range of the class, which is for 3- to 5-year-olds, and thus still has some physical maturity she needs to reach before moving on — there’s still something kind of deflating about hearing that your child should repeat a class. But, no worries. After watching these swim classes, we are able to see what some of her strengths and weaknesses are, and now we have all summer to practice those things on our own in a fun, relaxed environment. I think we’ll see what kind of progress she can make this summer with us, then plan for her to do the Pike class again in the fall or winter.

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Yesterday morning I went into daycare to help out with picture day since the teachers said that’s typically a pretty chaotic day. I was able to read the kids three books at circle time, and then I played with various groups of kids while waiting for the photographer to arrive. At one point, three or four of the kids had come over to me sitting on the floor, pretending to cut and style my hair. (No scissors were present for this!) The funny part, though, was that later in the day, my part-time proofreader came in the office and said, “Did you get your hair cut?” I said, “No, it’s been about a month.” Then I laughed and said, “Oh! I had some three-year-olds ‘cut’ and style my hair this morning. Maybe that’s what you’re noticing.”

On a related note, I have no idea how daycare teachers do it day in and day out, and usually for such little pay. I was drained from just my hour and a half there. I almost think it should be a requirement for each parent to spend a half day or a full day in the classroom with the teachers each year so they can see what the teachers have to put up with each day.


Brain dump

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just some updates/follow-ups from recent posts:

*I’m not ready to declare bedtime issues solved quite yet, but the past three nights have been MUCH better in that department. On Friday night, she came out of her room twice, both to ask for legitimate things (including socks since her feet were cold). Saturday night she went to sleep while The Husband was still in her room. (We thought she was getting sick, but at least as of this morning, she seems to have fought it off.) Then last night, she didn’t leave her room once. Since I couldn’t see her on the video monitor, I took a peek a little while later, after I knew she was asleep, and found her sleeping on the floor at the foot of her bed, right next to The Dog. This was the first night in probably a couple months (at least) that she hasn’t left her room at least once. We’ll continue to take our same approach and hopefully it’ll reinforce her boundaries, though I have no doubts that she’ll continue to test them.

*Big Buddy’s last day at daycare was on Wednesday, and I was glad to see her that evening when I picked up Baby B. I sat down on the floor and she sat in my lap, and I just wrapped my arms around her and held her tight. I stayed probably 15 minutes, then when it was time to go, Big Buddy didn’t want to get off my lap or let me get up, then she started clinging to my legs to keep me from walking to the door, which made me start tearing up a little. We’ll miss her.

*Looks like we’ve got another trip planned, this time for Memorial Day weekend in St. Louis. I’ve only driven through St. Louis once, so I’m looking forward to the chance to see and do some of what the city has to offer. I love playing tourist.

*At least in our presence, we haven’t had problems with Baby B using foul language learned from Potty Mouth. I’ve not been told of anything by her teachers, either, so here’s hoping that issue is on the back burner for now.

*Less than two weeks until my half marathon. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Bring it on.


What a doll!

Monday, March 8, 2010

This week is Big Buddy’s last week at daycare, so we finally broke the news to Baby B. She took it well, though I’m sure she doesn’t fully understand the finality of the situation and that it means she will not be seeing her best friend every day as she does now.

In order to ease the transition (and also give Big Buddy a going-away present from Baby B), I bought two bath baby dolls — exactly the same except for the colors they are wearing. I let Baby B pick which doll she wanted (yellow clothes) and Big Buddy gets the other one (purple). I told her that each of them would have a baby doll, and when she sees her doll, she can think of Big Buddy, and when Big Buddy sees her doll, she can think of Baby B.

Baby B smothered her baby doll — whom she named Baby [Big Buddy] — with love and attention this weekend, and I can only hope that continues and Big Buddy does the same with her doll. I know that for adults it’s nice to have a tangible reminder of someone who is important to you, so I hope this helps both of them.

I also wrote a nice note to her mom and offered up our e-mail address in case she would like to keep in contact and swap updates of the girls. I honestly don’t expect her to follow through — I’ve never gotten a good social vibe from her mom when we’ve been together, and holding a conversation with her is like pulling teeth — but at least I put it out there and I won’t later wish I’d done it.

We’ll miss you, Big Buddy! Hope your new friends enjoy playing with you as much as Baby B has!


You’ve got a friend

Monday, March 1, 2010

β€œIf you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

–Winnie the Pooh

Back in August, Baby B’s triumvirate was broken up when her friend Curly switched to another daycare, but she still had her BFF Big Buddy in class with her. If they are both at school, they are basically inseparable. They swish their dresses together. They like to cook in the play kitchen together. They like to try to convince The Husband that he’s actually a girl together. Baby B has fun with Big Buddy in a way that is unlike the relationships she has with the other kids in her class.

So it can be understood why, upon hearing the news of Big Buddy’s upcoming departure, I felt like my heart had been deflated and then crumpled up. It turns out her parents have divorced, and her mom really has no one left here, so she’s finally sold her house and is returning to Chicago to be closer to her family. I certainly understand the reasoning there, but I’m so sad for Baby B losing this great friend.

I know they probably would have parted ways anyway in a few years when they both started school since we did not live in the same school district, and perhaps it’s better that it happens now when it’ll most likely be easier for Baby B. Kids are so adaptable and at this age they make friends quite easily, but it’s a shame to see their special bond come to an end.


Bitch session

Friday, February 19, 2010

So I was surprised to have this conversation with the kids at daycare yesterday:

Short-Haired Girl: “[Potty Mouth] said BITCH!”

Me: Excuse me?”

Short-Haired Girl: “[Potty Mouth] said bitch.”

Potty Mouth: “Bitch.”

Teacher: “[Potty Mouth], we don’t say words like that.”

Me (to Short-Haired Girl and Baby B, keeping low key and not making a big deal about it): “When she says words like that that aren’t very nice, just don’t pay attention. Pretend she didn’t even say it.”

Potty Mouth: “Bitch.”

Short-Haired Girl: “She said bitch.”

Baby B: “[Potty Mouth] said bitch.”

Short-Haired Girl’s Grandmother (totally freaking out): “You do NOT say that word! That is a nasty word!! And we never say it!!”

[sigh]Β  So much for trying to take the low-key approach. I was trying not to bring any more attention to the word by freaking out about it, as kids tend to test boundaries more when they find something that pushes your buttons, but obviously Grandma here didn’t get that memo.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had issues with Potty Mouth. She’s also the one who taught the class to say, “Shut up!” and other rude interjections. She’s a constant biter and hitter. Now, as background, she comes from a foster family home, and I’m told that her family of origin was not a good situation, but how long do we keep excusing her behavior because of her background, and at what point should she (and her foster family) be responsible for her actions and words? That’s a tough call, as I know firsthand what it’s like to be the parent of a biter, and I know that it’s not always something you can control no matter how much you work on it with them. I’m definitely one to give the benefit of the doubt, but my patience is wearing thin with Potty Mouth.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that Potty Mouth shut Baby B’s fingers in the door to the potty room yesterday right after I got there (before the “bitch” conversation)? She should not have had her fingers there (which hopefully she’s learned), but Potty Mouth should also not shut fingers in doors. We told Baby B that it was an accident, and Baby B insisted it was on purpose. I didn’t see it myself (my back was turned at the moment it happened), so I can’t say for sure either way, but I would not be surprised if Baby B was right.

I’ve got my eye on you, kid. What a bitch.


That’s one explanation, I suppose

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A couple nights ago, we were reading a Berenstain Bears book called The Trouble With Money, where Brother and Sister learn they need to stop their spend-happy ways. A picture on one of the pages shows Sister holding her piggy bank upside-down with the last coin spilling out of it. Baby B asked, “What’s she doing?” One of my favorite things to do is turn the question back to her and ask what she thinks — you never know what kind of answer you’re going to get! — so I did that here.

I loved the very serious answer I got:

“I think she is sticking her hand in the piggy bank, and then it BROKEDED, and then she cut her hand, and then it was BLEEDING, and then they had to go to the HOSPITAL, and then it was all better.”

I was following along, saying, “Uh-huh” with each bit of new information along the way, then she broke me by the end and I let out a laugh.

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Baby B’s teacher said that most of the other kids in the class cry immediately when they fall down or hurt themselves. (Understandable. I might do that too, and I’m much older than they are.) But she said Baby B usually is stunned for a few seconds, then gets up and says, “Don’t worry, I’m okay!”

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I love to see what kinds of phrases Baby B picks up as a direct result of listening to me talk and then puts into use herself. So I’m quite amused at her latest addition, “of course.” I say it to her all the time. If she asks for help with something, I’ll say, “Of course I can!” So now she’s taken that on herself. If we ask her to do something, she’ll excitedly say, “Of COURSE I can!” It’s so nice to hear that since we deal with her being contrary quite a bit of the time. πŸ™‚


You can’t judge a teacher by her one-word answers

Monday, December 21, 2009

I’m still uncertain why, but one of Baby B’s teachers left last week and was replaced with a new teacher. (Oh good. Right before Christmas, meaning: 1) We can either be jerks and not give her anything since we don’t even know her, or 2) we can give her the nice gifts intended for the other teacher as a “nice to meet you and thanks for taking care of my kid for all of five seconds” gift. We obviously chose to go with the second option, but it’s still a bit annoying with the timing of it.)

I wasn’t sold on the new teacher at first. When I was introduced to her last week, she didn’t say much at all. I tried some general small talk, which would consist of me saying something, her answering with a one-word response, and then the conversation dying instantly until I thought of something new to say or ask. This continued for two or three days. I told The Husband that I was going to give her the benefit of the doubt because it was her first week and maybe she was just nervous. The Husband still hadn’t met her (she’s the late teacher and he usually does dropoffs), so he couldn’t really offer an opinion.

So we had Baby B’s daycare Christmas party on Thursday night. The Husband said, “Which one is the new teacher, just so I know?” We ended up standing in the line for food right behind her, and so I went ahead and introduced them to each other (even though I barely knew her myself). I was finally able to break through her shell after she mentioned that she just graduated from college with a degree in journalism and she was the features editor of the college paper. For those who don’t know, I have a journalism degree, as well, and even attended the same college as the new teacher. It’s not often in this line of work that you just happen to run into someone who has followed a similar career path, so that set us up for talking about all kinds of things, including the state of journalism, working on tight deadlines, things we’ve learned from work, and more. We finally got back to the table and when the new teacher got up for a minute, The Husband leaned over and said, “She never talks, huh?” I laughed and said, “I swear it’s not been like this in the classroom!”

So, I’m not sure how long she’ll be at Baby B’s school — she’s looking for work in journalism but likes kids and is doing this in the meantime — but it was good to see that I was right to give her a chance and not write her off just because her interaction with me wasn’t stellar at first. I definitely know that first-hand; I can seem like I’m shy or reserved at first, but once you get to know me, it’s hard to remember back when I seemed so reserved.

The good news, too, is that I’ve seen her interacting with the kids, and she seems to do well with them, so I’m certainly glad for that. That’s the ultimate goal here, so she seems to be doing fine on that front so far.


On the mend (part 3?)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I think we might finally be moving past all these illnesses. Again. We did keep Baby B home again today because she looks so bad, and we’ll play it by ear for Friday.

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I had a dream a couple nights ago that we’d been gone from daycare for so long that they’d painted all the walls in the rooms a new color! By the time she returns on Monday (hopefully!!), it will be two weeks since Baby B was at daycare.

Quite a pricey illness considering we still have to pay for daycare even when she’s not there.

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Baby B’s teacher called this morning to check on her, and she let a bunch of the kids take turns talking to Baby B on the phone because she said they miss her a lot. It was so sweet to hear them talking about each other and hear Baby B say, “I miss you!”

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This morning I was drying my hair and Baby B came in to get a cotton ball. She got it wet in the faucet and started to leave the bathroom. I asked what she was doing, and she said, “I’m going to try to take the polka dots off my arm.”

If only it were that easy!


Think pink (or not)

Friday, September 11, 2009

As I mentioned a couple days ago, we got a call from daycare on Tuesday afternoon informing us that Baby B had pink eye and we needed to get her. The daycare had an outbreak of pink eye about two months ago, and Baby B had escaped it then, but we figured it finally caught up with her. After scrambling to figure out plans to pick her up (The Husband was at work for the first time in a week so he was getting caught up, but I had a hard magazine deadline and couldn’t leave), I called the doctor and they asked about symptoms, then called in a prescription for the antibiotic eye drops and said we didn’t need to come in.

I left work at 5 p.m., picked up her medicine, and dropped it off at home before going to a friend’s house for dinner. When I got home, I became very skeptical that Baby B had pink eye, as her eye looked perfectly normal. No pink or redness. Not itchy. Not watering. Nothing. In fact, I couldn’t tell which one they were saying it was, but I figured we might know more when she woke up on Wednesday morning because it would likely be crusty/gunky. We went ahead and started the drops and kept her home on Wednesday because she can’t return until 24 hours after starting the drops.

I took the morning shift at home on Wednesday and woke up feeling pretty rotten. It felt quite like my bad morning sickness (was not that), though probably was just a stomach bug, as The Husband ended up with it the next day. I threw up a couple of times and basically laid on the couch all morning until I finally had to take my shower around 11:30 a.m. I am SO PROUD of how well Baby B did as I dozed on the couch. I never fully went to sleep, but I was kind of in a fog, so I couldn’t interact with her as much as I wanted. I’ll admit I did put a movie on in the background, but she mostly entertained herself in other ways, even doing a little cleaning up without being asked. The Husband got home at lunchtime and I somehow dragged myself to work, still not feeling great, but it’s a busy week because of the short week, so I couldn’t stay home all day even though I felt bad. I still felt off during the evening but was able to eat dinner and started feeling some better before bed, and thankfully I woke up on Thursday morning feeling fine.

But back to Baby B’s “pink eye.” Wednesday morning? Didn’t wake up with crust. Nor for Wednesday’s nap. Nor on Thursday morning. Or Friday morning. I really don’t think she had it (and believe me, I’d be the first to admit it if she did). My suspicion is that she had some kind of eye irritation and the daycare overreacted because of the previous pink eye outbreak. I mean, in a way I can’t blame them and do understand since it’s so contagious, but it stinks because it caused us to lose a day and a half of work during an already busy week. And the worst part? We had to keep giving Baby B the drops for three days (instructions call for three days beyond the last appearance of symptoms), and it was pretty much torture for her. If it was doing some good, then it doesn’t bother me as much, but I hate knowing that it was probably for nothing.

But ultimately the good news is that she never showed any further signs, so it seems like we’re in the clear. I’m at least thankful for that.


The shield

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ever since Baby B started daycare almost 2 1/2 years ago, she’s been in the same room as two girls who are both a month older than she is. I’ve previously called them Big Buddy and Curly, and the three of them quickly bonded and became inseparable. They were like sisters — bickering one minute, but in the next beat giving big hugs and playing together and always looking out for each other.

As of yesterday, the Three Musketeers are no more.

Curly is moving to a new daycare that is closer to where they live (her mom has commuted to the opposite side of town this whole time, and finally decided it was time to switch). Her last day was Tuesday, and I happened to be there when her mom was picking her up, so I got to say my goodbyes and see Baby B give her goodbye hugs and kisses (though she obviously doesn’t understand the permanence of the goodbye).

We went out to the car, and Baby B told me, “My teacher was crying today.” I said, “Oh no! Why was she crying?” She said, “Uh-cuz she said to [Curly], ‘You can’t be leaving us!'”

I felt a lump in my throat and started to tear up a little myself. She asked me why I was crying, and I explained in simple terms. In a way, it’s easier that Baby B doesn’t fully realize what’s going on, but really, I think part of why I was tearing up was because she is oblivious and doesn’t know to be sad about this…but will.

In her mind, Curly is just gone on vacation and will return soon, but at some point, there’s going to be a realization on her part that Curly isn’t here.

A time when she realizes that what she trusted to be true — something that was a solid part of her life as she knows it — isn’t true anymore.

Of course I can’t shield her from these disappointments in life; isn’t that part of what builds character, when you rebound from such disappointments? She’s going to have to learn the life skills to cope with things like this in order to live a well-balanced life.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t want to whisk her away to some remote location, cover her ears to shield her, and just hold her tight and let that be all that matters in life. It’s not that simple, nor will it ever be an option.

But I bet I could make a fortune if I developed such a shield.


Potty pooper

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So sorry to make this week’s posts so potty-training heavy, but this is a big deal right now, and I want to make sure I capture the experience. Just a few random thoughts today:

  • I am so unbelievably proud of Baby B! So far, that one accident on Monday at daycare is the ONLY accident she’s had all week.
  • We’re going out of town this weekend, and the only diapers we’re taking are for overnight. I do not feel a bit nervous about this. She’s ready. And if there are accidents, you know what? We’ll deal with it. I’m not even sure if I’ll take the potty chair (though it might come in handy if she has an “I gotta go!” moment while we’re on the road without easy access to restrooms. I’m still leaning toward no potty chair.
  • Using the timer has worked very well for us. BabyΒ  B doesn’t necessarily wait for the timer to go off — she’ll use the potty when she needs to — but there are times that we need to get her to at least try to use it (like if we’re about to leave the house). We’ve stopped using it in 15-minute increments, but in order to avoid the struggle of “Mommy wants me to do this, so I’m therefore not going to do it,” the timer comes to the rescue. If I’m having trouble persuading her to try, I just set the timer for a few minutes, it goes off, and SURPRISE! Potty time! The cow timer said so! Not Mommy. The cow said so, therefore we must try. So far it’s worked beautifully.
  • I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but I’m amazed by how (almost) easy this has all seemed. But then I think it goes back to the fact that we wanted to wait until she was ready, and we didn’t push any arbitrary deadlines on her. At least in our case, I think that has been crucial.
  • I have no timeline in mind for overnight training, but Baby B has been waking up with less-wet diapers lately, and this morning she woke up with a completely dry diaper. We’ll continue to monitor things and let her lead the way. She’ll let us know when it’s time to drop nighttime diapers.
  • Baby B can get up on the toilet by herself without the aid of a stool. That’s great, of course, but it kind of annoys me in public because she has to use the toilet seat as a handle, and I can’t help but think of all the germs. I’m not usually a germophobic person, even with bathrooms, but the thought of her holding the toilet seat makes me cringe. You can believe we wash her hands really well afterward.
  • With diapers, we used the euphemisms wet and dirty to describe them more discreetly. I can’t really think of a good alternative to poop and “she pooped in her undies.” Saying “dirty undies” doesn’t seem quite the same, for some reason.

Show me!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby B was going through a separation anxiety thing a couple weeks ago at daycare where she didn’t want The Husband to leave when he dropped her off. He would always do what you “should” — say goodbye, but don’t draw it out, never sneaking out, etc. But she still had issues.

That is, until he started saying, “It’s time to show me out, Baby B!” She LOVES doing this. She gets a big smile on her face, holds his hand and walks him to the door, opens it, gives him a big hug and kiss, and then shuts the door for him and he leaves with no problems.

It’s been so successful that she’s started doing it at bedtime, too ( so that might be another idea for those of you with kids out of the crib who don’t want you to leave at bedtime). Baby B is so happy to show us out that she’ll do everything I listed above, then go right to her bed and tuck herself in (we watch her on the video monitor) or play with her baby dolls sitting on the futon for a few minutes before deciding to lie down and go to sleep.

I think it really plays to her desire to be independent and self-sufficient and gives her some control over the situation. We haven’t had separation issues at daycare since she started doing this, and bedtimes are so easy with this approach. (They weren’t hard before, other than her asking a couple times for us to stay [which we didn’t give in on], but this has made them even easier.)

I think it’s so sweet to see her do this. Every time she grabs my hand and walks me to the door after I said, “Baby B, show me out,” I have visions of taking her to school for her first day of kindergarten, with her eager to give me a kiss so she can rush to join those kids who will become her new friends. I know that so many of the things we’re doing now are preparing her for situations she’ll encounter in the future, and it’s times like these when I can’t help but think we’re doing a good job.


She caught herself a baby bumblebee

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A couple weeks ago, I thought I’d introduce what I thought was a new song to Baby B, starting out with, “I caught myself a baby bumblebee…” I was quite surprised to have her pick up with, “Won’t my mommy be s’proud of me?” I said, “Wait, you know that song?” I can only assume they’ve sung it before at daycare. So anyway, this has been a very popular song in our house for the past couple of weeks, and I love to hear her belting out the second line: “Won’t my MOMMY be s’proud of ME?!”

Little did I know that soon it would become a very appropriate song.

I got a call from daycare around 4 p.m. on Friday, informing me that Baby B had been stung by a bee on the playground and wanting to know if she’d been stungΒ  before and had a reaction. She hadn’t been stung before, so they said they’d keep a close eye on it just in case she did react to it.

So I got more of the story when I went to pick her up. Apparently she was playing on the playground and walked up to one of her teachers holding out her right hand, then told them, “I have a bee sittin’ on my finger.” Sure enough, there was a bee with its stinger sunk into her middle finger. She wasn’t crying or bothered by it at all, but calmly let them pull it out, clean up her hand, and examine it. On the way out the door, she told me, “Miss [teacher’s name] told me, ‘Baby B, you no play with bees anymore!’ I don’t play with bees on the swings.”

And I swear to you, without my prompting at all, the song she began singing on our way home that night: “I caught myself a baby bumblebee!”

Yes, she certainly did!


Sock it to me

Friday, May 15, 2009

One casualty of daycare: Baby B’s socks.

When she wears socks, she wears plain white socks, with nothing really notable about them. However, the kids all like to take off their socks and don’t always end up with the socks they started with — and there’s no good way to label socks so we (and other parents) know they belong to us.

So Baby B will come home, for example, in pink socks (with bows on the sides – yuck!), which we’ll wash and send back to daycare the next day…but no one ever washes and returns our socks. I’d say we lose a pair about two or three times a month, so it’s not at a great rate of loss, but it’s still more than we’d prefer.