Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preschool: Is it worth it?

This morning when Summer was getting ready for school she reminded me again that she does not really like it. She told me she doesn't think I realize just how much she does not. I told her I did. How could I not, she repeatedly tells me anytime we mention it. In a really sad voice, she informed me that one of the reasons she does not like it is because she can't hold her Teddy all day long. It almost broke my heart because I know how attached she is to him and sometimes he just needs to be in her arm. I fought back the tears knowing how much it probably really does bother her that she is not allowed to hold him all day. I asked her if maybe she could just go give him a kiss when she felt like she needed him, but she didn't seem to think that was going to help her much. On the way to school, she told me her stomach hurt. She added that her throat hurt and that she was also a little stuffy. When I told her my belly hurt a little too and my throat was also a little scratchy, she told me her foot hurt too. Then her toe started hurting and it was "the baddest" of them all. Oh my! The girl was really trying to work me over. We got a flat tire about half way there. After it was changed and I was back on the road, she told me that she thought we were going to be too late for her to go to class. We were late, but the front doors of the school had not been locked yet so she got to go to class. She did great at the door of her room today. I had initially told her I was going to drop her off at the door, but since school had already started, there wasn't anyone waiting at the door. So she got lucky and I walked her down to her class. I guess my threat of dropping her off at the door from now on if she cried might have worked. Whatever it was, I was sooooooo relieved to have her just walk in the room and not look back. That all being said, I have pretty much convinced myself that one more month of preschool is enough for us. She also told me this morning that she doesn't think she is learning very much and in a way I agree. We do lots of learning at home. Although the social skills are probably the most important thing she does get out of it at this point, I don't think they are entirely necessary because we are very social people to begin with. Plus, I am tired of hearing about how much she does not like it. I am also tired of trying to convince her that it is a great place to be. While for some kids it is great, I don't think they all need it. I didn't go to preschool and I turned out just fine. She gets plenty of attention at home, and we have plenty of workbooks that will help her learn the things she will need for kindergarten. This is also our last year of freedom to travel at our leisure so all things considered, I'm done with it. I'm not telling her yet though. I haven't quite figured out how to do it without her thinking that she made the decision for me. But, I must admit her reluctance to go did play a part in it. Staying home with me one more year is best for us all I think.

After school today, we picked up Lexie and headed home. After a quick change of clothes, we walked to the Discovery Museum for some fun. Summer was our leader and did a good job of finding the way to the museum all by herself. I did give her the go to cross streets, but she chose the path we took to get there. The kids had fun exploring the different areas of the museum. On the way home, we stopped by Cold Stone Creamery for an ice cream treat. Summer got cake batter ice cream on a cone and Lexie got chocolate cake batter ice cream in a cup. They both loved their treats and quickly gobbled them up.

Over the weekend, we went to Kid's Day at Coolidge Park. All day Friday, Summer and I cooked goodies to take to a bake sale there. She was a great helper as usual. When Saturday morning came around, she was up and ready to go. I decided to go out on a limb and let her ride her bike to the park. So, with Lexie in a stroller, we set out together. Summer was a little nervous at first, but she did a really good job and didn't even crash once. Once we were there, the girls helped me at the bake sale a bit (mostly by eating cookies) until Memaw and Nanny came to take them around to do all the fun things. They came back with bags full of goodies and smiles on their faces. And, those smiles are what I live for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Out and about

Today's drop off at preschool was not much better than the last. Actually, it was worse. Although she had no tears, she did cling to me with the saddest look on her face and would not let me go. I literally had to peel her off of me several times. She has had a slight cough the past day or so, and she told me this morning that she might be too sick to go to school. Well, it is picture day so not going was not really an option. Plus, she feels fine enough to play with me and go and do whatever fun things we think of to do. I guess I can't blame her for not wanting to go to school when we have loads more fun together.

Yesterday, Summer and I did a lot of running around. We went shopping for some things for Lexie. Then we came home and had a nice lunch on the balcony. However, she was not really fond of the turkey burgers I grilled so she mostly ate tomatoes and a few chips and grapes. I think she did manage to take 4 bites of it. Three at once because I told her that was how many more I wanted her to take before she could be done. I didn't even realize she took them all at once until I saw her struggling to chew it up for the next 3 or 4 minutes. It was at that point she informed me she didn't really like it. She did manage to get it down with the help of some water. She followed it with 3 grapes at once which seemed much more easy to get down.

After lunch, she asked me when we were going to go stay on the boat that is a hotel. It is actually right across the river from where we live so we get to look at it every day. I'm not really fond of its location, but there is nothing I can do about it. So, on a whim, we hopped on my bicycle and headed to take a look at the hotel/boat. Summer had a great time walking all over the boat and checking it out. After we had been to all three decks, we headed back to the entrance to swing. She insisted on pushing me and would not let me help with my feet when she was swinging too. Rather, she hopped off and got us going again. The swing was wooden and heavy and I thought she was going to get hurt a few times, but she managed to avoid that. On the way home we came across some sprinklers watering the grass at the park. We decided it would be fun to drive through them when they sprayed the sidewalk we were on. Over and over, we turned around and did it again, screaming with joy as we road through the water.

After we got home, we cuddled up together and watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. She still loves that movie and says we have to watch it one more time before we send it back. We munched on kettle popcorn while we watched it. It was interesting to hear her reactions to the different scenes in the movie. When she started crawling all over me, we paused the movie for dinner. After that we headed out for a walk in the art district. She really enjoyed being the leader. We were both exhausted when we got back and headed pretty much straight to bed. Days like that one are probably one reason she has a hard time going to school. Fun, fun, fun with her favorite person in the whole world. Me. And, yes I can say that is a fact for sure. I know my mom is a close second, but I'm pretty sure I'm at the top. I hope I can say that in 10 years, but it is probably not highly likely. At least I'll be able to look back one day at this blog and remember.......

On Saturday we had a canoe adventure with Memaw and Nanny. The kids had fun. We raced the two canoes which was Summer's idea. Of course, she wasn't paddling. After lunch, we fished and Summer was the official cricket getter. She was busy because the fish were really biting. Well, I could go on and on and on, but I'll stop here. I've got to get back to school and pick her up so we can have yet another adventure: Nanny McPhee Returns. Now playing in a theater near you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Family reunion leads to more fun times

I was greeted from behind by Summer and my mom when we arrived at the airport. I knew she was going to try to scare me because my mom told me and she still got me. She jumped into my arms and gave me lots of hugs. She was very bubbly and it made a long day of flying much better. I carried her in my arms as we went to pick up the bags. She was not ready for me to put her down when we got there, but I gave her the task of helping her daddy with the bags so she happily ran off with him. I talked to my mom and it sounded like she was a very busy girl while I was gone although she was anxious for my arrival home.

She opted out of the church water balloon activity they had for the kids Wednesday night. My mom said she didn't want any part of it once she saw what they were doing. Most of the kids are much bigger than her so I can understand why she would be intimidated. She's in preschool, and I think the kids range up to 5th or 6th grade. Somehow she always manages to stay right by Memaw's side whenever she takes her to church. But, I can't blame her. My mom does rock. She took off work yesterday to take Summer hiking on Raccoon Mountain and spend the day with her so Nanny could go back to work. Summer enjoyed the hike and was proud that she could walk for so long.

Her picture was still hanging at the Taste of Hamilton Place, and she was still part of the
3 words video. She saw Dr. Gratias and Miss Ashley as well as a few of the nurses from the clinic. My mom said she wore her "This girl rocks" shirt and Dr. G was quick to agree. She also ran into some of her cancer buddies and other people she knew. I'm sure it did not take much for her to sway Memaw and Nanny to take her to the playground after they enjoyed some of the food. She has a way with them. I guess she really has a way with everyone though.

Lately, I think she has been trying to manipulate me into not taking her to school. Either that or she just really doesn't know how much it upsets me when she weeps and clings to me when we part at her classroom door. Last night as we were getting ready for bed, she went on and on about how she doesn't like it and that it is not fun. She definitley expressed to me that she doesn't think her life will be lacking if she doesn't go back, but said nothing about being away from me being the reason this time. Whenever we pick her up, she seems like she had a perfectly fine time. I guess there is a little of an attachment issue that was formed when she was diagnosed with cancer. Maybe it was there before then though. Anyhow, it is not fun to hear these things come out of her mouth, but I know it is good for her to go and learn as well as socialize with other kids. Really, I think I am still trying to convince myself though. Is home-preschooling really so bad? We have the workbooks. We have several classes/activites a week and also regular playdates with a variety of friends. Just wait, I'll have myself talked into homeschooling when kindergarten comes around. LOL Well, hopefully not. I would really prefer for her to get the best education in the most stimulating environment there available. But, these drama filled drop-offs are going to have to come to an end.

I almost dropped her off at the door today. When I pulled in the car port, after waiting for several other cars to drop their kids off, she begged me please not to drop her off there. I told her she had to agree not to cry or she will be dropped off there next time. She agreed. Well, today was her lucky day. Or mine, I'm not sure. When we got to the classroom, the lights were off and there was no one in sight. That's when I found out there was a field trip today. I had originally thought it was not until Thursday, but with her missing last Thursday I didn't get the reminder memo. Oops! Lucky for us both, who were neither one ready to be apart from each other, we got to remain together and headed back to the car. We followed the teacher to the apple orchard which was almost an hour away. I know Summer has never seen so many apples in her life. When we were on the hay ride, I asked her how many she thought there were. She said, "80." Not quite. I told her maybe 80 million, and she just agreed. The kids got to see how they sort the apples (by hand) and get them clean and shiny. They also learned that they use automatic hand pickers to harvest the fruit - hands. There was a huge refrigerator where they stored the apples and cider ready to be shipped to local grocers that the kids got to explore. The story of Johnny Appleseed was told as the kids sat around on a big rug. It was the perfect first field trip even though it was unexpected. The sun was a little warm at times, but there were blessed moments where the shade made everything okay again. I didn't have my camera which was disappointing, but one of the kids moms captured her after she and Emma begged a little boy to sit between them. The only thing that put a damper on the morning was the fact that I thought my car was leaking gas because the fuel gauge decided to stop working. After stopping for gas twice and hearing me make numerous phone calls to her daddy, Summer was very concerned with what was going on. But, I'm pretty sure it was just the gauge after finding out from someone else at the gas station that it was just my A/C dripping and not gas. So, her fears and mine were put to rest as we headed to trade out cars.

Summer rode her bike today. She braved the hill in front of our building while I rode beside her on my bike. She was a little worried that she wouldn't be able to make it up. She still uses the training wills a lot and you could here them scuffing against the ground as she teetered back and forth. She got really excited when she would start going "fast" (in her eyes anyway). After one trip down the bridge and back, she became the leader and had to turn to make sure I was keeping up with her. LOL One time she turned a little too hard and crashed, but thankfully, her knee pads kept her from getting scuffed when she landed on them. She actually did a great job managing the fall and got back on and pedaled away. She was still not confident in her ability to come back down the hill in front of our building, but she managed to do it with a little help from me.

Bedtime came early tonight unlike last night when she couldn't get enough of me or me playing with her. I even agreed to play Hannah Montana last night which was big for me and she knew it. I have never hid my dislike for that game. We skipped games tonight and opted for books. Tonight, she picked out "Go, Dog, Go," "Piggy goes to the doctor," and "The Berenstein Bears Go to the doctor." You would think she still went to the doctor a lot the way she still likes books about going there. I guess they are very real to her though. I doubt she is ever excited when we actually do go to the doctor, but these books are something she can directly relate to. I'm so glad to be celebrating another Childhood Cancer Awareness month, but this time with a much more healthy little girl. I just love tucking her in at night and hope for thousands more of these nights to come. You never know when it could be your child who is taken away in the night to sing with the angels. My life experience has led me to believe that it is important to give them all the love you can today and everyday. I thank god for my little angel on Earth and every day that I get to spend with her.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer days are coming to an end

Introducing, the one and only, Summer Julianna --my beautiful princess.
She was really checking out her jewelry. It's crazy my aunt's shirts look like dresses on Summer.
Paw-Paw got to pose too

Summer put on a fashion show for us yesterday at my aunt's house. As you can see my cousin Alex, who is in her first year of college, had her all decked out with matching accessories. She even brought home one of the outfits she tried on - the orange one. Go Vols!

She was a big fish too. She swam with my aunt Melody who, besides me, was the only other brave one in the bunch. The water in the pool was cold at about 80 degrees. But, the sun was hot if you sat in it long enough. Summer spent a lot of time inside painting too. She now has a beautiful canvas with a sparkly kitty cat on it. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a pic of it.

This weekend we also discovered what kind of fairy Summer is. Out of Garden, Light, Animal and Water fairies, she chose, drum roll please, Animal. Big surprise, huh? She can now talk to animals and has magical powers where she can move water with her hands and make it go how she wants it too (those are pretty much her words). It all started with a Disney fairies book that allows children to become fairies and write all sorts of things about themselves in. It is really neat as I have discovered what she thinks she is good (playing games) at and what she likes about herself (she can do things and makes things and is healthy enough to play with her toys). Her secret fairy name, that she picked all by herself, is Loveofheart. Shhhh, don't tell anyone! We did not do the whole book, but I am looking forward to filling it out with her some more. She found a recipe for cookies in it and these are what we ended up with after following it. Of course, in the picture in the book, they were beautiful butterflies. Unfortunately, we did not have any butterfly cookie cutters. We did have a shell, a circle, a gingerbread man and a couple of Christmas trees. I think Summer remembered before I found them that we had Christmas trees. I bet she would've used them too if I wouldn't have immediately suggested we use the shell cutter I got from Christina's wedding. They didn't really turn out looking like shells, or tasting very good in Summer's opinion. The were shortbread cookies and had like 3 ingredients. We dipped them in chocolate which I think helped with the taste. I would probably eat them, but they are definitely not my favorite, nor would I care to make them again. Sugar cookies are much butter.
Summer is all ready for Halloween, at least you go by what she is wearing in the pictures. She is not really looking forward to the candy though. She is much more ready for Christmas and was actually disappointed when I told her Halloween is the next holiday. I am betting Lexie will have a lot of gifts this year if Summer has anything to do with it. She likes to pick out things for Lexie lately. She even made her a little gift bag this morning with a few of the animals she got in her goody bag at the consignment sale this weekend. I hope she will have a more giving spirit this Christmas than receiving, but she is only 4 so I'm not going to get my hopes up to high that she isn't going to want everything she sees. The commercials are already getting her. I am starting to think that branching out from PBS and Sprout might not be such a good idea. The other day she told me Sesame Street is for babies. One thing is for sure, TV shows, besides Brain Surge, that have real actors as characters such as Suite Life or iCarly are off limits. I'm just not ready for her to start acting like the kids on the shows do. So far I have not heard that Barney is for babies, but I feel that day may be coming.
The girls got to go to play in the water after their naps the other day. The water was a little cool, but they both had fun playing in it.
They hug which always makes me smile.
"Look Mom! Look!" How many times do I hear that a day? Summer letting me take pictures of her splashing.
Lexie told Summer she could beat her. LOL Well, not really, but she was ahead for a few seconds. Summer blew Lexie away on the way back up to the top.
Lexie kept cleaning the leaves out of the water and handing them to me. Let's hope that's a quality she embraces. God knows I haven't gotten there yet. LOL She does do a good job of putting her toys where they go when told. She also likes to help throwing stuff in the trash can too. Such a sweet little helper she is!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Days 4 & 5: More of the same

I can't believe Summer actually cried both days at drop off this week too. She seems so happy when we pick her up with nothing bad to say about her day. Today, they talked about good touches and bad touches. I was caught a little off guard at the parent/director meeting last week when the child advocacy lady told us what she was going to present to the kids. But, it seemed safe enough with little of it actually having to do with "bad touches" in the way I first thought. When I was helping her bathe this evening, she explained bad touches were kicking and pushing and pulling hair. She didn't really say anything about the good touches, but I know she gets lots of them from me. Sometimes my lips just won't stop kissing her soft cheeks. She had homework on Tuesday, so Wednesday we worked on her writing the letters "A" and "a." She did a pretty good job and didn't test my patience too much. She also had a Bible verse to memorize and we worked on it several times throughout the day. For some reason she kept getting the word thankfully confused with the word fearfully. I guess fearfully is just not a word she is familiar with.

On Wednesday, we also got to make a snack for her and her classmates to enjoy today since it was her turn to bring the snack box home for us to fill and send back. She picked angel food cake. She helped me make it by putting the mix and water in the bowl. Then she taste tested the mix, her favorite part. After she was sure it was okay to eat, she worked the mixer around the bowl until it was almost completely whipped up. She did not like the batter as well as the dry mix, but she did enjoy the finished product. Angel food cake is actually one of my favorites since it is low in fat. I ate almost the rest of the cake that didn't get sent, but today she caught me eating a piece so I gave her the last piece and a half. She hastily stuffed it in her mouth. Next week is her first week of full day preschool, and I hope she enjoys the lunches I pack for her. We are supposed to meet the government guidelines for the food groups. Wish me luck with that. I am curious though, does jelly count as a fruit?

This afternoon she took her bike for a ride on the walking bridge. She did really well and will be riding down hill in no time. That is what scares her most. Of course, she was a little scared when the bike got to going fast, but her daddy taught her how to use the brakes. I am excited for her to get the hang of it and put that birthday present to use.

Speaking of presents, she is already asking about Christmas. She just can't wait for it to get here and has already told me what her Memaw is getting her. I wonder if her Memaw knows. If I had to guess, I am sure Summer has already asked/informed her. If not, she wants a big dolphin pillow pet - please. :) Her Memaw got her the small unicorn pillow pet for her birthday which she still loves to play with on occassion. However, she does not sleep with it as it isn't really big enough to use as a pillow unless you don't move at all at night. I have already gotten her several gifts throughout the year, so I'm sure we will end up doing the 12 days of Christmas yet again. I have been doing good at not getting her stuff on a whim lately though. She has been using her own money that she gets from doing her chores to buy her treats now. This week at Wal-mart she bought two packs of silly bandz with her money. Last week, I think she got some gum. She actually got pretty lucky the other day and found a ten dollar bill in a purse I had given her. Of course I let her keep it. I'm just glad it wasn't a hundred otherwise I might have had to trade with her. She is planning on taking her bank to church on Sunday to give to Jesus, or should I say Becky our music minister.

It is so much fun watching her grow up. But, lately she has been telling me "No" that she is not going to do the things I say. She knows back talk is unacceptable, but she still feels the need to see if she can get away with it. My patience has been tested for sure. I have been able to remain calm though and not loose my cool. But, I do not cave and always stick by what I say. She knows this too. Sometimes there is room for compromise, but usually I just hold her to what I said in the first place. I really hope this phase will pass quickly otherwise I see a little girl who will be spending a lot of time in her room.