Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beautiful Memories

Every few days, Amor Chiquito does or says something that really makes my day! I could go on and on forever sharing stories.

Here is the most recent story:

My mother and I walked into the playground at school. Ari was at the opposite end of the playground, on the ‘big kid’ swings. When she saw us, she started running, as fast as she could, saying “mooomy, mooomy!”

You know how sometimes you are just so happy you can’t stop smiling, your chest almost hurts? That was me yesterday! I love that kid! I can’t even describe it!

Another story:
I had my remaining three wisdom teeth extracted two weeks ago. Geeky Entrepreneur and I explained to Amor Chiquito that I had booboos in my mouth. She asked if I was hurting. I said that I was not at the moment, but that I would be later (yay for local anesthetics!).
She said: Mommy, I don’t want you hurt. I want you be happy. I want give you hugs and kisses. And she did, over and over again!

I have since mostly healed. I thought she had forgotten about it. She asked me today, out of the blue, if my mouth was hurting. I said no. She then proceeded to talk about how when I was hurting she gave me lots of hugs and kisses and how she wanted to give me hugs and kisses when daddy was done driving.

What about you? How has your little one made your day lately?!

To-Go Lunches for a Preschooler

So, as I wrote on another post, Amor Chiquito is often not drinking, eating, or both at lunch time.

I have tried the following for her school lunches:
White rice
Dry cereal

I also send fruit, usually grapes or strawberries, and a carrot, along with one of the items listed above.

I send diluted orange juice to get additional fluids into her. I was sending water the first week, but it seemed like she was not drinking much at all.

Everything I have tried are things we know she likes.

Her classroom is peanut free, so no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

She won’t eat meat, so ham and cheese sandwiches don’t work for us.

I am looking for yummy and healthy options.

Help! What do your or your children’s to-go lunches consist of? Give me some ideas, please!

Birthday Parties

So, apparently, our family believes we ought to have a party for each year! We had three birthday cakes.

On the day of Ari’s birthday, Saturday, 9/18, my mother got her a little birthday cake. She just could not imagine not having a birthday cake on the day of Ari’s birthday. It was grandma, my sister, Ari and I. We went to the carousel, came home, and sang happy birthday. Unfortunately, Geeky Entrepreneur was unable to join us. He spent about six hours in the ER due to sludge in his gallbladder.

Sunday, 9/19, was Ari’s official birthday party. There were 20 people altogether, 10 of them under the age of 10. The birthday party went very well. Ari had a blast and so did all the other kids. We just had a fence installed about a month ago. I love it! The kids had so much fun playing outside. The grownups got to catch up. We took lots of pictures. We enjoyed an ice cream cake. No family drama, yay!

The following weekend, Nana had a birthday party at her house, two hours away. Ari got to see my sister, who lives near Nana. She got to see her grandparents. She got to “meet” relatives she does not see often. She got some toys, yet another Pillow Pet, and lots of clothes. She was a happy camper.

Oh, by the way, I swear there were more than eight food options, all cooked by my mother-in-law! Italians… I just don’t get it! It didn’t matter that there were only about 15 people there!

Oh, I almost forgot… We are having another birthday party, sort of. Next Wednesday, we are having a ‘birth celebration’ at Ari’s school. We will be bringing photos of Ari when she was a newborn, one, two, and three. She gets to walk around a globe once per year. Each time she goes around, we talk about some milestone, something special we did, etc. I am looking forward to it. Sounds very different to me. Had not heard of anything like this before. I don’t know if it is a Montessori tradition or a tradition of this specific school.

Please forgive any typos. I am so tired I don’t feel like editing! I’ll do it tomorrow.

Montessori School: Weeks One Through Three

I remember talking to the admissions officer at Ari’s school for the first time. I was sick and tired of talking to schools and feeling like they don’t give a damn about attachment, building trust, or the fact that kids are different and some need more time than others to feel comfortable in the classroom without their parents. So, when Laura, the admissions officer said that the school has a ‘phase in’ program because they feel it is very important that the child, the parents and the teachers build a sense of trust… I almost wanted to cry! This sounds dramatic, I know. You have no idea how many schools I called. The best I got was something like this “Well, if you really want to stay, you can stay for 15 minutes the first day. But, it’s usually better to leave and not look back.” Yeah, right. That’s just like the extreme cry it out method, worse, actually. My child has never been to daycare. Since the day she was born, she was either with her dad, her maternal grandmother, or myself. She happens to be a bit shy and cautious around new people. Most importantly, I am a strong believer in attachment, in doing everything in my power to have my child be in an environment where she feels safe and trusts the adults around her. So, no, there was simply no way in hell that I was going to drop her off and leave her in a room full of strangers, people neither her or I knew. See why I say Laura from Montessori admissions more than made my day?! Furthermore, at an event for new parents, the Head of School encouraged parents to feel free to call and ask how their children are doing. I did this a few times and the people in the office would either go look at Ari or put me through to one of her teachers.

So, the phase-in schedule/week one:

In May, Geeky Entrepreneur, Ari and I went to several events where Laura introduced the new kids and parents to the classroom, the playground, etc.

Monday, 9/13, Geeky Entrepreneur, Ari and I went to school for her first day. GE and I sat in the classroom for about half an hour. Amor Chiquito participated in circle time and all the other activities. She would look at us and periodically run to us, spend three seconds with us, and go back to what she was doing. Once we noticed she felt completely at ease, we let her know we were leaving and we would come back later. This was a three-hour day.

Tuesday, 9/14, was a four-hour day. We walked in the classroom with her. We said good bye. We hung around outside for five minutes to make sure she felt comfortable. We were later told that Ari was quiet for the first few hours, but that, eventually, she was constantly telling stories! That kid so takes after her dad!

Wednesday, 9/15, was Ari’s first full day. This is when things got sad. This was the first day when Ari would be ‘napping.’ I was told that “rest time was very sad for her.” One of the teachers explained the order of events to her: lunch, rest time, play time, time outside, then mommy and daddy come. This teacher held her, talked her through it, validated her feelings, reassured her that mommy was coming later, talked about fun things mommy and daddy do with her, talked about her little stuffed animal, etc. Eventually, she was content. When rest time ended, she was happy and engaged as could be.

Thursday, 9/16, Amor Chiquito was sad for only a few minutes. She rested, but did not sleep.

Friday, 9/17, Amor Chiquito lied down without any prompting. I was told the following: “I am sorry to say Arianna did not ask for you today!” This made my day!

Weeks two and three went well. Amor Chiquito comes home happy, tells us lots of stories, is learning lots using many different toys and engaging in age-appropriate educational activities, plays outside, and is not sad at rest time. She won’t sleep, no way in hell, not yet! But she lies down on her own and does not need soothing.

She loves pizza day! They have pizza on Wednesdays.

We have to work on lunch. At first, I was sending water and she was not drinking much. Now I am sending diluted orange juice. She drinks all of it but isn’t really eating much of her food. I always send things I know she likes. I am at a loss for the time being! I don’t know what to send anymore. I have tried white rice, pasta, waffles, bread, crackers, dry cereal, cheese and others. I also always send fruit, usually strawberries or grapes, and a carrot. If you have ideas for school lunches, please share!

The one annoying thing is the cooties she brings home! She got a cold last week and so did I. It was one of the mean ones, not the mild colds I tend to get. The kids wash their hands when they first go in the classroom. I guess we will be either having lots of colds or developing very strong immune systems!

Overall, the three of us are very happy about our choice. I feel very blessed and very grateful that we can afford to have Ari attend this school. I wish I could do something to make schools like this one be more accessible to families.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's all about pretend games lately!

We are now well into the pretend phase. It is a lot of fun and very fascinating!

Here are some of the pretend games we have been playing the past month:

On the cruise, Ari and Daddy would sit on the balcony. She would pretend to put her seatbelt on and to help her Daddy put his on too.

The cereal game was created on the cruise, but we are still playing it. We get a bowl, a spoon, milk and cereal. She chooses the color of the bowl, big or little spoon, white or chocolate milk, and the type of cereal. Once she has assembled the pretend bowl of cereal, she dumps it on Daddy! First it was on his head. Lately, she dumps it on his bellybutton!

The shark game was inspired by Nana. A pretend shark shows up, out of the blue, anywhere. We could be at the dinner table, getting ready for bed, in the car, you name it… The shark attacks Daddy and Daddy has to try to get away. The game just evolved last night. Now there is a spray that makes the shark go away.

The other day we were having dinner at Bertucci’s, an Italian restaurant. Bertucci’s is very family-friendly. Kids get crayons and bread dough. Amor Chiquito made herself a bracelet and made a necklace for me. She managed to make a long enough necklace and put it around my neck. Later on, she grabbed my left hand and started wiping it with a piece of dough. Daddy noticed the dough had something red on it (a tiny piece of tomato). We were informed that I had a pretend booboo and she was helping me with it!

See what I’m saying;?!

Our Second Cruise as a Family

My blog, how I have neglected you this month… There has been a lot going on. We went on vacation for a week. One weekend we were preparing for and having a birthday party. Another weekend we went to Nana’s for another birthday party. Amor Chiquito started preschool. My wisdom teeth were extracted and so I spent a few days sleeping a lot. I have been looking for work. It feels like this month flew by.

In theory, I’ll be posting a fair bit during the next few days. Let’s see if that really happens! Intensions and actions… Two different things… You know how it is!

So, our cruise… It was our second cruise with Amor Chiquito (third if you count the time she was in my tummy!). It was a seven-night cruise. We stopped at Port Canaveral, Fl, at Nassau and Freeport, both in the Bahamas.

The highlights:

Amor Chiquito went to a beach for the first time. She loved looking at the water, going in, not so much. She thoroughly loved making sandcastles.

We did the SeaWorld Explorer shore excursion. This consisted of a 20-minute water taxi ride (my favorite part) and about 45 minutes in a submarine. Geeky Entrepreneur and Amor Chiquito enjoyed looking at the different types of fish, corals, etc. I basically just got to see water and a few sparkly things. I still had a good time. My family had fun and I so love boat rides. So it was all good!

The day we stopped at Port Canaveral we did not get off the boat. Almost everyone else did, so we had the pools, whirlpools, the toddler pool and the slide to ourselves. It was great!

My mother and her boyfriend came along this time. So Geeky Entrepreneur and I got some grownup time almost every day. Between that and Amor Chiquito’s naps, we managed to squeeze in about 14 Pandemic games! It is a fun, cooperative game. We strongly recommend it. Apparently, the idea of the game designer was to create a game both him and his non-geeky wife would enjoy. That’s us, and, yes, we both love it!

Back to the cruise… Amor Chiquito loved the towel animals every night.

She loved spending time in our little balcony and looking out the windows. She has been watching Go Diego Go, so she was often looking for whales!

She played many different pretend games. There are so many I could write a separate post just on that!

She went on walks around the ship with grandma and went to a family friendly show. Something about butterflies…

The food was delicious, as usual. We ate way too much of it! I was a bad girl; I had chocolate melting cake almost every night! And, I would do it again! Amor Chiquito and Geeky Entrepreneur were all about ice-cream cones and fruit, just like the other time.

I did a tiny bit of shopping. I always like to get something that will remind Ari of our cruise.

I took tons of pictures. We made a collage. It has five of our favorite photos and is going up in our living room.

Geeky Entrepreneur got to read lots and did not think about/try to work once! It helps that internet access is very expensive! That being said, he simply does not think about work when he is on a cruise and that is huge. That never ever happens.

Amor Chiquito loved the airplane ride. In fact, she did not want to get off.

The one annoying thing: we missed our flight on the way home. We would not have had we shown up five minutes earlier. I will admit it: I became the super stressed out monster. I just kept thinking about how, eventually, Amor Chiquito would get tired, she does not nap easily, she would get cranky, etc. My awesome husband talked me through it. Ari napped, a very long nap, on my lap, and was not ridiculously cranky once. I can’t even remember the last time she napped on my lap. It was great! I was uncomfortable for a while, but it was so worth it!

I am having fun planning our next one! My awesome crunchy friend wants to cruise sometime too. Fun possibilities! I am getting excited!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A mama's thoughts on the transition to school

In this blog entry, a mama writes about how her family is preparing for their daughter's transition to school. We are going through that ourselves, so it was a must-read for me!

If you are going through this right now or will be soon, I would recommend this blog entry:

Article on how to help your little one when s/he says "I can't"

This was wonderful, a must-read:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy birthday, mi Amor Chiquito!

Today my baby girl turns three! Hard to believe. In a way, it feels like she has been here forever. At this point, it is hard to remember my life before her. I have started including her in old memories. Then I realize there is simply no way she was at such and such place when X happened! Silly mommy!

Ari knows it is her birthday today. She has been waiting for a month or so, a very long time for a kid her age! For weeks, she kept asking me “my party today”?!

This morning we talked about how today is her birthday and how she is now three years old. “But I want to be four first! I want Dora cake, please”! I told her we are having a Thomas and Friends party. “I like Thomas too.”

She has been obsessed with trains for months. She does not watch the show anymore, but she always talks about trains. So I figured trains would be a good idea. Now she is all about Dora, Diego, Little Mermaid, anything but trains! Oh well! Too late now!

So, today… The three of us played hide-and-seek. Ari and Daddy would hide and I would find them. Ari and I would hide and Daddy would find us. Did that a bunch of times. Ari and I went to the carousel with my mother and sister. We then had a tiny birthday cake. Grandma just had to have a cake on the day of her birthday. Daddy could not join us because he spent half the day at the ER. Gallbladder, turns out.

Tomorrow we are having the grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousins and the neighbors over for a small birthday party. Hopefully, we will have good weather and the kids can play at the back yard. I will be cooking. Hopefully it won’t be a royal disaster, like the cookies I just baked!

Speaking of cookies, this is what happened… I figured I would do something special/different. My sister gave me a train cookie cutter. So I made train-shaped chocolate chip cookies. Well, we have very handicapped trains! I tried! It was fun!

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love the little person you are becoming! I love how sweet and empathetic you are. I love to see you exploring and trying to figure things out. I love to hear you tell us stories! I love when you come over and give us hugs just because, when you say “I yoh you.” It makes my day. You are in preschool now and you are loving it. I love seeing you so happy and so excited about playing and seeing your friends.

Your squishy mommy loves you lots!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Airport, big airplane...!

Today is the big day! We are going on a cruise! Same ship and itinerary (the Bahamas) as last time. We never got off the ship last time and we have a one hour flight, so it was a no-brainer, especially since we have a little passenger who simply loves to stay put for a prolonged period of time! Did you sense the sarcasm there?!

As I posted on Facebook this morning, if you want the most reliable alarm clock ever, have a child! I really hope that this special ability goes away later, but, thus far, at almost three, this lovely benefit of having a child is still here!

Favorite words this morning: airport, biiig airplane, and, completely unrelated, pillow pet.

Off to pack some snacks and drawing supplies for my beautiful alarm clock!