Sunday, November 23, 2014

Big Change!

We were disappointed with Abigail's preschool. For one, she still didn't like to be dropped off, even after 11 weeks. She wasn't even happy to see her teachers or the other kids. Second, I felt like there was a very low level of professionalism. From misspelled progress reports to their appearances and attitudes...as a teacher myself I was just not impressed. We didn't get an incident report that she'd slammed her fingers in a door until nearly 10 days later. Their high teacher turn over also made me nervous...every week we were getting a notice of a teacher leaving (the director left as well!)

She said she liked school, but we could tell it just wasn't a good fit.

So we switched her to a new school. It's accredited, highly recommended, and close to my school. Many of my students have attended there and a few of my parents (whose opinions I truly trust and value) had amazing things to say. This was her first week and WOW. She loves going. She walks to the door by herself and she's just READY for the day. She says she wants to go every day. Her teacher has been there for years and has a great reputation. She's only been there for 3 days and we already have a mountain of her adorable creations. We are so happy with our choice, but more importantly SHE is happy!

She doesn't complain about being there all day (her structured school day ends at 1, I pick her up around 4.) She has rest time, snack, and free play the rest of the time. I'm in direct contact with her teacher and the principal (they've been wonderful with the transition!) Abby is the first one there in the morning. That's a very good thing for her! It gives her some time to get settled with some peace and quiet. Too many people = overwhelming.

I think the only reason I had never considered this school was the start time- 8:00 is the earliest I can drop her off. I like to be in my classroom by 8, usually before when possible. Now I'm arriving around 8:15 and my kiddos arrive at 8:30. It's a squeeze, I just have to make sure I'm more prepared on those days. I know we also wanted her and Annie to be together. We've made other arrangements for Anne which we're really excited about!

What a whirlwind this school year has been! So far this change has given us a lot of peace of mind and has even made my commute a little better. I love that she's so close. Our fingers are crossed that she continues to love it!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Abigail Mae is 3 1/2!

















It's so crazy. I clearly remember taking her in to meet my 3rd graders on Field Day in June. She was maybe 6 weeks old. I carried her in the Bjorn and she basically slept the whole time.

She seems so much older than 3 1/2. She looks older, too! She's very perceptive and direct. She's assertive and persistent. Three has been a challenge, only because she's so different from her big sister. She definitely keeps us on our toes!

Abigail loves school and dance class, but hates to be left. Drop off at school has not improved, still a stage 5 clinger. Luckily her sadness is short-lived. When I pick her up I always wait and watch her. She's usually doing her own thing, but perfectly happy. She says she loves school and her teachers. But she says that she's there a long time :( At dance class I have to bring her into the class and shut the door quickly. She begrudgingly goes and sits in the circle and then she's great! There's absolutely no issues at soccer because Dad and Annie are right there on the sidelines. I wish my school still had the peer model program that Audrey did when she was 3. It would have been so perfect for her!

I do notice that she's not very friendly to other kids at first. When I'm leaving her in the morning, I talk to the other kids and try to get her to do the same. She totally gives them the grumpy face! Then she turns to me and asks me to stay :( I definitely think it's situational. When we go out, she talks to people all the time! She sings and dances in front everyone. She chats up people everywhere we go. But sometimes when I directly introduce her to someone (my students, Audrey's school friends) she shies away. After awhile she's completely fine :)

She is just fascinating. I love to watch her play, she's so imaginative. She loves to have quiet time in her room where she plays with all sorts of toys. She reads books in her own way, telling her own story from the pictures.

When you ask her something like, "How'd you get to be so smart?" or, "Why are you so cute?!" she says, "I got it from my momma!"

She continues to be an incredible big sister. She's so encouraging of Annie. I love how she lights up and laughs when Annie is around, how she interacts with her. She just adores her!

When she's upset (doesn't get her way) she'll say, "Carry me!" or "Pick me up!" And she's so content with being held for a bit. She's learning to deal with her frustrations and I'm more than happy to love on her once she's had her fit. If reasoning doesn't work with her, she gets no attention until she pulls herself together. Sometimes that's hard- especially if we're in a store or the van.

I wouldn't buy her a coloring book at CVS. I thought she was fine, she usually says something like, "Ok, maybe next time!" But then she started to worry that someone else would come along a buy it (ha!) So she laid on the ground and cried. That was a first! I calmly told her we were leaving. That's when she wanted to be carried. No problem! She was still wanting the coloring book, but at least she was communicating with me. We went to dinner the other night and sat in a booth. She got so upset that Audrey sat down first in the corner spot...I mean, she was mad and starting to make a scene! I walked her right out and told her that we would be leaving. She was fine after that. Those episodes, while embarrassing in public, are basically learning opportunities for her.

She must pick out her own clothes and PJs. That's very hard for me to give up, but I know that's part of how she asserts her independence. She stays dry all night, which is way earlier than her big sister did. She's wearing size 4 clothes and specifies how she wants her hair done each day (that hair! I have total hair envy!)

I love spending time with just her. I am so interested in how she talks, plays, asks questions. I treasure our alone time so very much. People say she's going to be our difficult one. I don't think so. Why do we have to even have a "difficult" one? She's different from Audrey. Annie is different from both sisters...we adjust our parenting styles to meet their needs. So long as we're meeting her needs, she'll grow to be a respectful and responsible person. She'll feel loved and supported. She'll have difficult times (they all will!) But she will not be "difficult." Not to us :)

Abigail amazes us everyday. Chris and I love swapping stories about her. She's such an amazing kid! We can't wait to see how she grows and changes over the next few months!