Friday, September 26, 2014

FOURTH Birthday

Did you read that?? FOURTH BIRTHDAY?!!!
What can be said? Time Flies. Where does the time go? Can I press Pause? They grow up too fast. These are all so cliche, but all so TRUE. The toddler years are over. I look at her and realize that she is not a baby, she is not a mumbling wobbly toddler, she's a preschooler. She does puzzles, and tells stories, and studies bugs, and helps with her brothers. She isn't in to baby things. No baby dolls, now Barbie dolls. She doesn't scribble lines, she draws pictures. She has an opinion and makes it known. She skips and runs and SINGS so much. She has a heart full of joy and happiness and she spreads that to us every day.
I'll try to stop the sappiness and leave it at that. Now for the FUN! We had her birthday party this year at her gymnastics gym. It turned out great! We had 16 or so kids and they got to play some games, jump on the trampoline, do an obstacle course, that kind of stuff. We had pizza and cake (FROZEN, of course) and balloons. When we were loading up the car to go home, I leaned in to snap her seat belt and Audrey said, "Mommy, my birthday party was so great. Thank You". I was so happy to know that she had a good birthday!!

We went home and opened presents...OMG so many presents...too many. Of course she doesn't think its too much. She got some pretty fun stuff and so this week has been awesome while she and JJ explore them all. Big things she got this year were dress up clothes (my mom made an awesome ELSA dress which she will wear at Halloween), Barbies, Frozen stuff, Princess stuff, clothes..stuff like that. Josh made her a dress up closet to hang her play clothes and store her shoes/tiaras/jewelry etc. It turned out so perfect! She loved it and now it sits right in the middle of our living room. Which she loves, but we...need a bigger house. :) My gift to her was tickets to see Frozen on Ice next month. I can't wait!

On her birthday I sent in a picture from her birth and every year of life so far, along with a few highlights of each year of her life. The teacher talked about it all and hung her photos up in the class for a couple of days. Special Day. We took her and JJ and Ian over to Kid Junction (kind of like Chuck E Cheese) for lunch and some play time. We ended up being the only ones there! I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. Good (easy) for me, but I wonder if they wanted other kids to play with. Anyways, it was fun and wore them out and after a quick dinner, the kiddos were all in bed pretty early.

Remember when I was first posting about her? And that stupid harness? Read about her first and third birthdays too, but not her second because I apparently never blogged it. Which is a shame since it was such a great age and a great year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montessori School

Audrey had her first day of Montessori school a few weeks ago. She goes 5 days this year, 3.5 hours each day. We made this decision in the spring..although we liked her preschool last year, we had done a lot of research on the Montessori method, toured the school, and ultimately decided that we wanted to try this school out and see how we like it. 

The school does a 2 week long "phase in" schedule, which is basically just a modified schedule for the kids. So the first day she just went in for a half hour to see her classroom and meet her teacher. The next couple of days were one hour, then the next few days were 2 hours, and so on until we reached the full 3.5 hour day. They suggested the students bring a plant to their classroom so they can have the responsibility of taking care of something living, and to "beautify" the environment. Audrey and I went to the garden center and she got to pick out a little plant that she liked and she got to choose where in the classroom to put it. 
On her first day (after meeting her teacher) we dropped her off out front of the school and that was it...she walked in with the teacher and left us in the dust! JJ was very upset to see her go. I didn't realize until that moment that her leaving for school would be an adjustment for him too. He probably doesn't remember last year that she went to school, and after having her home every day over the summer, it must have been scary for her to just get out of the car and leave. He sure does love his big sister!

And that brings us to the next thing. JJ is now going to Montessori school as well, twice a week for 3 hours. With everything going on with Nathaniel (that's a whole other post), it has been really hard on the kids. They get very little attention from me most days. I had hoped that with Audrey being in school, JJ and I would have more one-on-one time since he doesn't nap in the mornings anymore. I figured yeah, I'd put Nathaniel down for a nap after we drop Audrey off at school and then its all me and JJ time after that. Well, that isn't happening. Instead, we drop Audrey off and listen to Nathaniel cry the whole way there and home. Then we all come inside and I immediately turn on the TV for JJ so that I can tend to Nathaniel. Most times that means taking him upstairs in an attempt to get him to sleep, then coming back downstairs and walking/bouncing/jiggling him trying to get him to settle or fall asleep, feeding him, changing him, and on and on...and point is, JJ gets nothing. No attention. No cuddling while we read a book. No playing. Just TV or playing by himself while I handle The Baby That Never Sleeps. He eventually does fall asleep but by that point I'm frustrated and stressed and have a short fuse and while I try my best to wipe the slate clean and treat the "big kids" fairly, they just aren't getting what they should be getting from me. SO ANYWAYS...we decided that JJ could benefit from being in an environment where he doesn't have to listen to crying and can do more stimulating activities than watching Little Einsteins. 

He went two days last week and his third day was today. Teacher says he's doing great! He and Audrey get out of the car together and hold hands walking into school. SO cute. He doesn't even look back to check on me and doesn't cry or anything! Teacher says he is very confidant and sure of himself. That makes my mama heart happy. I really think this experience will be good for him. He's never really spent much time around kids his own age since most of our friends are actually Audrey's friends. I have seen him with some other toddlers and..well..he's kind of rough. He pushed a kid once over a train even though he already had like 4 and the other kid only had one. I don't want a bully baby. Those kids aren't fun. And I don't want him thinking the whole world is what exists at our home...lots of baby screams, fighting with his big sister, etc. yeah, so this will be good, this will be good. I'm obviously still trying to make myself comfortable with the fact that my baby boy is already out of the home and in someone else's care.

Audrey is still adjusting as well. We talked all summer about the fact that she would be going to a different school this year. She toured the school with us and we drove by it a few times and talked it up. She seemed ok. But once she started going for a couple of days, she realized what "new school" actually means. Her old friends aren't there. Her old teacher isn't there, nor her old classroom or her old routines. This must be tough on a 4 year old. While she says that she has fun at school and never has anything bad to say, she also still says she misses her old school and wants to go back. She asks about her "old" friends daily so we are making an effort to see them pretty regularly for playdates or picnics. I reached out to the mother of a girl in Audrey's class whom she says she talks to and eats snack with. We are having an after-school picnic/play date next week, so hopefully seeing someone from school outside of the classroom will make her a little more enthusiastic about being there.