Saturday, August 31, 2013

Preschool Begins

Two years ago I was no where near ready, emotionally, to send my baby off to preschool.  I would get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it and couldn't imagine ever feeling "ready" to let my little girl go.  Even a year ago, I was no where near ready but, this August, I am very ready, though still a little sad.  I am so thankful that God allowed things to work out like this.   

A few factors made the decision to send my daughter to preschool this year easier. One: the school is in a familiar setting for both me and my kiddo.  That put both of us at ease because there is something comforting about a familiar setting.  Two: She knows a handful of the kids attending her school and I know a few of the parents.  That made me happy and it got Daisy more excited about starting school because she was eager to "play" with her friends more often.  Three: It's only 3 mornings a week MWF from 9-12.  It is such a short amount of time in all reality but, it's a wonderful little break for us both.  The truth is that I have been desperately needing a little break each week and this will be perfect for refueling my very fried mommy brain.  And for the record, it's not fried entirely because of Daisy...just life in general.  Mom life, wife life and life life.  Four:  It's a change of scenery for my kiddo and it will present some new challenges to stretch and grow her.  She is a super smart girl and she likes to explore new things and I'm not the best when it comes to creating a new activity every day like so many of my mom friends. School gives her many chances to discover and create. What could be more fun when you are 3??

I started talking to Daisy about preschool a few weeks in advance but, more intentionally the week before.  She got to pick out a lunch bag from the store although she doesn't technically need it as she only takes a snack to school.  Of course she picked a princess lunch bag. The kids don't take their own backpacks to school.  Instead the school gives a canvas tote to each student so we decorated it with lots of glitter, flowers and birds per her request.  She was very happy and I was too.  

I attended a meet the teacher night with my hubby just a few days before school started and that was such a surreal first time experience for me.   I vividly remember all of the nights that my mom came home from parent-teacher meetings that she had attended for me and my 3 siblings and it still blows my mind some days that I am now the adult...and the mom meeting my child's teacher and seeing her future classroom.  

I looked around her adorable classroom and imagined all the fun things Daisy might do.  Then I saw the dress up station and knew that she would most definitely be doing that and I chuckled to myself.  I smiled as I saw where her tote would hang and where her art would someday adorn the classroom walls. Oh how the night tugged on these fragile mommy heart strings. 

Bittersweet.  It's one of the most perfect adjectives for describing motherhood.  Even though my heart is finally ready to give my little girl wings and let her soar into preschool, I still ache inside over how quickly time flies and how fast my little girl grows.  

Monday morning was an exciting morning!  Daisy woke up early of course, just to throw things off but, it was evident that she was giddy and knew that that it was a special day.  I swooped her up in my arms and snuggled her up in her chair while I made her a special breakfast.  She watched a show and we chatted about her first day of preschool.  I packed her a snack and got her dressed and then it was time to take pictures.  I am familiar with the horror stories when it comes to taking pictures before school.  I had zero expectations and I also made sure to give myself plenty of time so that we were not rushing or stressed.  Fortunately, Daisy was more than happy to take a few pictures on the front porch and I made sure that both me and Daddy got in a picture with her also.  She felt special and that made me very happy.  

She was ridiculously happy to have new pink shoes to wear and she loved her new (used consignment) shirt because it had glitter on it.  Love my girly girl oodles and oodles. 

The pictures with the don't cry mom sign as well as the picture with her current interests and personality traits written down the side were inspired by Pinterest.  Thank you Pinterest for keeping my brain in creativity mode overload 24/7 but, also for giving me simple and adorable ideas like these. 

Love this picture of Daisy and her Daddy.  So very happy that she inherited her Daddy's brown eyes:).
I had been a little worried for Daisy only because she didn't know anyone in her class.  She is still getting the hang of the whole "play with other kids" thing and more often will play entirely alone unless encouraged otherwise.  It takes her a long time to learn a friend's name and even longer to connect with a specific person.  More often than not she would much rather talk with me and the parent's of her friends than with her actual friends.  I didn't want her to feel uncomfortable not knowing anyone or to get left know, all the normal things that any mom would worry about for their kiddo. Those were the only factors that gave me a little cause to worry and I am so thankful that there weren't more!

The great news is that she had a blast her first week of preschool.  Thank you Jesus! We never had any tears or any sad departures at the classroom door.  Every morning she gave me a little kiss and then she bravely walked into her class without looking back.  I'm so thankful for that because it made it SO much easier for me to feel confident that she would be okay.  I felt peace.  What a blessing.

There is something very priceless about picking my child up from her school and walking hand in hand with her to our car.  We chat a little bit about how her day was, what she did and who she saw.  I don't ask too many questions because she doesn't like to answer if I do.  I've learned that she likes to go down a pink slide.  She didn't like that I gave her a "boring" snack. (?? and here I thought I was being really awesome giving her a smoothie and crackers! lol:) She dressed up and loved it (wow, shocker! haha).  She went down the REALLY big slide.  She saw her bestie Raelyn (who is in the other 3's class) on the play ground and gave her a hug and it made her really happy.  She needed to go potty, asked the teacher and the teacher said no (according to Daisy).  I am assuming because they are supposed to hold their potty until potty break.  Daisy is not used to someone telling her no when she has to go potty so this was a funny conversation in the car.  She painted her feet and made prints on a paper.  She said it tickled when the teacher painted her feet and she laughed really loud like this (and then she laughed for me to demonstrate).  She told me that she played with a mail box and it was a lot of fun.

  Honestly, I was impressed by how many facts she offered me and I always find it interesting what a child is most impacted by and what they choose to divulge. 

And in case you are wondering how I spent my first week of "FREEDOM?"  Let me just say, that it was not the week that I had hoped for.  I imagined coffee dates and long, uninterrupted chats with friends.  I imagined a glorious nap on the couch to make up for the last 3 years of not sleeping past 6:30.  I imagined a couple hours of window shopping at Marshalls without a single tantrum to navigate.  I imagined anything BUT, being sicker than a dying dog for 8 straight days.  Seriously, this has been one of the worst colds/sinus infections that I have had in years.  Go figure.  I was pretty much laid out for 4 days and had a head with a pickaxe in it for 8.  Lovely.  Some people said (meaning well of course), "at least you have a couple of hours to "rest" without Daisy bugging you.  Rest? Did you not read the part about the pickaxe? Sigh.  Nonetheless, I managed to pull it together to get Daisy to school and back and kept a smile on my face while doing it.  Thank you Jesus:). 

Today is the first day that my cold is giving me true relief and boy it feels great! I'm looking forward to a nap next week or maybe coffee with a friend.  Stay tuned.  

Anyways, in closing, I am SO proud of my little girl for taking on her first week of preschool with courage and joy!  

God Bless you my precious daughter, Daisy Love.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

3 Years Old - An Update and lots of blah blah blah

I have been writing this post off and on between the random ten and twenty minute breaks that my three year old now allows me.  Naps have been in short supply for well over four months and quiet time is great except that it really isn't all that quiet in our house.  It's more of a referee match.  "Can I come out yet?" No, stay in there it's only been two minutes!"  "Mom, I'm thirsty!"  "Tough kid, you are going to have to wait at least an hour. You just had a drink!"  "Mom, I hafta go potty again."  Sigh.  I'm totally kidding with the drink...(mostly) hehe. 

I can't even maintain a single thought process with a three year old around which is why this blog bounces ALL over the place as you will soon discover in this post.  I can't tell you how many times I walk into my bedroom with the simple intention of getting my glasses off of my dresser and instead repeatedly walk out of my room with items other than the glasses.  It takes me a few trips just to get the one item that I actually wanted in the first place.  Why you ask? Well, because my adorable 3 year old's little voice is ALWAYS going and going and GOING and as a result my brain simply cannot process a normal adult thoughts...most of the time. In love.

I love talking three year olds!! I promise I adore them but, being a stay at home mom to one in all of her new words glory, pretty much makes my brain feel like a paper towel that has been asked to hold far too much water and has turned to mush..Yuppers.  My day is full of Mom, Mom, Mommy, Momma, MOMEEEE and MOMMMMM.  My leg is a hanger for three year old arms.  My butt is a punching bag.  My potty breaks are no longer breaks...scratch that.  They haven't been a "break" since I birthed this child. If I am in her presence she must be in my face.  She is obsessed with me really and it so many ways it is absolutely priceless.  She wants me to hold her all the time and she wraps her arms super tight around my neck everywhere we go.  She is so proud of her Mommy and she kisses my face until it's covered in kissy slobber.  If I walk out of a room, she is sure to follow.  If she can't find me (because I am hiding under the bed) she starts wailing for me and won't stop until she finds me (hiding under the which point I say, "you found me!  Great job now it's your turn to hide." Saved!)  It's precious.  I guess this is that special age that most moms look back on and long for and I should savor it...I really do try.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I cherish every day with my kiddo to the best of my ability but, that doesn't change the fact that it is challenging at times to uh, stay sane. HA. 

But, in spite of all that I absolutely love being a stay at home mom and I love my three year old to bits.  I wouldn't change this for the world and I have never regretted giving up the corporate world to be smothered by my three year old.  She continues to amaze me with her imagination and spunk.  She has such a tender and loving heart for everyone.  She is gentle and kind but, she can also be wild and silly.  She has more energy than the energerizer bunny on his best day.  She is a total blast...exhausting but, a blast. 

One day Daisy asked me to take pictures of her like I do for my clients.  She has hated having her picture taken for well over a year now so this was a request that I just couldn't pass up.  I literally jumped on it.  I quickly dressed her, threw a headband on her head, tossed a few props in the car and drove around the block to our local boardwalk.  I was already drenched in sweat before the session even started.  So fun.  Gotta love the humidity! She happily let me take her picture and even humored me and obeyed a few of my requests...for like 5 minutes.  But, that was enough time to capture a few cute images and that is all I need of a three year old.  In fact, I would never expect more than that so I was thrilled.  This was nearly a month ago now.  I am terribly slow.  The problem I have is that I don't like to take the time to edit my own pictures anymore.  I just don't have the time and I get so distracted by more "important" things like taking a cat nap while my kiddo destroys the house or drinking my 3rd cup of coffee.

That being said, most of these are not edited...which kind of makes me sad but, at least they are blogged and I can print them and remember this sweet day.  Wish I could hire an assistant to edit my personal photos...or clone myself.  Someday....(wink).  But seriously, could she be any cuter.  I love her facial expressions and I love her brown eyes and strawberry blode hair.  "Daisy, I just adore you!  You are my sunshine little one." Love Mommy
  I'm convinced that most things in life are just like raising a three year old.  Most everything worth while in life is challenging at times and yet oh so rewarding.  Perhaps we would take the rewards for granted if we never faced any challenges?
Daisy is a sweet and sensitive little gal.  She is tender and loving.  She is a keen observer and listener and also a huge talker.  I love these qualities about her and I have no doubt that God has great plans for my child's big heart.  On the other hand, these qualities can be trying at times.  She gets her feelings hurt and frustrated easily when she is misunderstood.  She gets crushed if someone reprimands her for even the littlest thing.  I think she feels like they don't like her in these situations.  In this rather big cruel world that we live in, where being tough is practically essential for survival...I can't help but, worry about her sensitive personality at times.  Tis mommy nature.   I am a rather sensitive gal myself though, so I can relate.I love her sensitive spirit and I see her being a very nurturing person as she gets older.  (Below...she is waddling like a duck per her request and telling me a story while doing it.  Hilarious!)
She has become a passionate helper.  She asks to help all the time and she won't hesitate to jump in if we request her assistance.  Her favorite helping tasks are baking, cooking, setting the table, loading and unloading the washer and dryer, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, putting clothes away, packing lunches, getting groceries in her own little cart and so on.  It is so adorable that she wants to help with everything but, boy oh boy it slows the day down. (insert mommy sigh here).  It requires boat loads of patience because most of the time I would like to get my chores done quickly but, when she helps it takes all day..literally.  Nonetheless, I want to encourage the helper in my daughter and I want to pass on skills that will help her in her adult life, so I do my best to suck it up and incorporate her little and rather chaotic hands into our daily routine.  It's not easy but, when I take the time to show her things I find that I really enjoy the process as well. 
I had a little photography session today and Daisy was very upset when she realized that I went to it without her.  Her bottom lip went down and her face became downcast. "Mom, I wanted to go wif you. I wike to help you." Melt me like butter kid.  I won't be surprised if she becomes my photographer's assistant before too long.  That would be a treat!  She wants to do everything I do...all. the. time. hehe  She is definitely my little buddy and more often than not I love having her around to run errands with me or pop into a store. 
She is beginning to test limits a bit more these days.  More often than not, her little acts of mischief crack me up.  Just this morning she noticed some chocolate cupcakes sitting on the counter and she discovered that she was just tall enough to swipe her fingers across the tops.  Frosting is this kid's weakness.  She swiped once and I pretended not to notice because I wanted to see what she would do if I continued to ignore her.  She seemed to think that because she got away with it once it must be okay so she went for it again.  By then I was cracking up and had to burst her bubble.  Mommy is always watching kid! hahaha.   She did try cutting her hair once but, that was a long time ago now.  She loves to hide Daddy's wallet and keys and that has become a bit of a problem because she forgets where she hid them. Whoops.  She takes her jammies off every night after we put her to bed....don't know why I even bother anymore.  She likes to chuck her crackers out her window when we are driving.  We are working on this but, it doesn't help that it makes me giggle. She loves getting water out of the fridge and putting it in various containers in her play room.  For a while there she really enjoyed the toilet paper while she was sitting on the potty.  We nipped that in the bud real fast.  She likes to get the little stools out of her play room and then she sets them in the kitchen or bathroom so that she can reach things that she is not supposed to be getting into in the top cabinets.  She is clever and finds a way to get what she wants.  When she does go down for a nap she usually gets into every little thing in her room for about an hour before she falls asleep.  When I peek in on her I am always amused.  Dress up dresses and heels on in bed with a tutu around her neck.  All of her blankets on the floor with her asleep in a heap.  Daisy is hilarious and not a day goes by that she doesn't double me over with fits of laughter.  Just the other night she and I went for an evening swim together and she was playing keep away with me.  We both cracked up so much that we got hiccups.  I love that she gets hiccups all the time...sorry Daze but, you are just like your momma. hehe
She has gotten SO much better about going up and down steps and stairs.  This has made my life so much easier at parks and in people's homes.  She still isn't 100% but, I would say she is almost there.  I have spent far longer than most Mom's, trying to keep her alive at parks.  I would also stress if I ever had to leave her at someone's house who had stairs.  She would walk right out of the open 10 foot pole drops, off of the top of ladders, fall through stairs, wobble off the edge of a rail etc.  Sigh.  It was exhausting to give her that extra assistance for so long and I think I see the value in a two story home now, if only to give your kid an earlier start at stair climbing.  lol.  Perhaps I will invest in a stair master for our next child?  We just went to a jump house today for a play date and she excitedly climbed the steep ladders on the monster jolly jumps like a champ and went flying down the slide all by herself.  I was so proud of her!! She is an overcomer!  You go Daisy girl!
I'm already forgetting when we decided to transition away from the pacifier or "poppy" as she endearingly calls it but, I think it was shortly after her 3rd birthday...April of 2013 I believe.  I don't regret letting her have it as long as she did in case you are wondering.  It was SO wonderful to have the poppy to quiet her down in the car, put her to sleep quickly and just relax her when we were in new places.  It was her best friend and it consoled her regularly.  It broke my heart to take it away from her and it was not an easy thing for this momma to do lemme tell yah.  I started telling myself about 6 months in advance to prepare for the rough week that was likely to follow after P-day (poppy d day). You have probably heard me say before that I do everything very slowly because I have found that is the best way for it to be less traumatizing.  It gave me time to mentally prepare and get tougher for the task ahead.  I waited until we were done taking vacations or having visitors in our home.  I also waited for her 3rd birthday to pass because I didn't want to ruin that occasion.  When P-day came I kept that entire week play date and appointment free so that we could weather the storm without any added stress and ultimately so that I could be attentive and supportive for my child.  I started talking to her about giving her pacifiers to the store about a month in advance.  I told her that she could buy a special toy in exchange for her pacis and she even seemed to get a little excited about the idea.  At this point she was about 3 so she was able to understand me really well.  We had a big conversation the night before we said goodbye to the pacis (her last night using her paci to go to sleep).  I think I studied her face extra long that night as she sucked away on her paci.  I had to say goodbye too.  The next day we made the entire day as special as we could. Around lunch time I collected all of her pacis in a bag without making a big deal out of it and then we headed to Target.  I let her pick out any toy that she wanted.  She shopped for about a half an hour and finally chose a Thomas the train track.   We walked up to the register I had her hand her pacis to the clerk (in a baggie) to "buy" her toy.  She seemed to get it and didn't make a fuss at all.   The people in line gave me strange looks...that is always fun but, the clerk was so sweet and understanding.  Thank God for understanding people!! After shopping I took Daisy out to celebrate with a big girl lunch at Panda Express...her favorite.  She had a great time and she didn't ask for her paci at all until bedtime.  Bedtime was sad and it broke my heart to hear her cry so hard for her poppy friend.  Tore. me. up...  I ended up crawling into bed with her as I was expecting and consoling her for a good two hours until she finally fell asleep whimpering.  She also woke up crying in the middle of the night a couple of times if I am recalling correctly but, she fell back to sleep quickly.  The next three nights were tough but, each night got a little easier and I did my best to distract her and keep her mind off of her paci.  Still, I am not a tough momma so things like this are probably just as hard on me as they are on her.  After that first tough week she went to bed without crying but, she would whine off and on for a good two months when she thought of her pacifier.  "Mom, I miss my poppy, " or, "I don't want Thomas duh twain. I wan my poppy!"  she would randomly say and start crying.  Poor boo boo.  Honestly, overall I think she did exceptionally well and whined far less than I was expecting.  No, it wasn't easy or fun but, she did it and I am so proud of her.  You are tough cookie Daisy boo. 
THE END OF THE NAP ERA: The other downside of taking the pacifier away was that her daily 3 hour nap died almost simultaneously with the paci. Heavens tibetsy, that was a brutal and unexpected blow...for me.  I weathered a rough week of no pacifier transition only to come through and discover that I would not be getting any breaks for a long time going forward.  Without the pacifier Daisy was unable to shut down for her naps and barely able to at bedtime without a good couple of hours to chat herself to sleep.  She became much more agitated, irritable, emotional and restless throughout the day once the pacifier was gone.  It was a very noticeable change in her behavior and honestly I felt bad for her because I could tell just how hard the transition was for her also.  After a couple of rough weeks, I was exhausted from the unexpected 24/7 time with an extra irritable Daisy and with virtually no breaks until 9 PM every night  We did manage to get some in bed quiet time thanks to the Disney ap. on my phone but, she quickly tired of that.  After a few months, I think Daisy has learned some new ways to calm herself down and relax and she is far less irritable.  Over the past month or so I have been able to get her to take one or two naps a week on our extra busy days and those naps are my life line to say the least.  I used to shower, blog, edit pictures, exercise, clean house, take naps etc. during that glorious 3 hours break every day.  I'm not gonna lie, transitioning into a schedule without a nap has been very hard on my mommy sanity.  I find that I am pretty much ready to crawl into bed by 9 every night and I have no energy for much of anything else.  Perhaps it has been God's way of easing me into the Preschool transition which is just a mere two weeks away. Holy Cow!  I think that transition could have been a lot harder if I wasn't in such desperate need of a break! hehe.  Don't get me wrong, it is still going to be hard...just not AS hard. 
Anyways, all that to say that saying goodbye to naps has been very hard (for me) and I know that probably sounds terrible but, it does get easier as time passes.  I am learning to carve out 20 minutes here and there throughout the day instead of having a 3 hour chunck and I am starting to accept this as the new norm. 
But, how could you not melt over this sweet angel face below....her smiles kill me every day.
Then she got this silly idea to flip her hair around me it was 100% her idea and I just snapped away.  Her silliness cracks me up.  If you don't know by now...this kid is always on the go.
She is quite the little explorer. I'm pretty certain that she got that from both me and her Daddy. We both love to look for bugs, snakes, critters and animals in every nook and cranny. We love adventure, seeing new places and taking risks from time to time. We are regularly taking walks, riding bikes, going to the lake, scoping out new trails etc. I hope she will grow to love nature as much as we do! The only thing that she doesn't love is spiders and in general bugs.  I blame myself for passing  that on to her.  Sorry Daze!
She loves just about any kind of activity as long as we are doing something.  Splash pad, pools, museums, jump houses, parks, play dates, crafts, making necklaces (she loves that right now!), playing with her doll house (which requires me to be in imagination land for a long time and that gets old fast), sprinklers, painting, reading books, going to the library (which we just started doing last month and she loves it.  So happy that she enjoys books now), going to other people's houses, going to sunday school, dancing to music, dressing up like a princess (yes, surprisingly this is still a fave and just last week she stayed in costume all day even while we did errands. so cute!), playing on my new computer (curious george games are her favorite), watching shows (she gets really bored of tv for the most part these days), riding her bike (she has gotten really good at this!), paying with her baby dolls and cooking in her kitchen, even shopping sometimes, texting on my phone (she just learned that this week and loves it), face time family members, talking my ear off etc.  She also loves to help us bake or cook...she LOVES that. 

She starts preschool next week so our schedule and routine is going to be changing and I am going to be emotion next week so please...everyone leave me alone for about 5 days and then I'll get over it and be as good as new:). lol.  As hard as 3 can be at times...more often than not I wish I could freeze time and keep her little forever.  I love the way she runs into my arms for giant squeeze hugs and teh way she wants me to kiss her boo boos.  I love the way she brushes my cheek with her chubby little fingers that still have dents in the knuckles.  I love the way she laughs when I make silly noises and the way she want me to high five her every time she does something she is proud of.  I love the way she talks about Heaven and that Jesus is preparing a home for us.  I love the way she prays at the dinner table and all the silly things she comes up with.  I love her.  Forever and always.  There is so much to adore about a child and life really does fly by.  Soak it up.  One day at a time for tomorrow is never promised.  xoxo