What’s in a Name and Other Goings On

October 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm (Ladybug, Sunshine, The Husband)

The Husband is very unhappy with being called “The Husband.”  Totally understood.  I wouldn’t want to be The Wife.  Although people have called me that, usually when asking The Husband if he’s allowed to go out for the night.  Like he needs my permission.  I guess I’m just glad they didn’t call me the old ball and chain.  In any case, I’m looking for suggestions.  Anyone?  Something tells me calling him “The Man Formerly Known as The Husband” just wouldn’t sound right.  

Today, as we were playing on the playground after dismissal from school, Ladybug decided that whatever Sunshine was doing was the best thing in the world to do.  She followed her all the way up onto the big slide platform.  She really wanted to drive with the little wheel, but Sunshine had a different idea.  I was chatting with another mom, when I see Sunshine pick Ladybug up and seat her at the top of the slide.  She shouted “Mom, Catch” and proceeded to give Ladybug a huge push.  Thankfully I’m a quick sprinter.  

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The Soccer Chronicles, Week 2

October 11, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Soccer, Sunshine)

I think it was the bindi that did it.  Sunshine received several sheets of bindis for her birthday, and she’s been wearing them ever since.  So when I suggested she might like to wear a bindi to play soccer today, she jumped at the chance.  She put on her soccer uniform without even having to be asked.  She ran out onto the field with her Daddy.  She practiced with her team.  She played, excitedly running onto the field when her coach called her.  It was such a dramatic transformation that I think I have to attribute it to the bindi.  

The way 3 and 4-year olds play soccer is to essentially take turn scoring goals.  One kid from one team runs up the field with the ball and scores a goal.  The opposing team then repeats the process.  We kept telling the kids to try to take the ball away from the kid running with it.  At one point, after calling to Sunshine to take the ball, she stopped running and looked at us as if we were crazy.  And I came to a startling realization.  I’ve been teaching my kid for the last four years that you don’t take things away from other people.  At least not without asking first.  And now I expect her to take a ball from someone who is obviously playing with it and play with it herself.  It seriously goes against everything I’ve been teaching her.  I’m so proud of my kiddo for looking at me like I was crazy!  

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The Great Birthday Party Dilemma

October 7, 2008 at 5:27 pm (birthday, Sunshine)

So this past weekend was Sunshine’s very large birthday party with her friends.  Daddy and I had gone back and forth for weeks about whether or not we would even have a big friend birthday party.  I didn’t necessarily want to.  I mean, what is it with birthday parties?  They are insanely expensive.  The entire class needs to be invited.  (Not such a small task considering your average Montessori classroom has 30 students.)  Not to mention the fact that keeping 30 3, 4, and 5 year-olds busy and entertained requires nothing less than creativity on the level of Walt Disney.  We’re not even going to talk about the goody bag dilemma.  

My husband’s argument for the party was compelling.  Sunshine’s never had a birthday party with her friends.  She’s had such a tough time making friends at school.  Maybe seeing all of them outside of school would help.  Every kid should be able to experience a big, fun birthday party every couple of years.  It’s a cool part of growing up.   
So I gave in.  I booked a party at Leapin’ Lizards, a really cool inflatable place in Decatur.  I absolutely was not going to try to entertain all those children in our home on 2.5 weeks notice.  Then I started worrying.  What if no one came?  These kids haven’t know Sunshine for very long.  What do we do about gifts?  I wanted to say “no gifts,” but Daddy thought she should be able to experience a party with gifts, just once.  The only party slot available was 4:00-6:30 pm.  That meant serving dinner.  What do you serve 30 kids for dinner when some of said children are vegan, some are kosher Jews, and some just have parents who don’t want anything not organic or free-range to pass across their child’s lips?  Then the goody bag dilemma.
Invitations went out.  A tentative menu of cheese pizza, chicken tenders, and a vegetable tray was planned.  Much thought was put into the goody bag dilemma.  Several ideas were discarded.  Finally tote bags, markers, and foam stickers were purchased.  Party plans were moving along nicely.  It would have been nice if people had actually RSVP’d by the date, but that’s OK.  It’s relatively easy to move numbers around with a party like this.
I was still so anxious though.  I know, I know.  I’m worried about a kid’s party.  How lame is that?  But we’re new to this school.  We don’t know these parents well.  We want Sunshine to fit in.  We want her to be accepted.  We want to be accepted.  What would the parents think about us?  Would we get party invitations after this?  My stomach was churning all day long.  
All in all though, the party went really well.  The kids jumped.  They played.  Sunshine found a friend that stayed with her through the entire party!  She didn’t play alone!  Surprisingly there were no tears, from anyone.  It got a little chaotic when we called the children in for dinner.  I was so busy thinking about what to serve, that I didn’t even bother to think about how I would get all these children plates fixed.  But the other moms there were fantastic.  They stepped right in.  We didn’t really have enough food for the parents to do more than graze.  We probably should have had more.   Oh well.  Sunshine had a blast.  That alone makes it a complete success.  To top that, I even got compliments on the goody bags.  
I’m embarrassed to say that I was so nervous about this.  I know a bad birthday party won’t put my kid into therapy.  I just want her to start feeling a little better about this move, her school, her friends.  I know buying her things won’t help, but I’m hoping this experience did.  I’m not sure we’ll do a big birthday party next year, but she’ll have some great memories from this one.  

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Some more photos of my beautiful girls…..

October 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm (Ladybug, photos, Sunshine)

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Happy Birthday, Sunshine!

October 1, 2008 at 3:43 pm (birthday, Sunshine)

My Amazing Sunshine,

You’re four years old now.  Four years going on fourteen.  You told some of our neighbors that you were turning four, and you had such a grownup look about you.  You were posing.  They gave me a look that said, “Oh Angela, you are in such trouble.”  But that’s another post.
I feel like I spent all day looking at you and thinking about that truly scary, exhilarating day that you entered this world.  We were nervous, like all new parents facing labor and delivery for the first time.  I remember just bits and pieces now.  Like how it took so long for you to cry, and that they didn’t bring you to me like they were supposed to.  I remember feeling very anxious.  You were perfect; you just needed a little time.  I remember trying to nurse you that very first time.  How I had no idea if what I was doing was right, but you seemed content and busy.  I remember that very first night that we brought you home.  Silly me.  I thought you would wake me up every two hours to eat.  You didn’t.  I woke up, completely engorged and terrified that you’d stopped breathing six hours later.  You were fine.  Just sleeping like a baby.
We quickly learned that you will do things when you are ready.  No amount of cajoling on our part can make you ready for something you are not.  You will do things in your own time.  You were a swaddled baby.  Couldn’t sleep without it.  We tried to take it away several times, but you weren’t ready.  Then, at six months old, you suddenly couldn’t sleep with it.  And you told us, in no uncertain terms, that you were done with it.  Even now, you let us know when you’re not ready.  Just this weekend you had your first soccer practice.  You’re on a team with children you don’t know, playing a game you are a little unfamiliar with.  We should have known that you wouldn’t necessarily take kindly to practicing.  I wish the coach  might have let you kids have time to get to know each other.  But we don’t live in a world that caters to us, and your Daddy and I are trying to teach you a little bit about that.
Your kindness and courtesy amazes me.  I love that when we go out for ice cream, you are the first to offer up your flavor to us for tastes.  You give bites of your favorite foods to Ladybug, without hesitation, if you think she might want them.  You gently help her down the stairs, and cheer her on for getting down without falling.  We’ve even caught glimpses of you curled up at the corner of her crib, reading her stories.  You absolutely love to hold doors open for others (thank you, Richmond Montessori!), and you know that trash belongs in a trashcan.  There are many students at the high school next to your school who still don’t have a great grasp on those lessons.  
You understand so readily that there are certain things that you don’t have to share; Cat, Jungley, Baby, and that everything else is up for grabs.  You’re so patient with Ladybug when she wants to play with all these toys that were formerly just yours.  You even show her how to use them properly.  
You have an amazing love of all things girl:  sparkly shoes, butterflies, cool hair bands, Fancy Nancy, Barbie dolls (thanks, Mimi), and jewelry.  It never ceases to amaze me.  You need to feel put together in the morning.  Everything matches down to your accessories.  Your purse goes with you to school.  I’m so the very opposite of well put together.  I usually don’t match.  My hair is usually up in a bun, and accessories con only rarely be found on my person.  It’s absolutely delightful watching you.  I do feel as though I lack some girly gene though.  I know we’ll butt heads, but for now I love watching you grow.
Sunshine, your laugh is absolutely infectious.  Luckily we hear you laugh so much more often than we hear you rage.  Although as you test more and more boundaries, you seem to feel more and more frustrated.  We’ve been working on counting to 10 lately.  When you’re angry, I can ask you nicely to count to 10.  You do the same for me.  It’s only fair.  Hopefully this will make for some better mornings.
I see so little of the baby that you once were.  I think I’m mourning that just a little.  On the flip side, it’s incredible to see the girl you are becoming!
Happy Birthday, Sunshine!
Love, Mom

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