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Recent Milestones - Hopes, Fears, and the Occasional Screaming Heeby-Jeebies

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June 1st, 2009

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12:07 am - Recent Milestones
O loard, so much going on. Most of the time I'm too depressed to be coherent about anything. And if I'm not depressed, I'm tired. Right now I'm tired.

But. Things must be recorded or I will forget them. And so.

Two Thursdays ago, Leila had her first-ever haircut. I made an appointment at a salon, and prepped her, telling her that we would go to a "hair salon" and she'd sit in a big chair that went up and up so she'd be sitting up high. And they'd put a big cape thing on her like a big bib, and she'd get her hair cut. And that it might feel like her hair was being pulled a little bit, but it wouldn't hurt. And also, when she went up and up in the big chair, she'd get to look at herself in a big mirror. I knew the mirror would be a big selling point.

She was having an ants-in-the-pants sort of day when we went to the salon, so I didn't have the stylist wash her hair; she just wetted it down. The cape/bib thing turned out to be especially for kids, and had ANIMALS all over it. SEA CREATURES. PERFECT. We had fun pointing out all the hammerhead sharks and starfish and dolphins. She loved the mirror, because she is addicted to her own face (can't imagine where she came by that particular vice).

Initially I was PO'ed because the stylist didn't cut off as much as I'd asked. It was hard to tell when Leila's hair was wet. But now I like it just fine. She's a bit cleaned up and looks like a very big girl. Scary.

This past Tuesday, Leila went to her school for two hours to get acclimated. I started freaking out the night before, and as I was driving her to the school, I thought I was going to puke.

I got her all signed in, and she breezed into that classroom like she belonged there. The kids were all sitting on the rug, doing the Morning Whatever, and Leila waded between them and sat down in the middle of them, plop.

The teacher looked up at me and smiled, "Well! This is nice! Where does she go to preschool?"

Um, she doesn't. She's at home with me.

"Well, great! I guess she's going to do just fine!"

Yeah. It sure looks that way.


My kid is not shy. What the hell.

The teacher introduced her to the kids, and got her to say how old she is. Then Leila announced that her name was in fact Ricky Raccoon. See above re Not shy. The she vamoosed off the rug, claiming she wanted to draw a horse. The para took her off to find paper and crayons, and I cleared out to let everybody do their thing.

What I did during my two hours of exquisite freedom is another story. Wow it was great. School might actually be OK for one or two things.

And then I went back to get her, and it took her a while to notice that I was there. Once she did notice me, she wanted to show me a bunch of the stuff she'd played with, and dragged me all around the room. There were real (dead) bugs in little enclosed cups with magnifiers on the tops. She liked those. She picked one up to show me, and the lid came off and dead bug spilled out. It was a big ol' cicada. A piece broke off. A tiny little Indian girl came over and very matter-of-factly picked up the cicada and cicada chunk, put them back in the cup and snapped the lid back on. Yarg. Thank you, little girl. I did not want to have to recover cicadachunks myself.

The para said Leila played at a bunch of the different "centers" (ah eduspeak) and had fun. The teacher said that Leila "looks like the beginning of the year, and the rest of the kids are, of course, end of the year" and that she'd be fine. On the way out, a couple of the kids said goodbye to her, and one little girl tried to hug her. Aw.

She also did not pee her pants, which was like super extra party bonus.

And then she fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up for THREE WHOLE HOURS which was like universal winnissimo total fancy winwinwin.

On Thursday I had to go to the dentist, and Leila agreed to ride in the big raisy-uppy chair. We made a big fuss about it, and she added to the festivities by hollering "I'm a SLOTH up in a TREE!" Yes! You are a sloth in a tree! Exactly!

Next time she's going to have to open her mouth and keep it that way.

On Saturday we had expeditions to the bookstore and a very mediocre new tearoom. Tearoom was fun despite being mediocre. Leila ate her ham and cheese sandwich by disassembling it and eating first all the cheese, then one or two pieces of the ham, then one or two pieces of the bread. There was a lot of stuff left, and the proprietress was in a tizzy, wondering if something had been wrong with the sandwich.

"No. She's three and a half, that's all," I said.

The best part of the tearoom was the giant gooey chocolate chip cookies. Leila had most of one, and ended up extremely coated. Heck, I had only a fraction of the darn thing, and I was a Chocolate Slick by the end of it. Deeeelicious.

The big news is, Leila can read. Basically. It's hard to tell. I don't think she's fluent yet, but she knows a LOT of words, enough to do a combination of sight-word "reading" and sounding stuff out to read strings of words at a time. Phrases. Not quite sentences. She is definitely getting there! Hooray!

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
I suspect in most cases the first day of daycare, preschool, Kindergarten, etc. is much harder on the parent than on the child. That was definitely the case with both of mine. From the kid's perspective, they're being let loose in a room full of toys, fun activities and new playmates, and they don't really have a sense that Mommy or Daddy will be gone for a while or that this is a new chapter in their life. They're too distracted by all the new things to explore.

The mistake that some parents make is making too much of a big obvious emotional display about it in front of the kid or getting clingy in anticipation that the child will be clingy. In most cases, I think, if the parent puts on a casual face (even if they are freaking out inside)and hangs back a little bit, the child will take to the new situation like a fish to water. Sounds like that's exactly what happened with Leila.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
I hearya. So many parents make their kids neurotic in the name of preparing them for stuff. In this case, I managed to keep my freakiness to myself.

The only separation issue I mentioned to Leila was Snowflake, the stuffed seal who goes EVERYWHERE with her. Last month, I enrolled Leila in a drop-off storytime program (our first drop-off program ever) and we had a little bit of practice in doing an activity without Snowflake. Mostly she did fine -- had so much fun she didn't even know Snowflake was gone. And the one day that she was upset about something and came out of the activity room to ask me for Snowflake, I said okeyfine, and handed her over.

When we got to the school on Tuesday, Leila surprised me by saying she wanted to leave Snowflake in the car. Huhwhat?! I think maybe Charles gave her that idea? I'm not sure. So I went with it, and told Leila that if, while she was at school, she missed Snowflake and felt sad about it, she should tell herself that Snowflake is waiting in the car for her, and she'd see Snowflake when she was done at school.

When I came to pick Leila up, the para told me that Leila did get upset about not having Snowflake, but calmed herself down pretty quickly. Whew. The para told me, "She kept saying, 'Snowflake's in the car.'"

So I dunno if I did something good for my child by giving her a way to cope, or if I planted a suggestion that caused her to get upset in the first place. So often there's a fine line between the two.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Just make sure Snowflake IS in the car! :) But seriously, I think she did remember to reassure herself like you said.

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