Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lilly's birthday and both of her first days of school, plus a huge parental lightbulb

So this post is way late, but finally I have the time. Lilly turned seven (!) on September 5th. She had a great day, and has become quite a kid. I don't exactly know when that happened, one day she was a tiny peanut and today, an amazingly long, athletic half grown human. She continues to be perhaps the most giving child I have ever met. She is always helping her sisters (and friends) to understand things, she reads to them every day, and lets them sleep in her bed when they are frightened of things and does it all genuinely, with no thought of what she could get by doing it. I am so proud of her and her sweet self.

When Lilly was in kindergarten, she went to a close by neighborhood school. She really liked it, but was not challenged academically at all. She was one of two kids in her class who could read, and she had met all of her kindergarten goals by November. Her teacher used her as more of a helper, rather than help her further her own learning. That was okay, but we wanted more for her. We found this program in another public school in our town that was supposed to be amazing. It was all child led learning, hands on etc. Lilly hated it. Hated it. She didn't want to go, she did not like most of the kids, said they were bossy, did not like anything about it there. I will admit, the energy there was tense. I never really felt super comfortable there, either, but sort of dismissed it (big mistake). So nothing terrible ever happened, but it just wasn't a great fit. I just figured she was having a hard time transitioning, and that it would get better. She would be sad at the end of the day, and not be happy to go in the morning. When school got out, she became happier. I thought the summer would change something, but as school approached, she started getting antsy. On the first day, there was no excitement, no looking forward to seeing everyone. Nothing. Will picked her up after school and said she was miserable. It was at that point that a light bulb went off in my head. I guess it was more like someone slapped me in the side of the face. I asked her if she wanted to go back to her old school, and she said yes with such emphasis that I was shocked. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I have no idea. I think I was blinded by what that program was supposed to be, not what it was. We weighed our options, better academics (by how much we couldn't be completely sure) but an unhappy child, versus a happy kid with little challenge in class. We decided it was so much better to have a happy, comfortable kid who was bored in school than a miserable kid who was challenged academically. I decided that if she wasn't challenged in her new (old) school I would pick up the slack myself and actually put my teaching degree to work. Lilly went to her second first day of school at her new (old) school and came home a different kid. She was happy, all the tension had drained from her body, and she was her old (old) self. I finally realized what she needed, and fixed it for her. I feel so badly that it took me so long to realize something that was so simple to see. I am trying to do my best as a Mom, and think this has really made me realize that I have to trust myself and my kids more that anything that is supposed to be good. It was one of the best realizations I have ever had.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Allie's 5th Birthday

Five years ago at 6:59 am, Allie was born. The day was gorgeous, and the sky was the same bright blue as her eyes. Those eyes haven't changed one bit since that day. Allie, you are a wonderfully caring, exceptionally sweet little girl who adores princesses, ballet shoes and wrestling. I think that range of things will serve you well in the coming years. You are sensitive and kind and ultra focused on whatever you happen to be doing at the moment. You are starting kindergarten next week, and cannot wait to start learning things there. Today you received a bike from Nana and Grandpa and you spent a good portion of the day riding it everywhere you could. Before we left the house, you insisted that you pack your own band aids in your bike's pack, just in case there were any injuries. I guess you knew you would wipe out, because you took a corner a bit too fast and the whole thing tipped over. You jumped up, looked at your bloody knee and exclaimed, "it's a good thing I've got band aids!" you got over it quickly, but didn't want to get back on the bike. I insisted you get on a ride a bit longer, and you became confident after about two minutes, and then I couldn't get you away from it. I am so proud of the person you are becoming. I love you very much and can't wait to see what the next year holds for you.