I Don’t Want to “Let Go,” But I Must Let My Daughter Build Without Me, Occasionally That Is!

She took a quick look at the next instruction and then surveyed the table in search of the next piece. “Here it is, Mommy!” Quinn said with enthusiasm. She then shared with me, “The pink piece goes right here!” Building with Legos was one of my favorite activities when I was younger. Well, actually, I still enjoy building with Legos, so I enjoy partaking in this activity with my daughter.

Before we got started with her new Lego set, she examined the box and informed me, “It says this is for children who are five years old to twelve, but I can still do it even though I’m four!” I shook my head in agreement and let her know that I can be her helper. “Thanks, Mommy, But I might not need your help. I just have to follow the instructions and pictures.” While I was proud of her wanting to do it by herself, in that moment I was a little disappointed that she didn’t need nor want my help.

She made me think about how there will be times when I need to just be content with observing and letting her take the lead so that she may grow and become her own person. I must be happy that she wants to build on her own and wants to be independent. Now, we can occasionally build using our Legos side by side with her knowing that I am there for her if she needs me to help with instructions or to locate a piece to construct whatever she may be building.

All the best,

Tanya

You’ve Been Slimed! Stem Fun Preschooler Style!

“I don’t know what the fascination is with slime!” I overheard a lady saying to her kids as she shook her head unwilling to budge on purchasing the kit. My four year old had been asking to make slime for the past few months, and I was avoiding it because well it’s gooey, sticky, messy and gets all over, which is the very reason she wanted to make it.

Upon arranging a play date with our cousins, I figured why not when the suggestion was offered. I was able to get a kit at AC Moore for just under $5, actually half price because I had a 50 percent off  one item coupon. There were so many from which to choose: ones with glitter, ones that glow in the dark, ones that have a scent, etc. I decided to go with the kit that had scents, pink strawberry and blue raspberry.

It actually was a fun project and a great way to teach children how to follow directions, take measurements, hypothesize what will happen and even utilize a few of the five senses by explaining how it feels, smells and looks.

I’m a big kid at heart and did enjoy helping Quinn and her cousin make slime, but I would certainly suggest keeping the slime making contained to an area where there is no carpet, just a plain table or island with no table cloth. Definitely wear old clothes, a smock or apron when making or playing with the slime because it doesn’t seem to come out of fabric as easily as it rolls off of one’s hands.

I’m not too sure of the next time we’ll make gooey, sticky messy slime that gets all over, but I loved seeing the smile of Quinn and her cousin’s face and look forward to the next STEM project.

All the best,

Tanya

Celebrating Four Fantastic Years: Happy Birthday to My Sweet Girl!

Four: a nice and even number. There’s four seasons, four elements, and today makes four years since the birth of my sweet little girl. What a fantastic four years it’s been watching her grow and become her very own person! She loves learning, is so inquisitive and is already in tune with her emotional intelligence and is often the consoler when she sees that someone is upset.

At age one, I was in awe with her ability to walk, at age two, I was eager to listen to her talk, at age three, I enjoyed observing her continue to discover the world and further develop her cognitive skills, and now at age four I look forward to and encourage her questions and interests, even when they seem endless, because I am grateful to have her in my life and love seeing the world through her eyes.

While it may be Quinn’s “happy birthday,” it is my happy day as well. She’s added so much meaning to not just my life but my husband’s life, our extended family and friends too. I hope she grows up knowing how much of a gift she has been to us all and that she feels loved not just on her special day but everyday.

All the best,

Tanya

The Abundance of Wonderful Works of Art from My Little Girl

 

With a smile on her face and excitement in her voice, my little girl will ask, “Do you like it, Mommy? Did I do a good job?” at least once a week when she brings home a work of art she created at her preschool. Even though my three year old started school about five months ago, her big accordion art portfolio I got her is already overflowing, and I can barely squeeze one more piece of art in it, and like most parents, I don’t want to discard anything and even have a difficult time making room on the display board I put up for her because I just don’t want to take anything down.

Actually, I’ve left the task of taking down art work in partially in Quinn’s hands and will inform her that in order to hang up her new art work we need to remove something else. So far it’s been working out really well, and she uses logic to take down art work. For instance, she suggested taking down anything Christmas or Hanukkah related since both holidays are in December so that she could make room for her Valentine’s day art work. She decided to keep her snowman up saying, “If it doesn’t snow again to make a real snowman outside, we ‘ll always have my snowman, right, Mommy?”

To be honest, part of me misses doing art projects with my little girl prior to her starting school, so we did both the finger painting one a few weeks ago (only her painting is on display even though she insisted on me putting mine on the board too), and it was an awesome way to reinforce that red and blue make purple. Plus, she was so excited and impressed with her art work that she wanted to bring in her project so that her teachers and the class could see it for show and tell.

Who knows how many works of art we’ll have by the end of June? I guess I better purchase a couple of more art portfolios to house her many masterpieces. I’m actually considered scanning some of them or putting together a little scrap book, as time permits, so that she can look back on her work and how much she’s progressed as she gets older.

All the best,

Tanya

What A Difference a Week Makes! The Ups and Downs of Starting Preschool

2016-09-02-16-31-32“There’s no school tomorrow! Why not, Daddy!” my daughter inquired in a teary eyed voice Friday evening before bedtime. I asked my husband, “Did I hear what I think I heard?” He shook his head with a smirk on his face, “Yes, you did!” he said.  About a week and a half ago, Quinn told me she didn’t want to go to school and cried when her father or I dropped her off in the morning. I was so concerned and was so nervous about her developing a strong dislike for school since she missed us so much and kept asking why she had to go (even when she admitted that she had fun.)

All last week, her best friend Grover (from Sesame Street) has been accompanying her to school and spending a little time with her in the morning before the day’s activities got underway, and there’s been no tears: only smiles and stories about how the two of them had a great day. Though I do not know for certain what this week will bring, this evening, as we prepare for tomorrow, Quinn excitedly asked to “play school” and told her dad and me, “I’m going to have the best day ever at school tomorrow!” What a difference a week makes!

All the best,

Tanya

Grateful to Grover: Easing the Transition of Preschool for My Little Girl

2016-09-10-19-50-55“Please, Mommy! Don’t Go!” my three year old cried out. My chest tensed up, and I could feel a tear or two welling up in my eyes as I pried my daughter’s hand off of my arm while struggling to comfort her as I left her with the teacher who was trying to console and distract her with an activity or toy as I left for work. What a difference a week makes! Quinn went from being excited the first week to adamantly voicing her dislike of being left at school by her father and me in the second week. We’ve explained how fun school is and how it’s great to meet new friends and learn from the teacher, but she is still somewhat resistant, especially considering that this is her first school experience.

Actually, she mainly cries for us not to go during the initial drop-off, and the teacher has reassured us that she is smiling, having fun and interacting with the other children for the rest of the day. So, we’ve been trying to come up with a way to help with the transition from home-life to school life in the morning.

Apparently, Quinn had the answer all along; it was me who was not receptive to the idea because I wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable by the teacher. “Can Grover please come with me, Mommy?” Quinn would ask in such a sweet yet desperate voice. I suggested that she could bring him for show and tell to which she quipped, “Mommy, Grover is my friend, not a toy. We bring toys for show and tell, not friends.”

On this past Friday, we had a talk in the car before heading into the preschool building, and she seemed to be doing okay. She asked again if Grover could come with her, and I said that he could but needed to stay in her book bag, and I’d ask the teacher if it was okay for Quinn to nap with him. Quinn was fine with this compromise, but as I hung up her book bag and little jacket, tears began to form in her eyes.

As I gave her a hug and tried to console her, the teacher saw that Quinn was visibly upset and asked, “Where’s Grover, Quinn?” I was surprised at this inquiry. How did she know about Grover? Maybe Quinn mentioned him during nap time or when they were talking about friends or toys at some point. I asked, “Is it okay that she has Grover?” The teacher smiled and nodded, “Of course, she can have Grover!” She then looked at Quinn as I handed Grover to her from the book bag, “Your friend Grover can spend a little time with you this morning, and then you’ll be able to put him away in your book bag until nap time. Okay, Quinn.” Her tears subsided, and she smiled and clung to Grover. Quinn was going to be okay. I later found out that my husband allowed Quinn to bring Grover on that Thursday but just didn’t tell me.

While some people may think children should not be permitted to have “security blankets,” such as a binkie, favorite toy or an actual favorite blanket that provides comfort, I think it is sometimes necessary to get them through a major change or transition. I am so grateful to Grover, for he has provided my daughter with some comfort during this major change, and when I picked her up, she immediately informed me, “Grover and I had a fun day at school Mommy!” Hearing her say this really made my day because it truly did upset me to see her so distraught.

All the best,

Tanya

Trying on a New Pair of Shoes: The Preschool Change is Going to Take Time for Both My Little Girl & Me

Just a little under a week ago, my daughter attended school for the first time. Tuesday was great. On Wednesday, she was still excited! Then on Thursday, the inevitable happened. When I picked up my three year old, the teacher said, “Quinn was a little sad today and cried a few times asking for you and her daddy.” As I looked at my little girl’s facial expression and imagined her crying, my chest tightened, and my throat became dry. “Oh, she did!” I then turned to console my daughter while trying to be positive and asking, “How was your day, sweetie?” With a unchanged face and monotone voice, she said, “Good.”

While on the car ride home, she asked why I left her at school for so long and didn’t come for her. She was upset that I wasn’t there to watch her play and do different activities. When we got home, I emptied her lunch bag and saw that for the third time in a row she barely touched her lunch. To focus on the positive and to get her mind off of the major change, we played a little in the playroom and got dinner ready, she seemed to be fine, but right before bed she asked, “Do I have to go to school tomorrow too?” To which I asked, “Don’t you like school? School is fun!” “Yes, but you aren’t there, Mommy!” I tried to convince her that school was just for her to not only learn but to meet new friends and do different lessons and activities with the teacher.

The next morning she claimed, “My leg is bothering me, Mommy, so I can’t go to school today.” “I think you’ll be just fine,” I reassured her. When I dropped her off, I was a bit nervous wondering if she would cry or be extremely upset. It would break my heart seeing her cry, and I would have a limited amount of time to comfort her because I had to get to work to teach one of my classes. Surprisingly, she smiled when she saw the teacher and eagerly went off with her after giving me a big hug and kiss. I smiled and said, “Have a great day, honey!” She responded, “You have a great day too, Mommy!”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked her up but prayed that she had a fun day and enjoyed herself. I arrived a little earlier so that I could see her doing an activity since she said she was upset that I did not see her doing one, and she was happy to see me but then quickly exclaimed, “Mommy, I’m not ready to go yet!” What a wonderful phrase to hear and a sharp contrast from that Thursday. I know it’s going to be tough at times walking in these new shoes of change with many ups and downs as we both continue to become accustomed to Quinn attending school, but it certainly makes the time we spend together that much more special.

All the best,

Tanya