Wednesday, April 25, 2012

my little friends

"Little friends" is a nickname I've been using for the kids lately, and I thought I'd tell you about how they're doing. (By the way, all these photos are unedited. I'm happy just to be able to access them!)

Easter Sunday- this is really the best picture we got
 Anna currently has a paper chain to help her know how many days there are left until she turns 4 (there are 11 links on it). She goes to preschool for two hours on Tuesday and loves to show me what craft she's made there. She doesn't tell me much more about it than that, so I have to make inquiries based on the theme of the craft and listen for the snippets of new songs or stories that pop up during her play time.

She also takes a ballet class on Friday mornings. The first week, she sat with her thumb in her mouth for the first half of class, and for the second half when the other girls were skipping or galloping back and forth, Anna walked back and forth with her thumb in her mouth. The second week, her thumb was out a little bit more, and she made the teacher laugh with her answers to questions. The third week, she kept her thumb out of her mouth most of the time.
day 1 of ballet class
By this point, I was trying really hard not to feel frustrated. But after the third week, she started practicing skipping and galloping at home. We talked about the ballet words she was learning, and as we pulled into the parking lot for week 4, 10 minutes late, she said, "I think I want to try doing what the teacher does today." "Okay," I said, trying not to sound shocked, "I think that will be fun."

We raced into class and got her tights and shoes on (she didn't want to take the time to change into her leotard and skirt). She sat with the other girls and kept her thumb out. She didn't do any of their isolations routine, but she didn't suck her thumb, and during their plie routine, I saw her trying to get her feet into position and tilting her head a little bit with the teacher. Then, the teacher pulled the girls into a circle and asked them what Tigger does. Anna said, "Bounce!" The teacher said that Tigger bounces on his tail, but girls bounce on their legs and had the girls bounce. Anna just stood there. The teacher said, "Anna, can you bounce like tigger? Can you show me four little bounces?" And Anna pulled up her "paws" and did 4 little bounces, and just like that, was completely involved in class.

(Sorry it's sideways and pixelated. I had just remembered that my camera was in my bag for once and grabbed it out and quickly started filming without realizing that I had the camera turned sideways and on the wrong setting. But you can see how happy her face is at the end, sideways or not)

Her teacher was just laughing with delight for the rest of the class at what a huge change it was. What Anna lacked in grace, she made up for in enthusiasm, and although it wasn't pretty, she's got the mechanics of skipping and jumping her legs in and out, and galloping a lot better than many of the other little girls. I was smiling ear to ear the whole class and will cherish the little videos I took of that day for a long time.

We've been talking to Anna about how she's getting bigger and will be going to school soon, so she needs to start learning how to not suck her thumb, how to not have any accidents, and some better wiping technique after she uses the potty :) She is trying really hard and it's so gratifying to see her remember to take her own thumb out some times and to be able to congratulate her on stone-dry panties. We're learning how to meet her needs for attention and validation and in return she's rewarding us with fewer meltdowns and more help at home. It's a nice exchange and I hope this period of peacefulness will last for a while.

Levi turned two about a month ago and has embraced his new age with full force. He is the classic 2-year-old combination of heart-stopping cuteness and maddening unreasonableness. Thankfully, he spends most of his time in the cute camp and usually saves his unreasonableness usually for dinner time, bedtime, or getting in and out of the car.

I wrote everything above this a few days ago and just got back to adding more. We had some friends from across the hall over for lunch and a playdate today. Afterwards we all went out to the playground together. Our friends have a 4 year old boy who's just a few months older than Anna and a 2 year old girl who is about 10 months older than Levi, but inevitably, Anna and Daley play together and Holden and Levi play together.

 Today, Holden was climbing up the twisty slide, and Levi decided to try it too. He's usually scared stiff when it comes to the twisty slide, but today he climbed all the way to the top and slid down over and over again for about half an hour. Holden would chase him up and down making animal sounds and Levi would laugh and laugh. At the top, he'd always shout, "Hi Mama!" until I said, "Hi Levi!" back. He's also learning how to hold on to a bar (above a slide, or on an arching ladder) and "swing like a monkey."

Besides physical play, Levi still loves trucks and cars and buses. He also likes balls or anything else he can throw. Usually while Anna's at preschool, I take him down to a little run-off creek and we throw rocks in it for 10 or 15 minutes after a walk. He's just starting to learn how to catch and gets really surprised every time he does.

For all his growning up, he still loves to cuddle. Whenever he gets sad or mad (even when it's at me!), and even sometimes just when he's been playing away from me for too long, all he wants is to get a big hug. He'll run to me with his arms open and lay his head on my shoulder and wrap his arms around me. Often he'll whimper "Temple" of "Child 'a God" meaning he wants me to sing I Love to See the Temple or I am a Child of God. He freely says "I wove you, Mama." Ocasionally he'll ask for kisses. I love love love this and accomodate him all the time :)
snuggling with daddy for a story with his "bwankwie"
And finally, a little over a week ago, I picked up a little tykes play cube from someone on freecycle (oh how I love freecycle!). It has been a miracle toy. Today, as I was getting everything ready for our friends to come over, the kids played outside! nicely! together! for an HOUR! Literally. A whole hour. I was in mommy heaven. I now understand why play structures cost so much. It's because they're worth so much.

Here are my two little friends pointing out clouds and trees to each other. Priceless.


Anonymous said...

That is priceless! I love your descriptions Heather. Justin attended a tumbling class about age 3 . Weeks 1 and 2 did nothing just watched. Before week 3- I told him he didn't have to go, we didn't have to continue. Week 3- dad took him- he did everything! I share your joy of Anna's participation and happiness!

Marci said...

I can't believe how big your kids are getting!!! Our backyard playset was definitely our best investment ever :-)!

rusted sun said...

I just noticed that I come up as Takapuna, Auckland on your feed....I love that it even knows our neighborhood.

So nice to hear that Anna improved with her dance class. Max and Maya talk about dance class all the time. We went once and it was holding all three kids at the same time. We just signed up for a regular class that starts next week. Hopefully after a few sessions they will get into it.

Rebecca Holt Stay said...

I love that she is so excited and that the teacher shows her own excitement. I was SOOOO impressed with her patience with Anna (and all the kids), just waiting for her to choose to join. VERY smart

Claire said...

Heather - so fun to see all Anna and Levi are up to! And I LOVE the Easter picture - perhaps because it makes me feel so much better about the pictures we got that day :). We miss you guys!