Archive for May, 2008

Saturday Morning Fix(es)

You’d think this would be a good way for parents to save time, but believe me, you recoup it in clean-up.

Another day, another decision

I think the most challenging aspect of raising children is the realization that despite your best attempts to protect them, they may meet with unsettling experiences that send their little psyches reeling. It’s searing that even though you love them more than anything else on this planet or beyond, you can’t always spare them unhappiness.

On occasion, though, you get lucky.

Since starting her new preschool three months ago, Ava has had a tough time. Change is hard whether you’re three or 30, and Ava’s encountered a lot of it lately. Like her mom, it throws her for a loop. The new baby, my return to work and the transition from a small, in-home daycare atmosphere to a large center are all undoubtedly challenging.

While I loved both the curriculum and the instructor at her preschool, I think I’ve always been uncomfortable with the size. To be honest, I’m not sure if the change was harder on me or her. I certainly benefited from in-home care: You know exactly who is caring for your child, and you know that provider loves her more than you ever thought possible. Believe me, nothing comforts a working mother more.

Maybe that becomes the case as you grow into a larger center, but it’s not apparent straightaway. I reasoned that moving Ava to a large preschool was a logical step, one that would prepare her for the years of public school ahead. I thought my level of discomfort would dissipate. It didn’t. Moreover, I grew to dread morning drop-off: Despite the assurances of the staff that she calmed almost immediately, I knew my leaving her there was very hard on her. And, that’s not a very comforting thing to think about on the way to work.

So, when a spot opened at a very small Montessori preschool in town, we were thrilled. Still, though, as many will attest, decisions to not come easily to me. Add a bit of stress, and I can barely dress myself. It was a challenging week, but ultimately, we agreed that moving her to a smaller, calmer environment would be better.

The only thing that prevented me from jumping at the opportunity was a fear that she’d go through another three-month period of difficult adjustment. I agonized over whether it was fair to move her from a place she was just starting to know, and I wondered who the move was really for–her, or me. But when I dropped her off at the center Thursday morning, I just knew I never wanted to do it again.

I called the Montessori provider on the way to work to secure the spot, and I took Ava to visit that afternoon. She was quiet as she surveyed the new classroom and met the other children, but on the way out she said, “I won’t cry at this preschool, Mommy. I like it here.”

I had my doubts, but true to her word, she didn’t shed a tear when I dropped her off this morning. She smiled and said, “Bye, Mom.” At 11 a.m., the new provider called to say that between the building blocks and yoga session, she was having a great day.

It’s a lot of change (again) for those of us that don’t handle it particularly well, but I hold hope that we made the right decision this time around. I think this is a better environment, and one that’s well suited to her personality. At least I hope so.

If all else fails, I can cling to the words of my friend Lori: At least her long term memory isn’t yet established.

An Eye on the Sky

The weekend trip to south central Nebraska was punctuated by a few great thunderstorms. There’s something about the way they form around the lake–it’s just breathtaking!

Six months

Olivia is six months old today.

You might expect that such a milestone would please me, or at the bare minimum, not drive me to tears every time I write the date. Instead, I shout furtively from my desk, “How did this happen? I was paying such close attention!”

I am consoled only by the fact that six-month-old babies are absolutely wonderful. Olivia’s gleeful greeting is bested only her by attempts to smash her face into mine whenever I pick her up. This primitive kiss makes my heart soar…and my throat catch.

Fun at Gramma’s House

We visited my mom’s house over Memorial Day weekend. It was only a three day trip, but we were all sufficiently spoiled!

Olivia had her first dip in the wading pool:

Thanks for a fun weekend!

First bites

It looks like I offered Olivia lemons, but really, it was just applesauce. She was not a fan.

Parenting without fear

I stopped by the bookstore today to pick up a bit of light reading for the long weekend–Love and Logic: The Preschool Years. It’s about raising kids with–you guessed it–love and logic. Like one or the other wouldn’t be enough.

Anyway, I found a few of the titles in the parenting section to be quite humorous. If you happened to be in the Borders on 6th at lunch today, I was the sleep-deprived mother laughing manically at titles like Babyproofing your Marriage and Children: The Challenge.

I found a few books we definitely don’t need, like Raising Strong Daughters (I’d buy the sequel, which must be entitled Okay, Maybe You Overdid it a Bit with that First Book: Here’s What to do Now) and Raising Confident Daughters. We seem to be good in that department.

I picked up The Strong-Willed Child three times, but couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I also probably need, but would never buy, The Total Mom Makeover and Parent Effectiveness Training. These can’t be big sellers–no one wants to admit they’re the problem in the first place.

If the Love and Logic book doesn’t help, I can always try Parenting without Fear (but never without wine). Maybe then I’ll have the Happiest Toddler on the Block. If not, there’s always Grand Theft Childhood.

Olivia fix

I mentioned that Olivia really loves to snuggle up to blankets or other soft things as she’s falling asleep–not exactly the safest habit ever. I usually let her have something until she’s out, then I snag it from her crib so it doesn’t pose a danger later in the night.

Olivia’s Aunt Debbie had a great solution–she made her two small blankets with a very loose knit. They’re soft but completely breathable, so she can keep them all night. Livie loves them!


My Grandpa Dankleff pointed out clouds just like this to me when I was little, saying that they indicated an unstable atomsphere. He was right–it hailed moments later that day. Yesterday, though, we just ended up with a few sprinkles.

Digging in

Nelson delivered three tons of dirt to fill our new garden Monday night. Bryan did the calculation to determine exactly how much dirt we needed–it was spot on.

Then, last night, we put in the bedding plants and seeds, with a little help.

We’re missing a specific heirloom tomato that I hope I can still find, and there was a very ominous package warning about not planting the muskmelons near cucumbers, which of course we had. Other than that, though, I think we’re done!

I read in Martha Stewart Living that the key to making container gardens look their best is to cram in three times as many plants as you think should fit. If only the same were true for vegetable gardens, we’d have great success.