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Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

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So, Molly is at big school at last. We’re up to Day Three – the above photo was taken on Day One.

All is going well so far, although poor little Molly is finding it very overwhelming, and very exhausting. There have been lots of tears (hers, not mine), lots of ‘ feeling wobbly’ nerves, lots of ‘pep talks’, and lots of hugs with teachers aides at drop-off time. Poor sensitive little thing! I have to admit to being just a little bit surprised by all this, although deep down I knew it wouldn’t all be smooth sailing for her. She does have rather a flair for the dramatic. I am a little bit surprised that she’s the only one in her class to have cried every day so far, though. I wonder how long it will last? I’m not particularly worried about it, although it is a little heart breaking, having to prise her off me and walk away each day, while she cries that she just wants to be with me!

However, her teacher assures me that these episodes don’t last long, and that she is happy and participating well throughout the rest of the day. Plus, her face says it all at home time – happy, enthusiastic and brimming with news about what she did and who she played with.

Just like me, she has a few slight problems with adjusting to school, and she has told me all about them, in tears, on the way to school… She doesn’t like sitting on her bottom all day, she thinks the other children don’t like her (which we ended up agreeing is not the case, especially after I pointed out how happy one girl in particular was to see her on her second day), she doesn’t like wearing her shoes all day, and she misses me. I am told my issues when starting school were having to sit up straight all day (I might have been exaggerating this slightly), and I also had difficulty wearing my shoes full time. So, we can clearly see who she gets it from.

Despite all of this, I am confident that Molly will soon settle in to school. Being so friendly and social, she can’t help but make friends quickly. Academically, I think she will have an easier time than Tiernan, simply because she is better able to sit and focus her attention for longer, and is already keen to start reading and writing. Being interested is really the first step, so she has the advantage there.

Speaking of Tiernan, he has started Year 1 with confidence, so far. He didn’t seem keen for the holidays to end, so I was a little worried that he would be difficult to motivate of a morning. However, he has done a great job getting himself ready for school for these first three days. Who knows how long it will last, but it’s a good start anyway.

Tiernan has two teachers this year. I met both on the first day and I came away with good first impressions of them. His teachers also gave each parent a ‘Parent Survival Kit’, complete with minties, chocolate and tea bags, so I am practically won over already! I just hope Year 1 isn’t too serious for Tiernan. He’s a kid who appreciates the funny things in life, and it would be a shame to smother that with too much work and not enough play.

Each afternoon after school so far, we have been staying back at the Year 1 playground (which is awesome), so the kids can let off steam after a big day. Tiernan has been tearing around on the oval for a good thirty minutes each time, so it’s obvious he’s got energy to burn. Much better to let him do it straight away than have it pent up for the car trip home! I feel this a good strategy for a more peaceful afternoon and evening. I must remember not to book any after school appointments for a while though.

Meanwhile, Neave will be at Kindy two days per week, starting next week, so she’s also in for a bit of a shock. She’s been going one day for the last few weeks, and for the second half of last year, but this will be new to her. Awesome news for me as I will get two kid-free days at home, until I start working again soon. Neave seems to be adjusting well to the Kindy room. Her teachers report she has been opening up even more without Molly around, so this is good news. I think the second day each week will actually help her feel more comfortable there, as she’ll have more time to settle in and less time in between visits.

I have very much been enjoying our quiet days at home together! Neave has been asking frequently when it is time to pick Tiernan and Molly up, so she misses them a bit, but she is very happy each morning when she learns that it is another Mummy and Neavie day at home! I think it won’t be too long until she starts to get bored, though, so I will have to give Playgroup a call next week, and get more motivated for things like walks and trips to the park. But it has been a nice easing-in period this week.

So, now we’re all up to date on the school front. Fingers crossed it’s a good year for us all 🙂

Molly had her prep play session today, as the last step before starting school next year.

She surprised me by turning quite shy as we arrived, preferring to stand with me rather than sit on the floor with the other “Preppies.”

It was quite relaxed and informal, a bit like a playgroup really. There were lots of different play activities set up and the kids were encouraged to just do whatever interested them. Here is what we got up to:

Dinosaurs first.

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Playground.

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Playdough.

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Craft.

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Water play.

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Sand.

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And stompers. Molly had a go too but didn’t want me to take a photo.

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Both the girls enjoyed the activities we did, but there was quite a bit of drifting around in between, where Molly just didn’t know what to choose. I don’t know whether she was tired, out of sorts, or overwhelmed. By the end of the hour, she was saying it was all stupid and that she was never coming to big school. In her usual, melodramatic style!

That was not really the outcome I’d been hoping for, or expecting. She has been looking forward to starting school for months now, and I think she’s definitely ready. Feeling the need to create a happy memory from the day, I took the girls to the local cafe for a milkshake and a debrief. Molly got to look at her ‘take home pack’ – some crayons, a pencil, some rubbers and a handwriting chart. She was soon in a better mood, and we talked about what school will really be like when she starts. More like what Tiernan does when we help out, and less like preschool. She was satisfied with this and I’m happy to announce that big school is ‘back on’!

And, as the Assistant Principal pointed out, there are only 80 sleeps left until the big day! 🙂

Neave just turned 3. My baby is growing up too fast!

Here are some pics of what we got up to in the days leading up to, and on her birthday.

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At the park.

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Playing in her new tent.

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The cake.

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Decorating cupcakes.

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Eating cupcakes.

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Blowing out the candles.

Happy Birthday gorgeous girl!

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This handsome, beautiful boy has finally started school! I have been looking forward to this day ever since he was born, I think, and now my boy has donned his big, green hat and taken the first confident strides towards his education. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I have watched many of my parent friends struggle with the thought of sending their babies off to big school. In fact, a year ago, I also struggled to imagine a time when he and I would both be ready for this. However, in the last year he has blossomed and matured in so many ways, gaining confidence in himself, learning to make friends, developing an interest in numbers, and realising some of his other strengths and talents.

Watching him grow and learn at Preschool and Family Day Care this year has taught me to accepted that there is only so much I can do as a parent. Even though I am a Mum and a teacher, in his world, I am his Mum. I can’t be both to him. As his Mum, I am more loving than a teacher, but less patient.I am more giving than a teacher, but less kind. I am firmer than a teacher, but less strict.

In fact, that is what is so special about teaching. As a teacher, I get to be that special someone who guides a student in their learning, working with them each day, building a rapport, gaining their respect and trust. Obviously, I have also built relationships with each of my own children, but the goal is different. In parenting, I am growing a complete human being, giving him all the emotional and physical stability he needs to take his place in society and contribute to it. Teaching is similar, but the focus is on preparing him with some of the tools he will need to get there in the end; teaching him to learn.

When I first realised that this wasn’t going to be my job with my own children, I was sad. I didn’t want to share my son with someone else, and let them have such important status in his life. But I am learning that the more special people he has in his life, the better off he will be. He will be that much more confident, resilient and happy, because he is being surrounded by, not only his parents, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers, too. As his Mum, I can’t be all of those special people for him, but I can provide them for him.

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So, on my boy’s first day of school, there were no tears shed by anyone. Tiernan, who is super ready and super excited, saw no reason to be sad. And I, being super ready to let him start this next stage of his life, had only a big lump of pure pride and joy in my throat.

Which I soon swallowed.

Molly’s long, blonde curls are all gone.

She had been wanting ‘short hair like Tiernan’s’ for ages, but I tried to hold her off for as long as I could. Not because I didn’t want her to have her hair short (I didn’t), but because I wasn’t sure she understood the semi-permanent nature of such a dramatic hair cut. Yes, it will grow back, but to a three-year-old, six months is pretty much forever… if she didn’t like it, we would all be stuck with it for a really long time.

We tried just cutting her hair shorter to see if that was good enough, but she didn’t change her mind. She wanted it short.

So eventually, I gave in. It was a bit of a struggle. Those curls!! They get me every time. I went through the same heartache when Tiernan wanted to cut his hair at the same age. I wanted to keep his long curls, but he wanted short hair like Daddy. Eventually he won. Sniff.

I had Tiernan and Neave booked in for haircuts. Molly, as I knew she would, piped up, “Mummy, I want my hair cut too!” I rang Tom. “It’s going to happen today,” I said. He didn’t agree. I told him it was her hair and she really wanted this. We had run out of reasons to say no. I wasn’t going to tell my daughter she couldn’t have short hair because she’s a girl.

So it happened.

She loves it. I love it. Tom does, too.

I’m still mourning her blonde curls a little bit. She looks so much older, with much darker hair now. But she is beautiful and her new haircut really suits her. It shows that she is a girl who knows what she wants. She is an individual with spunk!

I’m so proud of my Molly.

Today, Molly started preschool! She was so excited to go, and I knew that she would have a blast. She was so ready.

In the morning, as we ate breakfast, Tiernan decided to share his wisdom in the ways of preschool. He told Molly more about what goes on there in 10 minutes, than I have been able to get out of him in the entire year he’s been going! He was very informative and encouraging: “Molly, when the teacher says to come and sit on the floor, well, that means we have to go and sit on the floor!”

Molly drank it in. “Okay!” she replied, eagerly awaiting the next piece of advice.

“Molly, when the teacher says it’s time to go to the toilet and wash our hands, well, that means we have to go to the toilet and wash our hands!”

And so on.

Eventually, having exhausted routines to explain to Molly, he put his arm around her and said, “Molly, when the kids are mean to you – sometimes they are – well, I will be right next to you and I will tell them to stop.”

“Will you give me a cuddle?” asked Molly.

“Yes. And I will give you one now.” He replied, with a big hug. Aww. I nearly died of cute. In that moment, I was so proud of him. He really does love his sister, and was so, so, so excited that she would be coming to preschool with him.

Actually, as I have mentioned before, the arrangement is a little complicated. Tiernan attends preschool on Wednesdays, but Molly will be alternating between Wednesdays and Fridays from week to week. It’s not ideal, but there are some advantages. They will get to do preschool together sometimes, and apart sometimes. I think having Molly there will really encourage Tiernan to come out of his shell a little. At home, and in any other situation (playgroup, at the park, in the supermarket, etc.), he is well and truly OUT of his shell… but for some reason, preschool is different. He is shy with the other kids, until he warms up, and he is often reluctant to go at all. Molly, on the other hand, is pretty confident no matter where she is. So really, I’m hoping he might learn a little from her, and not the other way around. Molly truly is an independent little thing, and I’m worried that Tiernan might smother her a little (there was evidence of it today… which I’ll get to in a bit). So I think having a day there on her own every second week will also be good for her. She will get to make her own friends and make her own ‘place’ there without Tiernan looking on all the time.

So, as I was saying, Tiernan was being ever-so-cute and loving towards Molly, offering to protect her and look after her. He asked her to sit next to him at the table when they ate lunch (cute!). He asked her to play with him all day (so sweet!). Then he picked her up and started carrying her around the house, and I suddenly realised things had gone too far.

“Um, Tiernan,” I had to say, “Just remember that Molly isn’t a baby, and she can speak for herself and play by herself and do lots of things by herself, can’t you Molly?”

“Yes Mummy!” She enthusiastically agreed.

I asked Tiernan to tone down the helpful, protective big brother thing just a notch. He agreed, and off we went. They had a fabulous day. Molly didn’t want to leave when I arrived to pick them up in the afternoon. The teachers were delighted with her, and marveled at her confidence and independence – they had expected her to be a bit more like Tiernan, I suppose. Tiernan’s group teacher (whom I adore, and really respect as a teacher), saw immediately what was going on with Tiernan being in ‘big brother’ mode, and made sure he wasn’t overdoing it throughout the day. She was very impressed when, at news time, Molly told Tiernan to be quiet because it was her turn to talk – he kept ‘helpfully’ adding extra bits of information to her story about going to the beach, and it was annoying her, so she told him to stop!

In the end, Molly and Tiernan spent a lot of the day playing together, but also some time playing apart. Apparently, Tiernan kept trying to get Molly to play with him, but she kept wandering off to do her own thing. Eventually, Tiernan’s teacher reminded Tiernan that he had his own friends at preschool, and that by playing with them, he would be showing Molly how to make friends and play. This did the trick – he went back to his own friends and just ‘kept an eye’ on Molly from time to time. I’m really happy that they’re in a preschool where the teachers really do understand them. I think they’re going to have a great year!