Monday, March 30, 2009

On the other side of the table

As a school administrator, meeting with parents about their child's progress is something I do all the time. It is rarely a source of stress, although sometimes there is a need to discusss "difficult" situations. As a teacher, I participated in formal parent/teacher conferences at least twice a year. Parents would schedule a time on evenings set aside for that purpose and we would meet them back-to-back, one after another. Most were routine - strengths, areas for improvement, reasons for grades, behavior, etc. Since I became a principal almost 8 years ago those "difficult" conversations have happened much more often. Generally, if I am in a meeting it is because the teacher needs some back-up and support as he or she shares something that might be hard for a parent to hear. This is the perspective (and concern - was I going to hear something bad?) I had today going to my first parent/teacher conference on the other side of the table.

I met with Miss Diana, Grace's preschool teacher today during lunchtime. I prepared a handful of questions before the meeting just in case I needed them, but my intention was to try to listen a lot to make the most of our 30 minutes together. My hope was to learn some things about Grace, to find out if her teacher thinks she is developmentally on track, and to get some ideas of things we should be working on together at home.

Let me say once, again....Grace is perfect. She is an awesome, amazing kid and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Miss Diana told me that she is doing great. In some areas she has seen a lot of progress since Grace started there in January. She used to prefer not to get her hands dirty with paint, glue, etc. but now she jumps right in to participate in those sensory activities. She had been really quiet, but lately Grace has been babbling a lot. Miss Diana said that this morning she was "talking" so much. I wonder if she was telling her teacher about her vacation! Grace also loves to pretend play now, especially with the kitchen (Thanks Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris!) and with the baby dolls. Miss Diana said she is persistent and will finish a project to the end. She really likes to do the collage art projects and will try to make hers like the teacher's sample.

In some areas Grace is developmentally right on target for her age. Her gross motor skills (once a concern for us when she first came home last March) are great. She can walk on a line and throw a ball. She can name a bunch of body parts, can take her shoes off, is learning to do her zipper, and holds her crayon and spoon as would be expected for a toddler. Grace is starting to interact with her peers, playing alongside them, hugging certain friends when they arrive at school, and waving to everyone when she leaves for the day. Grace is really good at remembering the daily routine and she knows the movements that go along with certain songs they sing together.

Melissa and Doug Stack and Sort
As I expected, there are some things we need to work on like: counting, sorting objects, recognizing colors, learning to say her name, identifying big and little, and puzzles. Grace is not great at sharing which really doesn't surprise me since at home she doesn't have to share with anyone! (Don't get any ideas....that does not mean I am going to start considering a little brother or sister!) But I am already looking at some new toys that can help us in these areas! Her birthday is coming, you know!

Manhattan Toy Co. Counting and Sorting Farm

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This is the way we roll

Continental Airlines broke our "old" stroller on the way to Florida. I gate-checked it just like I did both ways to Guatemala and to Florida two other times - a total of 8 flights. But this time, it was sitting there at the door of the plane with one wheel in the seat where Grace is supposed to sit. I was pretty upset when we landed and told the baggage guy exactly how I felt. It is unbelievable that they don't care, don't apologize, tell you that they are not liable for stroller damage unless it is packed in it's original box(!), and make you feel like they are doing you a favor when they lend you a $10 umbrella stroller to replace your nice, comfortable, safe, expensive stroller.

Okay, so I got over the fact that Continental's customer service stinks and we made due with the $10 replacement. At first I thought that I really don't need a new stroller since we have this amazing Bumbleride jogging stroller that is like riding on air. I figured Grace is getting bigger and we really don't use a stroller that much so we could just use that one. But, then I realized what makes it great for running on the trails is what will make it inconvenient in the mall, at the zoo, traveling, etc. It is sturdy but also big, bulky, and heavy (it weighs 20 lbs!).So after doing some research today online and in the stores, I decided to purchase what I hope is our LAST stroller. It is a Maclaren Volo lightweight, foldable stroller. And I mean lightweight - it only weighs 8.5 lbs! My mother's laptop weighs 7 lbs. When I picked it up at the store I couldn't believe it. It folds with one hand and has a carrying strap so you can put it right on your shoulder. I love the raspberry color in the picture. I hope it is as vibrant in person.Well, Nana, we are ready to jump into cabs and buses in New York, Paris, Rome, and anywhere else you want to go. Let's start using the BTST!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Searching for seashells

I really did take a break when we were on vacation. Sometimes I find that I am behind the camera and I miss what is going on. So, for this trip, I barely took the camera out. These were the only pictures I took. It was late afternoon when we took a walk on the beach looking for seashells and other "treasures".It was a little windy and there were a few people out kite-surfing. Grace pointed to them and said, "oohhh". She does the same thing when she sees a plane in the sky!Since it was almost 5:00 most people had left the beach for the day and we had it all to ourselves. Grace wandered off a little, explored, and enjoyed some "freedom".At one point we said it was time to go and she ran back across the bridge over the dunes. But when we got to the parking area Grace didn't want to leave, so we turned around and went back. It was vacation, after all - no rules!Grace also learned a new word on this trip - HAPPY. She looks pretty happy, doesn't she?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taking a spring break...

We are taking a break for Spring Break....from work, school, Ohio weather, and blogging. Stay tuned...we'll be back next week.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just hanging "owside"

Each afternoon this week as soon as we have gotten home, Grace has gone to the back door and asked, "Owside?". Today it was a little chilly so she needed a coat. I didn't tell her to put the hood on - that was her idea.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Elmo and BB

For the last couple of weeks it has been all about Elmo. The first thing Grace says in the morning is "Elmo" and then when I pick her up at school she calls for him in the car until we get home. Elmo is in a different place each day so Grace has to search and find out where he is "hiding". Today, though, Elmo was joined by "BB" (aka Big Bird). Everywhere Elmo went Big Bird went, too. They both went to sleep with Grace tonight. Her crib is getting crowded with Grace, Juliet, Elmo, and now Big Bird in there!

Mid-week mini meltdown

Tired? Hungry? Didn't get what she wanted? Maybe this time it was a little of each. My girl has a busy life....She gets up at 6:00AM and goes non-stop at daycare all day. When we get home, sometimes she crashes. Sounds a little like Mommy.....

You can't always predict when the meltdown is coming and, luckily, it doesn't last long. She does look cute at the end of the video, so hang in there for it! Oh, and did you hear her say, "Ah me" around 52-53 seconds into it? I hear that a lot when she is upset or something is bothering her. Funny!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Fever

The temperature got up to 57this afternoon with clear, sunny skies. So, we went out to the park to play! Even Elmo got to play outside with us!

Grace has really come a long way since last fall. She can climb the jungle gym and go down the slide alone. Of course, I kept telling her to let Mommy go first, so I could be there at the bottom of the slide - just in case!I think the swing is still her favorite thing. She was thrilled when I pushed her high and she kept saying "more"!While we were playing on the swing, two little girls got on the swings beside us. This is the conversation I overheard:

Girl 1: Hi. I'm Sierra. What's your name?
Girl 2: Molly Richards.
Girl 1: Okay. We're friends now, right?

And then they ran off to play tag. Isn't it funny how easy it is when you are a kid?

After Grace played in the playground we took Daisy for a walk. She was being a good girl so we let her off the leash to see how she would do when I called her to come back. We wandered over to one of the picnic shelters and found the tables stored on their sides. I bet they will be out and ready in a couple of weeks!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good, clean fun!

This morning we went to see The Bubble Lady at the public library. Kellie, Dawson, and Kellie's niece met us there for some good, clean fun!Since "bubbles" was one of Grace's first words and still a favorite thing in our house I was hopeful that this show would be something Grace would enjoy. The bubbles were pretty cool - hundreds of bubbles floating through the air at one time, huge bubbles that people could stand inside, and even square bubbles! I had heard about shows like this, but never saw anything like it in person.

The bubble lady started by telling us that she LOVES bubbles and that she uses dish detergent and water to make her bubble solution. As a kid, she always lost the wand that came inside her bottle of bubbles so she experimented with other things that would make different kinds of bubbles.

She made bubbles using giant sunglasses, a Pringles can,
a Hawaiian lei,a flexible tube,a Croc shoe,a loop of string,and lots of other things!
Grace seemed to enjoy it! She kept saying "Ooohhh" and "Bubbles" as she pointed to them.It also made me laugh how she had to carry Kellie's Flip video camera the entire time. At some points she held it up like she was taking a picture. I guess she sees me with the camera constantly snapping pictures of her!We got to the library early so we were able to sit right up front. This allowed Dawson and Grace to get up and move around a little, but (once again!) it was difficult to get pictures of them facing us.
Toward the end of the show The Bubble Lady used a big hoop and put people inside the bubble!Grace and I even got to try! We had to stand on a big brick block inside a kiddie pool of bubble solution. I think Grace was a little afraid but it was fun to be inside a bubble for a few seconds. As Kellie pointed out...I wouldn't want to live in a bubble!