Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's new at 3 years, 5 months, and 5 days?

Gosh it feels like an eternity since I've posted. When you get out of the habit of posting daily/weekly, the time seems to slip away without being documented.

What's new???

A New Preschool
Astrid is attending a new preschool across the street from my office. We have a running joke between us - Astrid will say "I see your office." and I'll say, "I see your school." It's very convenient, the staff are super nice and sweet, the kids are well behaved, they have smaller class sizes with music and dance class.

Every month there are special events and field trips. Last month they had a petting zoo come to the school. When I first heard about it I thought it would be limited to small pets, like a rabbit and guinea pig, etc. (Her old school brought in a rabbit and goldfish for pet day.) But the day of the event, I saw them setting up in the parking lot and it was a whole production with large pens, a canopy overhead, 2 ponies, pigs, chickens, and an assortment of farm animals. Then they had a juggler perform for the kids. How many 3 years olds talk about juggling everyday? I like that they're exposing her to new and different things.

This month they're going to a pumpkin patch with bales of hay, corn stalk mazes, tractor trailer rides, and each child gets to pick out and bring home their very own pumpkin. The same week they're also going to have a puppet show for the kids.

They also teach Spanish to the children on a daily basis. At first U. and I were not enthusiastic about it because we weren't sure Astrid could handle learning 3 languages simultaneously - English, German and Spanish. But she seems to be doing well and it's super cute to hear her counting things in Spanish. The other day she asked me, "Mom do you know what pájaro means in Spanish?" Living in Los Angeles, I've picked up on a lot of Spanish words, but pájaro is not one of them. So Astrid tells me, "It means bird!" My kid taught me something new. Occasionally I hear her say things in Chinese as well. A friend of mine whose daughter also goes to the preschool warned me about this. Her daughter came home and started speaking another language and when her mom asked her what she was saying, she said, "It's Chinese silly mommy!" "Silly me" she said, "My 2 year old speaks Chinese that she learned in school."

Tonight during our bedtime routine - Astrid wanted to count to 10 in German and Spanish with me. "Again...again mommy" she kept repeating over and over again. I get a kick out of seeing her excited about speaking other languages.

Bedtime
Speaking of bedtime - Astrid is back to sleeping in her bed every night. But at the crack of dawn she comes into our room and wants to sleep in mama and papa's bed. I normally don't mind unless she's tossing and turning and keeping me from a sound sleep.

It's pretty easy to put her to sleep. She knows the routine - I read her a book and then sing her songs until she falls asleep. A couple times I saw that she was falling asleep while I was reading, so I tried to sneak out after finishing the story and she heard me and shouted, "No mama! You have to sing me a song!"

Recently I introduced a John Lennon song "Beautiful Boy" to our medly of betime songs. I changed the lyrics some to:

The monster's gone
he's on the run
and your mommy's here

beautiful
beautiful
beautiful
beautiful girl

darling
darling
darling
darling Astrid

She just loves that song. It a beautiful modern day lullaby and beats nursery rhymes any day. She loves the part about the monster in the beginning. She's been known to say, "There's no monster here right? No monsters in our house." I recall an earlier conversation we had months ago when she asked me about monsters and I told her we didn't have any monsters in our house - so she says this now as a sort of mantra to reassure herself. And then of course she loves the fact that the song is about her and her name is in the song.

When she sings it back to me seeing her little mouth form the words "darling" is just so precious. It's one of those kodak moments you capture in your mind and try to hold onto it forever. When she's older I hope to tell her about how I used to sing her that song and how much she loved me singing it to her and loved singing it herself.

When she was a baby, even after a long day of the baby crying and fussing and just exhaustion on my part, I always made a point of singing her to sleep. I wanted to her to have that lovely memory of her mother (me) singing to her everyday, and also for her to carry that song with her into her dreams as she drifts off to sleep.

I've also heard grown adults express how they can't sing, or they're scared to sing in front of people, and I didn't want her to ever have that phobia or self consciousness about singing. I loved singing in the choir growing up and I wanted to instill that self confidence her as well.

Her school is practicing for their winter recital and she is just loving all the music and songs and piano and singing that she gets to do.

Art
Astrid is staring to color within the lines now and drawing things freehand. One of the older kids may have pointed out something to her because now she says, "I not going to scribble scribble mommy. I going to draw nice."

They do lots of coloring, and art projects at school. I also have this drawing thing for her in the car with stamps and a stencil. She asks me to draw things for her like a house, flower, butterfly, dog, cat, rainbow, etc. And she has lots of coloring books and crayons and markers at home. She loves it when I color a picture. She will ooh and ahhh at it and point it out to everyone, "My mommy color this." Before she would color (or as Astrid says "scribble scribble" all over it) but now she leaves it alone and will refer back to it again and again.

Reminds me of one of my first coloring books as a kid - a Minnie Mouse coloring book - and my dad took the time to color with me one day. He colored this page with Minnie mouse sitting in front of a mirror with light bulbs all around it, with bottles and jars of makeup on the table in front of her. I was so fond of that page. I thought it was so beautiful and I would always look at it amazed at how everything matched and was colored so perfectly, hoping that one day I could color that well.

I bring Astrid's artwork to my office and hang it on my wall. It's a nice reminder of her during the day, and when she visits me in my office (occasionally she'll come to my office so I can finish up some work - and she begs me to take her to my office more often) she gets excited when she sees her artwork displayed in my office. "Hey that's mine. I did that. Why you put that up there mommy?" Astrid will ask me. "Because you made it and it's beautiful," I'll say. The smile she gets on her face is priceless.

Vacation
We're gearing up for another trip to Europe. It'll be Astrid's 3rd time, since she was just in Germany. I can't wait to have some quality family time with just the 3 of us to get away and relax and have some fun together.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trip to the optometrist

Astrid went with me to the Optometrist and was trying on frames with me. Hopefully she's never have to need glasses, but she looked cute trying them on.

The power of a kid's observation

"Look mom! He's wearing your same shirt!"
I look up and see this guy standing in line with a bring pink and white striped shirt. I had to laugh. It's funny what kids notice.