Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's a BOY!

We had our 20 week ultrasound today and got to get a peek at the newest member of our household -- in all HIS squirminess.   Yes, his.  It's a boy!  We are really excited.  Kai said, "this is great! We'll have two girls and two boys in our family."  I couldn't agree more.

Just like Kailey before him, this baby squirmed through the ultrasound, kicking away and moving around to try to get away from the tech's wand.  Our kids are high energy -- no surprise there!

Even more important than the gender, the scan revealed that everything looks great with the baby.  The email I got from my doctor after the ultrasound said,

"Dear Angie--The ultrasound looks great. Placenta location, cervix, anatomy all look normal. The baby looks on the large side but that would be fantastic if the baby comes a little early :)"

In terms of the comment about the baby being on the large side -- the ultrasound technician told us that by her calculations (based on the baby's head size, femur, and some other measurement), they thought the baby was measuring ahead and would put the due date at April 4th (his due date is April 10th).  I'm pretty confident that we have the due date (of April 10th) correct... so, what that means is that the baby is just on the bigger side which, as Dr. Calhoun says, is great news when we are concerned about prematurity. 

Here's the first good picture of our newest little one!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Settling into Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten has definitely been more of an adjustment than I anticipated.  Kai has always had such an easy time with transitions.  Even last year when we threw her into Spanish school as the new kid in class and the only one in her class that didn't speak a word of Spanish, she adjusted really quickly.  The first two weeks of Spanish school were fully of tantrums and tears -- but, after that, she embraced it.

We are beyond two weeks into kindergarten -- but, it's only been in the last couple of weeks that it feels like she is beginning to adjust.  The first couple of months were hard... nightly temper tantrums, a lot of cuddling needed, and a big increase in defiant behavior.  Kai said she loved kindergarten and her teacher, but every night she would come home and fall apart.

I think it's been the adjustment to real school -- there is a lot less free time during the day.  In preschool, there are lessons and, of course, she was constantly learning the language -- but, there wasn't nearly as much desk time.  Kai isn't really one for sitting at a desk for protracted periods.  She can be extremely focused -- it's not a lack of focus -- but, she likes to work on her projects standing up, and she moves around a lot, and talks while she is working.  She talks to herself, talks to the person sitting next to her, jibber jabbers and makes up songs.  She likes to be moving.  And talking.  And doing.  All at the same time.  So, adjusting to kindergarten -- which requires a lot of listening, sitting, and working quietly -- has been hard.  And, I think the result is that Kai is at her wits end at the end of the day when we ask her to do any of her nightly chores. Homework, setting the table, getting ready for bed, taking a bath -- all taken as monumental tasks that we are asking her to take on and we're often met with flat out refusal.  Which, of course, results in consequences.  Which results in Kai rebelling against the consequence.  And she also started coming into our room every night again at midnight wanting to sleep in our room -- which, after months of sleeping in her own bed -- was a bit of a regression. It's been a challenge.

Of course, her adjustment should have been completely anticipated. She has long days.  And she's being asked to do a lot of new things and adjust to a lot of new rules.  And there are a lot of kids that she's dealing with -- both in her class, but also in her extracurricular classes and the daycare program after school.  All we have to do is take a walk in the neighborhood for me to see how big Kai's world has gotten -- we can't go more than a block or two without some other kid shouting out, "Hi, Kailey!!"  She knows everyone.  And she knows everyone because she's at the school a lot.  Interacting, listening, following rules, navigating complicated social relationships, learning new things... it's a lot.

So, we've been more patient at home.  More indulgent of screen time.  Helping her with homework.  Doing her chores with her.  Talking about what's going on.  And, Kai has been good about communicating.  She'll say, "I'm just so tired," and we know she is and that she needs a break.  So, we try to give her those breaks while also maintaining our expectations.  A bit of a balancing act.

In the last couple of weeks, though, it seems we're turning a corner.  She's been really helpful in the evenings and willingly doing her homework.  She's been wanting to play games and talk about her day.  I read the most helpful parenting tip about talking to your kids -- ,instead of asking your kid "how was your day?" which, apparently, is not how kids think and not a question they can really wrap their heads around, we say, "tell me a story from your day."  Kai LOVES to tell stories from her day.  She'll say, "ummmm... " as she thinks through the stories of the day and then blurt out, "I can tell you TWO stories..." and then she dives into stories from her day.  We are actually getting to learn a lot more about what is going on, just by changing the question.

So, I've been reading up on other tactics like that, trying to figure out how to help Kai with the transition and make sure that as she's digging into her school life, she's enjoying it.  We want her to like school.  Since the beginning, she has said she loves it and all reports from school are that she's happy... but, the nighttime struggles were making us worry.  Now, though, we're hearing the stories, she babbles on about drama and funny things that happen at school, she's happy again in the evening, she's sleeping all night in her own room... it feels like we're settling in.

I think we've just been lucky at how easy Kai has been with most transitions and, really, what we've been dealing with the last few months is probably just minor adjustment issues compared to many other kids.  But, for her, this has been a big change -- and I'm really glad to see her settling in and finding her groove.  Growing up is hard.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name...

The other day, we took Kailey out to a fancy dessert diner after dinner for a treat.  This place was pretty cool.  When we walked in, we were greeted with display cases of amazing cakes, pastries, pies, and other delectables.  Kai's eyes widened and she started hopping around from case to case trying to see what all her options were all the while ohhhing and ahhing at her spectacular choices.  She immediately started to try to tell Eric and I what we could get (she's a bit bossy sometimes).  We told her to focus on her own choice, which was clearly not easy for her.  As she was trying to decide, they brought out a massive chocolate cake:

(this wasn't what it actually looked like -- but, it's close.  The cake we saw was actually more impressive).

Kai's eyes got even bigger and she shouted, "I want THAT one!"  We said OK and got in line, giving her about 8 more minutes to reconsider her choice.  When we got to the front, Eric said, "that cake might be really rich... let's ask what's in it and make sure you'll like it."  Kai agreed and asked the waiter what was in the cake.  He told us it was chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache.  We told Kai she would like it but she quickly said, "no... no... I don't want that.  I'll have the yellow cake."

That struck me as boring, but also as something I would have picked.  And, she was excited about it -- so we settled on the yellow cake with the chocolate buttercream frosting while Eric and I split a cream puff (I love cream puffs!)

Once we were settled and eating, I asked Kai for a bite, which she happily obliged (she's really great about sharing).  "Yummm.... the buttercream frosting is so good.  It almost tastes like chocolate mousse,"  I said to Kai and Eric.  We continued eating but after a few more bites, Kai announced she was full (it was a MASSIVE piece of cake).  As we were leaving, Kai grabbed the sleeve of a busboy and said, "excuse me, what is in this cake?" holding out the yellow cake for him to inspect.  He looked confused, so Kai clarified, "is there mousse in the frosting?" she asked.  "Oh, no... that's just buttercream."  He told her.  Kai nodded and we left the restaurant.

As we approached the car, it finally hit me, "Kai... did you think there was an animal... a MOOSE... in that cake?"  I asked her.  "Yes... that's what you said.  It was a MOOSE cake."  I felt like we were in an Amelia Bedelia book and started cracking up.  "No, no... mousse is different then a MOOSE... one is a dessert made out of cream.  The other is an animal."  Kai started laughing and said, "OHHH... I thought that cake was made out of a MOOSE... that's why I didn't want it.  That would be so gross."

Yes, yes it would.

Halloween recap

As I mentioned in my last post, our Halloween celebrations this year stretched out over the whole month... but, of course, culminated in the big day.  And, it was quite the day this year.

The weekend before, we went to the parade in Piedmont with one of Kai's school friends (as I previously posted about).  After the parade, Kai declared she wanted to be a witch for Halloween.  We had told her before that she could have multiple costumes because there would be a lot of different events (2 parades, school party, and trick or treating), but she had insisted that she only wanted to be Sleeping Beauty.  However, at the parade, Giselle came as a witch and told Kai that for school, she was going to be a cat.  Hearing from a friend that multiple costumes were the thing to do, Kai decided that she, too, needed more than one costume.

Of course, this meant finding a witch costume on the Monday before Halloween.  Amazon to the rescue.  We looked at various costumes together, rejecting most of them (too big, too little, wouldn't ship in time, I didn't like it, she didn't like it...) and finally found something that looked OK.  Thank goodness for 2-day shipping.

Party day finally arrived -- that's what it was... one big party after another.  The teachers have figured out that teaching on Halloween is pointless.  Instead of real school, the kids got to listen to stories, play games, have treats and pizza for lunch, and then school ended with a school-wide Halloween parade.  When we got to Kai's class for the festivities she was quietly eating pizza and the entire class was quite composed -- not what we were expecting since we've heard rumors that they are a rambunctious bunch and that Kai is one of the social ring leaders.  But, they were all quietly enjoying their pizza.  After lunch, the kids played Halloween Bingo and then it was time to change into their costumes for the parade... which is when things got a bit more hyper (keeping them out of their costumes until parade time was also quite smart).

Kai loved being with her friends and talking about their costumes.  It was quite cute to watch them all comparing notes about their costumes and talking about their plans for the evening.  Kai got invited to some parties... but, we already had plans to trick or treat with Penny and Max, which she was quite excited about.

After school let out, we headed down to Montclair Village for the parade. They got to trick or treat at the local shops, loop around to the park, and then have a party climbing on the fire truck and eating some of their candy.  In past years, this was about as far as we got on Halloween.  And, the Montclair Halloween festivities had always sort of freaked her out -- there were a ton of school-aged children running around and cramming into the stores for their candy, and Kai had been too small to really participate.  That, and she didn't know anyone, so she hung back.  But, this year, she WAS one of the school-aged children, and she had half her class with her.  They paraded proudly down the middle of the street acting like a bunch of teenagers as they whispered secrets, traded candies, and debated about which stores to hit up.

After the Montclair festivities, we headed home to get ready for the grand finale -- night time trick or treating, something we had never done with Kai before.  We headed to Sarah's sister's house to meet up with Sarah, Doug, Liz, Riley and their kids (we had 4 kids trick or treating accompanied by 5 parents!)  It was really fun to be out at night and seeing all the houses with their creepy decorations.  By the end of the day, Kai had a HUGE bag of Halloween candy and was completely exhausted, falling asleep in the car on the way home.

A few days after Halloween, I had Kai at her bi-annual dentist appointment.  When the dentist asked Kai how everything was with her teeth, she announced, "I have a LOT of candy at home!"  Note to self:  Don't schedule dentist appointments for the week after Halloween.

All in all, a very successful Halloween (and, bonus -- no cavities!)