Thursday, 29 August 2013

Kaitlin's First Day of School

A lot of you have probably seen my photo about Kaitlin's first day at "school" on Facebook today, but I had to write a full post or else I will forget all the gritty details in the far future (like, next week). Today she started Day School, a program at our church for kids from birth to Pre-K. At her age it is pretty much a glorified Mother's Day Out program, but they do have a curriculum that they follow for each age group and they work on key developments and milestones, so I call it school. She is going twice a week for 5.5 hours a day. We decided to put her into "school" at this young age because a) mama needs a break and b) we wanted her to be around more kids her own age on a regular and consistent basis. We usually have a play date or two each week but often times its only for an hour or two and they are random, at best. And now that I am working more she is at home more with a sitter, and this will get her interacting with children her age. She is in the "Bears" class which is 12-17 month olds and pretty much the cutest thing ever.

 The day started off...rough. She didn't get a full twelve hours of sleep like she normally does and woke up with her cranky pants on. By the time she had breakfast I knew that today was not going to be a huge success. Maybe she could feel my stress - babies are sneaky like that. She was already tired by the time we left for school and she still had another 3-4 super stimulating hours ahead of her. Before we left the house I was able to snap a *few* "First Day" photos in front of the house. I was lucky to get her to sit still let alone look at the camera, and most times that she did she did not look pleased.

We visited her classroom last week and met the teachers. She clung to me the whole time but was ok about being there, she played with the toys and didn't cry too much. Today was a different story. I'm pretty sure she was the first one to start crying and probably the only one who was SCREAMING when I had to finally leave the class and let them get on with their day. She and I both had tears running down our face - no one wants to leave their child when they are screaming and crying, even when you know that they are in great hands. It was all I could do not to run back into the room and scoop her up in my arms. Instead I walked straight to my car and drove away. It was the best thing for the both of us.

If your child is inconsolable and cannot be calmed down then the office will call you to discuss how you want to proceed - a special soothing tactic, pick them up early, etc. I held my phone tightly in my hands for the next thirty minutes, checking the screen every ten seconds to make sure I hadn't missed their call. Miraculously they never called. I had an appointment that took up the rest of the school day and I was grateful for the distraction. I knew that she would have fun playing with the toys, the other kids and on the playground but it's hard to get a good feeling about the day when when you left them it was so bad. 

I raced to pick her up and when they let all the parents in the room to greet their children I looked around and Kaitlin was nowhere to be found! She wasn't by the books or the balls or at the kiddie table. I'm not going to lie, I got a little panicked. Where was she?! Well, wouldn't you know - the girl that doesn't sleep ANYWHERE except in her crib/PNP was laying on the floor sucking her thumb, trying to go to sleep. The classes are shortened this week to help with adjustment so a nap wasn't on the original schedule. Apparently all of the kids were tuckered out and they had to take a short nap. She slept for 30 minutes (On a mat! In a room with 7 other kids! With her SHOES ON!!!) and clearly that was not enough. 

She cried when she saw me (she does the same thing sometimes when I come home from work and she's been with a babysitter, it's almost like she forgot that she missed me and all of a sudden remembers when she sees me again) and I scooped her up and gave her the BIGGEST hug and a million kisses. We said goodbye to her classmates, thanked her teachers and headed out to the car. It wasn't picture perfect but it could have gone A LOT worse. 

Everyone tells me that this will get easier (for both of us) with time, and I do believe them. So, here's hoping that tomorrow goes a little smoother than today!

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Fifteenth Month

It was a busy, busy summer for Kaitlin (not that it's over...we still have 2.5 months of heat left!) and she spent the first half of the month in California and the last half split between NY and TX. She's a traveling woman! As much fun as our vacations were, we are both glad to be home and sleeping in our own beds for longer than a week! Like last month, Kaitlin was a trooper with all of our traveling, flying and driving. For the most part she did a great job though we weren't without a few tantrums, breakdowns and sleep-deprived fits. At least she has an excuse ;)

She had her 15 month check up on Tuesday and got two thumbs up from the doctor. She went down in weight percentile slightly (from 13% to 11%) but the doctor didn't seem concerned. I was telling her about Kaitlin's recent food strikes and mega-teething (two more have broken through - that is 12 teeth total, including two molars and two canines) and she reassured me that it was a) completely normal and b) probably the cause of the weight slide. That and the fact that she never.stops.moving.EVER. She is on the tall end of the spectrum (around 60-70%) too which makes her long and lean!

Not only is she walking and running everywhere, she recently learned how to walk (very carefully) backwards. Oh, and how to "stand on her head". It's either that or it's her version of downward dog. She learned how to climb into her baby rocking chairs this month as well, and now all she wants to do is climb in them and then slide out. Climb in, slide out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. She also added pulling toys to her bag of tricks, including an ancient Fisher Price school bus toy that my mom had and her beloved elephant. She mastered how to get on her play car and is FINALLY tall enough to push her little feet against the floor to move herself frontwards and backwards. Nascar here we come! And lastly another favorite activity is lining up toys (little people, rubber ducks, etc) so that they are all on their "feet" and next to each other, acknowledging her success by giving a little laugh and then knocking them all over. She's a weird one!

While she has been busy, busy, busy with all things physical her speech hasn't really advanced that much at all for the past couple of months. She only really says 3-4 words (dada, yes, ah-ah for monkey and vrm-vrm like noise for a car) and the last two are very, very recent and not completely reliable words (meaning she says them sometimes, but sometimes stares at you like she has no idea what you're talking about). The doctor said it was totally normal and that by 15 months most kids only know 3 words, so I didn't panic too much. For my pediatricians practice they go by "21 words by 21 months" as a marker, so if she isn't to that point in six months then we will step up our speech game. Meanwhile, even though she doesn't talk a lot of "real" words she is gibber-gabbering away like never before. If there is something that she wants to do or something she wants help with she will come over to you, pat your leg or arm and then grab ahold of your finger and lead you to wherever she wants to go. So she is pretty effective at getting her wants and needs across. 

When we visited my parents a couple of weeks ago she got to experience (seemingly) endless grass and yard space and now she is OBSESSED with running, walking and playing in the grass. We only have a little bit out front but at least twice a day she leads me to the front door, brings me her shoes and insists that we take a walk together outside. She loves holding your hand when going for a walk (or when she's on unsteady ground). She'll reach up and grab onto your finger and just walk quietly down the street with you. It just about makes my heart explode every single time she does it.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Fourteenth Month

Ok, more like fourteen and a half, but I have a good excuse! We've been on vacation (again!!) and have finally returned and are getting back into the swing again (but not for long, we are off again this week - someone send lots of wine).

The fourteenth month was pretty exciting for Kaitlin. We took our first big vacation as a family and departed for our second big vacation. She loved spending time with friends in Jackson Hole and loved meeting the whole gang. She's isn't really used to being around a lot of kids and people for a long time, so spending a week in a house with 6 adults and 4 kids was a bit of a shock to her!  She was a bit timid at first but she quickly warmed up to everyone and had a blast! She did a pretty good job on all of the flights there and back (four total, you can read some of our flying tips here) though I have to say it's not my favorite activity to do with her!

She celebrated her second July 4th holiday and did her country proud wearing her red, white and blue! What a difference a year makes, right?!

Kaitlin managed to get TWO molars this month which was super fun in the least way possible. Not only are they huge teeth but they take FOREVER to come in all the way. She won't let me feel around to see if the other two are coming in yet which makes me think that her gums are extra sore because they are on their way! That or she just doesn't want her mom shoving her finger into her mouth...weirdo ;)

checking out the Pacific Ocean for the first time!

Eating has been a little bit of a challenge this month as she is getting more and more assertive about what she wants to eat, or more likely, what she DOESN'T want to eat. She is getting pickier by the day (it seems) and most days I am just thankful to have a handful of faithful standbys that sometimes make up her meals for a whole week (oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, bananas - sometimes, and blueberries are usually a safe bet). During our trip to Jackson she pretty much lived on those 5 foods, with a veggie pouch thrown in here and there.