Monday, September 28, 2009

Once Upon a Potty

Next month Giuliana will be 2 1/2. That's exactly the time we potty trained Tia, and she was ready. Gia, on the other hand, is quite a different child. A few months back we brought out the potty chair. She wanted to try it out, and actually used it once. Since then, it has just sat un-used in the bathroom, and we're not allowed to talk about it. Gia is a very strong willed child. When she does something, it has to be her own idea. She absolutely will not do anything if she thinks someone is forcing her into it. Her favorite word still seems to be "No!".

Gia's all time favorite candy is M&M's, so I brought home 2 bags and showed them to her. I explained that the candy was for little girls who go pee pee on the potty. She walked away, ignoring me.

Last week at the Parent-Tot center, I started to read her a book about going potty. She took the book out of my hand and tossed it acrosst he room. I guess she told me!

A few days ago I reminded her about the M&M's that were waiting for her in our pantry. Her response was "I don't like M&M's anymore"! This kid is stubborn beyond belief. She reminds me of my mother in so many ways.

Last night D.R. decided to use some serious psychology (that quite possible could have scarred our baby for life!). He told Tia to go use the potty, and that he would give her 4 M&M's for doing so. She did, and happily accepted her prize. Gia of course went into a huge fit, knowing the candy was supposed to be for her. D.R. said "Well, I'm sorry but those are only for little girls who can use the potty. If you'd like to go on the potty, then you can have 4 M&M's too". I stood back and held my breath. I know how stubborn this child is, and I had the feeling this could have led to a complete melt down. Well, my genius husband had the right idea. Seeing her sister with candy that she wasn't having got her to finally sit on the potty, and use it!

Now, here's the funny part. Gia informed me that she wanted to use the big potty, not the baby potty chair. OK, so I lifted her onto it, then she said "Don't see me!", so I had to turn my head and not look at her. When I heard a little tinkle, I began to open my mouth to praise her. She immediately covered my mouth with her hand and said "Don't say it Mom". It took every ounce of energy I had to not burst out laughing! I wanted to clap and cheer and dance around in celebration of her potty use. She wouldn't have any of it. We couldn't talk about her accomplishment. She just wanted her M&M's. I asked if we could call Nonna and tell her about it, and of course she said no.

We're learning a lot about our little girl. We have definitely learned that she has to do things her own way, and on her own time, and there's no changing that. We are getting some practice in patience for sure!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What did you do in school today?

Remember when your parents would ask you every day what you did or learned in school that day? The usual answer was "nothin'". I can remember my parents asking how that could be possible, I must have learned something!

Well, that's pretty much the answer I'm getting from Tia these days. Today was a big day. She's going to a Christian preschool. Today was to be their first day visiting the chapel, and meeting the pastor. They will do this monthly as part of their religious instruction. I couldn't wait to pick her up and ask her how it went. Here's an excerpt from our converstaion...

Mom: Tia, did you get to go into church today?
Tia: Yup
Mom: What did you do?
Tia: Nothin'
Mom: Did you meet the Pastor?
Tia: Yup
Mom: What's his name?
Tia: Pastor
Mom: Did he say a prayer?
Tia: Nope
Mom: Did he teach you anything?
Tia: Nope

Well, I'm smart enough to realize that I'm not going to get much more out of this kid. I guess as long as she continues to come out of school with a big smile on her face, that's good enough for me.

In other news, I dressed the girls alike today in outfits that I actually bought. They weren't handed down, or bought by loving family members. That's pretty rare! Anyway, I had to take their picture because I know my days of dressing them alike are numbered. I have to do it while I can!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Day of Dance

This year both girls are enrolled in dance class, and today was their first day. That must mean it's Fall, but honestly, it was almost 80 degrees again today!

I couldn't resist taking lots and lots of pictures in their little ballerina outfits.

Tia's 4 year old class goes first, and then about an hour later, Gia gets to go. Tia's an old pro, having already taken dance last year. The only problem is that she wants to "help" when it's Gia's turn, especially when she thinks Gia isn't paying attention to her teacher! Next week one of us will go home with Tia after her class is over so that Gia can enjoy herself. Lesson learned.

I told Gia today that when I was little I didn't get to go to dance class, and that she's a very lucky little girl. She asked why I didn't have a purple tutu. Too funny. I'll have to be one of those moms who say "Don't you know how good you have it? I never got that when I was your age"! Didn't we all love those stories from our own parents!?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to Mommy!

Probably the best birthday present I've ever gotten.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

She's doing just fine!

Back in May D.R. and I started to have some concerns about Tia. Not only was she still struggling with some speech sounds, but her anxiety had escalated to an all time high. I can't call it stranger anxiety, because it wasn't just with strangers. She would cry and retreat into her shell even with family and friends. Over the summer, she freaked out uncontrollably at the sight of my brother in law, whom she knows very well.

We had finally decided to have her evaluated. We consulted our pediatrician who said he would support our decision to have her checked out because he thought she would have grown out of some of her behaviors by this age. The school district in our area does their evaluations in August. We had to deal with her anxiety all summer. For me, since I'm the one home with her all day, things were getting pretty rough.

Two weeks ago we got the letter in the mail stating the school had an appointment for her. At this point she had already started preschool at a private Christian school. We agreed that if she qualified for support services within the district program, we would just have to pull her out of the private school. Lo and behold, about a week before the appointment, Tia just came right out of her shell. She would talk to people, no longer cried at the sight of strangers, and started pronouncing the 'L' sound that she had been struggling with for so long. How can this be?! It was like over night, she became a different kid. I kept the appointment anyway and figured if she didn't need their services, they could tell me so themselves.

Today I got another letter in the mail stating that the psychologist and teacher who evaluated Tia feel that she is developing right on schedule. They saw no problems at all. She performed on an age appropriate level for all categories. YAY TIA!

We are so relieved. At first I really wanted her to qualify for services so she could go to the wonderful district preschool, which is a 5 day program. Then when I saw how much she loved the private preschool, I decided it would be really hard to pull her out. More change for an already anxious kid wouldn't be my first choice.

Here's what we've learned along the way. Tia needs routine, a schedule, and as much predictability as possible. She doesn't deal well with chaos. When her anxiety peaked just happens to be the same time we were going back and forth to NY to see my ailing Mom. As much as she loves to be in NY, visiting our family, it was tough on her. She was more often than not away from her regular routine, her own bed, and her home. That takes a toll on adults, I can only imagine what it was doing to her. We're pretty sure that's where a lot of her issues were coming from. Hindsight is 20/20!

We are so happy that our sweet little angel is doing just fine. We've learned a lot from this experience, most importantly we learned that we will always do what's best for our children.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So many reasons to celebrate!

This weekend was action packed with lots of wonderful happenings. In order to squeeze it all in, this is going to be a long post!

Way back in March I decided that I would train to run the Chicago 5K Lung Run. I've always wanted to run a 5K and since my Mom was sick with lung cancer, this seemed to be the best fit. It happened to coincide with my birthday so we figured we'd make a full weekend out of it. Then to make it even better, my sister and brother in law decided to join us. Talk about excitement! If they hadn't come, we wouldn't see each other until Christmas, so it was great timing.

We stayed in a great hotel close to Navy Pier. The kids were so happy and excited just to be in a hotel. They loved the lobby, the elevators, the beds, EVERYTHING! It doesn't take much to make them happy.

On our first day together in the big city, they gave Tia her birthday presents. Uncle Reggie surprised Tia with a real guitar. She's been making up her own songs ever since!

On Friday we went to the Sears Tower and I was able to check an item off my 'life list'! We all went to the top, and even went out on the glass ledge (sort of). I couldn't go all the way out. My brain kept telling me not to do it. I had to sit on the floor, with my back to the view. As long as I wasn't looking, I could scooch out backward far enough to get a picture.

D.R. and Tia didn't have the same problem!

Then came the big day...race day! After forecasts were threatening rain all week, it turned out to be a beautiful, warm, sunny day. This year was the biggest turn out ever in the history of the Lung Run. The crowd was amazing and full of energy.


I started at the front of the pack with the fastest runners, only because that's where I was able to find a spot to stand. I didn't count on being passed by about 500 people as soon as the horn blew! That was pretty deflating. Then of course as the race progressed I was actually the one passing people. That was a great feeling. I was able to finish the race in 45 minutes. I was hoping for 40 minutes but I guess it just wasn't in the cards. It was pretty hot, there was absolutely no shade, and I got a major cramp in the third mile. I figure I now have a time to beat for my next race, even though I kept saying I never wanted to run again.

Running a 5K was also on my life list, so in one weekend I was able to check two things off!


Sadly, my Mom didn't make it to see me finish this race, but she knew I was training for it and that I was doing it for her. She was my inspiration and motivation. She thought I was crazy for taking up running in the first place, but I know she was smiling down on me. Ironically, the race was on the 12th, exactly 3 months after her death. She would have been proud, and she told me so before she died.

On a lighter note, we took the opportunity to celebrate Tia's birthday while Aunt Kimmie and Uncle Reggie were in town. She even picked out her very own cake.

Then, can you believe after all that exercise I got from running, my family had me out walking around Chicago for the rest of the day?! Here are some pictures of what we saw along the way.

It was a nice mini-vacation. I'm so glad we did it. It couldn't have been a more perfect weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School days, school days.

Today was Tia's first day of preschool! She woke up this morning, came out of her room and announced loudly "OK Mom, I'm ready for school!". She all of a sudden seemed so grown up to me. The morning went smoothly. She had her breakfast and got dressed without incident. D.R. went into work later than normal so he could be here to see her get ready and keep me focused and calm. He knows what a big baby I am when it comes to our kids!

We took lots of pictures for the big day.

Tia wasn't thrilled with her school bag because it is so large. I explained to her that it was provided by the school, and it wasn't my idea. She finally agreed to carry it.

This was the last picture I could take and then the parents had to leave.

The biggest surprise of the day was that I didn't cry! I almost did, but turned and left, and was able to hold it together. Gia however wasn't so strong. She cried all the way to the car because she thought we forgot her sister. She's never done anything without her, so this is quite a change.
Because it was the first day, the kids only stayed for an hour and a half. They normally go from 9-11:30. At pick-up, parents pull in the loop in front of the building and the teachers walk the kids to the car door. It's a great system. Even though I left the house way earlier than I needed to, I was the last in line! I was so anxious to see how she did. When it was finally our turn, all I could see was her HUGE smile. She was so happy and proud. I almost cried again. The teachers all said she did great and Tia said she had a lot of fun.
I still can't believe my little girl is already a preschooler!