Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Hi, we're still here. We've had a lot going on. Here's a recap of the last month or so:
1. Penny is getting a BROTHER sometime around January 25th.
2. I survived neuroanatomy. Next up is 8 weeks of vestibular pathologies. Goodie.
3. Penny started preschool this month - more on that below.
4. Penny's grandparents have been in Italy for the last 3 weeks and will be gone for another 2 weeks. So there has been some upheaval in Penny's life and in her routine, combined with the general anxiety that comes with starting school and being three.
Penny's school is everything I had hoped. There is art hanging on almost every wall of the room. There is lots of time to play, inside and outside. They get to go on oodles of field trips, which are mostly nature walks and the like. Her teacher is awesome, and Penny's adjusted pretty well to classroom life — class rules, circle time, snack time, etc. But we had a rocky start. The first two weeks, Penny would wake up and announce that she didn't want to go to school, and Britt and I had to bust out the pep talks to get her mentally prepared to go. And there were a couple of mornings where she wet her bed (!!), which had not been an issue before.
I haven't been able to have much involvement in Penny's life at school. My work schedule is the same days as Penny's class schedule, plus grandma and grandpa have gone abroad. So our dear friends, to whom we will forever be indebted, have been helping with carpooling (their daughter and Penny are in the same class) and then Penny plays at their house after school, until I can come and pick her up. The poor kid has had to adjust to everything at once and I've had to stop myself (a couple of times) from regretting my new job.
But things are getting better. The first week, I was getting reports of outbursts about having to share toys, and any other number of slings and arrows related to interacting with other children. You may recall that Penny's "outbursts" take the form of Screaming Banshee Fits, which sound like she's been mortally wounded. So the first thing Penny learned at school was to "use her words." After her first day, she came home and told me, "Mama, tomorrow I will know my words."
Her teacher told me that she's fine and has been doing a lot better. I finally had the chance to volunteer in her class today (which is a requirement of the school, and a good thing), and it was fun to see how the class works. Penny was a little more clingy since I was there, but I was amazed to see her let loose on the playground. She climbs on all of the equipment and goes down the big slides, laughing all the way. She can do the fire pole (!!) and loves the tire swing. I was standing there thinking, "Who is this kid?" when a couple of the other moms came up to me and told me how sweet Penny is. And I said, "Really?"
Is it bad that I was surprised to hear that she can be sweet? I know she is. She's actually very thoughtful and articulate. But here's the thing: the screaming issue has improved at school, but it has not improved at home. I feel like I bear the brunt of her ire. She's fine until I pick her up, and then suddenly, she's whining and helpless and the littlest things send her into a giant screaming spiral. And our friends have to endure it too, although they assure me that she's fine until I show up. So what is this about?
I'm telling myself it relates to the upheaval. She's going to be a big sister. She misses her grandparents. A lot of her time has been spent away from home and away from me. I think it will get better. It has to.
Meanwhile, Penny's class is going on a field trip to the mountains tomorrow, to look for leaves changing colors. I wish I could go. But she'll have a good time and it will be another day of adventure, another day of using her words and making new friends. Another reason to be excited about school.