Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday!

Molly is now four. FOUR!!!

Where does the time go?!?

We did the exact same birthday party that we did last year, Pump It Up, Jr. Molly LOVES bouncy houses and slides. With an October birthday you never know if the weather is going to be nice or rainy so I've found indoor venues are the safest bet. Since I booked this back in August I had no idea we'd be having such an Indian Summer. Oh well, the kids loved it. The only downside was Molly had a stomach bug that week. Ah, the joys of preschool. She was basically up all Tuesday night throwing up and her appetite had not really returned before the party. She had not been sick again so she had the all clear from her doc to be around other kids, but her energy levels were definitely not back in the normal range. Still, it looked like she enjoyed her party and seeing all her friends and that's all that really matters.

The one major hold out Molly's had since the last time I did one of these posts (last year) was potty training. I never wanted to pressure Molly into it and then I think I waited too long. Molly had the nerve to develop her own opinion on the matter and decided she had no interest. Things finally started to click in August. We ran the gamut on bribes and I finally discovered that Dibs ice cream bits were an excellent motivator. She also had a freakin' toy store on top of her bathroom cabinet. Motivational presents if you will. It got to the point that Molly would spy something she liked while we were out and ask me, "Is that a proper motivational present for going potty?" (her words, not mine I swear!) The only trick was that Molly wanted to go on her own. We had sat in the bathroom with her for HOURS and it turns out she simply wanted some privacy. One day she ran off and went on her own before I even realized it and that started the ramp up. Who knew?

Molly got the hang of going pee pee on the potty, but only when we were at home. Molly still demanded a diaper when we left the house. Things finally clicked when she started school in September. Molly is going to a parent participation school (Santa Clara Parents Nursery School) four days a week and I join her for a work day on Wednesdays. Being around other kids and the whole "monkey see, monkey do" finally got her out of diapers and into underwear. At least during the day. She still demands a nighttime diaper and that sucker is FULL come morning. However, Molly consistently sleeps 12 hours a night (and lately it's been creeping up towards 13) and I'm not going to mess with that. As long as she's wearing underwear during the day we'll cross that next bridge when she can hold it through the night.

Going to preschool has also been huge. Molly is one of the younger ones in class. There were a couple other kids that turned 4 in October. The next set of birthdays in November are for kids turning 5. The first week of school you just went in on your work day. That was a nice way to get her used to the school and spend some time with her teacher. The next week I dropped Molly off on Tuesday (she goes Tuesday through Friday) and she pretty much broke free of holding hands and RAN up the stairs. I was a little stunned. Part of me was proud that she already felt so comfortable there, but another part of me felt really weird just leaving. The teacher said she's still the same way with her kids and they are in the 3rd and 5th grade. It was the first time I have left Molly some place other than with family or close friends and it felt a little strange. I ran a ton of errands that first day. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when flying solo. It was also more to keep me busy than anything else. When I went to pick Molly up she was all smiles and had a great day.

Since this is the first time Molly has been to any sort of school with other kids on a consistent basis I knew there would be a bit of a learning curve. She has always LOVED going to school (first thing she asks me in the morning is if she can go to school yet) and LOVES her teachers. However, we have had a few heartbreaking moments when she has told us the other kids have been mean to her. It's a little tricky to figure out the truth of the matter with a 4 year old, but I have had a few conversations with the teachers when we've heard the same name over and over or if she says something was scary. The first feedback we got was that Molly was definitely playing on her own more and you could tell she was on the younger end of the class. However, certain things were not adding up with being "young". From day one Molly has had no problem going up to her teachers if she doesn't like something. The first incident was with the growling game. Some kids like to run up to each other and growl. Molly is not a fan and she immediately let her teacher know. Another thing she does is run TOWARDS an incident rather than away from it. If some kid is upset or crying Molly is always quickly by their side offering her silent support. Just last week on my work day I was outside making sure all the kids were heading inside for snack time. I spy Molly over by the train and tell her to get moving. She calmly replies she will go inside when this boy stops crying. I had not noticed him at first as he was hidden from me by the play structure. Sure enough he's been crying. Something about a stolen hat. We get to the bottom of it and when the little boy says he feels better and will head inside for snack Molly gets up and follows him inside and then they go their separate ways.

I have received feedback from both teachers and multiple parents that Molly is always there when someone is crying to make sure they are "OK". She is also more than happy to get an adults attention if someone is upset and not speaking up for themselves. My little caregiver. While she continues to play on her own a lot, she observes EVERYTHING. She is very aware of the dynamics around her and who is having a bad day. A lot of the times when we hear that someone has been mean they are not actually being mean to Molly, but rather have been mean to another kid and Molly is simply reporting this back. The teachers have both told me the fact that she is this empathetic towards others shows some pretty big maturity for her age. Molly has also proven that she is quite capable of standing up for herself and telling the other kids when she does not like something. She is more likely to get the teacher or another parent involved when it's someone else that is upset than for herself. That's my girl. I love that she is confident enough to stand up for herself. I also really love that she will stand up for the ones being picked on.

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