March Break, day two.
I’m still doing well and the kids say they’re having fun, but talk to me on Thursday.
Haven’t done a dayhome update in a while and the kids have changed quite a bit, so here we go!
Pixie’s had to synthesize a lot of turmoil on the home front recently. They adopted a puppy who steals her snacks, chews her toys, and jumps all over her. Her mom was expecting a baby and they had only just told Pixie – who was thrilled – when there was a miscarriage. These kids, they surprise me sometimes. The day after it was all over Pixie looked at me and said, very slowly and deliberately, “the baby in my mommy’s tummy was very sick. It’s gone now. It walked up to the clouds.”
Otherwise, she is maturing, more every day. Her hysterical sob-fests are very rare now. Her best friend at preschool is a year older, and that’s made a big difference. Her speech is much clearer than it used to be. She’s mastered scissors and can put on her own snow gear when we’re heading outside to play. She needs a lot of work with her letters – she still can’t spell her own name, although it is quite long so I forgive her. We’ve also been talking a lot about nutrition, and I know those little lectures are getting repeated at home because her lunch bag almost always includes a piece of fruit these days.
She’s still a raging tattletale, but that’s age-appropriate. Annoying as hell, but well within the parameters for a child turning four in only a couple of months.
Every Friday I think “that’s it, she’ll soon be giving up naps” and then Monday rolls around and she’s tired again, so I keep giving her enforced quiet-on-your-bed time every afternoon. I’ll be surprised if she’s still napping by summer, but that’s OK, too. She’s got the kind of personality that will help me with my chores and would love to learn how to cook, so I’ll be able to incorporate her not-sleeping into my routine fairly easily.
Oh, Louis. Louis remains my most challenging child and a frustrating enigma. He’s going to be four this week, and physically he’s grown a ton over the winter – none of his pants fit anymore and he towers over Pixie and the others. Emotionally… who can tell. His preschool teachers don’t report any issues or problems with him, and he’s OK if he and I are one-on-one (only happens rarely), but he can be far too rough for the other little kids here. I feel like I’m nagging him a lot, because I have rules and the rules are in place for the safety of everyone here, but he firmly refuses to retain knowledge of these rules from day to day. I’m sick of the sound of my voice reminding him of things, so I can imagine he’s sick of me, too.
On the other hand he loves going for walks, and playing with George. He knows all of his letters and we discovered that he’s left-handed, so once we figured that out he’s made more rapid progress with scissors, printing, etc. He can print his name and has finally, finally learned to dress himself. The rage-tantrums he was throwing last month, when he would kick and scream for up to an hour without let up, seem to have stopped (or least slowed down to the point where I can’t remember exactly when the last one happened). So I think we’re making progress, although it’s slow and it doesn’t take much to make him backslide. However, he has started asking for a hug and a kiss when I drop him off at preschool, and that’s really nice.
Daisy’s vocabulary is growing every day. I can almost always understand what she’s saying now, which makes things a lot easier… and is also kind of weird for me. I’m just realizing now that I’ve had a non-verbal kid in this house and under my care continuously since the fall of 2010; no wonder I’m finding this gig a little less mentally-taxing now.
She’s downright refusing to comply in any way with potty-training and in fact has regressed quite a bit from earlier successes. I still feel this is entirely because her parents lacked consistency when we tried the first time, and I’m (quietly, to myself) refusing to make the attempt again. My contract says I will help with potty-training, not do it for you. I’m sticking to that.
She’s not great at imaginative or independent play yet, although she’s getting better. We have had problems lately with her deliberately wrecking the other kids’ fun; knocking over their block towers, kicking their cars, that kind of thing. I think it’s because they don’t often include her in their imaginative play, given her lack of initiative in that area, and so she gets back at them any way she can. But that’s just a guess.
She loves it when I brush her crazy, curly, bright-red hair, and lets me put it up in pigtails. (Better than Barbie, I swear!) She begs me to tickle her tummy and counts it a day lost if we start off with a rousing chorus of the “Good Morning To You” song (she always picks ‘grumpy’ for how she is feeling today, even though she is seldom anything but cheerful).
He’s another one who has changed dramatically this winter. Among the three big boys, he’s the quiet one – he just doesn’t yell much, which is a nice rest from my own noisy, noisy kids. He’s weeping less and laughing more. He loves dancing, puns, climbing trees, and playing with my dog. I do still sometimes have to remind him not to play too rough with the little kids, but overall he’s really no trouble.