Endings and Beginnings

Despite a rough start, the girls ended another summer swim season with Ms. Conni on a high note. There were a few weeks in the middle of the season that were pretty rough, with the girls going from loving their lessons to flat-out throwing a fit over going and refusing to get in the pool for a few harrowing weeks, to the last two months of being back to normal! I don’t understand what goes through their little minds sometimes, but when they decide they don’t want to do something, they don’t do it. Stubborn and independent are definitely two of their defining characteristics.

The last day of this summer session was another Safety Day where the kids came fully dressed with shoes on to simulate swimming in the water with the extra weight. Damion, Samantha and Amelia all handled it surprisingly well, considering it looked uncomfortable!

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The girls’ favorite part of swim was “diving.” At one point, Ms. Conni brought out a hula hoop and told them to dive pencil-style, feet first through the hoop, just to keep them from doing belly flops! Without the hula hoop or reminding them to jump with their feet in the water first, the girls always fell back on belly flopping! Despite all the cringing parents on the sidelines, the girls never seemed to mind “diving” this way. A new Olympic sport in the making, perhaps?

At the end of their last lesson, Ms. Conni unleashed the fun animal floaties the kids had been salivating over and let the kids play.

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Amelia and her giraffe.

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This lobster was clearly MADE for the twins.

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Daddy joined us for the last lesson of the summer. Meredith was quite entertained!

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Yeehaw!

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With an ending, came a beginning. Samantha and Amelia started at their Montessori preschool two mornings a week in the middle of July and will go three mornings a week through the fall. We wanted to start in the summer while there were less kids at the school and so they could adapt with more one-on-one attention before the fall session. It was all fun and games picking out their backpacks, water bottles and reading Daniel Tiger Goes to Preschool and The Kissing Hand over and over the week before preschool… until it was actually time to bite the bullet and go!

The big day! Samantha wasn’t sure what to expect.

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Amelia was more excited about the prospect of school than Samantha.

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For the first few weeks, I had Jake do drop-off since I didn’t think I could handle it, while I did pick-up. As anticipated, the girls cried and clung to Daddy the first day (Samantha every time… Amelia didn’t seem to mind after the first week), but by the time Jake reached his car, the teachers said they had stopped crying when they asked if the girls would like to build “cakes” in the sandbox (they obviously knew the way to Samantha and Amelia’s hearts!)

The next drop-off was more of the same, with the crying getting progressively less and the girls forgetting about Daddy to play “Elsa and Anna” with one of the other girls as soon as he hit the parking lot. When Jake had court hearings in the morning, I would do drop-off and pick-up, during which they were decidedly more cranky than they were with Daddy.

While the teachers reported the girls were occupied and having fun at school, they were very clingy every time I picked them up. It’s like they had held their emotions in all morning and let it out in a torrent of crabbiness! On a more positive note, my mornings with Meredith were very peaceful! Meredith loves going to pick up the girls and all the kids and teachers usually rush over to say hello to her and squeeze her fat baby legs sticking out of the Ergo… she absolutely revels in all the attention, that spoiled baby!

The girls’ teachers, Ms. Becky and Ms. Shah, as well as the director, Ms. Debbie, were all positive, nurturing and reassuring (and did a great job not seeming annoyed by me calling or asking a million questions). It was also helpful to know friends who have sent their kids here and to see some familiar faces from around the community. Still, the first few weeks of the transition were really difficult for the girls and rough on us as parents too. I wanted the girls to be really excited about preschool, and it was sad to see the girls get all worked up about going, even before we got in the car.

It’s hard to see your first-born babies struggle and wonder if you’re doing the right thing. Eliminating variables was hard for us too, since we have no prior experience with preschool– was it just their personalities? The school? Not bonding with the teachers? Just normal for little ones going to preschool for the first time? There was a lot of anxiety and second-guessing on my part the first few weeks, which I’m sure the girls could sense and which probably didn’t help the situation.

Fortunately, this past week and a half, the girls have been on the up-swing. They haven’t cried at drop-off and have been excited to tell me all about their snacks, the Olympic torch and fish crafts they made, and some of the other kids in class (I keep hearing about their friend, Melania, and one of the boys who keeps annoying Amelia– Evan?!)

Not sure why Amelia looks like a zombie here, but she sure had fun telling me all about the “bagel bear” they made for snack one day.

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Every week so far, the kids have “cooked” in class. On the day they made pizzas, Samantha and Amelia were bursting to tell me all about it when I picked them up, before remembering that they should pretend NOT to like preschool and quickly switched gears into crankiness again.

All the kids take turns being the Helper of the Day with various jobs, and Samantha and Amelia have been assigned to bring and set up the snack for their classmates twice so far, which they have been excited about doing (anything where they get to be in charge is right up their alley!)

Samantha and Amelia are at the very beginning of this little photo slideshow one of the teachers posted. The little preschoolers are so cute!

Their favorite thing to do at pick-up is to say goodbye to each individual fish and bird in the foyer as well as insist upon scribbling their own names on the sign-out sheet. Hopefully, the verdict on preschool will be a positive one on all sides. To be continued!

Lots of love,

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