Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our First Parent-Teacher Conference

We had our first Parent-Teacher Conference the other day. This to me is a sign that the Montessori school is a real pre-school, not just a daycare pre-school, like the Pumpkin's earlier pre-schools were. No, this was a real appointment on a day she had off from school where we sat down with her teachers (in very little chairs) and discussed how she is doing.

And the first thing that her main teacher said was, and I quote, "She's not having as many meltdowns anymore."

Greeeeaaaaaaaat!!!! I believe that Londo and I both put our hands to our heads. We didn't know there were meltdowns at school. Certainly, there's been plenty at home, but you know kids. They don't really talk about what happens at school.

Apparently, she'll get upset about something (mostly minor things, it sounds like), start crying and saying that so-and-so "hurt her feelings." The teachers noted that they don't usually hear that verbalized from 3 year olds. I explained that we'd been working on it with her to combat some mean phrases she picked up at that first school, phrases like, "you're not my friend" and "you're a baby." I also explained that she'd always been verbally and physically advanced, but that she was emotionally very much still three and a half. They assured us that those mean phrases were not tolerated at this school, and that they were working with the Pumpkin to not get too upset over the little things.

But other than that, she's doing great. She likes to watch the teachers give lessons, especially to the older kids for the materials that she's not quite ready for. Then she wants to use those materials, but the teachers explain that she first needs to master the materials leading up to the older ones. That's the Montessori way. They said that she accepts that and moves on to other things.

The teachers and Londo and I talked a bit about how we can't force this child to do things, since that makes her just dig in her heels even more. Her main teacher said that she generally tells her that when she's ready, let her know, and the Pumpkin does. I've used that tactic before with success myself.

She likes the language materials, the puzzles, the steps and blocks, the life skills materials. She is interested and engaged. She is independant and able to roll out her mat and do her work on her own. She is picking up on a lot of the skills the first time she uses the material (SUPERGENIUS!) (You know I had to say it!). The teachers will be sure she moves along at a pace that will keep her interested without overwhelming her.

On a few occassions when I walked the Pumpkin down to her room before class started, I would go into the classroom and talk with the teacher a bit. When I did, I would watch as my daughter quickly went from clinging to me outside the classroom to hurrying off to a table or shelf where she immediately started doing or watching some activity. There was no looking back, no tears, no meltdowns, no running around and getting into trouble.

This is a good school for her. We like the teachers (mostly*), we love the Montessori method. We thought it would be a good fit for her, and we are glad to hear that it is so far.

*There is one that we aren't in synch with, but that's not one of the Pumpkin's main teachers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Question of the Week - What Are You Drinking?

A couple months ago, I was annoyed at my husband. I don't even remember why now, other than it really wasn't a big deal. I'll be honest, I was PMSing and stressed about work and the kids had been sick (again!). I was doing dishes while he was putting the Pumpkin to bed, and I was thinking about some little thing that Londo did, getting more and more annoyed over what was virtually nothing (I mean, I literally don't even remember what it was now).

A glass and a half of wine later, I realized I was getting pissy over nothing. The mellow from the wine had kicked in, and I started to let it go. Instead, I started thinking about what a great dad and husband and worker and man he is. There he was, putting our daughter to bed after a difficult evening for all of us. I was cleaning dishes from the dinner he had made the family, drinking the wine he had picked up for me from the store. None of us are perfect, and he has a lot going on lately.

I also started thinking about a phrase he uses during some of our difficult times: I need you to cut me some slack. Written like that, it looks abrupt. But he never says it rudely. He actually says it or asks very nicely, and he often says that we should cut each other slack when we've got a lot going on.

So there I am, finishing up my second glass of Chianti, doing the last of the dishes, thinking to myself, "Yeah. I'm going to cut him some slack."

This could be a post about how we should all cut each other slack, or about how we should appreciate the good things our partners and others do for us, or about letting the little things go so that we don't stress out about everything, or about how we should all support each other especially during difficult times.

But it's not.

This post is about how I enjoy a nice glass (or two) of wine in the evenings, about how it helps me relax and enjoy things a little more. Some nights I don't have anything to drink, some nights I have a glass with dinner, and some nights I have a couple glasses after the kids go to bed. But since I've stopped nursing and I'm not pregnant, I have started to have wine more regularly to help de-stress. And I'm glad I am, for my sake, my husband's sake and my kids' sake! ;-)

This week's question of the week is:

What's your drink of choice?

Lately, my drink of choice is either Chianti or Chardonnay. My favorite mixed drink is vodka tonic, which happens to be my dad's drink also. My favorite drink for the beach is Captain and Coke. My favorite non-alcoholic relaxing drink is herbal tea. And my favorite morning drink is coffee!

What about you? What do you like to drink? Do you have different drinks for different occasions? Have you got a good way to mellow out at the end of a stressful day? Does it involve alcohol, like mine?