Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Today, Mairead offically became a preschooler. It was both exciting and scary-- for me, and probably for her, too! She was having fun dancing with Nana before we left, and she knew that she was going to school. We got her all dressed up in classic 'first day of school' knee socks and a plaid skirt, and she looked adorable.

When we got to school, she was happy to be back there and to see the other kids and fun activities. She even carried her little backpack all by herself.

Apparently, preschool is exhausting.

She is smart enough to know that such a special occasion merits a special treat, and immediately asked for fries when we got in the car.
Drop off went off without a hitch. She was used to being dropped off for 'school' at Early Intervention, so I think that made it easy. She was doing a puzzle when I left and gave me a kiss goodbye before starting her day. I was thankful that she seemed quite content to stay there and that she views school as such a positive. With two teachers for parents, we hope that all of our kids view school as a GOOD thing!
Her teacher said that she had a good day and she did, "ok." She explained that getting Mairead to stop what she was doing and come join the other kids was difficult. I knew that this would be a really tough area for Mairead, so I wasn't surprised by this. Of course, I want the teacher to tell me that everything went perfectly and Mairead was perfect, but I know that it is going to take some time for Mairead to adjust to the rules, and for the teacher to adjust to Mairead. This is a private preschool that typically does not work with kids who have unique needs like Mairead does, so we are just hoping it is a good fit and things work out well for everyone.
The teacher was impressed with Mairead's drawing skills and her attention to reading books, so those were positives. It's funny, even though I am well aware of the areas in which Mairead struggles, it is really hard to hear it from someone else, or to see other kids having such an easy time doing things that Mairead is not yet capable of. Two moms were talking about how their kids wanted to get married and have a wedding in a church and have 8 babies. It was a very sweet story, but it was hard to hear about all the fun and adorable conversations that other three year olds are having while conversations are still not part of our world. Also, these little ones were planning their futures, and we are so uncertain about what Mairead's future holds. We know that she is a smart and beautiful little girl who is loved by more people than she can count. And, we know that everyone in her life will do anything they can to help make sure that her future is a bright one. Thanks, everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pre-School Meet n' Greet

Disclaimer: several of the pictures are in terrible focus. Apparently, my camera was on 'manual focus' and I did not realize it. Sorry!

Anyway- yesterday was the Meet and Greet Open House at Mairead's pre-school. Parents are invited to come and stay with the child for an hour and a half as the kids explore the classroom, meet the teacher and the other kids, and become familiar with the surroundings. Great idea!

Mairead LOVED it there. The only drama came at the end when she just didn't want to leave. She kept saying, "Nope!" (her new favorite word), signing, "more" and saying, "More school!" She explored every inch of the classroom, made great eye contact, said hi to her teacher and some other kids, and really did well. Tomorrow is her first real day, so I hope that she continues to do well. I am incredibly anxious about it. I know every mom is anxious about leaving her 'baby' at preschool, but I really don't have the luxury of that kind of worry- I worry about her safety, her ability to communicate her needs, and her ability to interact with the other kids. I can't even be sure that this situation will work for us, but it's definitely a chance worth taking. I know that she needs to be in a classroom with other kids, and this is the only way for that to happen. Her level of understanding is a mystery, so when the teacher talks about letters and numbers, Mairead will be an all star. When the teacher says, "everyone go to the art center," she will be lost. I think she is in good hands and I hope and pray that she is happy there.

We are still waiting to hear from the schools about her schedule for speech, so we really can't schedule anything else (PT, OT, etc) until that happens. September is a month of big change for all of us with Mairead going to preschool and speech, and soon, hippotherapy and probably other sessions, and Dave back at work. The boys are now 18 months (can you believe that???) and are not 'babies' anymore, so their routines are changing, too. It's all happening so fast!

Anyway, Daddy thought Mairead needed a special treat for her first day and came home with a pretty awesome cookie that was decorated to look like Elmo. Mairead LOVED it!

This picture is from the other day. She was watching Sesame Street and Big Bird was in Mexico. Lots of little girls were salsa dancing in beautiful dresses, and Mairead just happens to have a beautiful multi-colored dress, too! She insisted on wearing it for the next two days. Even to bed.

Apparently, she is a salsa-dancing doctor.

Ok, back to preschool. Have you met my 6 year old??? Seriously-- she looks SO grown up!!! Thanks to Jen for the adorable dress that was perfect for school on a 90 degree day.

While Mairead and I were at school, my mom had the boys. They wore themselves out running through the sprinkler and were half asleep on the swingset when we got home.
If you can spare a good thought or prayer tonight, wish us luck with preschool tomorrow. It's a huge step for any three year old, but a three year old with such a unique set of needs faces a unique set of challenges. So do her mom and dad!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shamelessly Bragging about my Kids

Can I brag about my kids for a minute? I mean, that is kind of the point of this blog, isn’t it? I am just so proud of what each of them is accomplishing each day. We’ll start with Mairead… she IS the oldest, after all. And, she has SO much to overcome that I really want to focus more on everything she CAN do, and not on what she still needs to achieve. She has her preschool 'meet and greet' tomorrow at which she and I play together, and then she has her real first day of school on Thursday. I am BEYOND anxious about it since I know that it will be hard on her (and her teachers) at the beginning. I also know that once she is settled, she will love it, and and will be the best thing for her.

Mairead can:
Recite the alphabet and recognize every capital letter and most lowercase
Name at least one word that begins with each letter
Name shapes- circle, triangle, rectangle, square, oval, heart, star, diamond, and pentagon
Name all of the colors
Count to 20
Count backwards from 10
Count to five in Spanish
Say ‘hello’ in Chinese. Yep, Chinese. Katie walked into the kitchen the other morning and said, “Hi, Mairead,” so Mairead responded, “Ni hao.” Thank you, commercials for Kai-Lan on Nick Jr. She doesn’t even watch that show!

I am working on teaching her that Dave and I have names, and what those names are. She is great about Daddy’s name and is able to say mine most of the time. It is absolutely adorable to hear her call us “Maghan” and “Dave.” I am hoping that she is able to do this if she ever gets lost, which is a huge concern for us right now. She has no regard for her personal safety, and if she did get lost, would not know to find a mom, find a safe place, tell someone her name, etc. So, we are working on that, as well as using ID tags that attach to her shoes.

She was awesome with her cousin, Lily, this weekend. Before Lily arrived, I told Mairead that someone was coming to visit and asked, “do you want to see the baby?” She replied, “Baby sister.” Sorry, little girl, but that is not happening! I don’t even know where she learned that phrase since no one on Sesame Street has a baby sister. She called Lily her baby sister several times over the weekend and it was very sweet. She also learned that Lily is “too little” for McDonald’s fries, but she did try to share, so I was proud of her for that.

Now, Jack. Jack is eating more food than I can believe, and though he is still about a half inch shorter than his baby brother and about a half a pound lighter, he is growing so much! In July, they were both about 23lbs, so they are probably somewhere around 25lbs now. The other day, I found some of their preemie clothes and seriously could not fathom how they ever wore them. And, those clothes were actually too big for Jack—he was swimming in them! Jack is a talker- he knows over 50 words that I can think of and comes up with more every day. He also knows how to sign, “baby, more, all done,” and “wind.” He is starting to try to count 1, 2, 3, though it sounds more like ‘un, oo, ee.’ Very cute. His favorite thing lately is to take an adult by the hand and lead him or her to whatever it is that he wants. His other favorite thing is to press buttons on the tv, which does not please his big sister. He loves coloring, markers, cars, and trucks. He is very sweet to his brother- when Ben cries, Jack pats him on the head or hugs him. Just adorable. He is still the ‘thinker,’ always observing before doing. He is a snuggler, still, especially with my mom. Oh, and he also is a little thief who will get his little hands on a tv remote or cell phone faster than you can imagine.

And Ben. He is just the goofiest, happiest little boy. I call him ‘happy feet’ because he is always dancing. If you’ve seen that movie, you know that the penguin is always dancing and moving his feet and doing his own thing. That’s Ben! He knows just over 40 words that I can think of. Interestingly, they are not all the same words that Jack uses. A lot are the same, but each boy also has his own. Ben says, “flowers” and Jack doesn’t, and when Ben sees flowers, he points to them and says, “oooh, flowers.” He has an unnatural sense of balance- the kid can (and does) climb e.v.e.r.y.thing. I will often walk into the living room and find him sitting on the coffee table and ‘dancing.’ He points out the window and asks to go “bye-bye, car, walk (we go for lots of walks!)” from the moment he gets up in the morning until he gets to go out. Then, he starts up again as soon as naps are over. He seems to initiate the ‘games’ that he and Jack play. They toss a ball and then both run after it, play ‘tag’ and just chase each other all over the place. He still loves his trash/recycling, and will find bottles that you never even knew were there. At the playground, he is the kid at the top of the slide with no idea how to get down, not a care in the world… he just stands up there looking happy and victorious, doing his ‘happy feet’ dance until I come help him slide down.

They are so much fun- they are also SO much work! I feel like I am constantly taking away something that could be used as a weapon, swallowed, or damaged. I am also often removing children from the tops of furniture, slides, or other dangerous situations. We are so lucky to have three kids who are so happy and who bring so much happiness to us and to our friends and family.