Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Our Normal

I know this post is going to come off sounding completely and totally overly dramatic.  So I write it with the caveat that I KNOW what I’m about to write about isn’t really a big deal.  I KNOW there are worse things than the incident I’m about to recount.  So please don’t think I am unaware and lacking all perspective.  But the thing is, I’ve got a story to tell.  So please bear with me.  (Deep breath). 

I have frequently written about how fortunate we are to have Annie in a daycare that she loves, most extensively writing about that particular blessing here.  Each day when I drop her off she is happy to get out of her car seat, happy to say “Hi” to the ceramic goose just inside the door who is always sporting seasonally-themed attire, happy to walk down the hallway, and happy to get to her classroom and sit down to her breakfast.  Most days, she looks up at me, smiles, waves, and says, “Bye! Bye!” – letting me know it is time for me to go and she has this daycare thing down.  She has never cried.  Has never acted upset.  Has never really seemed the slightest bit apprehensive when I turn to go.  Most days – in fact, almost all days – she is practically pushing me out of the room.  But today was not like the other days.

Because David has most Fridays off and because I had ordered some donuts through a school fundraiser that I thought I could pick up first thing this morning, Annie was ushered to class by both of her parents this morning, instead of just me or just David.  In my head, it seemed like a great idea – we could all walk hand-in-hand down the hallway, pointing at butterflies and flowers on the walls, making our leisurely way to her classroom door, where we would drop her off and receive kisses and hugs and pleasant and confident “Bye, bye!”s .  In my head, it seemed like a great way to start our Friday and end our week.  But that vision in my head?  It was wrong.

Instead, the fact that both of us were involved in drop off – and, more to the point, the fact that this was unusual and not her normal drop off routine – totally freaked Annie out.  At first, things went kind of like I pictured them.  She wanted to be carried down the hall instead of walking down it holding our hands, but that’s no big thing.  She wasn’t as willing to sit in her chair once we got in her classroom and clung to me a little instead, but we handled that by sort of waving her cereal bar at her as an enticement and that seemed to work.  At first.  But just as we turned to walk away, she completely lost it.  She didn’t just cry, she screamed.  And it took everything in me to keep from crying right along with her, right there in the middle of the classroom.  It was like she was being torn away from me (this would be where my overly dramatic storytelling kicks in).  She was acting like she thought we would never see each other again.  She sounded scared and sad and mad and heartbroken all at the same time.  And every fear I ever had before we took her to daycare the first time came flooding back to me.  This thing that was happening – this watching my child go to pieces and knowing it was not in her best interest for me to be the one to comfort her – this was what I had feared would happen every day before we first walked the halls of her daycare.  This was my working mom nightmare.  And it was happening today.
A happier girl.
David and I did turn and leave, at the reassurance of Annie’s very knowledgeable, very sweet, and very capable teacher that she would be okay, and I even managed to make it out of the building before I cried.  And I drove David back to our house and started my drive to work, still in tears, but telling myself I needed to just let it go, she would be fine, she loves it there, and she was just shaken up because we did things differently.  My head told me to drive to work, to get busy doing something, to grow up already and realize that kids cry.  And that worked for a few minutes, before my Mama instinct kicked in again and the next thing I knew I was headed back to her classroom. 

I honestly thought I would walk down the hallway and be able to listen from a safe, out-of-her-eyesight distance to what was going on in her room, find that she was happy and playing, and turn around and go back to my car, undetected and feeling reassured.  Again, that’s how it played out in my head.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead, I walked down the hallway and as I got closer to the corner I would turn down to go to her classroom, I heard crying.  Familiar crying.  My daughter’s crying.  I almost convinced myself to turn back around and leave.  I knew it wouldn’t help her to see me, wouldn’t do any good in making her feel comfortable where she was, would, in fact, only make things worse for her – and for her teacher.  I even knew it wouldn’t help me to see her again so upset, to not be able to calm her completely before leaving again.  But what did I do?  Oh, I walked straight into that classroom, where my baby girl lunged for me from her seat at the tiny table, growing redder-faced upon seeing me there, shrieking her displeasure at me having been gone.  It.  Was.  Heartbreaking.  And I felt like an idiot.  What was I doing there?

Eventually, I knew I had to go.  I had to let her straighten this out on her own.  I had to let her teacher work her magic and distract my daughter…and remind her that every other day over the last year she has loved it there.  There was nothing I could do to help her, short of fleeing from the building with her, which wouldn’t have been the healthiest of options…for anyone.  And it was hard.  So hard to walk away from her while she screamed.  Did I mention she was actually screaming?  Not just crying a little?  But I knew I had to do it.  For her.  And for me.

 As you, of course, probably suspected, when I called her school an hour or so later (which was her teacher’s suggestion) she was completely back to normal.  She was, in fact, participating in her favorite activity these days – pretending to vacuum the classroom floor.  She had sorted things out…and her teachers had undoubtedly helped her.  And I felt a million percent better.  But I also felt silly and ridiculous and overly emotional.  I felt like I had failed in the being a reasonable and responsible mother department.  And I was reminded that, while I no longer worry that I’m doing something wrong in this whole mommy thing, I don’t have it all figured out and I’m not always holding it together either.  But I also know I never really will have all the answers.  I never really will be able to act appropriately and not emotionally at all times.  I won’t always be able to convince the mama instinct to quiet down a little and listen to my brain. 

But that’s okay.  Because days like today – moments when Annie and I are both falling apart – just serve as reminders of how nice it is that this is not our version of normal at daycare.  That nightmare that I feared when I went back to work – that paranoia I had that every day would be like today was – well, it isn’t our reality.  And for that I am once again abundantly grateful.  I had no idea how grateful until today.

I'll close with a couple more pictures from our week...

Baths are still always a big hit.  When I tell her I am going to start her bath, she follows me into the bathroom now.

After a rough morning, she rebounded and had a great day - capped off by a dinner out with Mommy and Daddy.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I realize that I have frequently stated on this blog how quickly time is passing and how ill-prepared I am for Annie to grow up on us. And at the risk of boring you with yet another “how did my baby get so old?” post, I just have to say, “How did my baby get so old here?” This week, Annie officially transitioned into the "Butterfly" (or Toddler 1) room at daycare.
This is the face of a girl very excited to eat breakfast in her new classroom.
This is big kid stuff, people. In her new room, she only takes one nap a day (a transition which she is handling okay, but which leaves her pretty sleepy come early evening), sleeps on a cot for that nap instead of in a crib, eats at a tiny table and chairs instead of in a highchair, and does more focused activities like drawing (or, as you may more commonly refer to it, scribbling) and “playing” with musical instruments. The teacher has an area of the room set up with the books they are using as their theme during that week or month (this week is Clifford). It’s like a real classroom in there! And Annie seems to love it.

Dancing her way down the hallway.

Mama, on the other hand, is having a slightly rougher transition. It’s so weird, this parenting conflict. I obviously want my child to grow and thrive and become more independent. And I love watching her develop her personality and start to show interest in certain things over others. But I simply cannot believe how fast she has gone from a swaddled little baby to a toddler, running around the house, climbing on things, and shouting her small but growing vocabulary at us. After I dropped her off in her new classroom yesterday, I actually cried when I got to the car. I didn’t sob, but I definitely lost a tear or two. I just couldn’t believe she was that big. Big enough to recognize her friends and smile and point at them, big enough to take my hand in the school hallway and walk me to her classroom, big enough to sit down when instructed to do so and stay in the chair for the full extent of her breakfast. I guess it is an emotional time because it is so jolting. It is like this slap in the face that says, “Don’t blink. She will be starting Kindergarten before you know it.” And I already mourn the loss of her baby days, as they get fewer and fewer in number.

But like I said, Annie seems to love her new room. She reportedly spent lots of time her first full day in there just walking around, examining the toys and taking inventory of all the cool stuff she hadn’t been able to play with before. And when I went to the room to pick her up yesterday, she greeted me with a smile and brought over some toys for me to see…but she wasn’t in a hurry to leave. She wanted to keep playing. And I guess that’s the most any parent can ask for in a daycare/school environment. If she’s so happy she doesn’t want to leave, that’s a good place to be.
Being a true Kentucky girl - watching the horses after dinner at Windy Corner Market tonight.

And in the midst of her growing up on us, she has started a new habit. A habit she first demonstrated the last time she was sick. Now, she frequently likes to sit facing me on my lap and for brief moments she will lay her little head on my chest and just rest. Just briefly. Just for a few seconds. But long enough for me to squeeze her tight, rub her sweet baby hair, and tell her I love her. Long enough for me to realize that this sweet, charming little girl she is becoming is every bit as wonderful as the tiny infant she used to be.  Even more wonderful, in fact. And in that moment, I’m not just okay with the fact that she is growing up on me, I actually love it. And that’s a nice feeling to have.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

15 Months!

Month 15 feels like it has been a big one for Annie.  While she has been trying out some new things, this month was really notable for how she got a lot better at the things she was already doing.  We went to the doctor yesterday for her 15 month well baby visit, where she got three vaccines and a flu shot.  Up until this point, she has had very little reaction to her periodic vaccinations (with the exception of breaking out in a rash after her chicken pox vaccine...which is completely normal, they tell me), but this time was a real game changer.  This round of shots has really thrown her for a loop, but I think she's turning a corner and will be back to her usual rambunctious self before we know it.

Our sweet girl.

If this isn't a guilty face, I don't know what is.

Black beans and babies...may not mix after all.

Here are her 15-month stats, for the record books:

Height: 32 inches (90th percentile) -- she's a tall one, like a Noble
Weight: 22 lb, 14 ounces (50th percentile)

It only takes about a minute of watching her to figure out how she maintains her weight (not that we are worried about that) - she never, ever stops.  She is basically running now and from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to bed at night, she rarely takes a breather.  With the exception of morning and afternoon nap and meal and snack times, of course.

In a couple of weeks, Annie will make the transition into the next classroom at daycare.  She will officially be in the Toddler room.  And this is hitting me hard, for some reason.  She spent most of yesterday in that room and when I picked her up for her doctor's appointment she was sleeping on a cot like a big kid.  They eat meals at a table in that room, instead of a highchair, and have more structured play involving art and music and language.  Oh, and they go to one nap a day, instead of two.  As much as I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around how big she is getting, Annie seems totally prepared for this change.  She's ready for it.  In fact, I think in her own mind she's 15 months going on 15.  Oh boy!

Here are a few things our little toddler started doing (or doing more of) this past month:

* Jumping - she has everything down except for the actual getting off the ground part.  And, as cute as her version of jumping is, I'm inclined to believe the whole leaving the ground part is over-rated anyway.

* Stomping and marching - Ask her to stomp her feet and she will do it with gusto.  Ask her to march and she will take off, lifting one leg high, but keeping the other leg in a pretty normal gait.  Too funny.

And here's a little video of Annie's jumping and stomping skills...

* Annie will follow directions now.  If you ask her to take a book into her room and put it in the basket, she will do it.  She even anticipates directions because they are part of routine - return Bobo (the monkey) to her crib before we leave for school, say "bye bye" to the dog as we leave the house, that sort of thing.

* We are bottle free in the Noble household.  A few months ago we dropped to a morning bottle and a night bottle of milk, with sippy cups in between.  Then we dropped the morning one, and about a month ago I was finally ready to give up the night one.  Annie made the transition like nothing ever happened.  Mama, on the other hand, mourned the loss of our more extensive nighttime routine of singing her 3 or more songs while she took a bottle each night.  We've made up for it, though, with lots of songs during the day.

* Words - Annie added the word "bubble" to her vocabulary this month, and has started repeating more words that we say, like "diaper" and "all done."

* Teeth - we are up to 5 whole teeth now in that tiny mouth.  Looks like we really won't have to get baby dentures after all.
Running through Dick's Sporting Goods...with a fancy hat she swiped from a display.

They say each stage is the best, and so far that has definitely proven to be true for us.  We love watching Annie as she transforms into the little girl she will be...the little girl she is.  As I have said a million times before, it is all happening way too fast.  But it's so much fun, I think I can handle the speedy passage of time.