So this week we began the letter C and I used Pinterest ideas plus some of my own for activities this week.
We dipped the pompoms in glue before placing them around the C and I added the googly eyes and antenna later.
Sensory bin again, filled with Cs and 2s and little plastic Cats.
A CupCake I drew, painted with glue then Roo decorated with sprinkles, glitter, and whatever else she could find.
Another "stained glass" creation, but with a C Caterpillar and of course we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.
Placing beans and stickers along dotted Cs to practice tracing and prewriting skills and letter sorting with beans and an egg carton. She was surprisingly very good at this, and also got bored of it very quickly.
Calendar matching, you can read more about this idea here but it is a great game that improves attention to detail and concentration which are both pre-reading skills! Roo loved it. (We are a little bit of a geeky family, so this was the only old calendar we had on hand at the time. My husband was so proud as she said "This is Spider-man" before matching.)
Finally, in celebration of Fall, we made a wreath using a dollar store styrofoam wreath and plastic flowers, leaves, and some wire butterflies. Roo placed them all by poking holes in the styrofoam and I went behind her and hot glued it in place. It came out really great, she has a good eye!
Sometimes, there is a bigger story behind the pictures, behind what we choose to show others on social media and our blogging community. What you don't see is the sensory bin turning into a screaming match over whether or not Roo was "throwing" the rice or "playing" with the rice. The letter sorting turned into her shouting "I can do it myself" when clearly she needed guidance. Her letter C building with the beans was later dismissed for "rainbow" and "Cho-cho train" building. And the beautiful cupcake being seen as "a mess" by mommy. She also started sobbing when my solution to avoid trying to control her art and play time was to politely decline and walk away when she asked if I would join her.
I struggle with anxiety and depression, I have since I was in my late teens. I would stress and obsess over things I couldn't control, like my appearance, my level of independence, the way my friends treated me, or my boyfriends, and become depressed because of it. Before having Roo, I promised myself I would get it under control. And, yes. I now see the irony. I would control my random bouts of depression caused by my anxiety. I did everything the books, articles, and doctors tell you to try. Exercise more, eat better, have a more positive outlook, learn to let go... The last two are the hardest. The decision to "Be Positive" and "Let it Go" is not one you make one day and then HURRAY you're a better, happier human being. No. It's a decision you make every single day with every event in your life. EVERYTHING. From what to eat for breakfast to where you should live, from your hot shower turning into a cold one to the jerk cutting you off in the grocery store parking lot, to your grandmother dying. Each time you have to decide again to be positive, and it is not always an easy choice.
But I got the exercise and eating thing down and my panic attacks greatly decreased as well as the length of my depressive moods. So we went for it. Roo was conceived the very first month of trying. I like to joke that she has been ready to go from literal day one of her existence. But honestly, sometimes I wonder if it had taken more time, if I would have ultimately changed my mind...
I didn't have a difficult pregnancy and Roo was not a difficult baby. Everything was basically the same as what other mothers go through. I had morning sickness for all of the first AND SECOND trimester, and it let up just in time for horrible heartburn to set in. I breastfed and was engorged for the first 6 weeks of her life because I didn't know any better. All the articles I read in preparation were about not ENOUGH milk, not too much. It wasn't until her 4 week check up that I was told that I needed to pump the excess out so that she wasn't drowning every time she nursed. Also, I like to sleep. I loved my solid 8-9 hours I got before Roo and would moan and complain if I got any less. The waking every 2-3 hours when she was tiny weren't too bad because she would nurse and we would both quickly fall back to sleep. At three months, she got her own room because even the tiniest squeak from our bed would wake her. And she'd be up for hours. At four months, the dreaded four month sleep regression kicked in. I was one edge constantly, shushing everyone in the house during nap and bed times, cursing at any outside noises I couldn't control. I remember there was a train that would pass our apartment around midnight and it would sometimes wake Roo up. Just the tension of waiting for that damn train and for its effect would make me so anxious I'd vomit. Eventually sleep training, at nine months, finally saved me from the nightly terror of rocking her to sleep and hoping I had rocked long enough that she wouldn't notice when I laid her down.
Now that Roo is two, there is only one nap a day to be anxious about, but she is a good sleeper most of the time. As long as she has her blanket. And her Bear. And her pink noise. And her pacifier. And her pillow. And it has been approximately 4.5-5.5 hours since her last sleep. And sufficient cuddling time both before and after. And she is in her own bed or a place she is very familiar with. So I feel like I can "Let it Go" a little more as far as sleep is concerned. But there's this thing call "Terrible Twos" that I thought surely my little angel would breeze straight through. My angel is also stubborn, independent, and extremely creative. (All things she inherited from me)and it's all normal. But, two years later, while friends and others in my mom groups are pregnant or trying for their second, I am still repulsed by the idea of going through it all again.
I desperately wish I could let the sensory bin be just a sensory experience where she can play freely and I can simply sweep up the mess when she's done. That I could be proud of her independence even if it means a less than perfect game. That I could be just as delighted with her rainbows and trains as with her letter C. That I could see the cupcake for the beautiful art it was becoming and not for the mess I'd later have to clean. I wish I could JUST PLAY with her and not be bombarded by the anxiety of and "What if" and "And then.." I want to be in the moment and to find my inner child once again, if only for the 30 minutes I have her attention. But that decision to "Let it Go" and "Be Positive" is one that wears me down and it's one that sometimes, I don't even realize I had the choice, until it's already gone...
Roo loved the activities this week, but would have loved a little more Mommy time and less Mommy-yelling time. I challenge you this week, to decide to "Let it Go" "Be Positive" and notice when you have the choice.