Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ruby Goes to School!

Sniff sniff, tear.  My baby is all grown up.

Ok, not really, but it feels like we just had a huge milestone!

Monday was Ruby's very first day at toddler group.  

I know.  What the heck is toddler group, and why do I keep calling it school?  Basically, it's preschool. For 1 year olds.  So it's pre-preschool?  It's a one day a week (we go Mondays from 10:15-12:15) program for the one year old class.  It's parent co-op, which means that I go with her, and I (and all the other parents) am very involved in the class operation.  Throughout the year we adults will help with the children, help with clean-up/maintenance, snack preparation, and assist the teacher with some curriculum material prep.

It is also a parent-education class, and is run in conjunction with a local technical college (so I'm getting college credits while attending, too, ha!).  This means that once the year gets settled, half of the parents will be with the kiddos helping, and the other half will be in parent-ed session.  Then the next week we'll flip flop.  So every other week, we get our learning on while the kids are playing in their classrooms.  I'm excited about this part, because even though I actually have a degree in child development, I can always learn more.  We also have occasional evening parent ed events that we must attend, but there are some fun evening/weekend activities for the whole family to do together too.  It is very community oriented!

Ruby is in a class with 17 other toddlers (which sounds crazy, but it was actually ok!).  Her school has two classrooms.  One with toys, blocks, puzzles, a rotating activity based on the week's curriculum, puppets, books, and a sensory table.  The other has the art projects available for the day, a different sensory table, and some dramatic play items.  Then we have the "gross motor hallway" full of fun things like ride-on toys, a toddler sized basketball hoop, and ball pit to name a few.  The kids have free reign of all of their areas, and can choose their activity at will.

Our parent-ed classroom is across the hall, and the kids are welcome in there too.  Which means if it is my week to be in session, but Ruby is just really needing her mama, she's welcome to come in and be with me.  Pretty awesome.

So, how did our first day go?

It was great!

Upon arrival, we put our stuff away and went to wash hands.  Admittedly, Ruby was scared of washing hands on the stool in the bathroom, but it was ok.  We signed in and got our nametags (we put the kids' on their backs so that they wouldn't pull them off, lol), and went in for open choice play!  Ruby was a little unsure, but the ball pit was calling her name...

Sizin' up the other kiddos.

After a bit, she noticed a bear in the "blue room", so we went on in.  Ruby had a lot of fun playing with  more balls, trucks, cars, and puppets.  After a while, I encouraged her to see what was in the "green room".  She saw her buddy J in there, and requested to sit down in one of the little chairs at the art table.  She was super into the tiny chairs.

She did some "art", which consisted of sticking cotton balls to glue (that I'd helped her with), and coloring with markers.  Which she really liked, probably since I've never let her use them, ha!  And in case you're wondering, yes, washable markers wash out.  Not that I've already learned that or anything.  

Once she was done, I let her explore the green room.  I needed to grab my sweatshirt from the coat area, so I left her in the care of her buddy's mama, Jessie, and when I came back it was already clean up time!  I got assigned gross motor hallway clean up.  Ruby was happy to stay with Jessie (she already knows and loves her), so I put all the big toys away, then snatched up my girl to go wash hands again before snack.

For some reason snack was scary to her (weird, because we all know she loves to eat!).  She liked sitting in the little chair again, and ate up her blueberries, but wouldn't touch the other food!  It was so funny to me, because snack was basically all of her favorite foods, since Jessie was the first snack mom - she brought foods that she knew Ruby & her son loved, since those two were her only frame of reference.  Ruby proclaimed she was "all done!", which everyone thought was pretty cute, so we cleaned up and went back to the blue room to read stories until the others were finished.

Once everyone was done, it was circle time.  Miss Susanne led us in songs, ending with our good-bye song, Teddy Bear Teddy Bear.  The big bear Ruby had noticed upon our arrival "helped" out with this, and Ruby was ALL over that.  Miss Susanne blew some bubbles for the kiddos to try to pop in the middle of circle too, which was also a hit.  At the very end, all of the toddlers got to go up to the teacher and get a hand stamp.  Ruby was super into it, so she got one on each hand, lol.

Our school is awesome and has a little playground (none of the other toddler groups around here do), so we ended the day by gathering our things and heading out there.

Ruby loved the playground!  She and her bff did some "cooking" together.  These two have known each other since they were about a month old, and see each other every week.  So they're pretty comfortable together!

Outdoor playtime is also a time where they prep parents (we all take turns with this job on a rotating schedule) reset the classroom for the next day's class.  Their kiddos can stay with them inside, or the other parents can keep an eye on them on the playground.

Ruby & her buddy had a great time out there.  We were the last ones to leave!

Pale baby is pale. 

Note to self.  Invest in a raincoat and boots.  We play outside rain or shine, and in Washington, well, it's pretty much going to be rain!

The only bummer about school is that it is pretty far from home.  About a 45 minute drive.  We toured the many toddler programs around the area, and this one blew all the others out of the water.  It was also the cheapest, which was not really a deciding factor (though the one closest to our home cost twice as much!).  It was a bonus that we had several friends decide on the same one as well, since we all said we were going to choose whichever was the best fit for us.  

The bummer?  Class ends at lunchtime.  And a full morning of school + a 45min drive = guaranteed car nap.  Which means Ruby really needs to eat lunch before we leave school and head home.  That car nap will likely be her only nap of the day!  We ate at a park down the street, which Ruby loved, but come winter I'm not exactly sure what we will do. =(  Still, if that's the only bummer about her school, I will take it!

Overall, I am so excited for the year to come, and so grateful that programs like this exist.  I can't wait to see Ruby blossom in an environment designed for her and her peers to grow together.  And I look forward to the parenting sessions with the other moms (and sometimes dads).  Our first day was great, the other families are very friendly and down to earth (and we already knew several from our Parent-Baby class days), and the curriculum is incredibly developmentally appropriate and seems like it will be a good stepping stone into Montessori preschool when Ruby is old enough for that.

I think she's pretty excited too.  Can't wait for next week!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

Surprise, surprise, I'm doing two weeks at once here (I actually was surprised, though.  Time flies).

In other news, Ruby starts toddler "school" tomorrow, ahhhh!

And in other other news, weathermen are liars.  It was supposed to be sunny and 80 here Friday & Saturday.  It was 65 and cloudy both days, and now the rain is here.  Summer over. =(

September 1-7

Sunday:  Eating breakfast and dancing to Daft Punk (what, you don't do this?).  Hey!  I was blogging!  Monday:  Baby Girl's first ever piggies!  It was the last day of the fair, so we had to take Grandma.  First ride on a pony, she LOVED it!!!  This gal loves to push her stroller.  Tuesday:  Yes, more piggies, I die.  Helping out with our sign at volunteering.  She was pooped, but we had to make the drive back out to the fairgrounds again to pick up my exhibits.

Wednesday:  Ruby was super excited to have her doggie hat back from the Fair - she wore it all morning.  We hit up the Old Navy baby sale for some Fall threads.  Thursday:  Started work on a test pair of bubble shorts during nap time.  This is where she goes when she's hungry, lol.  Friday:  So excited that this shirt finally fits (the grandparents got it in Italy right after we told them we were pregnant)!  The finished shorts - super cute, and too big, boo.  Waving bye-bye to the garbage truck from the toddler park.  Saturday:  Representin', GO BUCKS!  Haha, squishy ol' face.

September 8-14

Sunday:  Seahawks victory dance.  AhhhhCHOO!  Monday:  She loved on this doggie at Target so hard.  I finished her sweater... still can't decide if I like it or not.  Tuesday:  A stinkin' cute outfit.  Eighty degree weather does not deter her from wearing crocheted hats (whilst popping bubbles).  Very first big girl bath - bye bye yellow duck tub!  Wednesday:  It was hot as balls.  We had to make an emergency trip to Lowe's to get a part to fix the toilet, eek!

Thursday:  We soaked up the "last" day of summer with Ruby's first trip to the beach (on Lake Wa).  Getting peeped by a seagull...  These two, I swear.  Ruby took the shells and was running away to hide them in a cup.  Friday:  I found out they only use paper cups at toddler school, so we were gettin' our practice on.  Ruby requested that we take the dog for a walk in the morning, so we threw in some sliding, too.  Love her little face so much.  Saturday:  Speaking of face, this is what she thinks about grocery shopping on a Saturday.  Snacks & Buckeyes.  Haha, how she fell asleep.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Calendar Girl - Sixteen Months

It feels like time is speeding up.

Ok, that's probably partially because I did her 15 month post so late.  It feels like I just did a "calendar girl" post, because I did.  But that was with the 15th month stuff, and she's officially 16 months old and just becoming more and more a kid every freaking day!

See what I mean?  Attitude!

Some huge stuff happened this month.

First of all, right when she was about to turn 15 months, I was pretty much pulling my hair out and at my wits end about our sleep issues.  You can read about that in last month's post.  But seriously, I couldn't take the sometimes 2 hour shuffle of madness anymore.  


Things have improved so much!


When I put Ruby down for a nap, we read two stories in the big chair in her room, then I carry her over to the crib and sing to her/rock her, then put her down.  I tell her I love her and I'll see her when she wakes up.  She pretty much starts to cry as soon as I take her over to the crib.  Sad.  Sometimes she points to the door, too.  She's soothed by the singing, but will cry when I put her down.  But she almost always has stopped by the time I get to the other end of the hallway, after leaving.  I hate that she cries, I am SO not into crying for sleep.  But it's such a short period of time, and she was crying before this with me there anyway (and not taking a nap!).  

Ooooh, guys doing landscaping...

At night time, we still read two stories, but this time in my bed.  However, instead of being silly, flopping around, and sometimes crying, she just snuggles up with me and chills for a few minutes, then falls asleep!  Bedtime was seriously taking 2 hours.  Now, it's about 15 minutes give or take.  Sometimes (especially if I fall asleep) she still sleeps with me all night.  But other times we've successfully transferred her to her crib.  It's a start!

Hmm...  What's this?

Whoa!  Another airplane!

The other HUGE thing that happened this month, was that Ruby is now 100% weaned!  Wahoo, party in my bra!  It was always my goal to nurse completely to the first birthday, and to avoid any formula.  As Ruby grew, I knew she loved nursing, so I decided that at a year, we'd reevaluate.  If nursing was still working for all parties involved, we'd keep going.  I'll admit, I was pretty done at a year.  But I didn't want to cut her off cold-turkey.  I initiated some partial weaning, but was still using nursing as a tool to help her get to sleep.  I knew nothing else!  Still, even that wasn't working anymore, with the aforementioned sleep issues.  

I stopped nursing her at bedtime, because it wasn't really helping anybody.  Her latch had gone in the dumpster basically, so every nursing session was super frustrating.  So we were down to just nap.  

One weekend, we were out all day Saturday, so her naps were in the car.  No nursing.  So that Sunday, I devised my "read books and sing" strategy and decided just to go for it.  It worked way better than I thought, and we haven't looked back!  I honestly didn't think Ruby would ever want to wean, but I friend said to me later that maybe she was just ready too, and that's why we were having so many issues.  Regardless, I feel great that I gave her 15.5 months of mama milk, and fantastic that we've moved on and are completely done with the nursing stage.  And Ruby doesn't seem to miss it.  Win win.

These stairs are her new favorite thing.

She is a pro walker now (she's working on running), and walking is definitely her preferred method of mobility.  This is still so crazy to me.  She also obviously loves climbing stairs, too.  Thankfully, she's not too much of a climber on other things.  We had to take a couch cushion off to clean it (thanks a lot, Braidy), and she spent a good hour climbing up and basically jumping off the couch.  But that's about it.  Phew.

She still loves the dishwasher, and is a baby genius, so she knows where all the dishes go.  Which means, now that she walks, I will turn around and catch her putting the cutting board away in the drawer where it belongs.  Or the pasta strainer.  Too early for chores?  I think not.  ;)  She also will help relocate her Dada's socks from the dryer to the bench where his laundry often ends up.  Putting that mobility to good use!

Speaking of baby genius, this kid is freaky smart.  She's got herself a favorite song now, Phillip Phillips' Gone Gone Gone.  We got in the car one day and the radio turned on when I started it up, and that song was playing.  Phillip Phillips sang just two words, neither of which were "gone", and Ruby belts our "GONE GONE GONE" from her car seat.  What. the. heck.

She understands everything we say.  She knows where everything is.  She knows where things are that I don't even know where they are.  Which is kind of great, because I can use her to help me find stuff.  She can follow commands with increasing complexity or number of steps.  If I say a sentence from a book, she'll go get it off the shelf.  It is crazy to watch her wheels spin, but also so awesome.

You guessed it - more airplanes.

Trying to give me a heart attack.

Ruby has added several new words to her repertoire this month.  The best one (which she actually said before, but almost never and with no regularity) is MAMA!!!  Of course, now it's "mama" everything, but it is the best sound in the world.  She greets me with "mama!" after sleeps.  She yells "mama!" at me when she's mad about naps or being stuck at a red light.  She has a very pathetic "mama" when she is tired.  Even though I hear it a hundred times a day now, I still can't get enough.

Ruby also says, "c-c-cook it!" when something is cooking (duh), or when she is hungry.  Or if you ask her, "Ruby, do you want to go downstairs and get some breakfast?"  "Cook it!"  She has started saying, "ninight" now, too.  She was enamored with a newborn baby nearby us at a softball game, and out of the blue started pointing and saying, "Ninight!  Ninight!" as the baby fell back to sleep.  Now she says "ninight" any time she sees a little baby (in person or picture), but also any thing with eyes closed (her cloud pillow looks like it could be sleeping), or if she hears the word "tired".  I know, baby genius.

We just realized that she is saying "Bray" for Braids when her doggie comes around.  It's so adorable, Braidy will follow me in to get Ruby after her nap, and she'll smile and say, "Hi, Bray!".  She only said, "rowr rowr" for any doggie before, but Braidy gets her distinction now.  She still says "rowr rowr", but she also says "row row" when she wants you to sing "Row Your Boat" (her fave kid song).

Even though she loooooooves her doggie, and her Dada, she's started to (weirdly) run and hide behind my legs when Braidy suddenly enters a room, or Mr. G first comes home from work.  She warms up really fast, but it's kind of strange.  My toddler parenting class instructor says this is pretty normal for a kid that is slow to warm like Ruby.  And that transitions may be hard for her.  Eek.

That's really the only not completely awesome thing for the month though.  Other randoms?  She still loves books.  Kitten's First Full Moon, One Fish Two Fish, and Wacky Wednesday are favorites.  She loves sports, and yells "BALL BALL!!!" and claps whenever a sport is on tv.  I kind of wonder if she actually loves tv, but sports are the only thing she ever sees (since we don't really let her watch it), so that's why she's so excited?  Who knows.  But I taught her to yell, "I-O!" when I say "O-H!", which is amazing.  Mama's little Buckeye!

She was so proud that she figured out how to shove leaves in the cracks.

She has this kick-butt evil laugh that she frequently does from back in her car seat (totally cracking us up when we're driving somewhere), or when she's doing something she shouldn't.  She still loves her big girl car seat, but tells me to "go!" when we're stopped at lights.  She loves the park.  Loves finding moss/leaves/bark chips/etc on the ground and bringing them to me.  We taught her how to dip food into stuff, so now she loves dips and often requests them.

Ohhhhh.  And I guess I saved the best for last.  She now gives kisses.  She puckers up for us.  She'll hug then kiss Braids.  She kisses her stuffed animals when she's loving on them.  It is so so so SO cute.  

She asked to sit up here, then was all proud like she got away with something.  Ha.

Oh, this kid.  She is just TOO much, I can't even stand it.  I was so scared of toddlerhood, but this age has proven me wrong!  I just love her more and more every day!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

You guys...  It's September!  Whaaaa?  How did that even happen?

And just as shocking, I'm actually on time with my weekly iPhone photo round-up.  I know.

August 25-31

Sunday:  When we hit the fair, we always buy a baker's dozen to take home with us... yum!   Family time with her grandma, cousin, and auntie!  Ruby was absolutely loving Frankie's playroom.  Monday: Had to check out our new Starbucks in the 'hood.  Ruby loves to play dress up, and this was too funny to be embarrassed about sharing (she's wearing six pairs of underwear and a tank top - and she put them all on herself!).  Somebody likes to streak after bathtime.  Tuesday:  "What the heck, FedEx man, come back and bring me stuff!"  Tongue out = serious concentration while moving that chair...  Someone is obsessed with the oven.  Eek.

Wednesday:  Leaving a dirty cloth diaper at my brother's house = another opportunity to see him!  Ruby and her couz did some serious playing at the park.  A trip to Target earned her a new doggie sticker (and a bunch of other stuff, lucky kid!).  At Dada's last softball game of the season - that bubble really scared her and she wanted nothing to do with him after it popped!  Thursday:  It's tough when you want to blow bubbles, but it's pouring rain.  Not enough naps.  Friday:  Naked reading time.  She is obsessed with her jersey and insisted I helped her put it on (so she could hike the ball?).  Saturday:  Decked out for the Bucks game in this amazing onesie and skirt I made her.  She discovered this huge set of stairs that links our sidewalk to the next street over and is obsessed with climbing it, bare knees and all.