Anna June rushed us out the door this morning, saying she had to be at camp on time. She didn't know why, but she said they were told to be on time.
I knew why - it's the Summer Undergrad Research Expo. Hopefully, lots of students will be showing off their posters at the Rec Center, and also hopefully, the campers will not be in the way. Maybe AJ will be inspired to see so many young people working so hard.
While we are rushing from one place to another, not much is new.
AJ is still worried about what teacher she will get. She's looking forward to a play date this weekend. We're gearing up to go to the beach. Work is busy. Volunteer life is non-stop. School supplies have been purchased. I'm waiting until the last minute for uniforms because AJ is growing at a rapid pace. Her shorts from the beginning of the summer have become short shorts!
We went to Rusty's the other day and spotted the new neon sign. That's something new, at least.
Actually, I took this picture nearly a month ago. The other day, she was walking in to church, and the pair of black shoes she was wearing fell apart. When we got home, she tried on her other black shoes, and they no longer fit.
We went to The Outlet Shops of Grand River on Sunday, and luckily, we found some at The Children's Place outlet. They were on sale. We got her a nightgown, too, so she could stop wearing the long-sleeved Hello Kitty nightgown that she adores but makes her too hot to sleep. (It is currently July in Alabama.)
We got a size 1. As in, 13.5 was the last kid size and now we have moved on to big people's sizes.
I will repeat: she has all the shoes she needs. It will make me too sad if we have to buy any more.
Anna June has always been subjected to people talking about her hair. It's beautiful in all of its iterations, but lately, the very blond and very curly hair has been getting straighter and darker. It is still wavy, but the ringlets are disappearing.
May we have a moment of silence for the ringlets that once were.
Because we had a bout of head lice in the fall, we are VERY aware of the issues that can bring. AJ heard about a girl who had lice at camp, and even though she's not in AJ's age group and they don't really know each other, I still had a nightmare that I had lice.
AJ's counselor played with her headband yesterday, and AJ did not put it back in her own hair, but came home saying we had to throw it out or find a way to clean it. I wiped it down with alcohol. It looks OK. I told her grownups don't usually get lice, but I still had that dream.
AJ wanted to wash her brush with shampoo. I let her do it. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. We leave her hair dirty and when we do wash it, we use tea tree oil shampoo in case that really helps.
A counselor at camp is very good at braiding - AJ came home with French-braided pigtails the other night - it was just beautiful, but I forgot to take a picture. Maybe she'll do it again. I sent the brush and two ponytail holders just in case.
After all, braids seem to prevent loose hair that lice seem to love.
AJ's bangs are growing out, but right now she's still in the awkward phase of needing them pulled back. Above are some up-dos that Granny tried when she was here. She can actually braid! AJ thinks she can braid, but she doesn't get everything. I try and fail - maybe her hair just does not want to be tamed.
Today she settled for a plastic headband - easier to clean than the fabric covered ones. Just in case.
Anna June got to go to her friend Maddie's birthday party at Skates 280 on Saturday. She had a great time. We counted 34 laps that she went around the rink. She really was getting the hang of it this time. I am pretty sure it was because a) she had done it before b) I didn't try to help this time. Instead, I just watched quietly from the sidelines. She is really impressive in her determination. One of the party favors was a gift certificate to come back for free admission, and AJ is very excited about using it before it expires next month.
Anna June hasn't seen much of me this week. On Monday night, I had a PTA board meeting. On Tuesday night, we had a reception celebrating the 30th anniversary of UAB's Benevolent Fund. On Wednesday night, I had an Alpha Phi alumnae meeting at our house, and AJ went to Nana and Granddaddy's for a play date with Wesley. I realize I volunteer too much, but it is just my luck that it all happens on the same week.
I saw a card we got in the mail advertising The Music Man, Jr. at the Red Mountain Theater Company. Last year, we got tickets from Ben's work to see a production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr. She had a blast - we took our pal Mallory and it was so much fun. The "Jr." line of musicals is adapted to be family-friendly and the actors are ages 7-14. I thought it may be fun to spend some time with AJ and be entertained by kids (around) her age.
While AJ was still in the tub, I asked her if she'd like to see the play. She asked the name and I told her. She said she'd like to see the movie first.
I don't remember ever telling her that there was a movie called The Music Man. Maybe she's just way more aware of pop culture than I think.
I told her we'd have to watch it some time. She said something along the lines of, "You always say later and that means that we're not going to do it."
I knew she was right. I do tell her "later" a lot. Mostly because we don't get very much time together and the time we do have is already pretty much planned: getting ready in the morning, dropping her off at school or camp, picking her up, eating dinner, taking a bath, going to bed.
I told her to skip washing her chlorine-filled hair and get out of the tub. We were going to watch the movie.
Because we subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon Prime, we searched to see if it was available. It was available only by rental, through Amazon. What the heck? I thought. If I could pay less than $5 to watch it in HD on my TV and not have to go anywhere, spend time with my child watching a movie I really like but haven't seen in years, and also begin to fix a situation where I always say "later" or "tomorrow", I was in.
As soon as I started the film, Ben asked was I sure I wanted to start a 2.5 hour movie well after 7:00? Too bad - we had already started.
So for the next few hours, AJ and I were in River City, Iowa, watching the town transform under the spell of Professor Harold Hill.
Towards the end of the movie, Marian says something will happen tomorrow - I don't even remember what (meeting him at the footbridge, maybe?), and Robert Preston says to Shirley Jones, "My dear little librarian, pile up enough tomorrows and you'll end up with a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering."
(Photo source here)
So even though it was just an old movie, I'd like to think that AJ and I did that - we seized the day, because "Tempis fugit!" like the mayor's wife kept saying. We may be sleepy now, but we had fun.
Anna June is desperately worried about who her teacher will be for first grade. Our previous principal allowed us to request specific teachers that would match with our child's style. Last year, we weighed the options and discussed it with her pre-k teacher, but we got who we requested.
This year, there's a new principal and, rather than requesting teachers, she wants to know about the kid. This is probably a more well-rounded approach.
This week, since AJ made The Request and there was a lot of discussion about her and what she's like, it reminded me of this letter. AJ said that I should have put that she is "silly" as to get matched up with the teacher she wants. I didn't. She is stressing about this, especially when we drive close to the school or talk about FIRST GRADE.
This is what I emailed to the principal, a month or so ago (with names shortened to initials):
Dear Mrs. N,
Welcome to Avondale! Thank you for your announcement on the AES website. I would like to give you some input about our child to help you select her teacher for first grade.
Anna June is an extremely bright child. I am sure you will hear that from every parent, but based on feedback from her teachers in Pre-K (Mrs. D) and Kindergarten (Mrs. B), she is at the head of the class. While they don't have achievement tests for such young children, her STRIDE scores were at the top of her group. She is a very fluent reader, and enjoys being asked to read to the class. She was the winner of Avondale's Kindergarten Math Derby. Because she is so advanced, I would like to pair her with a teacher who will provide a lot of academic stimulation, possibly over and above the regular class work. I realize the GATE program does not begin until later grades, but I expect she will be there when the time comes.
AJ is very mature for her age. It was not uncommon for Mrs. B to leave her in charge of "taking names" when she had to step out of the room or to have her assist with various errands. She got a sticker on her daily report indicating excellent behavior every single day of this school year.
We are aware that our child is not perfect. She does not handle changes very well. While her behavior may have been technically good, her emotional responses were not necessarily the best. She had a couple of "meltdowns" that were so bad I had to come pick her up from school. One was because she had a terrible case of stage fright when rehearsing for the talent show, causing her to drop out, and the other was that there was a substitute teacher. Although we never figured out exactly why, AJ developed a kind of phobia of subs. I even spoke to the counselor about it. It got better as time went on, but for a while, every time Mrs. B had to be out (even for the monthly WIN meeting), AJ was in tears. I think AJ has a tender heart, and I would like to see her with a teacher who will be understanding of that - not to baby her, but to keep things upbeat and consistent when possible.
Anna June is an only child. At school, she seems to get along very well with other kids and has many friends. At home, she is mostly happy. She loves to work independently on art projects, and enjoys reading and playing games. My husband and I like Avondale's motto "Expect the best!" and try to parent that way.
In case it figures in to the equation at all, AJ attends Avondale's After School Care program, and Mrs. M worked with that group last year. AJ adores Mrs. M! However, a full day of the same teacher may be too much. I just wanted to mention that in case it influences your decision either way.
Thank you so much for your consideration! We are looking forward to working with you for a great year at Avondale in First Grade! Laura Gallitz
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