Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At Least She's Listening

Anna June and I went to church on Sunday, but our pastor was on vacation. We have a time to sing a "children's song" before the children are dismissed to children's church. This week, the pastor had selected "Jesus Loves the Little Children". Usually, we sing only the first verse:
"Jesus loves the little children/All the children of the world./Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight/Jesus loves the little children of the world."

All the verses are basically the same, with only the first phrase different. Since Pastor Jan wasn't there to tell us to sing only the first verse, we sang all four verses. The second verse, however, begins "Jesus died for all the children."

When she heard that, AJ hollered out, "That's sad!"

At least she was paying attention!

Oops

Anna June, I hope, will be better at technological glitches than I am. My smart phone has the capability of blogging directly from it, so I've been taking advantage of this portable format and starting blog posts here and there from the comfort of my bed, the couch, or wherever I happen to be, and when my quiet time runs out, I think, oh, since that's saved as a draft, I'll get back to it later.

The drafts saved on my phone, as it turns out, are not accessible from my regular computer. I will have to spend more time with my phone soon finishing up a couple of posts I have started.

I went back in to the drafts folder, though, and found a post from May 17th. I saved the original post date, so it is in the order it should have appeared. I could have sworn I had posted that already. Weird. I see there was another post from that day, too.

We had a great Memorial Day weekend, including baking cookies, swimming, the McWane Center, and a big family dinner. Pictures to come soon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rare as Hen's Teeth

Anna June does not enjoy sleeping ever, but she especially does not like naps. Most weekends lately we've settled for an hour of quiet time instead. On Sunday, I was so sure she wouldn't sleep, I went ahead and made plans around quiet time (1 hour) instead of a longer nap time. Lo and behold, she did nap but on her own terms. She got into her (winter) pajamas and fell asleep. I almost never photograph her when she's asleep for fear I'll wake her, but I made an exception ...and sent the picture to Liz as part of a message about running late.

I actually did wake her up right after I snapped this to get on with her day. She quickly changed her mind about wanting to be in those jammies in 90+ degree heat and we switched back to her more appropriate sundress.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Well

Anna June is sleeping, so I have a chance to get at the computer and upload some pictures. I finally am posting the next group on Picasa, which is from February. Back when Anna June was only two years old! Evidently, the biggest event of our month was getting her hair cut the first time. Here is a link to the pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Side Note

I've been listening to advice of other parents about how to avoid Anna June's tantrums. One recurring theme is that I give her too many choices, when I should only give her two, equally acceptable ones. I tried it out on breakfast this morning.

"Anna June, what would you like for breakfast? Cereal or a bagel?"
"Oatmeal," she said.

Later, she pointed out that oatmeal looks like cereal, and technically it is. But I just wanted to mention this conversation to point out that she's already spoiled, and this A vs. B thing is going to take a while to sink in. For both of us.

And I gave her oatmeal. And, like Goldilocks, she ate it all up.

Favorite Dress

Anna June has a favorite dress, even though she may or may not acknowledge it. This is it. It is by Sophie Rose and it meets all of her current requirements: it is a dress, she can put it on herself, it has lots of room, it twirls, and it has no snaps, buttons, sashes, or zippers. It also meets my requirements: machine wash, tumble dry, and does not induce screaming. Also a nice feature: seersucker, which does not have to be ironed. It is no wonder that she has worn this dress to the Easter egg hunt, our Easter family gathering (after church), Do Dah Day, and school several times. The red, white and blue color scheme is appropriate for all the upcoming patriotic Days: Memorial, Flag, Independence and Labor.

Even though AJ has a closet full of clothes, since she likes this dress so much, I thought I'd do a search on for this brand, which seems to be available at department stores but doesn't seem to have an easily accessible direct sales website, which might mean it is owned by another brand. I found many dresses from the line on eBay, so I set several of the auctions to be "watched" using the app on my smart phone. I have showed almost all of these dresses to AJ, and she says she dislikes each of them. Oh well. Maybe I will get to buy her a dress one day. I actually did buy her one at the Carter's outlet recently, but she won't wear it, so it doesn't count. I will never have Granny's touch, so I think I'll just settle for buying her fruit. I told her that the Farm Stand is coming to my office again today and she placed the following order: "Strawberries, cantaloupe, and two nectarines: one for you and one for Daddy!" I hope that's what they have today!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leadership Skills

Anna June shows some definite leadership skills when around her peers, although to a cynic, she is just bossy. (I know who she gets that from - no need to discuss!)

Her previous teacher had a rotating daily schedule of which child would be the line leader/teacher's helper. Anna June relished the days when it was her turn.

Her current teacher has a rotating WEEKLY schedule posted in the classroom, complete with places for everyone else in the line. So last week, AJ got to be in the leader position. Her teacher said she did a good job, and AJ even told me of how she made one of her friends get back in line. (I don't think this is technically the line leader's responsibility, but AJ takes it quite seriously!)

This week, she's in the #6 slot. Monday went OK, but yesterday, having to stand at the back of the line was just too much for her to take. She earned a time-out for telling her teacher that she did NOT want to stand in the back of the line.

We talked about it last night and again this morning. When we got to school, we told the teacher that she wouldn't be doing that again - let's hope our promise holds. She said she would not tell her teacher "No" but she would say, "Yes ma'am" and listen. I didn't ask her to apologize, though. I wouldn't have wanted to be at the back of the line, either.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Corn on the Cob

Anna June picked out a package of hybrid (white and yellow) corn. We made it the other day and found it to be a good compromise: Ben prefers the standard yellow corn found in the Midwest while I favor the Silver Queen (white) variety grown here. AJ discovered last night it is pretty good leftover, too. She ate every bite, and was pleased with herself that she could remove the fancy corn holders, too.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Checkup

On Wednesday, Anna June went to the doctor for her three-year-old check up. The original visit date in March had to be changed because she had been so sick - I couldn't stomach another trip to the pediatrician so soon, no matter how much I love everyone there. After I rescheduled, I had to reschedule again due to a conflict with the Teddy Bear Tea Party at school.

Ben volunteered to handle this visit, and he was pretty lucky. There were no shots to be had! Of course, she'll need some next year. Maybe by then I'll have more available paid time off for sick leave.

Anna June is 40 inches tall (>97th percentile) and 33 pounds (75th-97th percentile). She's the height of an average 4.5 year old, which explains why her clothes don't fit anymore, and why she looks like a giant compared to some of the kids she plays with. If you count her hair, even recently trimmed, she's probably 42 inches.

She was well-behaved except for throwing a tantrum when the nurse laid her down on the exam table to get her height - they had to mark her hands and feet and measure it that way, rather than standing her up against the wall.

Even so, she looked pretty cute in her paper gown. She's also been telling me at every opportunity that she's almost as tall as I am.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Future Lady Blazer

Anna June celebrated Maxwell's birthday this past Saturday. One of the gifts he got was a new basketball goal. AJ was more excited about it than Max was. She made some baskets, too. We will have to work on her stance. And it is going to be hard to get her to play basketball if she insists on wearing only dresses and fancy shoes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let's Make a Deal

Last night, Ben met up with Anna June and me at Chick-fil-A. Afterwards, we were going to the cars, and AJ said, "OK. Let's make a deal." I knew that tone of voice. It is my taking-charge-of- things tone. The kind of tone a teacher takes with a classroom when announcing something that everyone is going to do.

"What kind of deal?" I asked.

"A going deal," she said.

"OK. Who do you want to go with?" I asked. I hoped this was where this conversation was heading - there were 2 cars and 1 kid. With her, though, you never know.

"I want to go with Daddy," she said.

"OK. Good deal!" I said. I was relieved she wasn't trying to bargain to go somewhere else other than home, or do something other than take a bath.

That was a close one, as AJ would say!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Snakes

Anna June woke up at 3 am this morning calling urgently for mommy.  I asked her what was wrong and she told me she'd had a bad dream. I asked her what the dream was about and she told me, "Snakes." I assured her that I would not allow snakes in the house, so it was just a dream.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Case You Were Worried

Anna June had a much better day yesterday. Her behavior at school was "awesome." So the threat of no TV and the discussions about listening worked for 24 hours.

If it weren't for this cough keeping us up at night, I would say she's back to her old self.

She's also pretty excited that it is produce day at my office - she's hoping for blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe, although she'll pass on the nectarines.

New Catch Phrase


Anna June loves the show Arthur, and she loves reading books about the characters. Marc Brown, the creator, has come up with all kinds of topics that seem to resonate with AJ, even though she's younger than the target audience. This week, we checked out Arthur's First Sleepover.

This story was a big hit. Arthur and his friends Buster and The Brain (whose real name is Alan) spend a Saturday night in Arthur's tent in his family's backyard. There have been rumors of aliens spotted around Elwood City, and the boys are scared when they hear footsteps outside the tent. It turns out to be the pizza man, bringing dinner from Arthur's parents. Buster comments, "I almost wet my pants!"

Anna June has giggled like crazy over this each time we have read it. She spent dinner last night telling me "I almost wet my pants!" and laughing, about thirty times. I told her that I didn't believe her anymore and I tried to steer the conversation elsewhere. I told her to sit her pants back on the chair instead of talking about wetting them, and that actually backfired on me - she freaked out because she remembered she was wearing blue jeans and she tried to take them off again. Fortunately, I diverted her attention elsewhere and we made it through the night just fine without any timeouts, spankings, or pants wetting. But she did get me to read the Arthur book again. And when it came to that part, she laughed her head off.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Scream, You Scream

Anna June is still in her phase that her Aunt Beth called "testing the waters" but I call it just plain old bad behavior. For the past two weeks, we have been using a sticker chart with AJ to work on getting certain things done, because prior to its arrival there was much foot dragging, veering to other activities, and general complaining. The first week, we focused on night time activities: bath, teeth, hair, clothes. The second week, we focused on morning things: potty, breakfast, teeth, hair, and (her contribution) headband. The prize for getting all her stickers the first week was a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. The prize for the second week was a trip to get ice cream.

The photo above is evidence of her trip to Mountain Brook Creamery. She has been there before, but it has been so long she didn't remember. She had hoped for a banana split, but since we had buy one get one free coupons, we talked her into a scoop of ice cream instead. She selected the "Superman" flavor, which is actually vanilla but colored yellow, red, and blue. Unfortunately, it was a cool day and she refused to wear a sweater with her dress, so she was cold in the ice cream parlor and ended up on my lap begging me to warm her up after just about every bite.

Speaking of warming her up, that was pretty much the point of our prolonged difficulties this morning. The high today isn't even supposed to reach 70, and I insisted that she wear long sleeves and long pants to stay warm enough. She promised to wear a sweater over a sleeveless dress, but based on her performance over the weekend, I did not believe she would keep it on. So I literally had to force her to wear a long sleeved t-shirt and blue jeans. She earned a spanking for running back in her room and pulling the jeans off, screaming, "I don't like BLUE JEANS!" Last night we had selected a long sleeve outfit, but it was her Halloween ensemble, and I could just see the daycare parents and teachers (who already doubt my sanity) starting to worry about me. I will admit that part is my fault. She was already worked up because first thing this morning she wanted to come along with me to take Radar outside, but she tried on three pairs of shoes (one with socks) and didn't like any of them, after I told her that she absolutely must hurry or else she'd be made to clean up whatever Radar was going to do to the carpet. I eventually made good on my threat to leave without her. She screamed so loudly Radar and I could hear her out in the yard. It wasn't a good morning all around - she cried all the way through brushing her teeth. She sobbed until Ben took her to school.

Poor Ben, whose nerves were already shot had to come back to the house to rescue me from a key emergency...the recent humidity has rendered our lock unusable. A couple of puffs of graphite worked like a charm - the problem was locating the graphite! So, it is a Monday indeed.

We decided last night, as a family, that the sticker chart this week would have only 3 things on it, but would have to do more with behavior than performing the tasks. She must take her bath and brush her teeth without complaint, and then she must get her pajamas on and KEEP THEM ON! She has been changing into her "daytime clothes" for several nights after we put her to bed, claiming she was not comfortable in her jammies. She's even completed the look with shoes and headband. It would not be that big of a deal, but to get the outfit, she has to pull out the vanity stool, climb on top of it (which is not sturdy) and grab the outfit off a hook, then get dressed. I didn't want to wait until she fell off the stool to get this lesson learned...the long and short of the situation is that her parents are telling her to do something and she is not doing it.

The reward for getting her stickers, of course, is worth demanding excellent behavior. This week, it is a trip to Do Dah Day, an annual animal charity event, complete with people and animals dressed in crazy costumes and a parade. We had talked about leaving Radar at home, but when I was telling AJ about the day, she was so excited she jumped up and ran to tell Radar that he got to go to Do Dah Day and he was going to wear his bandana and it was going to be a lot of fun! It is hard to be exasperated with her when she's so cute. So, IF she is good (and based on this morning, that is an extra-large "IF") we will have our day cut out for us on Saturday.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Birthday Fun


Anna June's social life revolves around children's birthday parties - as does ours. We were very excited to attend her cousin Teygan's birthday party almost 2 weeks ago. Teygan had a big, beautiful cake that looked like cupcakes stacked atop one another (which we didn't get a picture of) and then she had a smash cake. You'll recall that when AJ turned one, I decided to forgo the smash cake and just went with cupcakes all around. I am sort of regretting that based on these ADORABLE pictures of "Tea-again" and her giant cupcake. The cake, by the way, was delicious! Kym's friend Kimberly made it.

We had a great time playing with all the children and with Teygan's toys. AJ can't wait until her little cousin is big enough to run and play with her outside.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Notes from the Teacher

Anna June gets a daily report from her teacher at school, and lately, they have been mostly bad news. I told the teacher this morning that AJ often acts out when she's not feeling well, so I think that her sinus drainage and cough must be playing a role.

But whether she is sick or not, it is no excuse. Yesterday, it was the worst note yet, saying that AJ "ignored" the teachers and would tell them what she would and would not do. "Please address this with her," the note said.

First, let me just say that while Ben and I were not perfect children, for the most part, we were angels when it came to behaving in school. We have no frame of reference for misbehavior - probably because our parents knew what to do to get our attention.

AJ is in a habit of acting like she's not listening. Or changing the subject. And we all know she knows exactly what she wants. Or thinks she does. Just this morning, I finally got her to agree to eating breakfast, when she said she wanted a waffle. I made it for her and then she suddenly wanted a bagel with cream cheese. She wanted milk, but declared it was "yuck" and wanted apple juice. I do want her to eat! So we were late. Again. Even though we have a sticker chart where she gets a sticker for "eating breakfast". Sigh.

So Ben and I talked with AJ and discussed why it is important not to ignore adults. And we told her that a bad report from school = no TV. Hopefully, this will help a little.

Meanwhile, photo courtesy of Dawn Hardman. Ben paid to have extra Picasa storage so we could post more photos, even though he said it was only 91% full. Now we have twenty times as much storage space as we did. And I don't know why I couldn't post to it before.

Now Granny can stop pouting like AJ in this picture. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello Kitty!

On Saturday, Anna June went for her second haircut. We went to JCPenney Styling Salon again, and saw the fabulous Cindy. Again, I apologize for the lack of pictures - there are a couple on Facebook.

After the trim, we'd planned to meet friends at Rusty's at noon, so we had a little time to kill while in Trussville. We went for a stroll and ended up in Learning Express Toys. I told AJ she still had a little birthday money left to spend, so she picked out a few things. One was a pair of earrings. She had just asked her dad for some yellow earrings, and she picked out a pair of adorable enamel daisy clip-ons that satisfied the yellow requirement. Unfortunately, when I put them on her later, she didn't like them.

She also got a "Sweet Sophia" doll. She came with a hairbrush and a little puppy. The doll and accessories are cute, but I hope that AJ doesn't come to collect them...I can see Radar getting hold of Sophia or any of her collectible friends and their stuff in the blink of an eye. Also, I think AJ just picked this one because she has a cupcake on her shirt. We have decided to keep Sophia and her stuff on AJ's vanity (AJ pronounces it "vant-it-tee"), but I don't know how long she'll stay with us.

The first things, though, that she came to select were two Hello Kitty rubber stamps. These are the pre-inked kind. There's one of Hello Kitty with her teddy bear, and one of the ubiquitous Hello Kitty face. That one had a clip on the stamp handle, making it a handy desk accessory.

AJ asked me to open one of the stamps for her while we were in the car. Since I couldn't think of a reason not to, I did. She stamped it on her hand. It smeared. We got to Rusty's and tried to wash it off, but we weren't entirely successful. In fact, this is where I should have taken the stamp away. But we still had a little bit of a wait ahead of us and I decided it would be OK if she wanted to stamp herself. I thought it would be an ice-breaker for our friend's little girl, Mary, who was expected to be there shortly, if AJ had stamps and she offered Mary a stamp. She did this and it worked. But AJ kept on stamping herself. Repeatedly. She looked like a little biker kid with tattoos all over her body. Blue ink was even on her forehead, and Ben thought she looked like a character from Avatar.

She wore the stamps until we got home. After we had "nap" time, I tried washing them off enough so we could get on with the rest of the day, as Ben had declared he was not going out in public with her covered in Hello Kitty. I got them to blur to a dull blue smudge all over. She was OK with that.

On the way home from Chuck E. Cheese, where, by the way, we had a terrible experience (another post for another day), AJ got the other stamp. She stamped herself all over. When we got home, she soaked in the bathtub while I tried several different kinds of soap and scrubs to see if we could get the darn cats off of her. I remembered a friend suggesting regular cold cream for a situation like this, but, alas, I had none. It ended up that the Clinique "Take the Day Off" makeup remover worked the best, although we went through way too many applications of it and poor AJ's skin was sick of my rubbing.

After all of that, AJ knows now that she may only use her special fun stampers on paper! And they are safely stored in her art box. For now.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Day Has Arrived

The day I have been dreading has come...not one more photo of Anna June will fit on our Picasa site, which basically means no more photos on the blog. Our choices are to buy more storage or to delete or archive our pictures.  I've also heard of a site that can make your blog into a book. I may archive the first year that way and then move on from there. While I decide, I'll just have to let you use your imaginations.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Naughty Giraffe

Lately, Anna June has been bad. I mean there's not a good way to sugarcoat it. She's been very naughty. Particularly, she hasn't been listening at school. My theory is that she's hearing and listening just fine - the trouble comes when she doesn't respond. She has been doing this to me a lot. I will ask her questions and she will not respond. It's like she's doing it just to see how mad I will get - which I try not to play into. If she doesn't respond right away I will give her a choice to say ("yes ma'am or no ma'am?" I ask her a lot) But mostly, she tries to change the subject.

This morning she was very tired and I was having a hard time engaging her. I tried to point out something that was the same (she's in to same and different these days). I said, "Oh look, we're changing you from pajamas with polka dot shorts to polka dot tights. Do you like polka dots like me?"
"Yes," she said. "I'm turning into a giraffe!"
When I repeated what she said to Ben when he was out of the shower, I used one of AJ's favorite phrases, "That was a funny joke!"
"I wasn't joking," she said.
"Oh, well maybe your tongue will turn blue," I responded. "You're certainly tall enough!" I thought.

At least, though, she was talking. She wasn't thrilled about being awake, or going to school - even though it is Movie Day (every Friday). But she was sort of responsive, which was helpful. I told her we were going to be late again and she said, "You'll have to tell your boss 'sorry.'" I am sure that will help.

Then, on the way to school, I told her that she needed to be extra good today. I told her, "I do not want to see any bad reports today!"
She responded, "Well, then don't read them!"
Smart alec!

So be on the lookout for a naughty girl who is turning into a giraffe.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teddy Bear Tea Party


On Tuesday, Anna June's school held a "Teddy Bear Tea Party" in their Sonshine Station room. The Sonshine Station is a place where they usually do art and pretend play activities. Basically, it gives the kids and teachers a break for a little while and gives them new toys to play with, a new teacher to listen to, and new ideas all around. Ms. Donna, the Sonshine teacher, is a very sweet lady that AJ just adores.

When Donna announced the Teddy Bear Tea Party, AJ was instantly excited. Who wouldn't be? The kids would get to dress up and bring their teddy bears. They got to pour "real" tea (which was suspiciously like apple juice) from small tea pots into small cups. They learned about manners in the process.

At first, when Ms. Donna told AJ she'd get to "dress up" for the occasion, AJ thought that she meant in a costume. AJ announced she'd be wearing her Dora costume. Sadly, I had just given it away to a friend two days before the tea party, and she was unable to dress up like Dora. I suggested her Belle costume, as it was more in line with the theme, but she refused. Instead, when I explained that she could wear as fancy of a dress as she wanted, she finally (after a couple of changes of mind) landed on the brown taffeta. It did not disappoint. She was especially excited for the temporary lifting of the ban on costume jewelry at school. She wore three rings, earrings, a bracelet, and a string of beads.

All was well until after the party. Anna June was content staying dressed up all day. But I had mentioned to her teachers that if she were to become uncomfortable (in, say, too-tight tights), she could change into the outfit in her bag. It was blue jeans and a t-shirt. She wasn't interested. In fact, she got downright mad at her teacher for insisting that she change...after all, evening wear is not appropriate for playtime in the gym. Later, I told Ms. Beverly, her regular teacher, that it would have been OK with me if AJ played in it. She's only that size once, and, even though it is nice to pass it down, it is not mandatory. Besides, running around in the gym wouldn't have messed up the dress so much - it may have tripped her up - but that would have been her problem from staying in it. Still, best to listen to the teacher. We're working on this.

Still, she had a good time at the party, and told me that Ms. Donna even taught her to curtsy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stick It!

As you know, Anna June has a very busy social calendar. This weekend, we attended not just one, but two birthday parties. The second one was for Olivia's 2nd birthday. It was held at Mountain Brook Gymnastics, and the children had a fantastic time! Armed with only my cell phone camera, it was difficult to get a good picture, but here are a couple.




Anna June loved the trampoline runway. She bounced into the foam blocks!

At first, AJ was not warming up at all. It was time to sit in a circle and listen to the instructors, but she sat with her head in her hands. I had to run with her, flap like a bird, hop like a bunny, etc. I was not dressed for it! AJ ended up having fun with the group of kids and not wanting to go home.

Though her school offers gymnastics classes, they are nothing like the professional-caliber ones taught here. Also, I don't think AJ is truly interested in gymnastics, because one cannot wear dresses while tumbling. There were lots of tears involved getting her into this shorts set.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Here for the Party

When Anna June opened the last huge box from Granny Annie and we saw this dress, I knew that she MUST wear it to a birthday party. It just so happened that the very next one we were to attend was that of her cousin Teygan - or "Tea-again" as AJ calls her.

While I encouraged AJ to wear the dress, the rest of her ensemble was chosen by her: the horse tights, pink shoes, and pink and black headband. She also knew the party was cupcake-themed, so she picked out one of her winter cupcake/ice cream sundae hats. Needless to say, in our 85 degree weather on Saturday, she was too hot.

She did fine at the party until it was time to eat cake. Then, she had a meltdown, literally. I took her inside to remove her tights and shoes, and, presto-change-o, she was back to her old happy self. She celebrated by twirling around and demonstrating to everyone she had taken her tights off.

The rest of the day called for at least two more dresses suited for the occasions of visiting her great grandfather and the library, and another one for spending time with her granddaddy/playing with his dogs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Strawberry Season

Anna June has become a little fruit monster. I brought home some strawberries on Thursday from a new venture called The Farm Stand. They set up in the lobby of my building on Thursday afternoon and plan to return each week. AJ wanted a strawberry before we even got home. She went on to eat almost the whole pint herself. Good thing I got a few first!