Monday, November 19, 2012

Annie at 3 1/2

The three months since Annie's last update have been good, I am glad to say.  Back in August I recall I had mainly three worries about Annie: mood swings, constipation and how she would handle preschool.  At the moment I don't have any concerns about her.  She is a sweet, affectionate and funny, sometimes strange little girl who makes us smile more often than not.

The things that stand out most about Annie to me right now are her mostly grammatically correct sentences spoken in the cutest little voice ever, and her budding sense of style.  The latter she did not get from me, that's for sure.  I wouldn't think to put multicolored stripes and houndstooth together, but Annie doesn't think not to.  And it suits her.
As far as mood swings go and "Sweet Annie vs. Terrible Annie", I have seen a lot of improvement.  Her worst isn't as bad as it was, and it isn't as frequent.  I'm not sure why this is.  Maybe she's benefiting from having Delaney at school all day and not having to compete with her as much.  When the flare-ups happen, they usually happen after Delaney gets home.  Come to think of it, when the flare-ups happen, they are just as much her sister's fault as her own.  At that point in the day they're both tired and hungry.  Maybe her two mornings a week at preschool, which allow her to spend a few hours with her peers away from us, are also helping.  Maybe she was just going through a phase that she needed some time and growth and development to get through.  Maybe all of the above.  Whatever it is, we are all benefiting from a more mild-mannered Annie.
More about preschool:  She goes two days a week from 9 to 12.  She has 9 classmates and two teachers.  She has never cried at drop-off time, not even in the beginning, but it took her awhile to get comfortable.  For several weeks she was silent from the time I left her at the classroom door to the time I came back to get her. One day I came back to find one of her teachers completely frazzled because of an incident involving Annie. "You've got to get her to start talking!" she told me.  She went on to explain how Annie had silently endured the harassment of another student -- I don't recall exactly what the kid was doing, but he wasn't keeping his hands to himself and he was making her uncomfortable.  They happened to notice it and make him stop.  I was shocked to hear this and said, "This is not at all how Annie is at home.  She talks all the time.  She harasses her brother and sister!"  I was also told that Annie was not eating her snack at snack time.  She was just sitting there.  I know how my Annie likes to eat so I'd ask her about it and she'd say, "I was too tired."  The teachers seemed to think that she would warm up eventually, and I waited and hoped.

A few months later I would say she's enjoying school a lot more.  She is interacting with the other kids now.  She mentions conversations she has with them, although I think she is still content to observe for the most part.  She is always telling me about Kenny Lee, the boy who is always getting into trouble.  Her teachers tell me she's eating her snacks now, as of the last month or so.  When I'm waiting in line at the classroom door, I can see her in the circle at the back of the room dancing with the other kids to the goodbye song.  Her teachers often tell me she's had a good day.  I've observed a change in her in other settings as well.  When we go to someone's house she's more likely to leave me alone and go play with the other kids.  It used to be she either stuck to me like glue or picked a spot, like a rug, to sit on and stayed there the whole time.  I am so glad to see her having fun and coming out of her shell.
Lovey is in a vacuum sealed bag on a high shelf and has been for well over a couple months.  There was one last scare where I thought we'd lost it and then I was like, "That's it."  I had to put Lovey somewhere safe because at that point it meant way more to me than it did to her.  I was going to be the one brokenhearted if that thing never turned up again because it is such an important piece of her babyhood.

Annie still naps every afternoon for a couple hours.  Sometimes she asks me to clean off her toes before she'll go to sleep.  That's because when she wears Crocs or another pair of mary jane style shoes without socks all morning, her toes are all grimy when I ask her to take them off and get in bed.  I get a wet washcloth and clean her toes, and she says, "Don't forget to clean inside."  She means between the toes.  I do and she laughs and laughs, and I say, "Annie, you only made me do that because it would tickle, didn't you?"

I never knew anyone who loves to be tickled as much as she does.  Often she'll say to one of us, "Tickle me and squeeze me."  Then she laughs, shrieks, writhes and giggles until she's breathless.  It looks like pure torture, but when we stop she says, "Again."  We get tired of tickling her long before she gets tired of being tickled.
She is the worst eater of all our kids, and that's not saying much because they are all bad eaters.  It's amazing to me how healthy she is, considering that she eats only two food groups -- beige foods and raisins.  Thank goodness for the raisins that keep her regular.  If she decides she doesn't like them anymore, I'll have to resort to hiding powders in her food and drink again.  

She's turning into a great big sister to Timmy.  If I have to leave them at Play Date or at the child watch room at the Y, I tell the people working there, "Annie's a good helper.  She'll help you take care of Timmy."  And she does.  She follows him around and plays with him.  He's so much happier with her around.  I love to see the relationship between the two of them developing.

I just remembered that it's been a year since Annie spent the night in a hospital with breathing problems.  That was a crazy tough couple days.  I was remembering as we were driving to the Ball, how I followed the ambulance down those same streets, and how she, Timmy, and I all spent the night and next day together in that itty-bitty hospital room.  It's still hard to believe she ever got sick enough to make a doctor think she had RSV or pneumonia.  She hasn't had a single wheezing episode since so God willing, we've seen the last of it.  I still have the inhaler and a couple refills in case.

One last thing:  I know this is supposed to be just an Annie post, but I have news about Annie and her sister both.  They are officially nighttime potty trained!  Back in May, I posted about my frustration with the nighttime wetting, the new cloth training pants, and the constant laundry being generated by both.  Did that really happen only six months ago?  That same month, we began taking them to the potty every night about 10 p.m.  By August, they were both dry the majority of mornings, to the point where the occasional wetting was a real shock because it had been so long since the last.  We stopped using the training pants at least three or four months ago.  Then in the last month or so, Tim stopped making Delaney go when she didn't want to go in the middle of the night.  (By that point, it had become exclusively Tim's job to take them.).  She was dry in the morning.  Then he decided over a week ago to not bother taking either of them before he went to bed.  They've been dry every morning since!  The cloth training pants are in a stack in Timmy's closet waiting for it to be his turn.  They don't know because I don't want to make a big deal out of it (other than an occasional "good job!"), but I am very happy and proud of them both.

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