Night out

Jody and I are stealing away for a date night tonight. Yes, an evening out – without the kids! Aunt Carrie is babysitting and we are going out!

Where will our night out take us you ask?
For a romantic dinner? No.
To a movie? Nope.
A walk on the beach? (Yeah, I don’t know what beach either, but it sounded good.) Guess again.

Jody and I will be spending our night out at …
Ava’s preschool! 😉
It’s the first of several scheduled parent evenings as part of the Waldorf school.

Despite the fact that our night out will not be a romantic one (unless we sneak away to the playhouse in the backyard – *wink, wink*), I’m looking forward to it. These days I’ll take a night out however I can get it. he he. It’s funny how things can change so drastically once you have kids.

First day of preschool

Yesterday was my big girl’s first day of preschool. Despite my mommy nerves the day before about sending my baby to preschool, everything went really well – for all of us. 🙂 It took her all of about 30 seconds from walking in to acclimating and starting to play. She didn’t even want to stop to kiss me goodbye so she blew me a kiss instead. My little bird is spreading her wings.

Of course, I had to take a few pictures to document the morning.

Ava has all of her stuff (lunch, extra clothes, sun hat, inside shoes, paperwork that mommy and daddy filled out) and is ready to go to her first day at preschool, while Julian wonders why in the world he’s awake and in the car so early.
1st day of preschool 9/6/07Ready for preschool - 9/6/07

Arriving at preschool …
Preschool 9/6/07Arriving at preschool 9/6/07

Ava’s symbol at the school is cherries – on her basket, her cup, her hook and her towel.
Ava’s basket 9/6/07

All of the inside shoes (the teacher’s and the kids’) lined up in a row. (Ava’s new moccasins are on the right.)
All the “inside” shoes 9/6/07

Let the fun begin!
Playing at her first day of school 9/6/07

Dig in.
Sand play 9/6/07

And lastly, here’s her “I’m done with pictures and it’s time for you to leave now, Mom” face. Whomever said attachment parenting doesn’t promote independent children never met Ava. 😉
Enough pictures, Mom. 9/6/07

When I went to pick her up at 1 p.m., she was playing on a bouncy ball with two other children (a boy and a girl), and looked so happy. Then she looked up, saw me, scowled and said, “Go back home.” Aww, I love you too, honey. :oP

The little girl said to me about Ava, “She’s my friend.” 🙂 She and the boy stay until 3 p.m. and have nap time there. Because they weren’t leaving, Ava wasn’t thrilled with the fact that she had to go home. My girl, who never naps anymore, even said, “I want to stay and nap too.” Anyway, we are going to look into how much it will cost for her to stay the extra two hours and see if we can somehow swing that too. (gulp) I think it would be good for her to try it. She obviously loves the place and her friends. 🙂 And maybe it was just wishful thinking, but it sure seemed like Ava was in a really good mood the rest of the day yesterday. AND we didn’t turn on the TV the whole day! I think this Waldorf preschool is going to be a wonderful thing.

After learning my lesson when my kiss request was denied yesterday, today when I dropped her off I made sure to get my hug and kiss in before we went into the preschool. She is much more accommodating when the prospect of playing doesn’t get in the way.

When we walked in I heard the other girl’s dad say sweetly to her, “OK honey, Ava is here. Is it OK if daddy leaves now?” She then said goodbye to her dad. It’s not a surprise, but it’s always nice to hear that my little girl is loved by others as well. 🙂

Waldorf preschool, here we come!

A little over a week ago, I wrote about our (then) upcoming two-hour preschool interview to find out if a home-based Waldorf-inspired preschool was a good fit for Ava and if Ava was a good fit for the preschool. It turns out the interview wasn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. It mostly amounted to Jody and me talking about what a great kid Ava is (because she really is a great kid on most days – Saturday was not one of those days, but that’s neither here nor there).

We talked about my pregnancy with Ava, her birth, her early years (wait, she’s 3 – isn’t she still in her early years?), what life is like at our house, our discipline philosophy, how much TV she watches, what she likes to play with, etc. And we heard from the preschool teacher about the Waldorf philosophy*, her discipline practices (in a word – gentle), what forms we need to have filled out, teacher home visits, parent meeting nights and work days, festivals, the checklist for the first day of school, what their days consist of, safety and health info in the preschool handbook, what foods are off limits for lunches (no peanut butter since a boy who attends on the days opposite of Ava has a severe allergy and no sweets because it’s unWaldorfian – hehe, I just made that word up), her thoughts on TV/DVD watching (if it makes it’s way into the preschool repeatedly – like if Ava was always saying “let’s play ‘Annie'” – which she actually does with me sometimes oops! – and trying to coerce the kids into playing ‘Annie’ or some such thing – then we will have to cut back) and several other things.

We easily could have filled up more than two hours talking (I think we went slightly over two hours as it was), but I felt the need to get back home to my kids to make sure they weren’t running amok while Aunt Carrie watched the both of them together for the very first time. (All was well. They all did great! Julian was even sleeping when we got home.)

Jody and I feel this preschool is a great match for Ava and are sure she’s going to enjoy it and thrive being a part of this program. The teacher is so calm and nurturing and does very well with the children. I wish it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, but I guess, in this case, you get what you pay for. I started having a bit of anxiety right after we signed the contract signing Ava up for two mornings per week because I really am unsure how we are going to pay for it, but we will work something out. We have to. We’re in it for the school year now! 😉

Just this past Saturday we went back to the school for an open house/welcome to preschool tea. Unfortunately, we’d had a rough morning at our house so Ava wasn’t her usual self and got into a few squabbles with some of the kids over various toys, but overall it went well. We got to meet one of the other girls who will be attending on the same days as Ava, and we already know one of the boys who will be going with her as well from our AP group. We drank tea, ate scones, played in the yard (which has a great playhouse/castle thing, a big sandbox, jump ropes, watering cans, bubbles, balls and all of the chalk a 3-year-old could possibly need, as well as a burbling water fountain, flowers, and gnomes and fairies in the garden) and played in the house/preschool (which has some wonderful wooden toys, a little kitchen, little tables, play silks, dishes, soft dolls, cars, puzzles and all sorts of other neat stuff designed to spark the imagination).

Preschool for Ava begins on Thursday. 🙂 We still need to go shopping for a few things for her to keep at the school – indoor shoes (different from the ones she will wear outside) and a sun hat (so we will have one for at home). We also have to put together a change of clothes and a sweater to leave at school, and of course her nutritious lunch (without sweets) which will go with her each day. 🙂

Speaking of lunch, I’m hungry I think I’m going to get her a new lunch box. (We had one for her summer camp at the farm, but I have grown tired of all of the waste involved.) I’ve been eyeing this one. It’s a bit pricey, but it looks awesome and I love that there is zero waste (plastic bags, etc.) from it. I really love the idea behind these laptop lunch kits (AKA bento boxes) and am sure I will write more about it another time.

Stay tuned as there is sure to be an update from Ava’s first day, as well as pics, later this week! 🙂

* The Waldorf method was founded by a man named Dr. Rudolph Steiner in the early part of the twentieth century. He believed very strongly that education should not only engage the minds of children, but the bodies and spirits as well. These elements are not treated as separate; the Waldorf method is designed to educate all of them in concert.

The two-hour preschool interview

Apparently you gotta interview to get into preschool these days. When I say you, I don’t mean the preschooler, I mean you – the parents. Yes, tomorrow afternoon Jody and I are scheduled for a two-hour interview with Ava’s preschool teacher – without Ava. Two hours! That’s longer than any job interview I’ve ever had.

We decided to enroll Ava in a two morning/week Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool for the fall. She craves the socialization and I think she is more than ready for it. We have a few friends who have children in this program and they just love it. We’ve visited with the teacher twice now and went to see a class in session and feel it’s a good match for us and Ava. It’s a mix of ages (2-5) and there are a maximum of six children in the “class.” I love the Waldorf emphasis on natural toys and imaginative play. I also like that it’s spiritual, but not based on any particular religion. Another plus is that it’s literally about 4 blocks from our house so easily within walking distance. 🙂

I’m not exactly sure what is in store for us with during the two hours tomorrow, but I do know it’s a chance for the teacher to learn more about Ava. I’m sure it will be a good thing, it just seems awfully long.

I must admit I’m a little nervous about the Waldorf stance on TV watching (Waldorf kindergartens and lower grades discourage exposure to media influences such as television, computers and recorded music, as they believe these to be harmful to cognitive development) since Ava does watch TV (PBS shows) pretty much every weekday. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to make sure she stays occupied while I put Julian down for his naps. I understand why they discourage it and, in a perfect world, I would too, but I think the phrase “everything in moderation” could apply here too. (shrug)

I guess we’ll see if mommy gets into trouble before Ava even has her first day. 😉 Wish me luck.