Monday, September 19, 2016

longest. first day. ever.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but today was Rowan's first day of school!

It is so, so, SOOOO time. I was filling out the teacher questionnaire a few weeks ago and paused when I got to this question: "What's your reason for sending your child to preschool?" We're sending her for lots of reasons - socialization with other kids, having fun, figuring out how to function in a group setting, learning new things, directing her constant line of "why" questioning to anyone else but me. But first and foremost? We're sending her because she needs to learn to separate from me and still feel confident. 

Because this picture is a more accurate representation of how she was really feeling this morning.

Clutching Invisible Kermit in her left hand reallllly hard. Awwww.

She's been in no-parent gymnastics for two weeks now, and I was shocked - shocked - when she lost it after five minutes of the first session. She cried and cried until the coach brought her to me, and then I had to stay in the gymnasium (instead of watching through the window like every other parent). It's not so much that I minded; I was just so surprised. She loves gymnastics and barely looked my way during her summer classes. But she was feeling, as she put it, "really nervous" ("noy-vus") about having me sit outside the gym. So inside I sat, and I started feeling a little nervous myself about how preschool was going to go.

Sure enough, Rowan started crying as soon as it was time to leave this morning. It was a pathetic little whimpering sniffle, and she tried to hold it together. Then her eyes welled up and she wailed, "But what if I really, really, really need you? Then what will I dooooo?" 

BUT. She did it. I had to stick around for the morning anyway to help with some paperwork stuff (it's a co-op model, so all the parents have jobs to do throughout the year), but I tried to exit the actual classroom as soon as I could. We played together for a few minutes before circle time, where Rowan sat on the little gathering rug facing away from the teacher so she could see me. She was stone-faced and didn't sing a word of the circle time song, even though she's been singing that same song for a year and a half at her toddler Mommy & Me classes; she just stared at me with her lip trembling. One of the dads who was assigned to help in the classroom for the day saw that she was struggling and kindly offered to have her sit with him, but she didn't even acknowledge him (even though she played with him every week all summer at our preschool play dates). Finally, she couldn't hold it together anymore and cried for me to sit with her. I did, and she calmed down. She got involved at the rice table after circle time, so I left to start helping with paperwork. Soon enough, though, another helper mom carried her up the hall to me, and she was sobbing. Poor girl.

She ended up going longer and longer stretches without needing to check in with me, and honestly, the morning turned out all right overall. She colored a special preschool crown, she played with play dough, she listened to a story, she ate snack, and she swung on the playground swings until I came outside to pick her up. She didn't cry when she saw me, and she told me that "preschool was so fun, Mama!"

Thankfully, she was the only kid having separation problems today, which meant the teachers didn't have to comfort a bunch of crying three-year-olds. Two of the helper moms in particular were especially nice to her and wonderful with her, which made me feel so much better. Oh, and *I* didn't cry at all, much to my surprise! I know she'll love it eventually. My thinking is that every kid has a "task" they need to work on - language, attention span, climbing, whatever - and Rowan's is separating from J.J. and me in social situations. She'll do great. In a few weeks. :)

Aaaaand just to turn an exhausting morning turn into an exhausting day, we had a dermatology appointment at the hospital after her quick nap so we could check on Rowan's vitiligo. Have I talked about her vitiligo before here? The summer before she turned one, we noticed that Rowan had patches of skin on her left arm and shoulder that were whiter than the rest of her skin. I thought maybe it was eczema (since she seems to have inherited my stupidly-sensitive-skin issues), but she ended up being monitored for vitiligo. Basically, with vitiligo, patches of skin lose their pigmentation. It's believed that Michael Jackson had it, which is why his face turned progressively lighter over the years. Sometimes it's associated with autoimmune disorders, and it can get worse with time (and can become embarrassing, especially if the patches are on the face...hard for self-conscious tweens and teens to deal with), so we've been going to dermatology every six months to check on her spots.

Rowan used to be afraid of going to the doctor, but she's not anymore. She was laughing with the docs while they examined her skin with a blacklight. Her main dermatologist dropped the news that they don't think it's vitiligo; they think it's more like a birthmark, just the way her skin was made, which means it's unlikely to spread any further. Great!


Then the doctor said she wants to make sure the hypopigmentation patches aren't associated with tuberous sclerosis. That's a potentially much suckier diagnosis - it can cause developmental delays, seizures, and benign tumors on the vital organs and brain. Since she doesn't already have developmental delays or behavioral issues and is generally in good health, the doctor was optimistic that the patches are essentially birthmarks. Still, her kidneys, eyes, and heart need to be checked for growths and abnormalities to rule out tuberous sclerosis.

So after a quick flu shot (just to make the day EXTRA fun), we were sent down to radiology for a kidney ultrasound. Spoiler alert: her kidneys look perfect, but we do have future appointments with ophthalmology (wow, I did NOT know how to spell that word) and cardiology, just to be thorough.

Waiting to be called back and sporting a mask, thanks to a runny nose.

We had THE best radiology tech - she was so good with Rowan,
and even let her "take pictures" of her belly with the wand.

By the time the ultrasound was finished, we'd been at the hospital for hours and were pretty tapped out. J.J. and I took Rowan out to dinner and heaped tons of praise on her for being so patient and brave all afternoon. She picked Sottini's, her favorite...that's my girl!

"This is our table, Mama, because it has three chairs for each of us!"

Meanwhile, a friend commented on my Instagram post about Rowan's first day of school and suggested that a little Washtenaw Dairy might be in order. Right. On. Especially since we barely got to spend any of this gorgeous fall day outside.

Superman ice cream, natch.

Fairy door at the ice cream store.

Finishing her cone together.

So - exhausting day? Yes. But I'm closing out the night feeling hopeful, both that she'll adjust quickly to preschool and start loving it, and that her hypopigmentation is just that and nothing more. Oh...and hopeful that the rest of the week calms down a little. A lot, actually. After all, someone's turning three years old this weekend! Good vibes only.

(P.S. Here's how Rowan processes stuff: singing in her crib at bedtime. Check out tonight's tune, a song from her old music class, sung over and over and over for about a half hour:

Translation: "...your mommy and daddy do. Sometimes you go to the baby-sitter's house, and sometimes you go to school! But who comes to pick you up? Mommy and Daddy do. Whoever takes care of you comes back, because they do love you." Awww.)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

end-of-summer daze.

Everything feels a little fuzzy right now. I'm in a constant state of feeling like there's SO MUCH TO DO, but being legit unable to attend to any of it. I've been doing a random ton of babysitting for a few different friends; there's been a surprise surge in Etsy sales after a quiet spell; and I'm in a time crunch to finish some big jobs full of little details for Rowan's new preschool, and my brain...is just not...in a little...detail...space. 

In the meantime, I can tell Rowan also feels a little in-between right now, which makes sense. She knows preschool is starting soon, but it hasn't started yet. Her summer classes ended a few weeks ago, but they don't begin again for awhile. We're working on her big kid room, but it's still a few weeks from being ready. She knows it's her birthday this month, but she's still two for now. J.J. is traveling or working four out of the next seven weekends. She keeps asking me if it's still summer or if it's already fall, and that's a hard question to answer when - yep, it's still summer, but yeah, it's already fall.

All I know about Rowan feeling in-between is that I'm right there with her. And today, the in-between day of this three-day weekend, we ended up spending the whole day just having fun together...a good antidote to the chaos of in-between.


We woke up slowly this morning. Rowan busied herself with a box of seashells from a friend of mine while I took an extra-long shower. Her shells talked to each other, played together, jumped off bridges together...and kept Rowan amazingly occupied together. We both got dressed - me in painting clothes, Rowie in an "Obee dress" from last year that's now an Obee tank top. 

We had a quick breakfast before attending to the only task Rowan wanted to attempt today: painting her big kid room. (The Obee tank top was removed and placed in another room - with the door closed - during Rowie's first foray into the world of non-Crayola paint.)

She was hilarious. She wanted to - and did - try every painting accessory, from the angled brush to the foam roller to the paint can key to the paper towels. She kept up a running commentary, including my favorite declaration of the day: "Woooo-EE, that was HARD WORK!" She was just so careful and diligent and proud. (Plus, I actually got to do a fair amount of cutting in while she was busy foam-rolling the walls, which was an unexpected bonus.)

After painting was over (an unceremonious "I'm all done now," accompanied by Rowan almost dropping a paint-filled roller on the floor), we headed out to hunt down a very specific request of Rowie's for her new room: pink and yellow lamps. That's one pink lamp, one yellow lamp. Harder to find than you'd think! And we struck out at both HomeGoods and Target, probably thanks to it being the tail end of move-in week in Ann Arbor. I looove living in a university town, but leave us some damn lamps, you kids!

"Mommy, I want to show my Band-Aid in the picture." Her
permanent decorative Band-Aid has changed unnecessary
locations, from her thumb to a bug bite on her bicep. She's
thrilled because now everyone notices and asks about it.

After we left both HomeGoods and Targets with completely empty carts - which I felt deserved some kind of prize, like maybe lots of free gift cards to each store? - we went on a lunch date. Rowan chose bagels over pizza (??? don't worry, I checked her forehead, she wasn't sick), so we tried our favorite bagel restaurant. No dice - they only had two blueberry bagels left, and sweet bagels don't exactly make the best base for our pickle-and-cheese bagel sandwiches. So we went across the street to Subway. Not my first choice, but there were pickles galore, so we were happy. 

Back at home, I crammed in as much painting as I could during nap time before waking Rowan up around 2:45 so we could head to "Gramma's Pool." The pool in my mother-in-law's neighborhood (which is across the street from my neighborhood, a five-minute walk) closes after tomorrow, and since we have other plans tomorrow, today was our last chance to swim there for the summer. 

It was hard to drag ourselves out of the water (pretzel Goldfish bribes helped...for both of us). We were both super hungry by the time we got home, and Rowan requested her favorite dinner of late: spaghetti with (wait for it...) hummus on top (gag), and a "Rowie Salad." If you ask her what's in a Rowie Salad, she'll say, "Just everything I like!" Tonight it was spinach, quinoa, red onions, cucumbers, walnuts, cilantro, and gorgonzola cheese with fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and apple cider vinegar mixed in. Might sound a little funky, but don't knock it - I had the same salad for dinner, and it was delicious!

After eating and doing the dishes, usually we would head outside to play before bedtime, but I decided to treat us to our first movie night. Rowan saw "Finding Dory" in the theater this summer, and she watched "Frozen" on her birthday last year, but she hasn't really seen any other movies (just a lifetime's worth of Daniel Tiger). So she took an early bath, got into her jammies, and snuggled up with me on the couch with some popcorn to watch "Finding Nemo". 

She was pretty squirrely during the movie, and I guess I kind of forgot that "Finding Nemo" isn't really toddler-oriented - no music, and a storyline that Rowan thought was unnecessarily confusing and drawn-out: "Did he find Nemo yet? But where IS Nemo now? But where's his DADDY now? NOW did they find Nemo?" Still, she liked it. Plus, it just so happens that "Finding Nemo" is the movie that J.J. and I saw together the day we realized we were officially dating, so it's basically required viewing for our offspring. Rowan kept looking up at me with big round eyes and saying, "Mommy, do you like this yummy, yummy popcorn?" Yes, yes I do. But mostly, I just want to eat her up.


She's in bed now and somehow stayed asleep through the end-of-season fireworks going off down the street at our neighborhood pool. J.J. comes back late tomorrow night, I have deadlines that I need to meet this week, her classes will be starting up, and soon it won't just be chilly at night; it'll be cool round the clock, and I'll miss these sweet, easy summer days. Meanwhile, I've got two walls to paint, a basket of laundry to fold, some sleep to chase, and a pool party with friends tomorrow. I'll get at you soon, Fall - but I'm hanging on to summer just a liiiittle bit longer.


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