i know what you mean!

meet the parents, greet the teachers

Posted on: August 31, 2012

I’m trying to cope with the PTA lifestyle. Today’s schedule: bring May to welcome back to school event 1-2pm at her preschool, meet all the parents and kids, talk to teachers, let May roam around etc. etc. It’s sort of like her first day of school, and was May excited? Not really. When we passed by Five Little Monkey toys shop, May was trying to redirect us only about 5 times. We arrived at school and she became mute, even to Helen and I. The only thing we could get out of her (which has been very consistent for the last 2+ years) is “good bye.” She would gladly say “bye bye” to strangers when we asked her to.

Next item on schedule: mandatory parents/guardians orientation 6-8pm. Awesome session where mostly I sat through listening for the 3-4th time the school’s philosophy, activities outline, day to day schedule, rules… That’s probably because I read through whatever they handed us, as well as the school’s website, and any other materials that I could get my hands on. I’m sure some other parents didn’t have much time to do this, but since I did, I was bored out of my mind. Raced home near 8:30pm, scooped up family and we all headed out for a late dinner. Good thing Helen watched May for us today, because both Son and Thien got held up until around 8pm.

One memorable thing that happened today at May’s school: she picked up a piece of chalk and started to draw. Really draw things with intentions, no longer random scribbles. Well, she did manage a few things prior, such as a tree, letter i, letter H, T, X, O a worm, a snake, a fish… but today she did something a bit more complex: she drew a sun, a dog, a flower, letter A, a hand, traced her own hand, an arched rainbow, and a door knob. And whereas before she had just about 30 seconds of concentration working on purposely drawing something, today she could stay focused for at least 15 minutes drawing one meaningful thing after another. She even made mistakes, observed, and went back to fix things to her liking. So that was pretty exciting for me to witness. She’s almost 3.5, so these skills are about average for her age.

Yesterday May managed to say words like “stop” “stuck” “stretch” “sticker” etc. etc. correctly. It’s one of those things Vietnamese speakers have difficulties saying when they first learn English.

Today May was asking me about a painting that was behind me in the restaurant, I told her to try asking Nana because Nana sat on the opposite side of me and could see better. So she turned to Helen and said, “Nana, what is that animal in the picture above mommy’s head?” Darn proud of my kid I am. People have asked me about May’s ability to express herself verbally. It’s not that she talks excessively all the time – well, she does talk a lot, but not crazily nonstop and driving-you-crazy-sort-of-ranting – but it’s that she follows my lead, and I have always talk in long sentences. It’s all through modeling that I’ve taught her to phrase things, especially questions and requests. I shows her how frustrations could be avoided if she manages to give as much detailed information on the first try, that way people would have an easier time giving her exactly what she asks for. So for example, when she’s looking for a certain toy, she would now ask me “mommy have you seen my purple ball that’s a bit small, has glitter inside, makes light when you bounce it, it’s not the big one with water, it’s the harder one that you can’t squeeze….” Then I would join in and say “Oh I know which one you mean, it’s the one I got for you from Borders because it was on sale, and you played with it yesterday in the living room, it’s about the size of a lemon, right?” Then next time, if she’s looking for that ball, she would go on to add the descriptions I gave on top of her own descriptions.

When it comes to feelings, I’m still following the Nathan model, which is whenever May feels something but has no words for those feelings, I would go through my understanding of how she feels, and then give it a name in Vietnamese as well as English. Then I give her a way to verbally and physically proceed with her feelings, such as what she can say have have others come help her, or make others leave her alone, or what she can do when she feels a certain way.

Today she was washing her hand with just a tiny constant trickle of water running out of the faucet. I asked her why she didn’t turn the water up a bit, and she said “because I don’t want my sleeves to get wet.” 🙂

What I’m still working on is to get that kid to wipe herself. She would very dutifully wipe her FRONT when she’s doing #2 and then wash hands, flush, close toilet and cheerfully come out, but when she does #1, she’s always saying Mommy come help me wipe, I don’t want to wipe myself, why don’t you come and supervise, but I’m not at school right now… .. such a charming kid…


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August 2012
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