A proper of update on Elena & our lives is long overdue! Elena has changed so much in the past year & I have been lax in recording it all!
|From her 4 year photo shoot|
She is now 45 inches tall & 44 pounds…making her the height & weight of an average SIX year old!! I worry because she constantly hears people say, “She’s so BIG!” I always clarify that yes, she’s very TALL. I grew up with body issues; I don’t want her to feel self-conscious. It will be hard for her being taller than the other kids in school…I know, I was the tall kid too. I hope I can help her to have the self-confidence I didn’t.
She still attends preschool four mornings a week. Elena just loves that place & so do I!! She has really connected with her teachers this year & won over all their hearts! They’ve made me promise we’ll stay in touch next year! I have signed up for Elena to start Junior Kindergarten in September. We got to visit the school when we dropped off the forms & it seems really nice. They have an orientation session in May & we are looking forward to this very much. We’ll be able to meet her teacher that day & hopefully some of the other kids in her class. I can’t believe my little girl is starting school!!!
Elena has many, many interests these days. She has her music class weekly & is still going to gymnastics class every week. She has come a long way with her skills. She flies through the balance beam with ease now, she is able to flip herself on the uneven bars & she tumbles & somersaults with grace!
She also still has swimming every week & is in Level 5 now!! She can essentially swim on her own; she just needs her confidence about it. She does, however, have all confidence in doing somersaults in the water!! At one of her last lessons, the lifeguard was asking that they flip from a front float to a back float. Elena, not being so great about the floats, just did one of her somersaults…she went from front to back, just not how the lifeguard was intending!
Recently, Elena started asking regularly to take dance lessons…oh, I’m sorry, she specifically asks for BALLET lessons. I wanted to be sure this wasn’t a passing fancy before making a big commitment & was able to find a creative movement class at our local rec centre. She LOVES it! Except after every class, when I ask how it went, she says, “Good, but we didn’t do ballet.” So I have done some research & sourced out a really good studio for her to start at in the fall.
The other new interest Elena has talked non-stop about lately was soccer. I was not excited about this one. I have very deep-seated, irrational fears of bugs & specifically birds, bees & hornets. The thought of spending Saturday mornings on a soccer field ignites immense anxiety. However, I’m not about to let my fears hold Elena back from an interest or good wholesome exercise & fresh air. So I’ve signed her up for soccer starting in May!
A great source of pride for me recently is that Elena has graduated to riding a two-wheeler bicycle! No training wheels!! I gave her a balance bike for her 2nd birthday & she’s been mastering it these last 2 years but has now grown much too tall for it. I bought her a new bicycle & intended to put training wheels onto it. I brought it with us to my friend’s on Easter weekend thinking her husband could install the training wheels for us. Well my friend encouraged Elena to try without. Her 2 sons, her & I all headed outside & took turns running along with Elena & she did really well!! I left the training wheels off & this past weekend took Elena to the high school parking lot & away she went! Because she was so confident on the balance bike, being on the two-wheeler all she had to master was peddling & that she got pretty quickly. She still needs some practice before I can let her lose on the sidewalks but she’s getting there! Now it looks as though I’ll have to buy a bicycle for myself so I can keep up!
|There she goes!!|
|Taking a break from all that cycling!|
Elena’s speech is developing by leaps & bounds! I never get tired of listening to her & let me tell you, she talks nonstop!! What I love to see is her gaining the confidence to speak up for herself. Even the mothers at gymnastics have commented how wonderful it is to see her talking & chiming in to the conversations! What I find most adorable is how she sounds, just like a little Italian lady! I suspect it’s because, when she was first learning the sounds of speech we would over pronunciate & now she does this in regular speech. As an example, if she were to ask for milk she would sound like: “You get-ah my milk-ah, pul-eeze?” Even funnier, since she loves pizza she’ll say, “You make-ah my pizza?” very Italian, lol! Also, if you’re taking too long she’ll say, “You taking for long time!”
Her vocabulary is immeasurable now. She really is a sponge. After watching any TV show, she wants reenact it & can repeat the dialogue practically verbatim! And of course she’ll assign me a character too!
Of course we have our hard days, Elena is 4 after all & very willful. Unfortunately for me, she has inherited my hair trigger temper. If she’s fed & well rested, she is very easy & amendable. We enter danger zone from when I get home from work at 5pm to when I get her to bed at 7pm…she starts off being hungry & then just tired. If I can keep my patience we can usually navigate this time pretty well with no meltdowns. But if I am off my game, the whole evening can be a disaster. I don’t want to seem like I think she’s blameless for her behavior but as her mom, I need to teach her to manage her emotions. Her meltdowns can be amusing & I sometimes have to be really careful not to let her feel like I’m laughing at her but she is so dramatic!! Sometimes we can divert a meltdown by laughing about it but that is a technique to be used with caution as it can change things from bad to worse in seconds if she’s not in a place to laugh about it. The number one technique that helps the most to divert a meltdown is for me to express verbally the feelings she’s feeling. “I know you don’t want to go to bed! You just want to play & play!” I use the wishing technique too, “If only we could play all the time!! I wish we could just play & play all night long!!” Sometimes I have to repeat variations of these a few times but mostly it will diffuse the situation pretty quickly.
I also make sure we play reconnection games to…roughhousing, tickle fights & our favourite: Never Gonna Let You Go where I get her into a hug & then pretend I don’t know how to let her go or I say, “Um no, I’m just never going to let you go!” Oh the laughs & giggles that ensue!
We have some pretty exciting travels coming up too! I have booked our first Disney trip for August. It has been fun navigating the Disney planning app together. Elena is very excited & knows we are going but doesn’t know when. We’ve made a deal that one morning I will wake her up & say, “Wanna go to Disney today?” I have also booked us on the Disney Alaskan Cruise for 2016. It has been a dream of my Mom, Aunt & mine to do an Alaskan cruise so when I saw that Disney had one, we jumped on it! I’ve never been on a cruise & am not sure I will like being on the boat so if I may only ever do 1 cruise in my life, I wanted it to be Disney & I wanted it to be to Alaska!
I feel like there’s a million more things I wanted to share in this update but since they’ve all flown right out of my head & this is long enough already!