Its so hard to believe it but I have been back in Texas for 4 weeks!!! It goes by so quickly.
Before I came home, I knew that we would be in the USA for at least 2 1/2 , if not 3 months. Since one of my biggest complaints about Russia is that there is so little for Isla to do, I decided to see if I could get Isla involved in some fun activities. She is such a sociable little girl and so active, that I knew she would love it! At almost 3, I feel like she is needing more stimulation and socialization than I can give her by myself. I might not feel this way about the next one since all children develop differently, but Isla was definitely ready for something.
I really wanted to do a Mother’s Day Out program with some structured “school time”, but I thought it might be difficult without a church home in Texas and for short term. Not to mention that my parents live out in the country and I didn’t want to have to drive all the way to The Woodlands (30 minutes) get her into activities. Thankfully I found a good one just five minutes up the road from my parent’s house, and I wrote them and they had a spot for Isla! They didn’t mind that she was only going to attend for a few months. It is two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 2. I didn’t know how well we would do with the time change, but we got into the US on a Thursday and she was ready for it the following Tuesday.
Its funny, but I didn’t think that it would be a big deal to drop her off… but it was! I was so nervous and kind of sad. Isla did great though! I prepped her the same way I prep her for Sunday School in Russia – by telling her that she was going to get to go and make a present for Mommy and Daddy. I don’t know why, but that always motivates her to go without fuss or tears. I walked her to her classroom and she wanted me to come in and made a frownie face and motioned for me. Her teacher just took her by the hand and said that she was going to make a present, and Isla smiled and followed her in without a backward glance. The next time I dropped her off, I followed the standard MDO practice of just driving up and then the workers get them out of the car. The workers told me that the kids do much better that way and there are less tears. The worker came and got Isla out of the car which she didn’t mind, but she made a frownie face and whimpered for me when she realized I wasn’t getting out. I told her and the worker told her that she was going to make Mommy and Daddy a present, and again she happily walked off without a backward glance!
Since then Isla happily greets the workers when they open the car door and tells them whatever she has been doing – like “My pen didn’t work” or “I just took off my shoes!” Anything to strike up a conversation , and happily follows them into the building!
She has been learning so much and it is so fun to hear the things she says when she gets home, and she loves, loves all of her friends. She is always saying something new. Today at bedtime she told her Daddy and me “Tick tock, goes the clock, now its time to pray! Thank you God and Jesus for our food. Amen.” It was pretty cute.
We took some good pictures of her first day of school but they are on my mom’s computer. This one is more true to life anyway! This is the way I found her when I picked her up one day last week. I had sent her with a spare outfit, but apparently she had been given a store made cupcake with bright red icing and it had given her an immediate case of what we affectionately call “Fire Booty”. Poor thing. She went through two outfits and another one at home! We think she may be allergic to the dye.
I also knew that I wanted to get her involved in one more thing. I was hoping for something that was an activity that she could do that required a lot of movement because she is SO ACTIVE, but I wasn’t too sure that I would be successful. For starters, it needed to be something that she could do under the supervision of just her teacher and that didn’t require me or another guardian to assist her during class. I knew I would be out with a c-section and my mom is still recovering from her broken heel. Most activities that I found required that she be three to not need a parent to participate with her. That ruled out swim lessons and gymnastics , and I thought we would have to do Kindermusik since that didn’t require a lot of movement on the part of the supervising parent. However, I decided to stop at the new ASI Gymnastics that just opened up the road from my parents and just see if they wouldn’t make an exception for Isla since she is so close to three…. and they did!!! I was thrilled. I may have told them that she is a great listener… which she is… sometimes.
She is currently in a class with five other little girls ages three and four (all blonde), and she is loving it! We went to pick out a little pink leotard for her, and she loves jumping on the trampoline. The first day she didn’t participate much and I realized just how “unschooled” she was – for starters, she didn’t even know how to form or stand in a line. Its weird the things that you don’t think about needing to be taught. However, she has gotten better and better every class and I am so proud of how well she listens to the teacher and tries to do the activities and doesn’t run off to play on the rest of the fun equipment!
Here are some pictures from her first class when she was adorably clueless and trying to figure things out! She picked out her sparkly purple shorts.
She also didn’t realize that she was supposed to sit with the class . She was seriously so cute that first day.
She loves her gymnastics class and I am so thrilled that she was able to do it!
And if you didn’t notice in the pictures, Isla finally got a hair cut. I am sure that some may have noticed how badly her hair had been hanging in her face. I knew that she had needed a haircut for a while but I was REALLY, REALLY hoping that she would start letting me put bows in her hair again. I used to be obsessed with putting bows in her hair or on a headband when she was a baby and she has quite the little hair bow collection. They are so cute on little girls. Sadly, Isla remains as intent on removing any foreign object that is placed in her hair as she was on the day at roughly eight months old that she realized that she could pull off her headbands… sigh. I finally gave up hope and decided that it was time for bangs so that at least her hair wasn’t in her face. She is a little old for a first haircut, but she didn’t have much hair, and it always grew in a perfect little mullet, long in the back with adorable bangs. Its only recently gotten long enough to get into her face.
We went to get her hair cut just a few days after we arrived in the US so Nick came with us before he returned to Russia. We took Isla to a special store at The Woodlands mall that caters to kids and did the entire “First Haircut” package. She got a picture and a little certificate. It was silly, but its fun to commemorate silly things sometimes. She did great and sat very still and just requested sucker after sucker!
Here she is pre-haircut.
Enjoying the suckers and cartoons!
The hairstylist did her hair in a cute little style and pulled it back into twisty pigtails… which of course lasted all of 15 minutes after we left the store. Check out that look of intense concentration as she works to undo her do! She is a lost cause .
Afterwards we got her some ice cream! Probably not a good idea on top of the suckers, but… oh well! It was a fun day already and ice cream only makes things better.
I am so happy that I was able to get Isla involved in some activities. She is such an active little people person, and its been wonderful to see how well she has taken to them and LOVES them. Here’s hoping and praying we can continue having her involved in something after my “confinement” in the states is over!