Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Decisions and Life

The kids are growing up, and it feels like the world is all about decisions now. They've reached an age where they want to make their own decisions about things - what to eat, when to sleep, what to wear, how to play... the list goes on and on. The decisions we have to make for them have gotten bigger, too: somehow, it's already time to think about applying for elementary school. Yes, they're only 3 1/2, but our first-choice school for them starts with Pre-K. In fact, as we found out at the open house we attended a few weeks ago, getting into Pre-K is virtually the only way to go to the school; it's so well-regarded there are rarely any openings in later grades.

We always used to laugh about "those people" who would get so stressed out about schools that they'd be writing application essays and getting on waiting lists for 3-year-olds... now, somehow, we've become them. Fortunately, even if this option ends up not working out, we do have several other school options that look good - and we found out just last week that our neighborhood school, which has been off the table since we moved here because of its low scores, has pulled off an amazing turnaround and is now one of the best in the district! One of the driving forces in our school discussion has been trying to stay within the public system - even if our neighborhood school wasn't one we wanted to send our kids to, we wanted to do what we could to be part of the overall solution in our district and have private school be a very last resort. Now it seems like we've got quite a few good options *including* our neighborhood school, and that's a great feeling.

This lovely girl has become quite the performer. She loves to dress up and pose and dance, and really got the ballet bug after we saw a youth-ballet prequel-version of the Nutcracker recently. She begs to hear "the Arabian girls" whenever we're in the car, and hums snippets of Tchaikovsky all over the house. We're hoping to get her started in a dance class in the spring.

She's so outgoing and talks about "new friends" all the time - she can make a new friend anywhere she goes. It doesn't matter if they're fellow three-year-olds or kindergarteners or Santa, she'll strike up a conversation and find common ground...

...or just offer a hug.

Steven is growing into a sweet, clever, funny little man. He's an absolute whiz at puzzles and putting things together - he has a gift for spatial reasoning that blows me away. He's still crazy about Thomas the Tank Engine - he has a Thomas pencil bag that he fills with his favorite engines and sleeps with every night. 

When I took up the carpet in the playroom recently, we discovered that the padding underneath had been held down by hundreds of staples. He was delighted to get out his toy toolbox and help me pry them up with his pliers - he even made a little kneeling pad with a blanket, just like mine, so he wouldn't rip his pants on any we might have missed. He was such a good helper - he pulled all the stuck foam from under each staple to make it easier for me to get a good grip. He loves to be able to really *do* things - to really help with household chores, to really put on his own socks and shoes, to make things all by himself. I can't wait to see what he's capable of as he gets older and his abilities grow into his eagerness.