My oldest turns four today! Here is a summary of what she’s doing:
7:15am Out of room
8:00am Silent Reading Time
8:20am Chores, get dressed, then play or read
9:30am Independent Playtime
10:30am Clean up, get ready to leave house
11:00am Errands, park, or play outside
4:00pm Up from nap, read, run an errand or play
6:00pm Bath, get ready for bed
This time of year is great for sleep. It’s dark and cool in the house and that keeps Vera in bed. In the summer she was falling asleep for naps only once every two weeks or so, but now that the weather has changed she has been falling asleep multiple times a week. I haven’t noticed the napping affecting her ability to fall asleep at bedtime, but honestly I don’t really pay much attention. Sometimes she takes a while to fall asleep and sometimes she’s out right away. There might be a pattern to it but I just don’t really care enough to watch for one. I’ll be putting her down for bedtime at 7 o’clock regardless of how long it takes her to fall asleep, so watching it seems irrelevant.
Her eating pattern seems normal. Sometimes she eats a ton and sometimes she skips meals. In the last few months she has started having some big emotional reactions when I do not let her choose what to eat for breakfast or lunch (dinner has always been my decision). I take this as a sign that she is not mature enough to handle the freedom of choice and I then choose all meals for the next couple of days. Once she has accepted me choosing (or Abel choosing), I go back to letting her occasionally decide what we will eat for breakfast or lunch.
In preparation for school a year or two from now, I have really stepped up the amount of reading we do daily. We used to mainly read before bedtime and nap time, but now I’ve started enforcing silent reading time (thanks to a reader who recommended it!) and also reading to them for longer periods at other points in the day. Being the wannabe mom she is, Vera then spends a good amount of time every day “reading” to Abel. She is actually quite good at repeating the stories to him that I’ve read to her. Some books she has memorized word for word.
Six months ago or so I had started doing some daily preschool work with Vera. I was feeling pressured by some “kindergarten readiness” articles I’d read and some comparisons I was making between her and some of her friends who attend preschool. So I bought a preschool workbook and was going though it with her.
I’ve since stopped doing this. It’s not that she wasn’t learning or didn’t like it – it was more me I hated it. I admire homeschooling moms, but it just really isn’t my thing. I figure I have enough on my plate without the pressure of structured teaching. It’s far more realistic for me to focus on a) reading to her as much as I can and b) teaching opportunities that occur naturally throughout the day (like talking about words that start with the same letter or sound while we are grocery shopping).
I am not even remotely concerned that Vera will be behind academically when she starts Kindergarten because if she is, I have full confidence that she will catch up quickly. I am at times, however, concerned about her social skills. We are with other children many times during the week and frankly, Vera can be a little socially awkward. At first I chalked it up to shyness, but as she gets older I am seeing that it’s more than that. I go back and forth about whether I think preschool would help mature her socially so when she gets to kindergarten she isn’t the weird one.
We have no plans to send her to preschool at this point… I just wanted to record my current thoughts on the subject.
I am finally starting to see the fruit of our effort in this area. For a long time it seemed like I was CONSTANTLY addressing obedience issues with her. WILL SHE EVER LEARN TO OBEY? It seemed like nothing I did was working. In the last six months she has really turned a corner and is now what I would consider an obedient child. Sure, she has her moments, but for the most part she obeys easily. This is a huge source of encouragement for me as I trudge through the exact same difficulties with my 2 year old. It’s no longer just a HOPE that eventually the consistency in discipline will pay off – I now have the confidence of having seen our efforts produce results.
Related to obedience is the HIGHLY EMOTIONAL PRESCHOOLER, which I would definitely categorize Vera as. Often disobedience for her is not simply choosing not to follow my instruction but also spontaneously erupting into cries of agony. It’s as if instead of asking her to put back the shoes she took out of my closet I actually told her I was going to tie her down and rip her fingernails out one by one.
But with the improvement in obedience has also come a slight leveling out of emotions. Don’t get me wrong – she is still HIGHLY EMOTIONAL and a lack of control over said emotions is something we deal with almost every single day, multiple times a day, but it’s improving. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Vera is excellent at doing chores. I don’t know if this is a girl thing or a personality thing. I am consistent and unrelenting with my expectations, but honestly she just hasn’t put up much of a fight in this area. These are the main things she is responsible for:
-Cleaning up her own messes (toys, etc.) and helping her brother clean up his
-Clearing the table after meals and picking larger chunks of food off the floor
-Cleaning her room (including making her own bed)
-Putting away all of her own laundry (including things that are hung) and putting away her brother’s laundry when asked
-Unloading and drying dishes from dishwasher onto counter
-Rinsing dishes and loading dishwasher when asked (this is not done at every meal)
-Vacuuming when asked (I am getting a light weight vacuum soon and this will become a regular chore for her)
-Helping with mom’s chores: this would be things like doing the counters and mirrors when I’m cleaning the bathroom, putting clothes in washer, etc.
In the next six months I would like to establish some more structured chores that go beyond her own personal responsibilities (chores like making her own bed or cleaning up her own toys). Right now the only “family” chores she does is drying/unloading the dishes and helping me with the chores I’m doing. I will have to think about some bigger responsibilities that she can independently do.
Vera is into all things fashion. She can easily recount what every single person in the room was wearing days or even weeks after a party or event. She makes it her business to notice (and often times comment) on what I choose to wear.
For example, a few months ago I was getting ready to go on a date with Eddie. I had my hair and make up done but had not changed out of my yoga pants into my date outfit yet.
You aren’t going to wear that tonight, are you?
How would she even know that yoga pants aren’t appropriate for date night? She doesn’t even understand what a date is!
But that’s totally her. If something doesn’t match, she wants you to explain why (which is hard. Can YOU explain why you can’t wear striped pants and a floral shirt? And if you try (it’s just too much pattern, Vera), can you explain why there are certain occasions where someone going for a specific “look” could pull it off? Oh the nuances of fashion!). She will (sometimes loudly) point out girls wearing boy things or boys wearing girl things in stores. And heaven forbid I wear the same outfit two days in a row!
My gap jeans and plain t-shirts make me feel a little unfit to be her mother.
This summary is getting obnoxiously long so I’d better cut it off here. Suffice it to say Vera has grown and matured a lot over the last year. She is far easier to manage and dare I say it, far more fun to be with. I love you little Vera.