But two days into the school year, just as you were settling in, it was discovered that there had been a typo on the room roster at open house. You were in the wrong teacher's room.
A totally forgivable mistake, unless you are a certain 5-year-old who has already dealt with a fair amount of change and really prefers consistency. If you are that 5-year-old, the mistake is unforgivable.
I don't blame you for being so upset. Halfway through your second day you were plucked from your room and thrust into another - a room with older kids and twice as many kids and where nothing was familiar. When we picked you up that day, you crawled into the car and burst into tears. We wanted to go inside and meet your new teacher, and you - the girl who is usually compliant and agreeable - flatly refused. "I am NOT going back in there today," you said between choking sobs.
I hoped each day would get easier, but for the rest of the week you stood firm in your dislike of the whole situation. "I want to go back to my old school," you said. "At my new school, you have to change classes." We tried to explain that this was a rare mistake, but you weren't convinced.
You were missing your buddies too (as was I). Thankfully, your best friends all live in the neighborhood, and that first day of school we made plans to get together with them for celebratory ice cream in the afternoon. You girls could not have been happier to reunite, or cuter for that matter.
While this transition to a new school has not been smooth or fun, thankfully you finally seem to be warming up to things. We all are. You are making friends (you and Taylor love to play at recess - she pretends to be a vampire and you pretend to be her pet vampire bat). You're in a class with kindergarteners and first graders, and initially I think you were intimidated by the first grade work that was being presented in the classroom. But once I explained that you were doing kindergarten AND first grade work, your frustration turned to pride and excitement and you've been much more upbeat about school.
One of your first homework assignments was to put together a "Meet Me Bag," essentially a show-and-tell bag filled with things that tell your classmates something about you. I loved seeing what you came up with for your Meet Me Bag - a snapshot of how you see yourself at age 5.
Your bag included (in your words):
- A Totoro bag and a Totoro toy because I love Totoro.
- A gymnastics leotard because I do gymnastics.
- Sue the T-Rex because I saw her in Chicago and I love dinosaurs.
- A bunny, a badger and a horse because I like animals.
- A camera because I like taking pictures.
- A marker because I like making crafts.
- A Batgirl because I like superheroes.
- An arrowhead because I like collecting arrowheads.
I looked at all the items laid out on my bed and thought, "I just adore this kid." You are super cool in my book.
This month you had a HUGE breakthrough in something we've been working on since you were a baby. To set the stage, you should know that even as an infant, you hated having water on your face. Washing your hair was a loathsome chore that often ended in hysterics.
When you were 15 months old we signed you up for swimming classes, hoping to help you overcome this issue. From the very beginning, the swim instructor wanted us to dunk you. I did, and each time you emerged from the water spitting mad. Fearing you'd hate pools forever if we kept it up, your Daddy and I decided to be patient and not push the issue. You'd get over this on your own time.
And boy did we have to be patient. Year after year you refused to put your head underwater. We were nervous too - we spend an awful lot of time around water and were eager to teach you to swim for your own safety. You were NOT eager.
This summer we joined a neighborhood pool and met friends there frequently for playdates.
At first, you were the kid who hung on the edge of the pool, moving away from the games if things got too splashy. You really wanted to swim and would psyche yourself up to put your head under water. But after one sputtering attempt you were usually done trying to swim for the day.
But as summer drew to a close, something changed. I think you just got tired of being the only one of your friends not swimming. You grew braver and braver about putting your head underwater. Finally, on Labor Day, the last day of the pool season - THIS:
We could not have been more pleased. Of course, I hope you retain this enthusiasm and courage through the long winter. If you do, I think next summer at the pool/beach/boat is going to be a blast.
While we mourned the end of summer, we also welcomed the beginning of fall, including the Georgia football season. Your Daddy and I LOVE going to football games in Athens and I've long dreamed about taking you there, dressed up in your cheerleading outfit, and watching a game in Sanford Stadium.
We decided this year you might be ready, and we were super lucky that our friends (practically family) the Valleses wanted to come too. On that Saturday in Athens, you, your Daddy and I all shared a first - our first tailgating party. As we made plans to meet up with friends three hours before the game, I wondered if you'd be bored with tailgating. I needn't have worried. Although Nate and Andrew couldn't tailgate with us (Nate's first baseball game of the season was that same morning), you and Nia entertained yourselves with good food, card games and corn hole - all the ingredients for a great tailgating party.
And I must say - we were very impressed with you during the game. Not only were you willing to hang out, you wanted to watch. You loved the band, the cheerleaders and the baton twirlers. You loved watching the dog house to see when the bulldog would poke his head out to say hello. But you also enjoyed the game - or at least cheering for good plays. As soon as we'd start cheering, you'd pipe in with shrieks and yells, thrashing your pom poms so vigorously that the people around us had to duck for cover. I had to rein you in a bit so we wouldn't upset our neighbors in the stands, but secretly I was pleased by your enthusiasm.
We made it halfway through the third quarter before we were officially overbaked by the sun and overtired. But you've already said that you want to go back, and next time, you want to stay for the whole game.
That's my girl!
Another month. A month of growth, of firsts, and of change. Just know this my girl - one thing that will never change is the love your Daddy and I have for you. Sleep well sweet girl. We love you.