Wednesday, May 21, 2008

32 weeks, and oh so tired....

Sorry it's been awhile once again. I can't seem to find the time to write anymore, nor do I have much desire to be on the computer lately. Still a little burned out from school, I suppose!

The girls and I have been busy-very busy these days. In a way, I feel like I need to do all of these things with them since I will need some recovery time when the baby comes. The girls have been loving all the activities, which then pushes me to do even more. It's been great, but today we stayed home and that was even greater! Even the girls seemed to enjoy it, as I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone and Analese said "today is a stay home day-we are NOT going anywhere!".

One thing that has kept us pretty busy is the girls' new learning classes. It's hard to explain just how perfect and exciting these classes are, but I'll try. The learning approach is based on the reggio emilia approach, which believes in a child-directed approach to learning. On our first day of class, the teachers sat with me and asked me what my goals were for each child in the program (learning to cooperate/interact with peers and other adults) what each girl likes, dislikes, etc. Parents are encouraged to participate in every aspect of the program, and most stay during their child's class time. Right now I have the girls in the learning class on Tuesdays for 2 1/2 hours and an art class for an hour on Thursdays. I do try to kind of hang back during their Tuesday class, as my goal is for them to become more comfortable around their classmates and their teachers. It seems to work out well. Mara will play and participate for awhile and then she wants me to "hold you" and kind of shut downs and just watches. Analese has been loving all the attention and has become quite the ham! It's so funny to see, and I can't help but think about how no one else could hold her or even look at her for the first 13 months of her life!

Anyway, the class is amazing and the space is amazing! Our meeting place is in the loft of a barn on a working farm, where they are worked hard at fixing it up into this magical place that gives such a feeling of warmth. You cannot help but feel right at home as soon as you walk in there. They even have a huge tree branch hanging above the circle area-covered in different lights and mobiles. Downstairs, we have baby chicks growing, and, where to begin? They have a larger chicken coop (where we buy fresh eggs!) a pond stocked full of fish and tadpoles, a huge garden with a space for us to plant. It's just exciting, and the girls learn so much just from the experience of being there.

Just some examples of how the whole "child-directed approach" has worked:

  • Analese found a patch of violets outside and was sitting there, picking them. Her teachers helped her bring them back upstairs, where they helped her pick out a ribbon to tie them up and got them in water. Afterwards, they sat down in circle and made up a poem about the flowers she had picked. They then wrote down the poem, saying each letter as they wrote it. Analese then colored below it, as well as adding a few letters of her own :)
  • Analese has an interest in measuring, and the children were given their own ruler with their name on it. They take the rulers with them when they go to see the baby chicks, and have been "measuring" them each week and charting it onto a graph.
  • Because of the children's love for music, they were each given their own recorder, which they play for the baby chicks and the fish in the pond. I love to hear them play-especially Mara, who hums quite loudly while she blows :)
Anyway-I could go on and I feel very passionate about this! It has also been nice to become involved with so many families who are so like-minded. We had a "block-making party" last Friday, where one parent had cut out pieces of wood and we (OK, the husbands mostly) sanded them and got them ready for the children to play with. We had a potluck dinner, just talking while our children all played around us...we had such a good time that we plan to do this once a month from now on! What's amazing to me is seeing the girls become so comfortable around so many people! I watched Analese tackle another father, Mara trying to tell another mom a just warms my heart and reassures me that they are getting so much out of it.

Of course, the cost of the program is always a consideration for us, and our original plan was to only enroll Analese in the Fall. But now I am not so sure, as Mara is gaining so much as well. They do allow bartering with services, which we are doing our best to take part in. I am currently designing their website, which allowed me to enroll the girls in art class for free, and I just became their bookkeeper, which will hopefully help with this Fall's tuition. I do worry, though, about overextending myself-as Greg predicted I would, especially with the baby coming soon. I do find myself becoming so much more tired these days, and I haven't been able to get much done after the girls are in bed, as I am ready for bed myself! I am still having lots of hip problems and have spent the past 2+ weeks sleeping on a recliner out in the living room. I keep attempting to find a position in bed but just can't without pain. Ugh, I miss my bed!

It's shocking to think I am 32 weeks already! Only one more appointment before I start going weekly and my internal exams begin. That just seems so close! We still have so much to do, and hoping this weekend will provide us more opportunities to actually get some things done!

That about sums up our May so far! We have had a few unfortunate episodes with Mara-she reacted to ham that she had at Greg's sister's house and suffered from diarrhea and poor appetite for over 2 weeks. She has now developed a very "croupy cough" which only appears at night, but its scary to hear her coughing and gasping for air. Last night she slept in our bed so that I could keep an eye on her.
Analese is still suffering from allergies, and we are doing what we can for her. We started her on raw, local honey, as research has shown that could help minimize allergy symptoms. So we shall see! It's been rainy here, which has helped her (not me, as molds are my worst allergen).
Hope your all enjoying some warm weather!


Lorrie said...

I have always been a huge fan of Reggio Emilia!! I am so excited to hear that you are taking the girls there-it sounds like an awesome place in the hay loft and having it be on a farm! I wish we had something like that around here....maybe I will have to start one (: The pictures are great! Sorry to hear how bad your hips hurt-I remember how bad my hips hurt with #3, too. One positive is that I do not have as much hip pain after he was born as I did before I got pregnant with him-not sure why, but I am happy about it (:
Hope your allergies get better soon and you are able to rest-wow 32 weeks doesn't seem possible! Hopefully, he/she will be a good sleeper!

Autumn said...

That program sounds wonderful. I wish that there was something similar in my area. I try to use the same approach at home with Bug though to make up for it.
About the raw honey, wonderful idea. I am lucky enough to receive raw honey from my dad for free every year! Bug loves it and we have it almost every day.
Do take it easy right now! You deserve to take a bit of a break before the baby comes. :)

Peace is every step said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful-we have a program here, but it the tuition is more than I paid for my Master's degree...a bit out of reach, unfortunately!
Happy 32 weeks!!!

Julie B said...

yes-we have a RE school about an hour away that is about $20 thousand a year to attend. Of course, its amazing-on 30 acres of land, etc. I am just so happy to be able to get into this one as its starting off!

Chris said...

Wow! What an awesome school experience the girls are getting. It's sounds so amazing! What great ideas to help with their tuition.
I sympathize with your hip dilema. I, too, had hip issues when I was preggo. It must run in the family, unfortunetly. Sorry, I have no wisdom here.--I still can't believe you are 32 weeks already. It's flying by so fast!

Staci said...

Wow, I can't believe you're 32 weeks already (and we haven't seen you once during your pregnancy!!). Those classes sound amazing, and yes, I totally remember Analese not wanting to go to anyone else when she was little. I knew she'd outgrow it
:-) Sounds like you all are doing great, and I'd still love to get together when you're free! Let me know how things are looking for you...

My Lifesong said...

Sounds like a great place for the, Analese is thriving,as I remember how shy she was around others, and Mara loves it, too. Oh, the last weeks of sorry about the hip pain. Soon, it will be over. Take care, jul.