A Busy Day for the Nelson-Campbell Family

I struggled to go to sleep last night, so when it was time to get up, make Ellie’s lunch and wake Ellie up, I didn’t even hear Ryan until he was walking down the stairs with Ellie.  She got into bed with me and we snuggled for a little while, but then it was time to get up, brush her hair and get dressed.  Normally, Ellie goes to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so she wears the uniform for that day — navy polo and khakis.  Since we have Dragon*Con this weekend, she had to go to school today, so she wouldn’t miss out on any of the three days for this week.  Well, Tuesday’s uniform is a maroon polo and black bottoms.  We completely forgot about the black bottoms…and put her in her khaki jumper.  We did this for a couple reasons:  1) She loves her jumper and 2) we could only find a size 4/5 maroon polo, so we needed something that would cover most of it up.  In the end, it looked like she had two dresses on, because the polo was longer than her jumper!

We also had a bit of an ordeal finding her jumper…but eventually found it in the last place we would ever look.  Isn’t that always how it happens?

We drove to the school and Ellie wanted to take morning photos by the school sign.  When we walked in the back, she sat down and took off her shoes.  When Ryan didn’t close the shoe bucket all the way, she went and closed it properly.  Ryan got scolded a bit.  Ellie walked up the stairs and for the first time, we ran into other parents as they were leaving.  Tuesday is a much busier day!  We put Ellie’s lunch box and water bottle away…and then she automatically attached herself to me.  She knew I was going to leave soon and she was extremely upset.  I held her for a minute or so and gave her bunches of kisses, but then I gave her to the director of the school and we left.  It was hard…but I know that the minute I leave, she’s fine!

We drove home and I went to work.  We hit some gnarly traffic thanks to a combination of a train, construction and school starting.  Before I knew it, lunch time was here and we had to head back to school to take photos for their website.  The school eats up natural light, so we had to get creative when taking photos of the kids.  We placed them next to the door, so I could open it and get more light or moved their tables closer to the window and opened the blinds.  Whatever was needed to get the light I needed for the photos.  Also, while I know I’m a good photographer, it was weird to take photos for someone else.  When it’s just for me, I know exactly what I need…and I know how to achieve it.  I don’t think I am a fan of doing photography for hire.  Too stressful!   But, the kids were wonderful and it was so nice to get to see Ellie in her element, especially before she knew we were there.

We went into her classroom and they were going over counting and working on which number is bigger and which number is smaller.  Ellie then went to work on her fractions.  She did 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 and 1/5.  We all moved into the main room and worked on different math problems, as well as sorting.  I’m happy to share that Ellie did not throw all the beans in the air this time.  It was time for the kids to eat lunch, so we left quietly.  We heard Ellie crying, but she only cried for a moment.

When it was time to pick her up and bring her home, she was pretty excited to come home with us, although I think she would’ve preferred to play outside all by herself for an hour or so.  She asked to take her end of day photograph with a new pile of rocks.

Ellie is really blossoming at school.  She has made a couple new friends and the teachers seem to be very fond of her, as well.  She’s a teacher’s pet, for sure.  But, was there ever any doubt?


Schoolie, Day 2

Ryan went to wake up Ellie and the first thing she wanted to do?  Snuggle with Mama.  Man, my life is hard!  :P

After 10 minutes or so of snuggling, we got up and brushed our teeth, our hair and got dressed.  Ellie asked me to put her hair up in pigtails…and wanted pink hair ties.  I originally grabbed navy hair ties to match her school uniform, but she wasn’t having it.

We packed her lunch in her Spider-Man lunchbox: sandwich, grapes, watermelon and a bottle of water.  If you see a cute lunchbox set, let me know.  I want to add a few more to her collection.  Especially if you find a Bubble Guppies set.  If she has to wear a uniform, then her lunchboxes, nap mat covers and wash cloths will have a lot of personality!

We drove Ellie to school and she instantly fell into her new routine.  She wanted to pose for photos with her lunchbox.

Then, she sat down outside on the little pink chair, took off her sneakers and put them in the outdoor sneakers container.  She walked up the stairs and went inside and put away her lunchbox and water bottle.  Finally, she sat down and played with her new friends.  When we were ready to leave, she said goodbye without any tears!

The rest of the morning and into the early afternoon allowed us to work in peace, which was nice.  But it was still so darn quiet!

Ellie had “homework” (well, really the adults…) from Monday that we never did on Tuesday, so I finished it up.  It was a family tree with the nicknames of all the people on the tree and a photo of them.  Since Ellie has no blood siblings, I included a picture of Tigger and a picture of her cousin, Austin.

When we got to the school, Ellie was reading a story with the director of the school.  When they were done, Ellie read another story with her other teacher.  The director told us that Ellie is her new teacher’s assistant.  In just one day of school, Ellie already knew their routine down to the minute.  When it was time for lunch, Ellie let everyone know.  When it was reading time, Ellie reminded the teacher and her friends.  When it was time to bring the nap mats out, Ellie lead everyone over to their mats so they could get them.  The director was impressed with Ellie’s memory…and I let her know she’s always been like that.  In every class, she is the one who is most concerned about following the routine.  If a step is missed, she will remind her instructors.  It’s amusing…and reminds me of someone else I know.  (Ahem.)

Today, they worked on shapes and math (focusing on 0-4 and not just memorizing but grasping the concept of quantity), along with general reading and learning letters/phonemes.

Ellie didn’t want to head home today.  She was very excited about reading all the books (and putting them away when she’s done, because she was raised well!).  Once done with what seemed like the 10th book, Ryan took her by the hand and she walked with us to the door.   We stopped and she put on her sneakers.   As we were walking to the car, she said, “No Mama, over here!”  She wanted to take end of day photos by the school sign again.  I have a feeling this is going to be our routine for a while.  Ellie loves routine!

Another successful day of school, Ellie Belly.  So excited to watch you learn and grow and develop new skills!


Ellie is going to schoolie!

A couple of weeks ago, an Austin Mamas member posted about a relatively new AMI Montessori program in Round Rock.  She recommended it highly to the other mamas of the group (most of whom I despise).  Normally, I take their recommendations with a grain of salt…but after researching this new school and its director, I thought it might be a good fit for Ellie.

We love teaching Ellie here at home.  That being said, my work schedule is jam-packed and Ryan’s work schedule is now so full of Geek-a-bye Baby work, that we’re unable to give Ellie a steady curriculum.  We have activities every day (multiple activities most days), but they aren’t as consistent as I would like.  Thankfully, she is a bright, well-adjusted little girl!  And she’s advanced well beyond her years.  But a lot of that is just Ellie being Ellie.

When we visited this new school, we instantly loved the location and the look of the school.  It’s definitely a Montessori school, but with a slightly more traditionally structured learning environment.  A good mix of Montessori with standard school.  But it definitely leans a lot more Montessori.  In essence, Ellie still gets plenty of free and guided play, but the lessons aren’t freely chosen.  There is a more structured list of activities they go through each day.  Ellie enjoyed her visit to the school.  She played with just about everything she could get her hands on!  The director’s sons were there and one of them played a number of puzzle games with Ellie.  They were impressed with her aptitude for puzzles.  After we finished touring the facility, Ellie even wanted to try to go potty on the potty, because it’s a kid-sized potty.  That silly girl has been potty trained since about 2, but then decided she wants to only pee in diapers.  Hopefully they’ll be able to help us with getting her to pee on the potty again.  When it was time to leave, Ellie didn’t want to go.  She wanted to stay and count everything, read everything, play with everything.  A very good sign.  And the best part?  They offer a lot of different plans for attendance.  We opted for 3 half days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) to start with, but will likely move to 3 full days after Ellie gets accustomed to going to school.

That visit occurred on a Friday and we signed her up for the school the following Monday.  It just felt right.  A small school with a lot of one on one attention and a focus on advanced learning and learning that is truly designed for each child’s aptitude.

We had to wake Ellie up earlier than normal, so when she woke up…she wanted to snuggle with me in bed.  We snuggled for about ten minutes, but then it was time to get up.  We made her some breakfast and I sat down with her while she ate.  We got dressed up in her school uniform — navy polo dress (she can also wear regular polos) and khaki shorts (she can also wear skirts, jumpers, pants).  She also has to wear white socks, so hopefully that helps with her getting acclimated to wearing socks…and less smelly feet!  She cried a few times because she wanted me to hold her or keep snuggling, so we knew leaving the school was likely going to be harder than normal.  See, we drop Ellie off at child care at the gym almost every day.  And she trots over to her favorite child care facilitators and waves goodbye to us.  Sometimes she wants a kiss…  Not always, though.  But when she’s grumpy, it’s always harder.  She’s more clingy and just wants Mama to hold her.  The entire time.  And she’ll cry and cry and cry.

We got in the car and drove over to her new school.  When Ellie got out of the car, I gave her a brand new, Spider-Man lunchbox filled with a sandwich in an Elmo container, watermelon in a Spider-Man container, goldfish crackers in an Elmo container, and a Spider-Man water bottle.  The first this she said was, “Mama, it’s heavy!”  We walked over to the school’s sign and took lots of photos.  Since she’s so sleepy, they were sleep face photos.

I’ll need to get more photos on Wednesday and Friday and call it the First Week of School.  We held hands and walked to the door.  Ellie wanted to play outside, but I told her she needed to drop off her things and visit with her teachers and friends first.  We walked up the stairs and said hello to everyone.  Ellie instantly sat down and played with the other kids — they were playing LEGOs.  Ellie LOVES LEGOs.  We put all of Ellie’s stuff away: lunchbox, water bottle, wash cloths, pull ups and wipes, change of clothes, Batman flip flops.  And the director gave me homework: a family tree I need to put together for Ellie.

I took a few more photos and then it was time to say goodbye.  Ellie cried, but we said our goodbyes and left the school.  I’m certain she was fine moments after we were gone.  She loves playing and the other kids likely distracted her.

It’s weird to think that she’s starting school.  I mean, I know everyone says this…but I remember her still in the womb like it was yesterday.  That being said, I don’t feel time is going by quickly.  We pack so much fun into every single day.  I am just so happy that she wants to go to school and that the director feels she’s so impressive for her age.  I make sure to stress that it’s all Ellie.  She was born and at 2 minutes old, she looked me straight in the eyes, smiled…and held my finger.  She’s an old soul and has a wonderful sense of self.

I’m excited to talk to Ellie all about her first day at school.  I can’t wait to watch her continue to develop and change and learn and grow.  And now for Mama and Dada to figure out how the hell to deal with spending the first half of the day Ellie-free.  It’s so quiet here…  I think I need some white noise!