Sunday, November 23, 2008

what makes Raina happy.

Krystal asked Raina today "what makes you happy?" Raina thought for a moment and responded with "Coloring makes me happy . . . My family makes me happy . . . Cuddling with you makes me happy" Krystal then followed up with the question "do you like making people happy?" She replied that "that makes me happy too" followed by a huge smile.

Also today Raina played on the piano and made up songs titled "I love my daughter" and "you are my sweetheart". These titles were entirely chosen by Raina.

Raina went on a trip to the mall with her mom today. On the way, Raina entertained herself by spelling things without any prompting. Where she learned to spell the words mom, dad, rain, and cat, we don't know, and she wouldn't tell us when prompted.

Monday, November 3, 2008


A few weeks ago, Raina came home and said "Mommy, I want to be a pink snake for Halloween!" We were surprised by this declaration, but figured that she'd forget and we'd be able to do something easy, like make her a princess or something. No luck. Raina remained adamant about being a pink snake, so the Whompton adults struggled to piece together her costume. It was not easy. She had pink overalls, and plenty of pink shirts, but that wasn't going to sell anyone on her being an animal -- especially a non-pig animal. We found her a fleece hat and mitten set and added those to the ensemble, and discovered a sparkly pink cat tail. In the end, she looked nothing like a snake, so we prepped her to HISS! at everything and to explain what her costume was when people asked. And ask they did!

Raina had a Halloween party at school, which she enjoyed immensely, and she was overjoyed to go out and trick-or-treat again that night. She was literally jumping with excitement and we adults did not move fast enough for her.

We trick-or-treated up and down Sparrowwood, which was about 10 houses, and then hit a magnificently decorated house a few streets over. (Since our neighborhood has older residents, very few kids go door-to-door anymore. Raina cleaned up on the candy front even though she only went to 10 places.) She refused to knock on the doors, but she was pretty good about saying trick-or-treat and thank you. She was very cute and gracious.

One of the neighbors peered at Raina's costume a lot -- had Raina spin around to show off the full ensemble. And then he proclaimed "I think we have a snake here!" And the daughter said, "Yes, Dad, a pink snake!!!" Eric and I were floored, Raina beamed, and we immediately demanded how they knew. They leaned over and whispered, "your sister told us," which caused much raucous laughter by all.

Raina came home after and counted up her loot: four spider rings, seven gummy things, four straight sugar things, two honey-suckers (lollipops in normal speak), and thirty-eight pieces of chocolate. She's slowly going through her sugar bounty. At her present rate, she'll still be eating on them at winter break time.

The next day saw the Whompton adults hitting all the local stores in a desparate search for half-priced candy. We bought a lot, plus half-priced Halloween decorations and a tiger mask and pumpkin container for Raina. She asks daily if she can go trick-or-treating again, this time in her tiger costume. She doesn't like hearing that she has to wait a whole year before she can do it again. This was the first year that Raina really understood what was happening, and she wants to keep it going!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New School, New Life

Raina began her Strictly Pediatrics experience two weeks ago and she has loved every minute of it. She has dived back into art projects -- her coloring and drawing are quite improved -- and she has her own art box at school and home. She wants to marker things up all the time! She also spends a lot more time learning new things, which is making her the happiest, I think. The very first day, she practiced writing the letter I. She was so proud of her work and she recited to herself before bed "down, cross, cross" over and over again. What impressed the adults the most is that Raina wrote her name for the very first time the same day. Insanely thrilled is what we were.

Last Friday, Raina wrote / illustrated a story. The illustrations took multiple pages and the story was all verbal, about a horse named Raina who was thirsty and had babies and met a man and knocked on doors. (Admittedly, the story didn't make much plot sense, but she recited the story at least four times without flaw, so it was definitely the story she intended to tell.) We have her book proudly displayed with other books in the living room, and she occasionally pulls it out to read to us.

The Whompton adults are impressed by how nice and intelligent her teachers are. (I feel insulting and holier than thou to say this, but not all early childhood teachers fit these criteria.) Ms. Stevie and Ms. Stacy rock. They've been teaching together for 15+ years and they have a firm control on the classroom -- where they want to go and how to get there. In no instance have we seen out-of-control kids or teachers being reactionary; the teachers have definite expectations and the kids meet them. And, of course, Raina is a model citizen because she always has done what teachers tell her to do. (As Raina says, "you're the teacher, you're the boss!") We just asked her if she'd been in time-out at her new school. Her response: "NO! I would be very disappointed in that." Also, Raina desperately wants to stay in the 4 years-old room, and I think she may be scared that she'll be found out and sent back to the 3's.

We're so thankful that her transition has been smooth and joyous for her.