Monday, May 20, 2013

Special Is As Special Does

I don't get on here as often as I would like to. I feel like there are so many great things we don't always share of Eleanor. I guess my excuse is I try to live in the moment and enjoy those times, capturing as many memories on my camera. Sadly, tonight I realized the last time I was writing was after her Parent/Teacher Conferences in November.

Well, it's that time again. It's time to give you an update on our little monkey after Parent/Teacher Conferences. Let me begin my entry here in saying how LUCKY, Kurt and I are to have Eleanor in such a great daycare. It's truly a place where her teachers care about her learning. Each classroom has a curriculum and the kids don't just play but they learn.

I do think Eleanor is fairly advanced for her age. She can count to 20 - she needs a little bit of help after 11 but she can do it. She can sing her ABC's and she knows the entire soundtrack of Annie. Tonight we sat down with one of her teachers and it was confirmed at how special Eleanor really is. (Like we all didn't know that already, but it's nice to hear from an outside party.)

We had the pleasure of meeting with Miss Emily. She had been with Eleanor since she was in the Toddler Room. Recently our E has advanced into the Two's room so she's not with Miss Emily. But we've heard from our Daycare Director that her former teacher sneaks in to see Eleanor from time to time. They truly have a bond. The funny thing is ALL of her teachers tell us this. And I have to say, our monkey really knows how to make people feel special and loved.

Specifically regarding Eleanor's social and emotional development, her report card reads: "Eleanor is a highly empathetic and social child. She makes friends easily and finds herself often at the center of conversations and gatherings. She possesses a lot of charisma and demonstrates the early origins of leadership qualities." I almost started crying when we heard that Eleanor is a leader in her class. Which is something rare to see at that age, according to her teacher. She generally leads the pack of girls and has them follow her to certain parts of the playground to have fun together. Our goal is to continue to encourage this behavior. It is leaders who make great history, not followers, right?

One point in our meeting tonight that I think both the Ames and the Lazar families will find funny was the following: "Eleanor takes pleasure in cleaning and organizing a room. She has a keen aesthetic eye - she responds to how a room appears." That got me thinking - is that response from Eleanor nature or nurture? Or perhaps a combo as both Kurt and I are pretty crazy about organization, cleanliness and things looking nice. 

Our teacher did say that Eleanor is an extrovert and she responds to learning in more creative ways than one on one schooling. Miss Emily had mentioned she thinks E will flourish in an arts type of school where there is collaboration, music and other arts to help teach different parts of learning that don't interest her. In particularly, Math and Science. She's concerned that Eleanor will have problems learning in a traditional school setting. So that's definitely something for Kurt and I to chew on and see as she gets older what her options are with different school settings.

Regarding Eleanor's creativity, Miss Emily wrote and discussed, "Eleanor is a highly creative individual who learns best through art and music. She seems to retain more concepts (colors, shapes, etc) when she explores them through these mediums. 

Miss Emily also said Eleanor is highly theatrical. We all knew that, right? But what I found so great was reading that, "Eleanor is aware of her allure. She knows how to attract attention to and maintain the interest of others. She truly possesses a magnetic quality and a good sensibility too."

So overall, the Parent/Teacher Conference went well. We need to be weary of how she learns and what helps her retain things quicker, but overall it's confirmed that we have been blessed with such a wonderful daughter. 

I always thank God for the blessing of Eleanor. I know who we have as a daughter is truly unique but when you hear it from an outside party saying over and over in a meeting how special she is, it's pretty much confirmed that we really do have a great child.

It's been a crazy six months with us getting acclimated with so many different changes in our lives this 2013 but we're hopeful we'll be able to see more of you the second half of the year. We want you all to enjoy this blessing of a child in our lives. Please come and visit at any time and we hope to be to you soon too!

Lots of love,
Tonya, Kurt + Eleanor
Eleanor eating a hotdog at Cub's game this past Friday, celebrating Daddy's birthday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Proud Parents

So tonight Kurt and I had Parent Teacher Conferences for Eleanor. I can safely say as far as I was concerned, I was concerned. I was convinced they were going to say she acts up in class, she doesn't listen to instructions, she is behind in her development stages, yada yada yada.

We walked in and the director of our daycare was scurrying to get a classroom empty so we could meet with Eleanor's teachers. I knew it was a bad sign. Why on earth were they panicking? Little did we know we were the ONLY parents in Eleanor's class to meet with the teachers to learn of our child's progress. I told the teachers it was important to us that we were all on the same page and teaching her the same things in the classroom and at home. Consistency is key, right? No need to confuse our little one. 

I am not bragging but we had a glowing meeting regarding our peanut. I knew she was a great child but her teachers are in awe of how great of a toddler she is. 

A few highlights you ask? She loves to sing and dance. She is great with being able to communicate to her teachers as to what her needs are and that's a tool that some children at her age cannot utilize. She knows sign language - please, milk, water, thank you, and more. They said she knows what animals say. They asked her in our meeting, "Eleanor, what does a horse say?" She ran over to us and screamed, "NAAAAAAY!" Kurt and I were shocked? She never does that at home. She is truly blossoming at daycare. 

They said she loves music. We already knew that of course but we didn't know she sang while she colored? They say she always sings while she's doing art! She is the only child in the class that loves circle time where they sing and dance. She's the first to sit down and participate. I think we have a future contestant on American Idol in our not-too-near future. 

What I was most proud of during our meeting this evening was hearing that Eleanor is a genuinely loving child. When her friends are in distress, she offers her binky to them. She knows what soothes her and is willing to give that up to someone who needs it. I just love that about her! She loves giving hugs to her friends and when they are having a timeout from having a tantrum, she goes down and sits next her friend to console him or her. They also say she is very calm when at the table with her friends, eating a snack or lunch. She doesn't scurry away from the table to go play, when she's done. She just sits there in content with her friends. They say that doesn't happen with the other toddlers. 

We knew we had a one of a kind little girl on our hands but I think it's safe to say we were both floored by the feedback that we received. We weren't sure what we were going to hear. Tonight just made us even more confident that daycare was the right choice for her after she turned one and in particular THIS daycare. They are so good to her and thanks to them, she has done nothing but flourish from her experience thus far!

So there you have it - with a lot more love, patience, consistency, time and parenting we might just raise a wonderful young adult!  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Welcome to Poopville, Population 2

I just scratched my head before I started typing this. No joke. Not sure if my head itched or if I was thinking how do I start this post. It's been so long since I've written something like this. Kurt is in Florida so I have some free time on my hands. Actually that's a lie, I have less time on my hands since I am alone with Eleanor. I have always respected single parents, but caring for a sick child as one takes the respect to a whole new level. Eleanor has a little bit of a flu bug. I think she caught it from me earlier in the week bc I was pretty sick for a couple days. However, with her lower immune system, I think it's carrying on a little longer than we anticipated. 

So the title of this post pretty much sums up my time alone with Eleanor. She has been the victim of an extreme case of diarrhea and I've been the victim of an extreme case of cleaning it up. Every time she gets up from sleeping the sheets are smeared in her poop. I haven't changed her sheets in her whole life as much as I have since Kurt left for Florida. 

Last night we were playing a game, she would throw a small toy up in the air and I'd squeal. She LOVED it and kept doing it, laughing uncontrollably from my squeal. I would do anything to keep that girl laughing so we continued this game for a while. As she threw up the toy, she'd pop up a little in the air and then land on her bottom. With a loaded diaper, I'm sure you can imagine the consequences. I had NO IDEA she had gotten sick again however our new area rug was clued in way before me. Poop was splattered all over our black and white striped rug - which we had recently purchased (of course). 

Poopville has recently withstood quite a bit of hustle and bustle. This morning I was determined to not let the constant cleaning of poop slow me down. Eleanor and I went to the local Farmers Market to get some fresh fruit and cheese and then the park for some swing time. She was having a blast at the market - I had to quickly take her past the blueberries bc I didn't want her to have a melt down that she couldn't eat any of them at that moment. When we stopped at the park and I took her to the swings, she freaked out. She didn't want me to put her in the swing. I'm so bummed she doesn't like the swings. I really want to enjoy the swings with her, but it's not her cup of tea.

So I have been trying to exercise more of my gratitude muscles as of recent. When I'm complaining about something, I try to think of the bright side. For example, "I'm so stressed out with my job." I then flip it around to, "I am lucky enough to have a job and a job that I love makes me even luckier." So while I've been touring around Poopville these last few days, I've been thinking, "Man this is awful, poop all over me, all over her, all over the house." Then I do my flip and think how lucky I am to have a child. So many people try to have one and cannot. And then I have dug a little deeper. I have this beautiful daughter who unless you were to smell her butt, you wouldn't even know she was sick. She's so happy, so fun to be around and even better, I get her all to myself this weekend. No distractions from her devilishly good looking father, who by the way is her obsession. 

So there you have it. Looking at my situation at first glance, it's easy to see the obvious - it's been a "shitty" weekend without Kurt. But boy do I have everyone tricked. I'm reveling in my amazingly poopy weekend with my amazingly hysterical daughter. Nothing's stopping us. We might even do the zoo tomorrow morning, so take that Poopville!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Little Lamb

So we've reached October, Eleanor is 21 weeks as of today and will be five months Oct 10th! The time has flown and Kurt and I are really mastering the art of parenthood, well with an infant at least! Eleanor continues to be an amazing little critter, we are so proud of her accomplishments.

She's starting to giggle at funny things - If you bounce a toy in her face, she does a little belly laugh that is absolutely to die for! She also has tap dancing down, I'm pretty certain she'll be the next Fred Astaire or Paula Abdul. 

She is currently growing into giant status - She's outgrown 6 month clothes and we have her in 9 month and even some 12 month pieces. We're going to be heading down 2T land here before we know it, but yet she has no teeth, cannot speak and of course no hair. HA!

She is starting to get a little freaked out by strangers. If someone new holds her she starts to cry so we're trying to take her out for lunches and breakfasts more often so she is used to seeing strangers. Don't be alarmed if the next time you hold her she cries, she's just adapting to meeting new people. And let's be honest, it can be difficult being comfortable with a new face, esp if they are holding you! 

Eleanor is LOVING cartoons, we let her watch PBS on Saturdays and we have purchased her a couple DVDs - Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street. She also loves when we read to her so we're trying to read to her more and more so she can enjoy that intimate time with mommy or daddy. Even last night, I read her the latest tabloid and she's all up to speed as to what's going on in Hollywood. She was particularly interested in the potential split between Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Shakespeare has been on his best behavior with her! We have been very proud of his lack of barking and his less protective nature. I think he's starting to get into a rhythm with our new neighbors and their many many visitors and also with having a new little baby in our house.

I'm currently typing this with Eleanor's feet on my forearm. She's kicking and sliding them. It's pretty cute. I love how snugly she is with us!!

Eleanor is going to be a lamb for Halloween - I think most of you have seen pictures of her that I've sent. She is SO CUTE in it!! I hope to get some more pics with pumpkins and mums for you to enjoy! Stay tuned for many more photo shoots!

Oh, and one more highlight, Eleanor is a professional with flipping over. She can do it now second nature. She even sleeps on her side now, which is pretty cute. She's growing up too fast! 

So that is where we are at the 5 month point. I am very nostalgic of last year at this time as Kurt and I were just getting into our pregnancy. It's fun to think where we were last year at this time and now where we are! So many unknowns, so many exciting things we were anticipating - now we're here and loving every moment! 

Hope we get to see you all very soon! Our goal to spend as much time as we possibly can with all of our family as it's important for Eleanor to create many memories with her loved ones!!

Have an amazing start to your fall - And please keep in touch with what is going on in your lives too!

Lots of Love,
The Ames Family

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Peaks and Valleys of Mommyhood

It's week 2 as a working mother and I have to say, it's been a pretty easy transition. The first day was really hard however. I wanted to puke leaving the house and I sobbed when I got home. Eleanor and I like to talk with each other on her changing table and I couldn't keep the tears from falling when I was looking into her eyes after my first day back. She just smiled back with her toothless grin full of forgiveness. What did I do to deserve such a loving baby?

I'm feeling a bit bittersweet that Eleanor is 12 weeks old today. She's graduated to 3 month nipples and she's now enjoying Infant Formula vs Newborn Formula. I swear she's growing before my eyes, every morning I see her and she's bigger than the day before. Part of me wants to freeze time and enjoy the little itty bitty newborn and part of me is excited that she's growing and developing. 

We've lucked out with Eleanor's sleeping too (KNOCK ON WOOD, EVERYONE PLEASE). She has been sleeping in until about 5:30am - 6am. We've had a couple mornings where she didn't get up before I left for work which was 7:30am! Crazy stuff! I swear she's gone from newborn to teenager in 60 seconds!

We have enjoyed reading to her. I have a passion for children's literature so it's been super fun for me! I'm actually looking forward to getting a few more books for her collection! It's so fun to watch her look at the brightly illustrated pages of each book. She really enjoys it!

I'm starting to add more baths to her weekly routine as I truly enjoy that special time with her. She looks up at me with her big brown eyes as I lather her up with suds, and I just melt. It's a priceless time I will cherish forever. 

So all in all Mommyhood has been a blast. There have been hard days of course! And embarrassing days where I've answered the door to our neighbors not knowing I had poop on my face. But the amazing treasures I find each day from Eleanor outweigh any of the tribulations and blushing moments. I have a feeling it's only going to get better from here. I can only imagine when she starts talking, walking, hugging me back, and giving me the infinite amount of kisses that I so desire from her.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eleanor Update

I don't really have a theme to my blog today, just a few little notes to get you all updated on our little monkey! 

First and foremost, I have to say I am a VERY proud mama to my daughter Eleanor! I took her to her Gymboree class again yesterday and she is SO GOOD. Many of the other babies were crying and not enjoying Tummy Time and she rocked it like a true professional! Her neck is getting so strong and she was very alert, looking around at the other babies. Eleanor has a friend in class too, her name is Christina. She stared at her the entire time yesterday! 

We had our two month appointment on Monday and Eleanor got her vaccinations. I didn't think I could bear being in the room with her when they were giving her, her shots BUT once I got in there and knew what she was going to go through, I couldn't step away. I wanted to be there to soothe and consul her. The first shot went in and immediately her face turned red and she belted out a screaming cry. I felt so bad for her! Once they were all given, I picked her up and she got quiet. How amazing is this girl?

I go back to work on July 25th and we think we found a nanny! Actually we like two of them, and we'll be making an offer to one of them today! We hope she accepts. Her name is Kristen and she graduated from University of Buffalo with a masters in Sports Administration. She just moved to Chicago bc her boyfriend is getting his residency at Resurrection Hospital. She is 25 years old and has been nannying for quite a while (while in school and after). She came over today to meet Shakespeare and he was VERY calm around her. So strange?! 

Some other news, Kurt and I have decided to snoop at condos. We really want to get a three bedroom as we want our family to visit as much as possible! We are just looking but still it's exciting! Next week, we are going to take a look at three of them in the Lincoln Park area. One has THREE levels! Amazing but also scary with stairs and Eleanor. I really don't want to leave this house but I think it's worth us taking a look at some places and getting a feel for the market and what is out there in our price range.

Eleanor is starting to give us a little more sleep - There's been a couple nights this week where she slept until 6/6:30am! It's really nice to see a glimmer of what life used to be in terms of sleep. And when she sleeps, she grows. She certainly is growing! She is 23 1/4 inches long and 11 pounds, 8 ounces! Per her pediatrician, she's in the 90th percentile of height and the 75 percentile of weight. 

While Eleanor continues to grow, our loves continues to grow for her. Every day I wake up and I love her more than I loved her the day before. I didn't know this much love could even exist! It's pretty amazing!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Mommy On A Mission

I think it's safe to say, yesterday was an interesting day for all of us - filled with different emotions in regards to the outcome of a trial of the century, the Casey Anthony trial. I cannot shake this sick feeling in my stomach knowing that a little baby still doesn't have the answers that her innocent life deserves. What really happened to Caylee?

I try to put myself into the shoes of all those who were involved in this case but just cannot. First Casey. If my daughter was missing, how could I not report my daughter missing for the first 30 days? I can barely leave the room without missing Eleanor. A shower is impossible bc I'd rather hang out with her than wash my hair.

The grandparents. How could they be so stoic when the verdict was announced? They still don't have their grandchild back? How are they not hurting from this loss?

I keep coming back to the conclusion justice wasn't served. It's pretty evident that if it's not first degree murder, it was manslaughter and DEFINITELY child abuse. The only peace I have is that justice will one day be served, if not here on earth - it will be served in heaven.

In light of the recent verdict and the emotions I felt after hearing it, I've been inspired to do something. I looked up the statics of child abuse and they are staggering.  A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Almost five children die every day a a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4. 

I've decided to become active in helping change this epidemic. I've looked online and found an outstanding resource where I can be more involved!

If you too are interested in being involved, please spread the word! Look into ways you can donate your time or money in helping another future victim.

I'm a mommy on a mission, so please help me in putting a stop to innocent lives being abused.