Monday, November 3, 2014


Well it was an anomaly, Maria's bad and terrible behavior that earned her two red marks in one week.  She is doing just fine.  I'm not trying to jinx anything here, I really think she is good to go.  I went to her parent/teacher conference and she is doing super great in ... Math!  Isn't that weird?  I mean, she is doing good and even great in reading but she is in the top eight per cent of kids her age in math.

She went out for Halloween on Friday, she did great but hoo boy, the weather was awful and by the end she had had it.  I told her, she did great because - I mean, I just felt terrible for her.  She went as ELSA and I didn't give her gloves!  I was more concerned with the rain when we left so I had all these umbrellas but then the rain stopped and it got so, so cold.  She probably could have done the whole neighborhood but Felicity was slowing us down a lot.  She was glad to be done with it when we were done, and she did very little complaining.  She was a real grown up about it, which made me happy and proud of her.

She is being nice with everyone, sweet with Felicity and good with Anthony.  Today she auditioned for Annie, for the chorus, at school and I guess it went well.  She loves to play with the neighborhood kids.  She told me yesterday that Abby and Morgan, neighbor girls, say "Ma'am?" to their moms when their moms call them and she said she wanted to start doing it too.  I said okay, sounds good and she said what are you going to do about it?  I said well I can't do anything, it's really for you to do and then she wasn't as interested.  She is a funny duck.

Here's some cute pictures:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Revolting Development

There are behavior charts in Maria and Veronica's classroom and I think I mentioned it last year when Maria was in Kindergarten, she loved it and was always on PINK which means SUPER STUDENT and now Veronica is in Kindergarten and she is on PINK every day and Maria is NOT.  It's harder, we have figured out, for two reasons.  The first thing is that I think there is just not as much impetus for a first grade student to be SUPER than for a Kindergarten student.  Veronica is excited to be there every day and she loves her teacher so much and she just wants to do right by her and the whole school.  Veronica told me the other day, did you know Jesus loved us so much that he DIED?  I said yes I did and she said well that is why I can just BE GOOD.

In first grade it gets a little more complicated, I am finding.  Maria certainly still cares about the fact that Jesus loves her so much but she just doesn't care as much as she did last year.  She certainly doesn't care about getting on Pink.  She has been on green (ready to learn) or maybe sometimes blue (good choices) but she just - everything has to be aligned exactly right for her to be on Pink, it's rare.  I don't care so much, she is doing well academically, things are good but this week she was on RED TWICE!  TWICE!  The first time, I got an email from her teacher saying that she didn't know if it was the weather or what but for the first time, she had more than half the class below green.  I asked Maria what color she was on and she burst into tears, saying "I don't want to tell you!".  I figured maybe she was on yellow or orange but hell no, she was on RED!  I said well you are not going to be in trouble for the first time it happened, Maria, and especially because it seemed like the whole class was having a problem.  That was on Wednesday and then Thursday she was on pink and Friday?  Back on RED!  Sheesh!  I made up these little quick prayers she could say when she felt like she was going to talk or whatever, like "lord I feel like I'm going to get in trouble, please come help me on the double".  I mean, I was trying!  I was extremely shocked when she did it again and this time she ran in the hallway!  What the heck?

So she was 'grounded' on Friday and we said she can try again this week, I mean, what else do you do?  Today I took the girls to the pumpkin patch and we had a high old time.  Here's a cute picture:

Monday, September 22, 2014


I told Maria the other day that she was a delight and she cut her eyes at me and said "I don't know what that means".  Ha, I told her, it meant she was a joy to be around and she said "well, that's good!".  She must be used to me complaining about her, ha!

She really is fun here lately.  She is still bugging me a lot about going to people's houses but I think she is getting more in tune with social mores.  I told her yesterday, look, you can go play on your bike, you can go for a walk, and if you see someone who asks you to play, you can play!  So she did go out and she ended up playing with our neighbors who go to the same school as she does, she had a really good time and she wasn't bugging me, and it was a win win.

I'm going to her school today to volunteer at the library, we are still enjoying that.  Today we were on our way into school and she said oh no!, I forgot to read my AR books!  I said, all weekend?  I mean, it seems to me like we read a lot of books, but I guess somehow she didn't read the ones that she was supposed to.  So we decided she could read them in the 20 minutes she had before school started, crisis averted.

Everything is fine, boring, which I guess is good if you are me and BAD if you are Maria.  Veronica always says "boring as a NORING", which means it's really bad.

Here's a cute picture of Maria as Isadora Duncan on her bike:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Yesterday I was volunteering in the library at school and Maria's teacher popped in to say what a great reader she was.  Maria's friend Clive said that Maria finished all the petals on her flower, which I guess means that for each Accelerated Reader test that she passes, she gets another petal on her flower, anyway, he was impressed.  I told Maria's teacher, I knew she could read and it was very exciting but she is also very competitive and I thought the contest part of it was really appealing to Maria.  It's really exciting.  I mean, I assume it would be exciting anyway but she's really our first to read and I love it.

Veronica is starting to spell and read too and she is kind of exactly where Maria was at this time last year.  Maria is not exactly the most supportive older sister.  We did that LAST YEAR, she is always shouting at Veronica.  We talk a lot about how it would be kind and helpful if she told Veronica what to expect and to remember how excited she was to learn things in Kindergarten, but it doesn't always stick.

She is really doing well.  John is in town and brought them a book called Vampirina Ballerina, which is a combination of their favorite things and they love it. Maria was reading it this morning and it's just wonderful - she just reads away, like she's always done it.  When I think of what's out there for her - all the books and all the great words out there, waiting, it just blows my mind.

Here are some pictures!  The first is of Maria in her luchador mask, the one that my brother John brought her.  The second one is one that I took of the three girls when we were at our SECOND urgent care of the day on Sunday morning.  Last night Maria told John that Sunday morning was the "worst morning of her LIFE", all because it took us two hours and two urgent cares to get Felicity treated for an ear infection and pneumonia.  Ha, I think she might exaggerate a little!

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Ugh.  Today Maria went to a neighbor's house, she and Veronica both, and they were there for a while.  Later we looked out the window and we saw the oldest child from the neighbor's house playing with the other neighbor and we were like, um, what's happening?  Then Maria came home crying and crying, saying that the first girl's mom said that she was 'resting' in her room and so Maria stayed anyway to play with the little sisters and Veronica.  Then I guess she got the idea to go to the other neighbors' house and the dad there said his daughter wanted to play with her friend and, I guess, not with Maria.  OH, she was SAD.  SAD!  Crying and crying, on and on, how rude! she kept saying!  Why would they be so rude to me?  I don't know, I felt like crying, myself!  I went to get Veronica because I felt so strange about her playing there at the house where the mom - I mean, could the mom really have told Maria that her daughter wasn't home?  When she was actually just playing with the other neighbor?  I don't know but I just felt like I had to take up for Maria.

I said to Maria, listen.  I think it's best that you take a break from playing with those girls, let's just take a break.  She went on and on about wanting to go back there - back to where they clearly did NOT want to play with her and said you are a fun, smart and great girl and if those girls don't want to play with you, then the HECK with them!  Tomorrow you can go to school and you'll be back with your school friends, who love you, and it will be fine.

I don't know what to do with such a situation.  I know that I wouldn't lie to a neighbor, for my kid.  I think that sets a very bad example and I just - I wouldn't do it!  But I also wouldn't say that my kid could only play with one kid at a time.  I mean, in a lot of situations, Maria and Veronica come as a matched set and if you can only play with one friend at a time, that would be a problem for us every single time!

I just feel so bad for her - and of course she is not going to be everyone's cup of tea and she can be a pain but it makes me really sad for her when she gets so upset.

Later, she asked if she could go around the block by herself and I said she could.  Veronica immediately asked, can I go with her?  I said no, she wants to be by herself! and Veronica said okay but can I go?  Tonight she is sleeping by herself in Felicity's old room.  I don't know.  I don't feel like I get any better at this, ever.

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Grade

Maria started First Grade and she is going along like gangbusters.  I have been mostly picking up Anthony from school and my mom has been getting the girls so I don't have much experience with the end of her day, but she seems really happy.  I walked her in today because her backpack was heavy and she really impresses me - she grabbed that heavy backpack from me and marched right over, sat down in the middle of five kids and started talking away, laughing and nodding.  She hasn't been on pink since the first day of school (pink is the highest on the behavior chart), mostly because of TALKING, but she isn't doing badly and at least she has a goal, ha!  She is super excited to be back.

I'm going to start volunteering in the library at the school and when I told her she said, I go to that library every day!  Ha!  I'm glad she is still excited at the prospect of me being at her school.  I remember when I was little and my mom sometimes subbed as an aide, I was SUPER excited about it.

She is reading two books a night and she is doing pretty well!  She is impatient, which I can also remember, in that she will just make up a word rather than sound it out, but she is getting better.  She is being driven mad by Felicity, as are we all.  Felicity is in with them which had been going fine, but now that Felicity is in preschool three days a week, she takes a nap those days and can stay up late to terrorize her sisters.  Last night I paid Maria $1 to lie in bed with her, ha!

She is very sweet with Anthony, always high fiving him and saying a sweet, if a little patronizing, "hi, buddy!", when she sees him.  She still drives me crazy about half the time but that's not bad, right?  I feel very proud of her and am bullish for the future, two of my favorite emotions.  Here's some pictures:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Miss Johanna

I am posting this on Maria and Veronica's blogs, because I want to write about their ballet teacher, Miss Johanna, who we loved so much and who died earlier this month.

I can't even believe it, still.  I was talking to my friend Sara this week after church about it and she said I kept thinking it wasn't true!  She said she couldn't find an obituary (we still can't) and it made her have hope that it was a mistake.  It is one of the most shocking deaths of my experience.

We just saw her, I keep thinking, in May.  We decided not to take class this summer because Maria and Veronica take swimming and I figured we could just start Felicity in the fall.  And now as it turns out, we won't get to ever see her again.  One mom friend of mine said how strange it was, to see this woman with her leg up over her head a few weeks ago and now she's gone.

She and Maria were a wonderful match.  When Maria started taking ballet, her friend Carlotta was already in it and ooh-wee that were always in trouble, talking away to each other.  It really wasn't until Carlotta went to kindergarten that Maria even started to focus on actual ballet.  Miss Johanna (you say it YO-hahna) used to say that they spent a lot of time talking to each other, in a chiding tone, but then she'd smile and say, "you can tell they are good friends!".  I always told people that I didn't expect Maria to be some kind of Black Swan or something from these classes, but I loved the way that she learned how to stand on line, how to wait her turn, and how to stand up straight.

Miss Johanna was so sweet and nice to Veronica, even though she was always terribly behaved outside of ballet.  I have literally never watched a whole recital of Maria's OR Veronica's, because I am always dealing with some little sister.  Veronica used to press her face up against the window, just dying to get in there and dance with the big girls and sometimes at the end of class, Miss Johanna would let Veronica in, and make a big to-do over her.  She'd give her a tic tac for being so good and well behaved (she was not good or well behaved).  When we went on Christmas break at the end of 2011, Miss Johanna said I could sign Veronica up for ballet in January, even though she wouldn't be three until May.

For the year before Maria started kindergarten, the girls were in separate classes, Maria had moved up to Intermediate Ballet and Veronica was still in pre-ballet, so Felicity and I spent about an hour and a half outside of class, watching Miss Johanna with the girls.  She was so great with them, and so consistent.  She wore really great leopard print, high cut bodysuits with leg warmers and always a long side pony.  My poor girls were really shown up by Miss Johanna and her hair.  Maria and Veronica's hair was so fine when they were littler and Veronica's especially would get so, so messed up.  We'd walk in to Broad Ripple park and Miss Johanna would say "Veronica!  Your hair looks crazy, girl!".  Then she'd tell us stories of when she was tiny.  She great up in the Dutch West Indies, and her mom always told her that when she was born she had hair everywhere "except her head!".

Once Maria went to kindergarten and I had just Veronica, she moved up to the Intermediate Ballet class where there was only her and like three other girls.  She did really well, again, she was no black swan, but she really learned how to be a ballerina, on her own, without Maria in the class.  She loved to do well for her and I think that was really her gift - she wanted those girls to do their best, whatever it was.
Miss Johanna was always very kind and complimentary to me about how I was with the girls, which is especially nice because I am usually a giant wreck trying to get the three of them anywhere.  She loved Felicity and we were all so excited because this fall was going to be the first time Felicity could take her class.  I told Miss Johanna, this one is going to be your big challenge!, but she already knew it.  Felicity wouldn't ever just sit and watch a recital, so we would mostly go outside but Johanna would call her in for the end of it and ask her to do something, she'd go on and on about how WONDERFUL her turns were, oh, isn't she wonderful, Ma-mah?, she'd say to me, all the while Felicity gallumping around like a three legged dog.  Those girls loved her so much and I did, too.  I can't believe she's gone and I hate that she went out that way, so suddenly, just gone, but we are so lucky to have known her and I am proud and happy that my girls and I are part of her legacy.