Warning: I feel a long-n-rambling post coming on here...
This has been quite a week here in the Smith house. It kicked off on Sunday with the arrival of Grandma and Grandpa from the motherland (aka New Jersey). The kiddo was especially excited about this because Grandpa was going to go fishing with her in the pond behind our property. She sat on the back deck for most of the afternoon, practicing casting with her new Dora fishing pole (which was a birthday present and had yet to be used) interspersed with impatient, repeated questioning as to G&G's whereabouts ("Are they still in Pennsylvania? They're in New York now? We're in New York so they should be at our HOUSE now, Mommy!") and then persistent requests to call them (oh the joy of the ubiquitous cell phone) to see how far along they were. Now, as the kiddo well knows by now, it is a six hour drive from our house to theirs, if you're driving reasonably close to the speed limit. My dad? He makes Mario Andretti look like a turtle. (Um, sorry, I'm wholly unfamiliar with NASCAR and therefore do not know any more current drivers. I could call my 4 year old nephew and/or his father, who are NASCAR fans, or I could google NASCAR and come up with someone better to illustrate my example, but I'm feeling lazy and therefore will just blather on about how I don't know any race car driver other than Mario. He's a classic at least, right?) Dad can usually make the trip up here in less than five hours, but even that wasn't fast enough for the kiddo. She had him out in the back yard looking for worms for bait within approximately three seconds of their car pulling into our driveway. I'm pleased to report that the fishing expedition was a rousing success - the kiddo caught her first fish ever on her very first cast! It was a sunfish (I'm pretty sure sunnies are the only fish in there, this pond isn't exactly a sport-fisher's paradise) and it was almost bigger than my father's palm. The kiddo was so thrilled it didn't even matter that the sunny was no larger than her (admittedly big, fat) goldfish, Swimmy. Grandpa duly unhooked him, we admired him and then Grandpa tossed him back into the murk. I'm pretty sure that the kiddo then proceeded to catch that same sunfish at least twice more over the next hour, along with one sunfish that Grandpa said was ready to lay her eggs (no idea how he deduced that as I was busy trying to wipe goose poop off the bottom of my flip-flop) and one that both Grandpa and the kiddo swore was MUCH larger than the first (second, and third) sunfish. Like two inches bigger. Woo! Now the kiddo has majorly caught the fishing bug, so I envision many a future weekend afternoon spent digging up various corners of the back yard in search of worms and then waving to Daddy and the kiddo as they stand down by the pond. (I haven't obtained a fishing license yet this year, so technically I cannot help the kiddo fish, but Daddy has his already, so he's good to go.)
So, that was Sunday. Monday morning, Grandpa left and the kiddo had her second-to-last day of preschool. I had to help set up and then clean up the teacher-staff appreciation lunch that we were throwing that day, so Grandma, who was along for the ride, got drafted to help with that. She mostly helped by keeping the kiddo occupied and out of my hair so I could attend to the setting up and the cleaning up as needed, which was very awesome. She also rummaged around in the school's kitchen and came up with various bowls and utensils that hadn't occurred to me that we'd need for the lunch. From what I hear, the lunch was a success and the teachers and staff enjoyed it, which is very, very good to hear. They all worked so hard this year and did such a phenomenal job that I wanted to be sure this luncheon was a nice treat for everyone involved in the classrooms. I also had a licensed massage therapist come and do chair massages for anyone who wanted one, but more on her later...
Monday afternoon was the kiddo's first gymnastics class. Well, not actually her very first - we tried gymnastics classes once before when the kiddo had just turned three. That time was a raging, flaming disaster. She made it - and by "made it" I mean "was physically present in the gym" and not much more in terms of actual gymnastics study - through two classes that time around and I pulled her from the class. That was mere weeks before she was evaluated and we learned about SPD. In retrospect, don't know what the hey I was thinking signing her up for gymnastics back then. Actually, I do know what I was thinking. We'd done Gymboree for a long time and the kiddo loved all the climbing on things and physical, gym-type activity, so gymnastics seemed a logical progression. Unfortunately, it was too much for our sensory seeker to handle, as she got way overstimulated and couldn't control herself - she literally couldn't sit still, much less listen to or follow any instructions.
But we are two years older and wiser now, and the kiddo has almost two years of OT and PT under her belt now as well, so when she asked - begged, really - to try gymnastics (after spending countless minutes transfixed in the doorway of the gym on our way to or from the pool for swimming lessons, watching the gymnastics practice in progress with a passionate longing in her eyes), I agreed. With some modicum of caution - I didn't buy her the leotard I was fondling at Target (yet) and instead sent her in shorts and a tank top to the first class. Well, I'm so happy to say that she was a champ! She listened to the instructors, sat mostly still (at the least, she didn't wiggle around any more than any of the other gajillion kids in her class) and consistently managed to wait her turn without cutting in front of any other kid. For a whole hour! Woo! She also made her best attempt to do each thing they were being taught - for an hour. Woo woo woo! And, if I may brag for a moment (though it's not just my bias; other moms sitting along the wall said so as well) the kiddo was the Best Somersaulter of the whole class. She could be the next Nadia Comaneci! (Okay, I just did that "classic" example on purpose, to go with Mario. I can totally be more current when it comes to gymnastics. Mary Lou Retton! No? Shoot. Um, Dominique Dawes! She was on the Olympic team in Atlanta... ooh Carly Patterson, I think she was from '04... There ya go, from this century! I can be current!)
Tuesday was the kiddo's last official day of preschool, which was followed by an afternoon at our local zoo. We hadn't been to the zoo since April, and there were a few new things open since our last visit. The most exciting of these was a frog exhibit (dude, I am totally serious: you must check out the Vietnamese Mossy Frog - way, way cool) and the new baboon exhibit. While those baboons can get quite x-rated (and a few did, though thankfully the kiddo's attention was elsewhere so no need for an uncomfortable, public Q&A session), there also were several juvenile baboons who were clowning around and being quite heeelarious. At one point, two of the younger baboons came right up to the kiddo and attempted to swipe her lion, Ectobert, right through the glass. (We generally are accompanied wherever we go by at least one member of the kiddo's stuffed animal menagerie - that's just how we roll. Ectobert also visited Disney World with us last November, though Terry the Triceratops was the one who got to visit Dinosaur World in Tampa and Joey the Giraffe went to the Lowry Park Zoo on that same trip.)
Wednesday was the kiddo's preschool graduation. It was a Very Big Deal, held in the decked-out-for-the-event auditorium and complete with a slide show (which elicited many an awwww), caps, gowns and a processional by the class to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance. The parents were worse than any swarm of paparazzi, but isn't what the event truly was about? It was positively lethally adorable from beginning to end, including the songs (complete with hand signs), the receiving of diplomas (though the kiddo was far more interested in the ice-cream cone shaped bottle of bubbles that was also in the bag) to the semi-unison bow at the end. This was followed by a reception featuring many delicious treats and therefore much sugar consumption (specifically in the form of heavily-frosted-in-neon-blue cupcakes - the kiddo has issues with highly processed foods and certain food dyes, so this was not good), which was followed by a rather hellacious afternoon of the kiddo being way out of whack and wired, falling asleep in the car which is highly unusual, and culminating in the week's darkest point when the kiddo got not one, not two, but three nasty, large splinters in her one foot from walking on the deck barefoot. (Hubby blames me squarely for the splinters, as we had learned back when the kiddo was a newly-walking babe not to let her be on the deck barefoot as splinters will ensue, but yesterday I didn't make her re-shoe after playing in the grass with some water balloons...) The three nasty splinters led to more than an hour and a half of serious freaking out during their attempted removal. It took a combination of Grandma, Mommy and then Daddy (who arrived home from work to the screams and squalls of the freak-out at about its one hour mark) to get the splinters out. I'm a bit surprised that emergency vehicles didn't come screeching up to the house, as we had all the windows open and she was howling loudly enough to make it sound like we were doing far more sinister things than attemped splinter removal. Thank goodness they eventually came out and the judicious application of many Curious George, Disney Princess and rainbow band-aids aided in calming and a return to peace and relative quiet.
Today, my mom treated me (and herself) to a massage at my favorite massage place on Earth, which coincidentally happens to be owned by a friend and former colleague of mine. Oh heck, it's my blog, I'm gonna plug it: Retreat House Massage and Wellness Center - if you're in town, check them out. Tell Joan that Heather sent you! After my hour on Joan's table was up, I was my usual post-massage limp noodle self. Deeeelightful, especially after the residual tension from Operation Splinter Extraction 2008. I am a total massage junkie, and if we ever became indecently wealthy, I would most definitely have massages as part of my regular weekly schedule. Weekly? Perhaps daily, even! Since we are nowhere near indecently wealthy now, I'm trying to train the kiddo to become a champion back scratcher, but so far, results are fair to middling at best...
Another potentially dark moment for the week - on our way home this afternoon (after depositing Grandma on a train back home), the low tire pressure light came on in the Sienna. I pulled over as soon as I could and inspected the tires for signs of an obvious flat. There weren't any, though I thought three of the four tires felt a bit squishy. It seemed safe enough that I continued home, where I left the van in the driveway for Hubby to inspect when he got home from work. He came to the same conclusion - it could be any one up to all three of four of the tires. His solution is to wait and see whether one starts looking noticeably flatter, at which point he'll replace it with the spare (which is a full-sized tire) and we can take the flat in for repair/replacement. Thank goodness for lifetime tire warranties! I'm not quite as psyched about this plan as Hubby seems to be, but the kiddo and I have no pressing plans for tomorrow so if we wind up stuck home with a flat (Mommy doesn't change minivan tires. Daddy has and will again soon, I suspect - that low tire pressure light has yet to be mistaken.) it isn't a big deal. I will not have the effects of my massage ruined by flat tire stress!! There is a lot of road construction going on around town, and we were driving through/by a lot of it, so who knows what I inadvertently picked up in my tire(s) while out and about today... Stay tuned!
Lastly, before I head downstairs to help rid the fridge of some of the array of leftovers we acquired over the past several days, I wanted to show off these:
Woo! Hummingbird! Captured on film! Er, not film, actually - um, captured in pixels? Okay, how about captured on camera! Yay! This particular hummingbird has been hanging around the feeder for the past week, and in between drinks, he (she?) hangs out on this one particular branch in the same tree. Could we have a hummingbird nest in our future? Fingers crossed!