About Dear Bex

This is my place to speak to my daughter. She won't remember these early days in her life, and I want to make sure that I do! Plus, there's just so much I want to say to her and be sure she knows.

March 27, 2014

Bex in Specs

Dear Bex,

The day before you turned 3, we went to Toys R'Us to spend some of the money you have accumulated in gift cards since you were born.  It was your first spree, and I got to say,"We can pick a few things out to take home! This is a special day!"  We had a blast running around the store, looking at everything and visiting all your 'friends,' which is what you call every cartoon character you can recognize.  You played in the mini cars in the back, hopping in and out of various models for half an hour, and we chose some toys to bring home with us.

Just as we were about to hit the registers, you looked up at me to answer a question I had asked you, and I noticed your right eye turn in just slightly, but enough to take me aback.  I felt my heart drop, asked you to look at me again but couldn't make it happen again.  For the rest of the afternoon, I kept staring at your eyes trying to spot the problem again, and a few times, I did.

I was scared - what did the turning in mean? What was it a signal of? Was I imagining it? How long had I not noticed this for? I Googled, terrified myself, and asked The Daddy if he had noticed it - he said I was crazy, so I thought I was.  I kept seeing it though, and every time it made me shudder - I just knew I wasn't crazy, and asked Dina if she'd seen anything, but she hadn't either.  Still, I researched online and wondered what it could be.

Then, a week later, both The Daddy and Dina saw it too.  We went for your three-year check-up, and the doctor told me that if I suspected something, we should take you to the eye doctor to have it checked out - we were at the Englewood Eye Center a week later, and in that week we all kept seeing it happen more and more.  Even Grandma noticed it during a sleepover you had at her house.

The eye doctor did her examination, and immediately diagnosed you as farsighted. Your vision was +3.75, which is fairly severe - you would need to wear glasses, starting as soon as possible, all the time, until you were probably 10-11 years old.
Lunch at the diner after your appointment, with dilated pupils.
I would be lying if I said the news didn't shock me and make me upset.  In the grand scheme of things, are glasses a big deal? No.  Could there be MUCH worse diagnoses and remedies? Of course.  But I was still just shocked that the small thing I had noticed a few weeks earlier during a fun Toys R'Us outing had turned out to be a signal of something really wrong.

We chose frames, and you actually had a blast during that part, trying on different glasses, calling yourself Dr. Bex and generally cracking everyone up.  We picked out an adorable purple pair and came back to get them a week or so later, after having talked up how cool glasses would be that whole time.  You cried when it was time to put them on, but I let you work through that and a few minutes later you slipped them on.  "Whoah, things look different.  The sun is moving!" were your exact words, but since then, Bex, you've really never taken them off.  They help you see so much better that you love and know you need your glasses.

You have changed since having them, too - you concentrate on tasks for longer than you used to, and you are less clumsy, both of which were signs that you had been having trouble seeing things close up for a while. We bought you a cute little stuffed princess with a pouch on the back that holds your glasses at night, and you pop up each morning and run to get them. You have done better with this adjustment - which is quite a major one - than I ever could have imagined.  I am so impressed, and proud of you.

I love you, Bex in Specs!

Love,
Mommy

March 25, 2014

School?! ALREADY?

Dear Bex,

Somehow, you are three.  Somehow, it is time to start thinking about preschool beyond the amazing Kidville University two-hour dropoff program we've done this year.  Somehow, we must make a real, adult decision about where you will spend the next year or two prior to Kindergarten.

In trying to decide between a private option or the free public preschool option in Hoboken, we've had the opportunity to do a lot of research, have a ton of conversations about what will work best for us, for you and (really, most importantly) for Dina and finally, to go on open houses / meetings / interviews.

Oh, the interview.

Our "backup option" should we not get a place in the public preschool program that Hoboken offers, which is quite possible due to overcrowding in Hoboken, was Hoboken Montessori.  It's expensive, yes, but it's also RIGHT across the street. I've learned a lot about the Montessori method at work recently, and really believe in its philosophies and techniques, so went for an open house.  I thought it was great and that it could be a good option for you - and then we brought you in for your interview.

My baby girl, it was the proudest I've been of you in your entire life yet.  You were unabashedly yourself - pretending to be characters, expressing yourself willfully and not letting anyone tell you what to do.  I don't think this is the type of child they were looking for - but it is the one I am in love with and am so proud to have!!

It began when the preschool director walked by prior to your interview and you said a charming hello - she asked your name, and you identified yourself as "Amanda."  I laughed and let her know that wasn't your name but my niece's, and asked you to tell her your real name.  "Ryan Baker." was your next response.  Again, I laughed and shook my head, glancing over at The Daddy who was also already laughing.  This was going to be interesting, we could tell...

They invited you into the room, and we accompanied you because you didn't want to go in alone.  I should mention that this was after we had to wake you from your afternoon nap, so you weren't the happiest girl - but I digress.  We entered the room and you looked around at all the toys - the teacher asked if you wanted to do one activity, and you responded with a definite and defiant "NO."  You wandered around a bit and declined other activities, then found the easel, where you colored for a minute or two before moving onto another activity. You walked over the the tower of block cubes, and swiftly knocked them down with one swipe.  The teacher attempted to show you how to carefully pick them up and restack them, and you did so for a moment.  You missed one larger block when restacking, and she asked what you thought would happen when you tried to balance it on top of the other, smaller blocks.  I swear, Bex, you stared her right in the eye, put that larger block squarely on top of the smaller ones and it balanced perfectly, and then you swiped and knocked them down again.  The Daddy and I were stifling laughter at this point, staring at you going through this classroom like a bull in a china shop.  You made messes that you refused to clean up, did some activities and abandoned them moments later, and generally were... you.

Once the teacher said, "I think I've seen enough," she asked if you had a nice time - you looked back at her, said a final, "NO."  and left the room.  The Daddy and I profusely thanked them, continued to giggle, and followed you - our brilliant, vivacious, imaginative girl - outside.

You got rejected a month later.

Admissions admissions@hobokenmontessori.com

Feb 28
to meevan.neadel
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Neadle,

After a thorough review of your child’s application and our existing enrollment, our administrative team has determined that we are unable to offer you a contract for the 2014-2015 school year at Hoboken Montessori School.
It is never easy to make these difficult admissions decisions; I wish we could accommodate all the wonderful families we meet through the admission process. We are certain Rebecca will flourish at another of the fine schools in the area. 

We thank you for your interest in Hoboken Montessori School and wish you all the best in the future.
Sincerely,

Denise Rosenthal
Director
Shortly after this interview, The Daddy and I went to the Open House for the public preschool option that Hoboken offers.  The classrooms were filled with toys, colors, pictures and projects that the children had done.  They exuded warmth, playfulness and excitement, and I could immediately imagine you walking the halls and seamlessly fitting in.  We applied a few weeks later - fingers crossed we get a spot!!

I love you and all that you are, just the way you are, baby girl!

Love always,
Mommy