Thursday, February 26, 2015

6 Years Old Today!

As of 5:29 PM today, Andrea is officially 6 years old, and celebrating day 2,192 of life. I actually wised up this time - I just added 365 to last year's total. So much easier than figuring out the days and counting leap years!  Andrea now weighs 38.5 pounds (17,463.31 grams, or 38 times her birth weight!) and is 43 inches tall.  She is more "girly" than anyone expected a daughter of mine to be.  She insists on long hair and owns more shoes than I do. Fortunately, she loves me the way I am, and doesn't seem too bothered by my lack of makeup and manicures.  (We have Aunt Tina and Aunt Margaret for that, anyway)  I promise to post a picture tomorrow. The only ones I got today are terrible!  Read on, and you'll see some key shots from the past year.

One of the challenges of posting only once a year is to try to remember all the highlights.  Last year was momentous because we had just registered her for Kindergarten.  This year is momentous because she has been ATTENDING kindergarten!  More on that later. 

In June, Andrea "graduated" from pre-K, which she had been attending at ECCS in Norwood, NJ.  I was relieved that she was basically given a certificate and a pat on the back. I think some schools go overboard with the graduation caps (and gowns, in some cases!)  Her class sang a bunch of songs for the parents, and I admit to tearing up at that part.  She likes to sing, and I wonder how much of that is innate, and how much is a function of all the singing I did in the NICU.
Pre-K graduation

Right at the end of the school year, we had kindergarten orientation at her new school. I dropped her off for a few hours, and she got to visit with her new teachers, spend some time in the classroom and get used to a building that is (much) bigger than her daycare center.
Kindergarten orientation.
In July, Andrea attended a day camp here in town for 3 hours a day. It was great, because she was in a group with other kids who would be attending her same elementary school.  She got to make some new friends, and then there were some familiar faces when she got to school.  From her point of view, the best part of camp was that they went on a REAL field trip!  They got to ride a school bus, and took a trip to a local children's museum.  She was so excited; even more so because I didn't chaperone!  She was really a "big girl".

Hanging out on the playground.
We got Andrea her first passport this year, and she made her first trip out of the country in August.  We took a huge family vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada.  It was funny how excited she was to be in Canada…considering that it’s not dramatically different from the USA.  She loved telling everyone she met about our trip.

Feeding deer at Marine Land
On "The Maid of the Mist"
School started in September, and Andrea is in a full day, regular education Kindergarten class.  She has a teacher with the patience of a saint, and is enjoying being known as Kenny’s little sister. (Kenny makes an impression wherever he goes!)  She has learned about two dozen sight words, and is reading basic books on her own.  She loves art and drawing, and over the recent winter break, decided to write a book for fun.  I got a kick out of hearing her parrot her teacher…”First draw, then write, then color”.  The amazing thing is that she chooses to write and create almost constantly. Left on her own, she almost always gravitates to creative projects.  In addition to reading, she’s learning math, science, social studies, art, music, physical education and Spanish. It’s quite a load for a little kid, and she’s pretty tired at the end of her days, but I think she enjoys school, and we’re amazed and grateful at her ability to learn.  Her teacher has commented that she is a hard worker and always tries to do her best.  As a result, sometimes she doesn’t work fast enough, because she won’t rush a project, or leave it half done.

First day of school.
For Halloween this year, Andrea was Rapunzel, and went trick-or-treating with her big brothers.  She is still so funny – she has to exclaim over every item as it’s put in her bucket!  I carried a stash of nut free treats to swap out whenever she got something with peanuts or nuts – a big improvement over two years ago, when she announced at EVERY door that she was allergic to nuts!
As I read back over this post, I realize something remarkable…there is nothing remarkable about this post. Our miracle micro-preemie, x-26 weeker, who had a 65% chance of survival at birth has become quite an ordinary girl. Our lives with her are very similar to anyone else’s with a small child.  And for that blessing, we are eternally grateful!
"Reading" Mommy's book on the couch!

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” 
A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh