A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about some of the difficulties of doing my daughters’ hair and how I overcame them… it is pretty much a ten-minute read on how to do a pony tail. One thing that I briefly discussed was that I was absolutely terrible at (even attempting) braids at that it would be a while until I tried again. Well, Gabriella asked me for a braid the other night after her bath, and even though I feared the result, I acquiesced to her polite request. And succeeded.
Conveniently, the girls had their dental appointments scheduled right after Elaina lost her two bottom front teeth. Unfortunately, their appointments were cancelled due to COVID-19. After Arizona started easing some restrictions and the dentist’s office had put the necessary safety and social distancing protocols in place, I was able to rescheduled their appointments. And crazy enough, the girls were really excited to go.
(Note: Some of these pictures were from before COVID-19, and thus before the safety protocols were in place)
It comes time in every child’s life that they lose their first tooth, and Elaina hit that milestone a couple months ago. And while Elaina had to get over the fear of losing a baby tooth, Dad had to step into a new role: Tooth Fairy!
Elaina has been waiting for a long time for her first tooth to get loose. Ever since her best friend Elora started losing hers, Elaina has been checking every day to see if hers would budge ever so slightly. Eventually, her bottom center tooth starting wiggling, with the one next to it following suit the next day.
Every day she nudged it a little more, then a little more. It took her a good week of working at it with her tongue for it to fall out. Unfortunately, her first tooth fell out while she was sleeping (we are pretty sure she accidentally swallowed it). Thankfully, we were prepared for this possibility and decided to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy that evening.
But with a bit of luck, Elaina lost her second tooth while she was at school! She was super excited about this because she thought she would get a tooth necklace just like Fancy Nancy (from Fancy Nancy and the Too Loose Tooth, one of her favorite stories). She did get a cute little tooth holder, but no necklace. Unfortunately (again), she must have accidentally popped the top off the holder while we were walking to the car, because when we got home, the tooth was gone. She was so disappointed. Sad from having lost both her teeth and having nothing to put under her pillow, we got a pen and paper and started making her case to the Tooth Fairy.
I jotted down the words as she dictated them to me, reading it back to her multiple times before she approved it (had to be correct, right?). We put it under her pillow and she drifted off to sleep.
When she woke up, the note was gone, replaced by a dollar and a new toothbrush. Given that she initially believed the Tooth Fairy did not accept letters, she was ecstatic.
This was a great experience. Not only was this a big milestone for her, but it got her over the slight fear of losing her teeth, swallowing them, and/or not getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Now she is moving ahead with a new sense of confidence that it is only going to get easier. Now we just have to wait for her permanent teeth to come in…
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While kids worldwide are ecstatic about school being cancelled for the rest of the year, parents quickly found out that they were not quite off the hook. Instead of just helping their kids with their homework and reading to them at bedtime, we became their primary teachers overnight (Note: This is in no way a slight to actual teachers, as they still have to assign and grade the coursework. They also miss their kids like crazy). It was a little difficult at first, but like all things with single parenting, you eventually get the hang of it.
So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home. While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend. But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).
About two weeks before COVID-19 changed everything, we were busy preparing Elaina for her talent show at the Seifert School Age Center (SAC). She was planning to sing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II with some of her friends, so we brought out the karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and started practicing. Yep, it is another post about taking time away from your busy day at work to support your child and their activity.
During this time of uncertainty, sometimes it is really tough to think positive. But we must carry on and try to find the silver lining in all this. In the Army, we call this “Hunting the Good Stuff.” In essence, you may be in a bad situation, but try your best to look on the bright side. And we do, because that is how the Calkins Family does it.
Here is another short post from our support of Read Across America Week earlier in March at Elaina’s school. They had a Fox in Socks Day, where every child was encouraged to wear crazy socks to school. Elaina, being the perpetual overachiever that she is (so proud), wanted to wear socks on her hands as well. Done.
This meant that we had to take a trip to Hobby Lobby (Yes, I will take any excuse!) to find her some new pairs of crazy socks. As luck would have it, they had a three-pair set of French-themed socks covered in Eiffel Towers, macarons, and birds for Elaina, while Gabriella went with the more traditional mermaid-themed socks (Gabriella, of course, wants to participate in any activity that Elaina is a part of; as much as they fight, and they do, Gabriella loves her sister and wants to be just like her). Not much to it other than that, but any activity that gets my girls excited about school is a win. And now they have a ready supply of fancy socks, so double-win, I guess.
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As part of Read Across America Week earlier this month, Elaina’s teacher asked parents to volunteer as guest readers for her class. As busy as I am at work (even pre-COVID-19), there is always time to support Elaina and her school, so I volunteered to read two books to her class.
The hardest part of this was determining what books we were going to bring. Elaina ended up choosing The Sneetches and Fancy Nancy, but Dragons Love Tacos and Fox in Socks were definitely considered. After that, it was easy: Show up to Elaina’s class at the right time, read both books (with the voices, of course), and answer a dozen questions from inquisitive kindergarteners (Child: “Why does Nancy want to be so fancy?”; Me: “She watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s one too many times. Next question please.”). It is always a great idea to volunteer to support your child’s class when available. It makes your child very proud that their Dad is participating in a school activity, and a plus is that they get to see you during the school day. It also lets the teacher know that you are an active participant in your child’s education while being supportive of her program and activities. Improving my daughter’s education and putting a smile on both of our faces… yes, please! So, if you get the opportunity, volunteer to support your child’s class as a guest reader, chaperone, or by making or donating something to support their activities; you will not regret it.
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March 2-6 was Read Across America Week at COL Johnston Elementary School. Elaina was pretty pumped for it, with every day having a special theme. And of course, Gabriella, always wanting to be like her big sister, got in on the fun too. Dr. Seuss’ birthday was that Monday and the school celebrated by having a Dr. Seuss Character Day. While we are certainly not the greatest at arts & crafts or DIY, events like these keep us smiling while improving on our skills.