Last weekend, Ainsley really wanted to get her bike out & go for a ride. Figuring we weren’t going to get too many more warm days, I decided to take her up on it. So Ainsley, Wyatt, and I went around the park several times. The wind was pretty gusty, but Ainsley didn’t let it bother her. She’s really starting to get the hang of peddling.
Around age three, Ainsley really started getting interested in drawing. She would go through sheet after sheet of paper every day at day care. Over the weekend, she would ask to color such-and-such cartoon character. Eventually, she just started asking for blank sheets of paper on which she’d start to draw her own scene. On weekend days, we find her standing outside of the office doors asking for a blank sheet of paper from the printer, which is something I used to do when spending time at my dad’s office as kid. I’m pretty sure my thoughts on ‘just how much is this kid costing us in office supplies’ were the same my dad had. We’ve even offered to bring in extra reams of paper to the day care teachers to offset her higher-than-average use. She produces so much that she even hands these drawings out to her friends at the daycare (we have to let the parents know that, no, we didn’t need it back; we have plenty of her art. Just recycle it.)
She’s even branched out into painting some—with water colors and acrylic paint—and Play-doh sculpture (mostly pretend foods for her toys). However, it seems like her real creativity comes out when drawing with crayons or markers. Most recently, she’s taken to folding up pieces of paper and making cards or books. This weekend alone she’s made a half dozen "books": a piece of letter-sized paper folded up three times, with each page hand colored & some word or random letters written on it, and various other hand drawings cut out and glued onto the pages.
Today, she really impressed me by showing me her drawing of a cartoon character. She had had to redraw it a couple of times to get it small enough to fit into her little book. What’s more, this character was recognizable (with a hint from the artist, at least) even though she hadn’t seen that cartoon in weeks. That is, she did the whole thing from memory. As impressed as I was by how close she got the character, I was more impressed by her coming with the little project all on her own and having the mental capacity to stick to it through several tries.
Ainsley and her drawings of the Backyardigans‘ Uniqua as "The Masked Retriever" The third attempt was finally small enough to fit onto her book, which you can see has a checkmark. I was informed this was part of the story (a library book being checked in). For reference, here’s a picture of the actual cartoon character:
Ainsley has been taking some dance lessons on and off for the past six months, with the most of those being Saturday’s at our gym. This ended Saturday evening with her first ever dance recital. It was mostly little kids bopping about while wearing tutus, but occasionally there were hints at some real dance & choreography.
This past weekend, we took a trip over to Gentry Farm here in Franklin as both a family outing and to get some pumpkins. Being that the previous weekend saw some wet and cool weather, this Sunday the popular Fall destination was packed.
We tooled around the farm for a bit, letting the kids look at some of the farm animals there. Ainsley got to see her first read duck — which notably does not look like a rubber ducky — but she quacked at them all the same. We went through a little barn maze which featured a couple of slides Ainsley went down. Despite landing on her bum a couple of times, she seemed to like the experience. She also got to ride around on some toy tractors set up in an enclosure for toddlers.
We then went over to the pumpkin patch to buy a couple of large pumpkins for our front stoop. Ideally, these will make it into Jack-O-Lanterns this year (last year was a bust). Our friend Allison pointed out that ones that big were certainly a pain to car out, but hopefully that won’t deter us. If nothing else, there are always black markers (and Ainsley loves drawing with markers).
On the way back to car, Ainsley declared to everyone “I love pumpkins!” Angela noted that was the first time she said she loved anything (outside of family and friends, of course). I’m not sure that pumpkins would be at the top of Angela’s or my list, but there are worse places to start.
We enrolled Ainsley in a water safety course over the summer. She was amazing and learned so quickly (as toddlers pretty much always do). We’re really proud of her and how she wasn’t afraid to keep trying even when it didn’t seem fun.
The course is Infant Swimming Resource* , taught by the Ryan Piles Aquatic Foundation at Middle Tennessee Scuba & Swim. She took about six weeks of one-on-one classes (about 10 minutes a day). She learned how to swim through the water, take rests, and reach safety of an adult, the pool steps, or edge. She’s a headstrong kid and a class like this may very well be a lifesaver.
Here’s the video I put together which shows some of her swimming skills and a bit about the ISR course she took:
As you can see here, she is in a very safe environment with trained professionals. Though not every kid reacts as calmly as Ainsley does (especially not during the fully clothed practice), we believe that these are great skills to learn. Of course, it is up to any parent to decide what is right for their child; but if you’d like to know more, check out the links above and watch this video.
* The R seems to stand for different things depending on who you ask.
Ainsley seems to be a very happy big sister. She really enjoys pushing the pram on our afternoon walks around the park. She tries to help bring blankies and socks when she sees that Wyatt doesn’t have them. She even likes to “hold” Wyatt by putting Angela’s nursing pillow around her to have him lay on. When we do this, she pats his head softly. It’s all very cute but of course the biggest relief is that she doesn’t seem to show the slightest hint of jealousy.