Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dear Peeper's Teachers

I emailed Shrike a little while ago and asked:

Would we be "those parents" if I wrote a note to Peeper's new teachers, telling them a bit about her?  
They've had all year to get to know the other kids, maybe it would help her to catch up. And help them to know who "Pwince Sigpreed" is :-)
She responded:
Honey we're already those parents. Maybe if it'll make you feel better.
So, here's what I wrote:
To Peeper’s Teachers:

Please forgive us for being “those parents,” but we wanted to just take a minute to tell you a bit about Peeper. We figure that you’ve had all year to get to know your other students, so maybe we can help her to “catch up” a bit.

She really seems to have enjoyed playing in your classroom during our tour last week, and she’s been very positive about “going to school” when we’ve talked about it, so we’re expecting her to enjoy going to “school,” but we are, naturally, a bit apprehensive, since this is her first real away-from-home experience – and ours. 
She’s been taking dance lessons for a couple of months now, but up until then, she’s only done “Mommy and me” kinds of activities. We are active in the local MOMS Club, and she’s around the other club kids quite a bit, so she is used to playing with other children, but in a more informal setting. She’s not really had much practice with walking in lines and sitting still and being a part of a group, but her dance teacher tells us that she’s done well with it there. 
Peeper has always been a pretty happy, easy-going little girl, although she has recently started coming into her “three-ness,” which I’m sure you are experts at handling. We’d welcome any advice you might have! 
She tends to be quiet around new people, but once she feels comfortable in her surroundings, she is quite verbal, and is constantly surprising us with her vocabulary. She is very imaginative, and loves to role play, both with toys and other people.

She’s a big fan of Sesame Street, The Wizard of Oz and The Nutcracker. Actually, when she saw The Nutcracker this past Christmas, she fell in love with ballet in general. She has videos of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and they all figure prominently in her play.
You are likely to hear her refer to Clara, Fritz, Mouse King and Herr Drosselmeier from The Nutcracker, and “Pwince Zigpreed” (Prince Siegfried), Odette and “Ebul BonWahPaht” (Evil Von Rothbard) from Swan Lake.

Peeper loves to “read” and to be read to. She has memorized large parts of many of her favorite books, and you’re likely to hear her reciting those, too. With appropriate voices for all the characters.

Lately, she’s gotten very interested in fairy tales, and we currently have Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood checked out from the library, so the characters from those books tend to come up quite a bit, as well. We’re not big fans of the Disney versions of those stories, nor the Disney Princesses, so she’s not familiar with them.

Her favorite characters tend to be the villains – The Wicked Witch of the West and The Mouse King, for example. She also loves big dogs (all animals, really), costumed characters, witches and many other things that kids often find scary. I think we’ve found about three things that she says are “freaky” and is afraid of.

As far as “academics” go, Peeper knows her letters – capital and lowercase recognition, sounds, and can give an example of a word that starts with most of them. She’s getting better and better at identifying the starting sound/letter of a word, and has recently started spontaneously identifying and making rhymes. She can identify all of the numerals and consistently counts to ten – and almost to twenty (leaves out 14 and 16) by rote. She can count a small number of objects, but tends to not know when to stop.

She is very interested in “academic” things – she randomly asks “How many . . . ?“ or “What does ____ start with?”

Thanks mostly to Sesame Street, with reinforcement from a mother who is a former science teacher, she’s been exposed to the language of science and the scientific method, and says things like “I gonna observate if this water is old or new,” or “What room do you think Grandma is in? Make a hypothesis.”
Peeper loves to color and “draw” and “write,” but she’s still scribbling, and making random lines and circles. She can scribble the right colors in the right general area, but she’s not doing any sort of representational drawing yet.

She does not yet hold a writing utensil properly, and has resisted my efforts to show her how. Maybe you will have better luck with that. She likes her crayons “widdle-bitty” and “nakey” so if you prefer them to be intact and wrapped, you’ll probably want to keep an eye on her when she’s coloring.
She has not had much practice with scissors, and is just starting to learn how to hold them and make random cuts.

Peeper loves “cooking” - both in her play kitchen and helping out in the real kitchen. She loves the idea of fruits and vegetables and “eating a rainbow” and is very open to new foods, until it comes time to actually put them in her mouth.

She’s a pretty light eater, but is thriving, so we’re not worried about that. We do not make a big deal about what she eats or how much, except to encourage “anytime foods,” and to say when she’s had enough “sometimes foods” for now.

As far as her lunch goes, whatever part of it she eats is fine with us. She was having trouble deciding what to take, and she usually doesn’t go that long between meals so we weren’t sure how hungry she’d be, so we’ve packed several different options. She probably has enough in there to last her a month. Over the next few weeks, we’ll figure out which she’ll actually eat, and how much, and pack more appropriately! 
You may notice that Peeper has a surgical scar on her chest. She was born with a heart defect which was repaired when she was four months old. The problem is now completely resolved and she has no activity restrictions. She can tell the story herself, and if any of her classmates ask about the scar, please help her to do so: “When I was born I had two holes in my heart. I had an operation and I’m all better now.”

Another question that Peeper’s classmates might have for her is why or how she has two moms. When we asked her recently what she would say if someone asked her that, her answer was “Because I love them.” We usually go with “There are all kinds of families, with all different people in them, “ but that works, too.

We are looking forward to working with you and getting to know you and your other students better, and we hope that we’ve been able to help you to get to know Peeper better. Thank you for taking time to read this letter, and we apologize that it’s been so long and rambling. It’s hard to summarize an entire little human in a couple of paragraphs!
Thank you,
Whozat (“Mama”) & Shrike (“Mommy”) Whozatshrike
Peeper’s parents
Here's what I did not write, but really, really wanted to:
She is our baby. Be nice to her, or we will cut you. That goes for your students, too.

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