Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Let's start with the last two weeks of August because it sets the stage for September. After returning from Yellowstone, An and I spent a good deal of time "practicing" how she would go to school. First we scheduled a visit and got to spend some one-on-one time with a few of the teachers and explore her classroom. Then, many mornings, after getting ready for the day,we would walk to her school and go out on the playground or just spend a few minutes in the empty classroom looking around. Some days we spent 15 minutes there, other days an hour. On the last day before the official start of school, An was tempted by her teacher to go outside and have an ice cream sandwich with the other kids. I boldly told her that I was going to go to the store and I'd be back in 10 minutes. I walked out of her sight and watched her walk hand in hand down the hall with her teacher. I waited the 10 minutes and went out to the playground to find that she had finished her ice cream and was playing with a dump truck in the sand. She was happy to see me and after playing for a few more minutes we headed home. Her teacher said there were no tears or signs of distress.

Then, on September 1, our beautiful An started school! I dropped her off at 8am - her teacher meeting us in the hall to reassure her. She showed us where to place An's lunch, her placemat and napkin and then led An to the art room to play for about 20 minutes before class started. At 12:30 my mother-in-law and I met at the school door and went in together. In addition to practicing going to school, we had practiced taking a nap and playing at BaBa and Ba Noi's for a few afternoons. We greeted An (or, I should say she greeted us with a smile) and we went to BaBa and Ba Noi's house where I told her that I needed to "di lam" (go back to work) and it was time for her to "go nap".

She loves school - and has not shed one tear about it. Some mornings, she will grab my legs or my hand as I am leaving and say "no, no momma!" but when I turn her face up to mine she has an enormous smile on it and I know she is playing me. She bursts into laughter and waits for one of the teachers to lead her to an activity. Most days, though, she wants to hide behind me as we enter the classroom so that she can surprise her teachers. It's a cute game that everyone plays with her. It may not be for every family but we are sold on Montessori school. The gentleness and respect that everyone shows for each other (teachers for children, children for other children and children for teachers) creates an environment that An is just thriving in.

In mid-September, we had the opportunity to join the Idaho Families with Children from Asia group for Tet Trung Thu. An and our neighbor Mollie, also adopted from Vietnam, spent the morning making their lanterns for the parade. In addition to wonderful food and people, there was also a Tai Chi lesson that An really enjoyed.

Can't say the same about the climbing wall. But this is an anomly because An spent most of the summer climbing to the the top of the climbing wall in our neighborhood park so she could sit with one leg hanging on each side...

We finished off the month with a few trips to the cabin and a visit with our wonderful friends from North-Central Idaho. Alec and An had a great time together and didn't really want to part when it was time to head home.

One final picture since it is one of my all time favorites. And in case you were wondering, its a rare moment when the girl isn't smiling.