We went back to the States in the middle of March, and to Portugal immediately afterward. When we got back we found out that our external hard drive had crashed. That's where we keep all of our pictures and music. Luckily Kenny was able to restore it enough to make sure our backup was up to date. We got a replacement and that immediately crashed. So, our pictures sat on our camera for a month, and I have not updated the blog in quite awhile. There's lots to catch up on, so where to start? Sophia turned 5 1/2 on April 1st so I guess I will start with her.
She has had a growth spurt. All of her dresses from last summer seem very short, and we needed to buy new shoes this weekend. She had outgrown her gym shoes and her house shoes (Germans don't wear street shoes in school) for school. I recently replaced her ballet slippers and allowed room to grow, but it is going to be time to get new ones again soon.
We had the choice to send her to German first grade next year or American kindergarten. In spite of some concerns, we went ahead and registered her for German school last week. She'll start in September. We're concerned because she'll be the youngest in her class. They require students to be six by September 30. Sophie misses the cutoff by a day and they're making an exception for her. We're also concerned because she will have had only one year of exposure to German and we're not sure she will have the language skills necessary to go to "real" school. But, things seemed to have clicked for her since we've returned from our vacation last month. She is speaking in sentences and her language teacher says he's pleased with her development. So, for better or for worse, she will go to the Grundschule next year. I am renewing my Rosetta Stone efforts so I don't feel so incompetent when I talk to her teachers.
Her selective mutism is not showing itself at all right now. She is very chatty with everyone. Perhaps too chatty. I can tell that adults get a little bit impatient with her because she has a lot to say. But, with her history of not talking at all, I don't want to discourage her.
In her speaking with adults she can be brutally honest which is occasionally uncomfortable. She has told two of my friends that their children can't come back to play until one of them gets big enough to not break things and one of them gets big enough to play nicely. I do not want to alienate all of our friends, so I guess we'll have to work on problem solving and people skills. (Sorry friends!)
She continues to be a tough girl physically. She will only cry if she is pretty badly hurt. She shrugs everything else off. She can wheelbarrow (walk on hands with one of us holding her feet) all the way up our stairs, only stopping once to rest. She loves to wear pretty skirts but her legs are black and blue from playing hard. She pushes herself to imitate her older friends on the playground even though she's scared. She's started to cry as if her heart's broken when she feels like a friend has wronged her. That is new. After a play date when she had gotten her feelings hurt a couple of times she wanted to go in a room by herself for some alone time. That's new too. She can be bossy especially when we're at home, so even though she's learned how to share toys she now needs to work on sharing ideas and being flexible in what she thinks should happen.
She's a little bit of a joker. She likes to make us laugh. This morning she came downstairs in just panties with socks on her hands and said she was going to school that way. All for a laugh from me.
She continues to eat well, but is starting to get pickier. She doesn't like food that is too spicy and she's starting to complain about different things. For example, she complained about the olive oil and salt I put on asparagus a couple of days ago. Really though, I'm just glad she eats asparagus.
She is a sweet girl. If someone gives her a treat she always gives me a bite. She will still cuddle if we're reading stories or watching TV. And, she'll hold my hand when we're walking. It occurred to me while we were visiting a castle last weekend and holding hands that she probably won't want to do that much longer.
One of her workbook pages talked about being a good citizen and that's something that she's latched onto. She'll pick up trash at the playground and talk about being a good citizen, which is cute because she can hardly pronounce citizen. She went on a scavenger hunt recently with her Daddy and she had to find something to throw away and something to recycle.
She continues to be a good traveler. She even handled jet lag very well when we went to the States and back. In Portugal the manager of the bed and breakfast said that she was a good eater, well-behaved, and always happy. I'm so glad that we're able to travel with her and still do grown-up things.
The weather has gotten nicer so she loves to be outside. She helps me in the garden. She makes her own garden by picking wildflowers and replanting them in her dirt patch. She likes to pretend to feed worms and then cover them back up with dirt.
We have established a pretty good homework routine so she can work on workbooks in English to supplement what she's learning in German school. She is not reading yet but she can sound out words if she wants to and she's starting to recognize words. The other day, she said "look Mom, that says bus stop." I got her some games like Wheel of Fortune and Spelling Bingo that encourage reading. And we, keep reading to her. At the very least, I read her part of a chapter book and Kenny reads her a picture story before bed. We've finished the Little House on the Prairie series and now we've moved on to Rebecca from the American Girls collection. Hopefully reading on her own will click soon. I read that kids learn to read anytime between 4 and 7, it's just a matter of the development of that part of the brain. I sure hope we don't have to wait until she's 7!
So, that's what's going on with a 5 1/2 year old Sophia.