Report card

Letter to Nikisha (5 years 4 months):

nov2007.jpg

My little school girl,

When Grandma was here the first week of this month, we would talk all about you, your sister and your cousins. When we talked about you, we talked about how amazing you are with school and everything you do. Then Grandma mentioned something that is part awesome, part scary. She thinks you might be a perfectionist, and I agree. You seem to get upset if anything is done or said wrong. If we ask you if you know the answers, you say ‘yes’, but if we ask what they are, you shrug. You refuse to answer or change the subject when you don’t know the answer to the questions we ask.

Halfway though the month you came home with what you called ‘the bad note‘ from your teacher explaining that you don’t listen and refuse to participate in class. She noted that you would prefer to play with your classmates instead of learning. We were shocked to learn all the things she’s said about you. The next day, we went to your very first Parent Teacher Conference. It was full of surprises for us. You are a completely different person with us than you are there. It’s so hard to imagine you being so shy and not willing to participate in class.

Daddy and I decided to work on that with you almost immediately after we left your classroom. We wanted you to know that it was okay to be wrong sometimes. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and tell your teacher you don’t know the answers. You should try to answer if you think you do. Of course, we didn’t pressure you, but just let you know.

A week went by and we hadn’t heard anything. I was unsure of your progress until you came home one day with a note and puzzle from your teacher. She gave it to you because you’ve been doing so well in the following week the conference and wanted to encourage you to continue.

I wrote an email to your teacher telling her about what happened next.

Hello Miss Kim,

My husband, Nikisha and I would like to thank you for the puzzle you gave to Nikisha. It was very thoughtful and generous of you. It’s also nice to know you remembered the things we’ve mentioned about her.

On our way back to our place after school, she told me about it. Immediately after we got in the door, she wanted to get started on it. It took her about 10 minutes to put the whole thing together. It IS too easy for her, but she loves it despite that. She took it apart after showing me she did it, and then proceeded to put it together a second (and even third) time.

Now (the next morning) she took it apart and decided to try to put it together flipped over where she can’t see the picture and can only go by the shapes. As I’m typing, she is halfway done with it. It amazes me how she’s able to do that and wanted to share that with you.

We’ve been working with her to teach her that it’s okay to speak up in class and she doesn’t always have to be right. I’m very happy to hear that it’s working.

Thank you again for the puzzle. I hope that we’ll continue to be able to work together to bring out the best in Nikisha and further her awesome development.

Sincerely,
Nicole

My little Niki. Oh how happy it makes me to know that you are mine. I can already tell you’ll be a smart little cookie when you are older and that’s a good thing. You’ll give all those boys a run for their money. You won’t be easily fooled. YOU BETTER NOT BE OR SOMEONE WILL REGRET IT! I’m just not sure who (him, you, me) just yet.

Love, mama

Night Fright

Letter to Nikisha (5 years 3 months):

27oct2007b.jpg

Sweet Little Niki,

You’re growing up way too fast. Every time I look at you, I wonder where the time went. Then all of a sudden, you remind me that you’re still small and vulnerable. You still need us even though sometimes it seems like you don’t.

This past month something happened. Maybe it’s the sound of the cars driving by, or the people’s voices as they walk past our apartment, or maybe it’s something else. All I know is you’re back to crawling into our bed because you’re scared and don’t want to sleep alone. Some nights, after we lay you down to sleep, you cry and cry. It’s not a fake cry, but almost a pleading for us not to leave you alone. It breaks my heart, but I can’t figure out how to make things better.

One night, when I told you it was time to sleep, I had laid your sister down next to you so I could put your clothes away. You were so happy that I did and said to me “Thank you, Mommy, for letting my sissy sleep with me”. When I told you she couldn’t because she could fall off your bed, you began to cry that pleading cry. It broke my heart even more knowing that you would even settle for having your sister, who is just a baby and much smaller than you, sleep with you. I explained to you that she couldn’t because she’s been extra cranky lately and refuses to sleep in her own bed. Then you asked to sleep with us. I explained that our bed isn’t big enough for the four of us because you and your sister are getting too big. You looked so sad and I knew you would end up in our bed sometime in the night while we were asleep. So, I gave in just a little, and made a bed on the floor with a comforter and pillow. As you laid down and crawled under your blanket, you closed your eyes and had the most content look on your cute little face. It lightened my heart and the weight on my shoulders, even if it was only a temporary fix. Looks like that little “bed” will be there for you for whenever you get scared, but I’ll still have you go to sleep in your own bed and hope that this fear goes away.

Let me not leave out what drives me crazy about you, for it wouldn’t be fair to either of us. You are far from being the perfect little angel I make you out to be sometimes. Not that you aren’t awesome, because you most definitely are.

This is the highest point you’ve hit on the ‘I want’ phase. Almost every single toy commercial expels that constantly growing despised ‘Wow! I want that!’ phrase from your cute little mouth. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t work anymore because you just start whining knowing it gets on my nerves. I’ve even tried compromising with you. I first explain that there is no space in your bedroom for anymore toys. If you let me get rid of some of the toys you have now, maybe we’ll get something new. You say yes, so we head into your room and I ask you to choose a bunch of toys you would like to trade. You say okay and get to work, but after going through the huge lot of toys you have, you pick out two or three of the smallest toys possible. The rest end up right back into your toy bin. I also noticed that some of the toys you chose to give away were your sister’s!

27oct2007a.jpg

Your cousins Alicia and Baby Josh came to visit. They came for your sister’s first birthday, but stayed a whole week and two days. You got to go Trick-or-Treating with them after dressing up as a Princess Kitty. You couldn’t decide on what you wanted to be, so you just put both of your costumes together. You all had so much fun during their visit that I wish it hadn’t ended.

I know that you and Alicia missed each other so much. You kept asking if we can go visit her. She said she wanted to go to school with you. Oh how I would love to have her and her brother stay with us. I know she would love school so much more because you’ll be there with her. She’ll see how much you love it and want to love it just as much as you. She’ll feel the love our family has amongst us and be a part of it. Our love is and always will be unconditional. Never fleeting, always without reason except just because. Not because we feel we have to love them, but because they are meant to be loved. I wish we could give them that, but our hands are tied. Hopefully someday they will know the life you live everyday and live the same way.

That was the original plan, staying together with them at your grandparents’ house, instead of moving here to Seattle. Problem is, things beyond my control forced us to make the difficult decision of changing our plans and actually moving us farther away from your cousins instead of closer. If you ever want to know why, I’ll tell you personally, but not here. It’s not something that should be shared with the world. All I can say is that the events leading up to our decision is embedded in my mind forever though I wish they would disappear. I just hope that it will fade from yours as time goes by.

Believe me when I say that I may not be able to give you everything you want and most definitely deserve, but I will do my best to teach you how to survive in this world. I will teach you how to live life to the fullest and take chances. I will teach you how to make decisions on your own. There may be times when I do the wrong thing, but I hope you’ll forgive me because I’m doing my best to do what’s right. Please know that I fight with myself all the time to do what’s right and not do things with selfish intentions. The things I do are for what I feel is best for you even if it’s not what’s best for me. I will always put you first when you need to be put there. You, your sister and your father are my highest priority, and I will drag myself through a road of broken glass if that is what’s best for the three of you.

Listen to me, crappy sappy mushiness flowing through my fingertips through this keyboard and onto the screen. I want to delete it all so you don’t think your mother is a big softy, but it is who I am and always will be even if it doesn’t always seem like it.