There is nothing more fascinating to me as a parent than to see my kids in a totally different situation than they are used to....especially if I'm technically not there.
Tonight was Hazel's first night at AWANA at one of our local churches. For those not in the know, it's a preschool - 8th grade (at least at the church we're taking her to) ministry program with games and Bible memorization. She might just be one of the youngest in her class as it is for 3 and 4 year olds and her birthday was just a little over a month ago.
She also is just getting into that preschool activity age of playing semi-organized games with other kids. During the game time tonight, she was the quiet observer, hands in her dress pockets, until it was her turn to run around the circle. Then she was grinning and running (albeit, rather slowly; sorry Hazel - you may inherited my un-athletic ability) and trying to make it around. She isn't very fast, and the leaders had to remind her what her goal was, but she had so much fun playing the game.
It's funny because she can be very quiet in a group, but despite not knowing any of the other kids in her class and being on her own essentially (with me in the hallway) for an hour and a half, she did very well. She tried to say hi to the other kids and introduce herself.
Since she doesn't know the schedule of things at AWANA, she very much stayed near the back and watched a lot. But even then, during singing time, she wanted to be at the front of the group and volunteered to go help lead Jesus Loves the Little Children (a song she doesn't even know).
One other funny moment came when after snack, and all the other kids had finished eating and were splitting up for their handbook time, Hazel was still working on her crackers. She's been going through a slow-eating phase and the workers had to gently move her along to the next event.
She made me smile. She's our own little person that we've known for three years and now she's starting to do things without us right there next to her. And she's (for the most part) being a very sweet and helpful little student, in AWANA and in her new gymnastics class we started last month (which I should take some pictures of and post).
So there you go, all sorts of new things for our very big girl. And now I'm tired. But now I'm going to relax and finish knitting a new sweater for Klaas, who, by the way, did very well riding around on mama's back all night and watching big sister play games. Jason is away for work for a few days, so while normally one of us would have watched Klaas at home, he had to tag along for the night. He really liked watching the big kids play games. I think he wanted to get in on the action.
One other thing, more of a commentary....
Since we were taking her to a church we don't attend, and therefore, don't know any of the adults doing the programs*, we decided that at least for a few weeks/months, one of us would be there the whole time just to watch and see how things go.
Not even so much to get Hazel to go with the program, as she usually doesn't need much encouragement to participate, but just to put our minds at ease about who is watching our daughter. I did think it was strange that there was only one other parent there watching their preschooler.
Maybe the other families all attend the church and know the leaders: if that was our case, I think we would feel more comfortable just dropping her off. I did get a few weird looks (or at least I interpreted them as weird looks...probably just my imagination) for staying the whole night. But I didn't mind since I wanted to make sure of the situation I was putting Hazel in. Anyways, we might be overprotective, or at least considered that way by some of the group leaders. To which I would say, "She's 3. We don't just leave her anywhere without checking it out." But I'm sure it was just my imagination.
*I recognized a few of the other moms helping out from seeing them around town. So that was nice.