Anyone there? Wow, I haven't posted in a while - sorry about that!

Here are some new things going on over here:

* Malayna is now going to school four days a week at her request. Is this the same kid who cried for the first two weeks of school? Hard to believe it is! She loves school now and even said the other day, "I love school days!" We have our first conference on Wednesday morning. The teachers will let us know how she's doing socially and academically (in preschool?!). She is definitely a rule-follower and has told me that she has never had time-out in school (we don't do time-outs at home). She tells me (daily) who has had time-outs, and it's never the girls. Wonder why not?

{Malayna's first tap class. This is the school we didn't sign up with.}

* Malayna has started taking dance classes. We tried out two "schools", and the difference was like night and day. I knew when I spoke on the phone with each director which school I would like better. The first place was very structured, with the kids just practicing steps and not having any fun. I wasn't crazy about the instructor - it seemed like she was barking orders at the kids and by the end of the class she was impatient with them. The school we signed up with seemed like lots of fun, with singing and dancing and practicing a routine. She'll have a recital in June - a show on stage requiring tickets and a fancy costume. I participated in dance (tap, ballet, jazz and gymnastics) for years when I was a kid, so I'm pretty familiar with the torture of sitting through a three-hour dance recital.

* I've recently gotten back in touch with lots of old friends from grade school through Facebook. We've met up a few times, have an outing planned for March and a reunion in June. It's so great to talk with friends who have known you since you were five. If it weren't for Facebook, I don't know if we would've been back in touch. Yay for Facebook!

{Yay for sunny, warm February days at the park!}

* We've had some really nice days here lately, with temperatures up near 70! Of course we took full advantage of those days and played outside (even if it was extremely muddy). I can't wait for summer to get here - I miss the sunshine!

* We've been avoiding artificial colors in Malayna's diet for about 6 months now. It's really easier than you might think. It does require reading packages, but after a while you kind of get a feeling for which things are going to be artificially-colored. Did you know that vanilla icing (Malayna's favorite) has color in it? A lot of people that I've talked to about this assume that if something doesn't have a color then it's not artificially-colored. Not true. For instance, most Ranch dressings don't have color, but the light or fat-free versions do. Weird, huh?

There have been a few times when we've fallen off the wagon and given her something with color. I think we kind of forget how horrible her behavior can be, and figure we'll let her slide just this once. Ha! What a big mistake. We're reminded all over again how awful artificial color is for her. Take this weekend, for instance. She had a lollipop at her Valentine's Day party in school on Thursday and I said to Jimmy, "We're going to be paying for this around Sunday." Boy was I right. There were other circumstances that contributed to her behavior, but if she hadn't had color last week her meltdown would've been less dramatic. Let's just say that she had to be carried out of my parents' house kicking and screaming. Not fun.

So we're reminded once again that even a little bit of color is not good for Malayna (or anyone who happens to be around her about four days afterwards). Anyone know where I can get lollipops without artificial color? I'm thinking maybe Whole Foods, or even Trader Joes. I think I'll take a few things to school for those days when the kids get special treats. I don't want Malayna to be singled out because she can't have something all the other kids have, but on the other hand, I don't want her to feel like she did yesterday. (And I don't want to deal with that behavior again!) It's a small price to pay.

{Happy belated Valentine's Day!}


daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

Hey Lis!
Nice to see your post! Malayna looks adorable in her tap class!!!! And on the swing, and on her card to you!! Bummer about the meltdown. I think of you all the time when I eat something with whacked out color in it, but I would have had no clue about vanilla icing!! We're cracking down on a few things in our house these days, too....ugh.

textile_fetish said...

That picture Malayna drew looks just like you. Was it supposed to look like you?

It is really cool that you know that certain food additives could contribute to behaiour issues. I wish more people would consider this. It could be more widespread than people realize.

lisa {milkshake} said...

Jan, I wonder if lots of previous meltdowns could've been avoided if we had known about this earlier.

Jennifer, that's supposed to be her. But we kind of look alike :)

The difference in her behavior is amazing when artificial color is taken away. I've read that it can contribute to ADHD symptoms. It makes sense!