Back at the beginning of summer, I told the girls that if they were well behaved over the summer and practiced reading that we would visit the nearest American Girl store, which happens to be in Natick, and their dolls could have their hair done. Now, this wasn't a completely selfless act as I would actually benefit from it. I stupidly didn't purchase the proper doll hair brush and pick (for Caroline's curly hair) and all the dolls needed some professional care. I read online different ways to take care of their hair and honestly, I was afraid of ruining it. (Plus, maybe I'm a bit lazy.)
So let's talk about reading. I don't remember exactly when Emily started this routine but every night she reads to all the adults in the house when they say goodnight to her. So if Grammy is here, that's three adults and she's reading for at least five minutes to each adult. This is in addition to me reading to them (together) for 20-30 minutes each night. We've seen a significant jump in her reading ability over the summer. It's crazy. She read a Hello Kitty book to me last week that isn't an easy reader book with barely any help.
Anna is usually too tired to read at night but she does here and there. She does read during the day though. Her ability to sound out words is outstanding. I would say that she and Emily are at about the same level. And then there's Allie. Allie's a lot like me. She's impatient, a perfectionist and doesn't like to be told what to do. The easiest thing to do here is give you an example of how she reads. She basically doesn't want to sound out (or in some cases, even look at) the words. She just wants to read. So if the book says, "Diz has a big red cup," Allie will read, "Diz has a big red hat on his head." Um, how does "cup" turn into "hat on his head?" She can read when she wants to.
After lunch one day last week, the girls packed up their dolls and off we went for our first AG store visit. It's really cute seeing all the girls entering and exiting the store with their dolls. My girls were sooooo excited. We visited the doll hair salon first to set up appointments. Plus, I wanted to make sure that they would be able to take care of Caroline's hair. The woman said that they could try to brush it out or I could sent her to the doll hospital. Emily freaked out when she heard that. She was trying not to cry so we quickly opted for the brush out with fingers crossed. We had to wait for our time slots so we walked around the store and checked out all the dolls and clothes.
They even have doll holders in the bathroom stalls.
It would have been very easy for the girls to walk around that store saying, "I want this. I want that. WAH!" I was very proud of them for not doing that. At first, I told them that they could pick out one item. And then I saw the shoes and it was all over. Allie and Emily wanted bathing suits for their dolls because Anna's already had a bathing suit (birthday present from family) and Anna decided that Julie needed pajamas.
Then it was time for the hair appointments. I have to say that customer service there is top notch. The stylist that took care of Caroline was awesome. Actually, both stylists were really nice and gave me a ton of tips on how to take care of the dolls' hair. And I bought the brush and the pick.
I'm really glad we were able to have that girly adventure. Grammy even came with us. (I completely failed in the photo shoot department though. There's a time for photos and a time to keep the camera in the bag.) The next day, Anna had a GI appointment in the city. I was hoping that having a big, fun afternoon the day before would help lift her spirits a bit. Because Rich just started his job, he doesn't have much time off, so I was taking Anna in for her appointment. Rich's boss is very flexible but that appointment would have required him to be out of the office for the entire morning. Which is why I took the day off from work.
So Anna was extremely apprehensive about this appointment and that morning, told Grammy that she was wearing her pajamas all day and not going to the doctor. I explained exactly what would happen and that I would be with her the entire time. This was supposed to just be a routine appointment but her "routine" appointment back in July had ended with her having to have an x-ray so I understand why she was nervous.
Thankfully, we had a fantastic morning. For appointments in the city, we usually give ourselves two hours to drive in because of the traffic. I made it from door to parking garage in exactly one hour, which is almost unheard of. And then her doctor saw us early and was extremely cooperative in working with us on a bowel management program that we've been trying to start for over two years now. The supplies we needed aren't available through a prescription (of course) but he was nice enough to call our pharmacy and see what they carried. They pulled some over-the-counter items and had them waiting for me when I arrived. The last thing I wanted to do was go on a wild goose chase for supplies. We're still going to be in a trial and error phase for awhile but I'm very happy that we are finally making some progress.