Archives for category: Elementary School

BOY

Monday, February 27th. Yesterday.

It is lunchtime. Boy and I sit across the table from one another; Girl is at school. On my plate, a sandwich; on his, a quesadilla. I look forward to mine, toasted with mayonnaise, with blueberry jam, spinach, and ham, at the intersection of sweet and savory.

“Let’s toast!” I say. To his left sits his water glass, which I left on the table from breakfast in the hopes he’d return and drink it; to his right sits his glass of milk. He reaches for his milk and, in slow motion, I see his water glass tipping, and I reach to stop the inevitable. As I do, I nudge my own glass,  and the more-viscous nut milk spills thickly, more milkshake than milk, pooling with his water, here clear, here opaque. We look at the spill. We look at each other.

“Guess we’d better clean it up!” I say cheerfully, trying to put into practice my remain-calm life goal.

With much blotting, dabbing, wiping, and removing sodden placemats and napkins, we return to lunch, one glass each left on the table – mine far emptier than when we’d first begun. I put our plates in front of us again.

“Let’s try this again – cheers!” I say, successfully lifting my glass. He reaches for his glass and fumbles, his fingers not quite fully encompassing the jelly-jar-turned-drinking glass, and the cup goes down, the slow spread of his nut milk making a mockery of our still-slower reaction time.

What is there to do but clean it up?

So I do. We drink what remains of our milk, we eat our lunch, and we go on to do letter work and play camping and argue about playing Super Grover games on sesamestreet.org. It’s just a regular day, after all.

GIRL

Tuesday, February 28. Today. Fat Tuesday.

For Read Across America Day/Week, Girl’s first grade teacher has parents coming in to read. Boy and I go in, reading the Dr. Seuss book of Girl’s choice. We end up staying, and Boy gets to go to recess with the big kids. He races around, an elementary student in miniature. First grade girls talk to me, and I hear about one girl’s mother’s pregnancy, her sister’s vision, the age of her father, her own blurriness when reading sometimes.

School ends, and we leave together, heading down the mountain. “I don’t like to go down the mountain!” Boy protests. We go anyhow.

We arrive at the eye clinic, and without fanfare, without whistles or bells or snacks in celebration – or even instructions to the first grader – she receives her first pair of glasses. The frames look red, now purple, now pink, and the shape seems oh-so-much more pleasing and adorable than the glasses I first got at the age of four. Her future self may judge her past self more harshly, but these are some adorable glasses! “I love them!” she says.

She wears them as we stop in the grocery store. She takes them off for the ride home; Boy does not complain about the trip up the mountain. We are listening to The Wizard of Oz on CD, and Dorothy is being left behind as the Wizard of Oz’s balloon takes off without her; they are rapt. (At home later, Boy will be heard repeating lines of the story to himself: “I am Oz, the great and terrible. Why do you seek me?”)

She does not wear her glasses at home, even as she reads The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins. Astigmatism. Farsightedness. Reading is the targeted activity for the new spectacles, but they sit next to her, across the room, in a different room. “I’ll wear them tomorrow,” she says. “They hurt my ears.”

Another day ends, and they sleep.

October 6th, Tuesday. Boy had his first car ride (and out-of-the-house trip) in underwear. He stayed dry, which the car, the Piggly Wiggly, and I all appreciated. Woo hoo! Within two or three weeks, he had fully transitioned to underwear during the day. Celebration!

October 6th, Tuesday (same day). Boy had his first real experience throwing up. There was a lot of orange food involved: cooked carrots, raw carrots, goldfish – so as you can imagine, this was quite the first. Sadness.

This was also Girl’s full week of fall break, her first real break from kindergarten (excluding Labor Day). She, too, spent it sick. Pretty much the whole week, between them. We each had a turn. Not the most fun we’ve ever had.

November 13, Friday. Yes, that’s Friday the 13th. No, we wouldn’t have picked it that way. Today, the house that Boy and Girl have dubbed “The Bluestone House” finally became ours. Their very own home – it will be Girl’s fourth home of residence but only Boy’s second.

November 30, Monday. Girl first tried and subsequently succeeded at tying shoelaces. Hooray! (And did you know that one method involves making two loops, not one? And apparently, it’s easier??) At school, beginning on December 1st, kindergarteners could get into the Jingle Bell Club. Once they showed their teacher that they could tie their shoes, they got to wear a jingle bell necklace every day at school for the rest of the month. Her entry into the club didn’t come until roughly two weeks later, but she’s now a confident shoe tie-er – not bad for someone who still has no shoes with laces.

December 9, Wednesday. Girl, Boy, and I all got haircuts. For Girl, it was her first time donating hair (two of the cutest little braids). She was delighted to have chin-length hair and never once thought she’d made the wrong choice. I donated mine, too (yea!). For Boy, it was his first not-at-home haircut. All the same, I think I’ll be cutting his again next time, which should really be today!

December 22, Tuesday. After going to the public library for an ornament-making craft, Girl got her first library card and checked out her first book: William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. She was so proud of herself!

December 25, Friday (Christmas at the grandparents’ house). Boy was given his first pack of gum – Glee Gum, just like Girl got for Christmas when she was two – and chewed up a storm. Glee covered how he felt about it. (Sure, he swallowed a good bit, too…maybe we should call it “swallowing gum” instead of “chewing gum”!)

December 27, Sunday (our bonus Christmas at home). Girl received her own mug, “I (heart) Cupcakes!”, and was delighted. Sometimes, it’s the funny little things that are your own that become special.

January 2, Saturday. Girl read two books all by herself. I think she just holed up, snuggled in, and lost track of time. (What a great way to spend a day!) She read a Magic School Bus Chapter Book, Rocky Road Trip, and a Geronimo Stilton book, A Cheese-Colored Camper.

January 9, Saturday. Boy and Girl got to make pasta with their Auntie Lou. This was a first, and they enjoyed cranking the machine and helping to pull the pasta out. Family visit: yea!

After Matthew came home from a conference in Seattle (his return is always like a gift for the kids, whether it’s after a trip or just a morning at work), he unpacked his sack, Santa-style. (He should have laughed “ho-ho-ho,” too!) Among the goodies was a gift rolled in newspaper for Boy. He unrolled and unwrapped then said in high-pitched delight, “My very own mug!” His says “Seattle” and has one scene with a blue sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas and another scene with a grey sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas!

January 10, Sunday. Our first snow of the season that stuck. There was a little snow in December, the kind that decorates the air but not the ground, but this was enough to make a heavy powdered-sugar showing. Delight again! “I bet the house is wearing snow!” said Boy, upon seeing the snow on the ground, trees, and playset.

January 11, Monday. My first blog post in too long, my first reminder of the year of the many kinds of things that happen and pass all too quickly (or, in the case of stomach bugs, not quickly enough!) in the lives of small children.

Happy New Year, 2016!

It’s 10:11 a.m.

Girl started school at 8:00.

This has been a very, very long morning.

Girl is, according to the schedule, learning phonics. Every day. From 10:00 – 10:30. That should be easy since she already knows how to read.

What IS the point of education, really? Socialization? The ability to think creatively? Learning skills? Becoming a good citizen? Putting up with “learning” things you already know and learning patience? As a teacher, I didn’t spend much time thinking this matter through in the same way – of course, I wanted to be supportive, to get my students to think for themselves, to get them to be better and more critical readers and writers. I never saw it through the eyes of what someone else might hope for them, though. Being a parent changes a lot of things.

Here’s the school’s mission statement:

“The mission of ___, a caring and supportive center of learning excellence, is to assure that each student acquires the knowledge and life skills necessary for being an accountable, productive member of a democratic society.”

I’m not sure that that really sums up the whole of my goals for my child’s elementary education. I’d never suggest it’s a school’s job to do a parent’s job, but this seems to be leaving out whole areas of importance, like joy and creativity, cultural understanding and openness to new people and ideas, among other things, and the ability to think independently.

When Girl woke up this morning, she said, “I’m excited for my first day of school!” She paused, then added, “I’m nervous, too.”

After breakfast, and after peeing three times (she only ever pees once in the morning), she said, “My belly hurts.” I told her that sometimes, when we’re excited and nervous about something, we feel it in our bellies.

I hope that, as the day progresses, what she feels in her belly is more akin to excitement, some joy and creativity, and the thrill of new friendship.

It’s 10:21. Ten more minutes done.

Daddy guest post (thanks!):

Bedtime snuck up on Girl again tonight, and she needed to pee before she could settle down and sleep. Her trademark sing-song drifted out of the bathroom as she sat on the potty, mulling things over. When I went in to extract her from the bathroom and send her off to bed, she looked up earnestly and said, “I’m not so sure about going for the whole day tomorrow. Maybe I should just stay until lunch and then come home before nap time. I’m not a good napper. Yeah, maybe I’ll just ask my teacher if I can come home after lunch.”

She and her Mama share a mind sometimes. Mama isn’t exactly eager to let others watch over her girl for seven hours a day, five days a week, and Girl isn’t so sure about it, either. We’ll have to wait to see where these tentative steps into unfamiliar territory lead, but Girl summed things up perfectly as she snuggled Mama in bed: “I’ll miss you tomorrow.” We’ll miss you, too, love.

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