Signs you are living with a new kindergartener…

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

She now calls all bathrooms “restrooms.” Even in her own house.

She can’t wait to get home from school, not so she can spend time with you but because she wants to hang out with the neighbor kids.

You need the sharp interrogation skills of a state prosecutor in order to find out about any part of her day.

There is more paperwork to shuffle through each day than what you had to sign when applying for your home mortgage.

She comes home singing a song in Chinese.

She asks you raise your hand if you want to take a turn talking at the dinner table.

You try your best to straighten out all the friends’ names she throws at you, but you’re met with only sighs and eye-rolls as if you should just KNOW it.

When there’s a behavior flareup, you briefly reminisce about age 3. (And age 3 was a nightmare.)

Her day is so action-packed that she is already asleep by the first time you check on her after leaving her room at bedtime. (Score!)

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K is for kindergarten

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I’m writing this as the mom of a kindergartener. Say what? Yes, a kindergartener! We’re still learning the ropes — all of us — but I think we’re adjusting well so far.

We had orientation on the 13th, two days before the first day of school, and we were able to go and meet The Big Sis’ teacher. She said she has been teacher for 25 years and has been at this school for 13 years, so I’m happy that she’s established and (presumably) knows what she’s doing. Unfortunately we were unable to visit her classroom that day, as the kindergarteners are in portables this year (nice ones — with hallways, water fountains, and bathroom and everything), and they weren’t quite ready on orientation night. But we were able to see her classroom when we took her for the first day of school, and The Big Sis was most excited to find out there are two guinea pigs, three turtles, and some hermit crabs in her room. One of them is named Sparkle, but so far I haven’t been able to get the other names out of her.

That’s one of the things I notice that is different so far — we have to ask very direct, pointed questions to get anything out of her now. Really, if I think about it, she was somewhat like that before. However, whereas before I could corroborate information with her teachers and fill in the blanks after talking with them daily, that’s not really the case now. (And it’s really not cool to call or e-mail the teacher to ask the classroom pets’ names.) Thankfully, The Husband and I are Master Interrogators and generally get out of her the information we are seeking, but it can be exhausting sometimes.

The Husband drives her to school, and they just started using the car drop-off line (parents are allowed to walk kindergarteners to class the first few days, but not after that). Yesterday her assistant teacher met the class in the cafeteria (as she did last week), as it’s a long walk outside to the portables, but starting today, they had to walk to their classes all by themselves. I know she did fine, but The Big Sis was kind of nervous about it. It’s actually a pretty straight shot, through the school, out the back door, and following a single paved sidewalk to her portable (first one) right by the playground, but I can imagine that to her it feels like a much longer walk. (Side note: We often had portables in school, as every school I’ve ever attended has undergone renovation while I was there. But we never had paved sidewalks leading us there! Instead, we had gravel sidewalks. That ruined your shoes. Bah!)

She has several “specials” throughout the week, including P.E., art, music, Chinese, library, and computer. I’m excited to have her teach me some Chinese. And who knows — maybe she’ll be able to explain to me the point of Twitter. πŸ˜‰ The Big Sis will have homework soon, probably toward the end of the month or beginning of September. (They have ordered special folders that they’re waiting to receive.) I’m unclear on how often it will be (see also: trouble getting answers out of her), but she should have time to work on it at her after-school program.

Oh! The after-school program. We had two realistic options: 1). The program at her school. This was cheaper (by $10/week), didn’t require her to be transported anywhere off-site, and would allow her to get to know other kids at her school. However, their big drawback was that they are not open during any days school is not in session and we would need to arrange other care. Or 2). The program at a church two blocks from our house. This was more expensive and required them to pick her up and take her there, but they are open during most school holidays (except major ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), all breaks, and snow days. Chances are decent that The Husband or I could arrange to work from home on her holidays, breaks, and snow days, however, we didn’t want to be in a position of both of us needing to be at work and not having anyone to care for The Big Sis.

So, we ultimately chose the church program near our house, which also has the advantage of giving us priority for enrollment in their summer program, which is what I would like to look into for next summer. (Crazy to be thinking about next summer already when technically it’s still summer now.) At this after-school program, The Big Sis will get an afternoon snack, have a chance to at least begin her homework (which will be a huge help since our evening time is pretty limited, though we still plan to be involved and go over her homework with her ourselves, even if she’s already completed it), and will get time in either their gym or outdoor playground. On the days she’s there all day long (like this Friday for teacher professional development), I think they often try to do a field trip or something else different for the kids. There are kids from both her school (including a couple in her specific class) as well as from a nearby school (including one of her best friends from preschool), so hopefully it’ll be a good way to branch out socially for her.

We all have to get up earlier, and we’re just a week into it, of course, but so far we’re doing well on that front. At the moment, The Husband is dropping off and picking up The Big Sis, and I am in charge of dropping off and picking up The Little Sis. We’ll continue to do that and see how it works and tweak if needed, but so far that’s the arrangement that makes the most sense. There will be some times that we will need to change (like next week when The Husband is out of town — ACK!), but for the most part I think this should be our new routine. We have tossed around the idea of seeing about moving The Little Sis to the daycare portion of the church program (there have been a few things at our place that I’m currently not happy with, and I gather that their financials aren’t that stable), but we’re waiting a bit to see how we like it there. No need to rush a decision like that.


A year of sisterly love

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I need to update on the first week of kindergarten soon, but it’s been a long week, so instead tonight I’ll share the video montage I did of The Big Sis and The Little Sis. Enjoy!

Click on the link below:

Sisters video montage


Wordless Wednesday: First day of kindergarten

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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Yep, she’s a one-year-old!

Monday, August 13, 2012

After having a lovely birthday party last weekend and a fun but low-key family celebration on Tuesday, we ended last week with a visit to the ol’ pediatrician (in their new offices…my two favorites from our previous practice split off on their own and we made the switch as well) for The Little Sis’ one-year checkup.

Everything looks great! Her physical exam was perfect, and she received three shots (including one in each arm) but cried only for the duration of the shots and then stopped crying as soon as I could snuggle her more. Easy peasy.

Her stats:

Weight: 21 pounds, 14.5 ounces (50th to 75th percentile)
Height: 30 inches (75th to 90th percentile)
Head circumference: 17 3/4 inches (50th to 75th percentile)

Our infant car seat goes to 22 pounds and 30 inches, so it looks like we’ll be making the switch very, very soon (which we expected…I knew she was getting close to both measurements).

Our developmental questions this time:

*Can your baby pull herself to a stand?

*Does your baby look at toys? (there was more to this question, I think, but I forgot to jot the rest down!)

*Does your baby imitate what you and/or others do (like pretending other objects are a phone, etc.)?

*Does your baby point to objects and/or people?

*Does your baby jabber?

*Can your baby play pat-a-cake?

I was able to answer yes to all of them except the last one — and the answer to that one is: I don’t know! Confession: I’ve never played pat-a-cake with her! So, um…maybe?

We’ve got a healthy, happy girl, and I couldn’t be more pleased.


Month by month

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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What a one-derful day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy birthday to my little miss sunshine. πŸ™‚

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School daze

Friday, August 3, 2012

Add together a bum Internet connection at home all week with a busy work week and it equals no post for a while. I’ve had this one written for a week or so but hadn’t had a chance to post it yet.

*******

In general, I try to avoid conflict and (most of all) confrontation. As a result, I am an easy-going person about a lot of things (so as to avoid conflict and confrontation), and perhaps I let some things slide that other people might not. But we recently had a few things happen at daycare that really got under my skin and I felt it was necessary to speak with the director.

The first thing was when The Big Sis told me last week that half the class had to stay inside at afternoon playground time (with one of the teachers present, of course) because they were “being bad.” I don’t really care what they were doing — it is a state regulation that they get that playground time (unless there are extreme weather conditions). And you don’t think that the kids who were “being bad” NEED that physical outlet? Unacceptable. As I told the director, I would equate that to taking away her lunch for misbehavior. Not cool, preschool teachers. Not cool.

Next, there’s one teacher who used to be full time in the 2s/3s room who left to nanny, but now she’s back as a part-time floater with an oops on the way (#5) and a bad attitude to go along with it. The first thing was that The Husband said she was rolling her eyes at him at drop-off one morning whenever any of the kids (but one in particular) would go over to her to tell her something. Okay, on its own, that is probably not worth pulling the director aside, but two other things factored into it. The first is that I saw this teacher in two different rooms — at lunch in the baby room and at pick-up in the preschool room — and BOTH times she was devoting a large amount of time to texting. For probably six months now I’ve seen a memo to the teachers at the school reminding them that they are not allowed to text at ALL while on the job and that needs to be saved for their break time. In addition, this memo mentioned that a child had been hurt in one of the rooms and when the parent was trying to find out what happened, they went back to look at the video tape and discovered that the teacher was texting at the time it happened and very likely could have prevented it from happening. (That’s not guaranteed, of course, as plenty of injuries happen that can’t be prevented even with the greatest attention being paid, but it certainly can’t be prevented when the teacher is texting on the job.)

But the tipping point was this. The Big Sis is going through a daddy phase BIG time. (I was told the other day, “You’re a horrible mommy, and when I have kids, I’m going to be a FUN mommy, not like you!”) She rotates what blanket she takes to school, and she’s been so excited to take this blue afghan of The Husband’s, telling everyone it’s “my daddy’s blanket!” As I may have mentioned before, The Big Sis doesn’t nap anymore, so usually they have her just lie there quietly at naptime or read a book while the others nap. This floater was in there during the first part of nap, and The Big Sis told me in the saddest voice: “She said she was going to throw my daddy’s blanket in the trash if I didn’t go to sleep right then.” Um, no. Just NO. You do NOT tell my child that you’re going to throw away her cherished blanket. Or ANYthing she owns. (I later found out that she also regularly threatens to throw away the kids’ shoes if they don’t go to sleep. Sure, that’s not going to give a child anxiety or anything.)

The two conversations I had with the director were good; she took note of my concerns and said she would address them with the teachers, and I made sure to let The Big Sis know that she needs to tell me if any of this stuff happens again, or anything else that she just doesn’t feel is right. Sure, she has just three weeks left there, but I don’t want it to be an unhappy time for her. The director also asked me how I thought things were going in the preschool room since the lead teacher resigned in early June. I hadn’t planned to get into it, but since she asked, I told her that I felt like the discipline and punishment methods they tend to use are way too negative focused and could stand to be more positive-oriented (which, honestly, I felt was the case even before this teacher left, but it’s a big undertaking to get others to change their entire philosophy in this area, so I never bothered).

I pointed out that instead of rewarding good behavior, they’re constantly punishing bad behavior, and that just ends up feeding on itself. I used the example of adults at work. I said that if I were docked pay for every mistake I made, eventually I’d not necessarily work harder but certainly would develop a bad attitude about it. But if I were offered some kind of bonus for excellent work? Well, suddenly I might be willing to work a little harder to get that desired outcome. I really don’t expect anything to change, and it doesn’t really matter for The Big Sis in her final couple of weeks, but it would be nice to have that in place by the time The Little Sis is in the preschool room.