Archive for October, 2008

Alternative education

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Reid’s intention to learn to read last night was no match for my persuasiveness and the lure of the park. We played for about 30 minutes before heading home. On the way, Reid asked if we could have a picnic in the living room and watch cartoons. In French, she added. Then, as though inspired, Reid told me that she didn’t want to go to school anymore but would learn French by watching French cartoons. I laughed and complimented her creative approach to finding an alternative approach to her education. Specifically I said, “Good try but you’re not dropping out to become a bilingual couch potato.” When she repeated her dislike of school, I responded with a simple, “You go to school. That’s what you do,” and changed the subject. It seemed to work. There haven’t been tears or wobbly bottom lips during this sort of a conversation in a while at least. (Knock wood.)

Exploring at the farm

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Watching over the Jock River

Queen of the castle

Touching the river water

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Big night ahead of us

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Last Friday, Reid and I went to the playground next to her school, the one I didn’t know existed, and I was ready to leave before she was. I have to keep track of things like supper and bedtime while Reid thinks more of play. It’s the way we divide labour in our family. I told Reid that we needed to leave but offered to go again one night this week. We discussed our week and determined that Monday was out because of swimming lessons. Reid ruled out tonight because, in her words, “I have to learn to read on Tuesday night.” I must have missed that note from the teacher. To go from no homework – I don’t even know what their theme is, if they have one – to being expected to teach Reid to read in one night seems excessive! On the bright side, Reid’s communication book noted that Reid was reading words like “_at” and “_ar” yesterday and so perhaps I’m not starting at nothing.

I’m still going to pitch the park as tonight’s activity since it isn’t too cold (maybe 12 degrees Celsius), it isn’t raining and it isn’t cold yet. Days like these will become less and lass common as autumn progresses here in Ottawa. I want to take advantage of the weather. Maybe Reid can wait to learn to read until the next rainy evening we have.

If you know any authors of books for children

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Today was the first day in a month that Reid hasn’t told me that she doesn’t want to go to school. The first week went well at pickup and drop off but since then, Reid has told me that she doesn’t want to go to school. Usually she asks at bedtime if the next day is a school day and if it is, then she says she doesn’t want to go. Sometimes she asks me how much longer she has to go to school and isn’t happy with my “about 20 years” response. Reid declared her preference to abstain from education last night but not this morning. I don’t suppose it will happen again tonight. When I pick Reid up from school, she is always playing happily and sometimes makes me wait until she has finished something before we can leave.

All this to say that if you know Robert Munsch, Marie-Louise Gay, or any other author of children’s books, please let them know that some kids do very well on the first day of school but need a little encouragement as the routine develops. We’ve read many books about first-day jitters but haven’t found any that offer advice for the “hey, my life has really changed” stress that Reid is experiencing.

Me, I’m savouring a day free of my well-practiced “school is fun, important and inevitable” lecture. Hope your day goes well, too.

Sporty Reid

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I have in my memory, even if I don’t want to, references to “doctor Barbie” and “water ski Barbie”, or something to that effect. I’m sharing Reid’s physical activity schedule for when she is at school. At first I was surprised to see the 30 minute blocks when I’d been told there would be 60 minutes each day but then I considered the time required to get the kids from school clothes into and out of a bathing or ice skates, etc. The teachers will get the full 60 minute workout at least.

* Monday – Swimming
* Tuesday – Physical education
* Wednesday – Gymnastics
* Wednesday – Skating
* Thursday – Dance
* Friday – Free play in gym

I’m told that the swimming will go all year and the skating will last until March but that the other classes may change after a few months. With Reid’s decision to drop gymnastics and skating except at school, our weeks seem much easier than when we were going to gymnastics, skatings and swimming in the evenings without her missing any of the activities. I feel like I’m eating my cake and having it, too.  

Reid also has a music class, based on the Music for Young Children program, on Thursdays at 11:00, which may or may not conflict with or compliment Kindermusik. I don’t know much about Music for Young Children as their site is vague and the school hasn’t sent home Reid’s music book.

Click for La Leche League

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I’m going to steal shamelessly from Breastfeeding 1-2-3 to point you to the Squidoo charity contest that will see money go to La Leche League:

Squidoo is giving away $80,000 to charity. In order to decide the mix of beneficiaries, Squidoo invites people to visit its website and vote for an organization to receive $2. That will continue until the entire $80,000 has been allocated or until October 15, 2008, whichever comes first. On the list of beneficiaries is La Leche League. It’s so easy and fast to vote — no registration is required, just the click of a button! So head on over to the $80,000 Squidoo Charity Giveaway

Now Reid knows too

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Reid was bursting with pride last night when I picked her up from school. She had had her first skating lesson without me and it had gone very well. She skated alone, she told me, there were no adults near her. “Not even a single drop close,” Reid said. They were way at the other end of the ice, she said. I suspect she was exaggerating a bit in that but since she refused almost entirely to try to skate without holding on to me, I’m impressed that she wasn’t holding on to anyone. I told Reid that I knew she could skate alone – had told her so when we were still taking lessons together – and that I was so happy that she knew now that she could skate alone, too.

Reid acknowledged that she had fallen a few times but that she had also developed a new technique for getting up again. She never did like the “pushing on one knee” technique that she’d been taught in Frosty Blades. Reid told me that one of the Senior Kindergarten girls was able to skate without falling. I pointed out that M is older than Reid and probably more experienced but that Reid would improve, too. I think that they skate weekly until March. Five months should give her a strong base, I think. Maybe she’ll be ready for hockey next fall?

Reid asked me if I was proud of her. I was surprised she couldn’t tell from what I said but maybe she wanted the actual words. I told her that I was proud and that I thought *she* should be proud of herself, too. She nodded vigorously and said she was. (Sidebar: I read an advice book for parents of only children that it’s important to help your children recognize when they feel proud of themselves rather than having them perform to cause you pride. Sometimes I over think things but I don’t want her to be a messed up kid.)

We spoke with Grandma Joyce and Aunt Lisa on the phone last night and Reid was excited to recount her feat of solo skating. It’s the most fun to speak with Reid when she has something to report, I think. They got lucky, eh? I’m still looking for fluid skaters for weekend family skates, so bring your skates when you come to Ottawa.

Happy birthday, Danielle

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Since Reid and I sang to Danielle on the phone Wednesday night, I’ve decided that this isn’t a belated happy birthday. Especially when you consider the people who haven’t received a message at all – like Reid, among others.

* I’m not sure that I thought that Roger would ever be a dad but I thought he would be a good one. I’m glad you came along so that I could see him in that role.
* As a baby, you looked just like I did as a baby – big head, big eyes and skinny, little body, very E.T. And, of course, beautiful.
* One night when I was visiting, you dragged a clothes basket filled with Barbie dolls and their clothes into the room and started to play with them. I watched my big brother fumble with them as he joined you and that helped me remember when he played with me.
* There was too big a gap between babies in our family. Your arrival broke the drought and that was a good thing. Imagine that I made the others wait so long before breaking the next drought.
* You were a well-behaved, walking, talking doll in my wedding. (Or maybe you were rotten and I’ve forgotten – my memory is like that – but I know you were super-cute in the pictures.)
* You have come for many visits to Ottawa, including that one where I didn’t know you were coming. It was a nice surprise. You can come whenever you want, even if you want to leave your parents at home.
* If you weren’t around, Reid wouldn’t have a girl cousin as “close” in age as you are. She thinks of the two of you as very much the same. (Wrong but true.)
* You are so patient with Reid and include her in many activities, even if you would otherwise be able to hang with Izzy in peace.
* You have a slow smile that is more than worth waiting for. I hope that it is on your face now as you read my birthday wishes.

Happy birthday, Danielle!

Fun at the park

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Sit and spin

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ. You’ll find lots of cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.