Archive for the ‘School’ Category

Parks and cars but not parked cars

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

One of the parents of a child in  Reid’s class invited us – and a few others – by email to a local park on Saturday morning. Three other families were there and then another classmate and her brother and father, who hadn’t been on the email, turned up as well. The kids were excited to see each other and we parents had lots to say as well. One of the fathers had brought along a 5-foot-tall inflatable rocket that was powered by water and air pressure. The kids “helped” getting everything set up and then took turns pumping the air in and then launching the rocket. We were all impressed with how high the rocket flew. After a few launches, the rocket was put away and the kids scattered.

Reid went to the splash pad along with a couple of others. It was the best choice because it was already hot. I took advantage of the opportunity to practice with my new lens.  For some reason my hand wants to turn it the wrong way to zoom. The results were pretty good, I think. When Reid was comfortable, I went to sit with the other parents while I watched Reid. After a couple of hours, some of the families decided to go swimming at a nearby pond but Reid and I needed to go home for lunch. I suggested that we should meet up again on the 29th to help the kids prepare for their first day of school. Someone suggested that I should organize it since I’m good at it. I’m anal, that’s what they meant. I’ll take on the challenge.

We had lunch with Ken and then headed for Grandmama’s. Before we got to the first exit, I realized that I’d forgotten to get gas. Which then reminded me that I’d left my wallet in out swimming bag. Back home we went. I asked Ken to watch Reid while got my wallet and a couple of other things. By the time I got back to the car, Reid was asleep. She slept for an hour and forty-five minutes and I was worried that I wasn’t going to have a chance to stop for wild blueberries offered for sale at the side of the road. We both appreciated the chance to stretch our legs and buy a pie to go along with the oh-so-sweet (and oh-so-expensive) tiny blueberries. We didn’t have too much longer to drive, though. When we arrived at Grandmama’s apartment, Reid commented on how short the drive had been. I suggested that her long nap had been the key difference but Reid told me that she had napped only briefly but rested for a long time. I hadn’t realized that she rests with eyes closed and her mouth open.

We spent an enjoyable couple of hours with Grandmama. Reid showed how she could solve the Camelot Jr puzzles – reuniting the knight and princess over and over. For greater effect, Reid brought them together sometimes and made kissy noises. The mix of princess fantasy and math skills is really odd. Reid inspected the pretty, little things on Grandmama’s window ledges and tables. She had questions and comments about nearly everyone. Having Reid play with them stressed me out but Grandmama didn’t seem to mind. After supper, we tidied up and then hit the road again.

Aunt Lisa was visiting at Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry’s when we got there. Uncle Ron and the kids had gone to a Buffalo Bills pre-season game. We had a visit with her and then I shuffled Reid off the bed, congratulating myself on Reid’s nap giving us a bit of breathing room in terms of bedtime. Except. Except that Reid still wasn’t tired and I was more than tired. I told her we’d get up to see the stars in the middle of the night, planning to take advantage of the reduced noise pollution. I just couldn’t face waking Reid at 2:00 when I woke up but at 5:00, Reid’s eyes popped open and she asked it was time. I told her yes, and we hurried outside. For 15 minutes, we looked at the moon and the stars. Reid asked a bunch of questions and I said, “We’ll have to look that up” a bunch of times and then I took her back to bed before she noticed that the sky was lightening. It was pretty magical to be outside in the dark. We’ll have to do it again. Reid drifted off for another 45 minutes and then was up to greet the day.

Grandpa Terry and Grandma Barb cooked us a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs and all the trimmings and then we climbed into the car again, this time on our way to Toronto. I asked Reid if she wanted to go the Rainforest Café or McDonalds for lunch and she chose McDonalds. That saved me a bunch of money. I’m so glad I asked.

We met Aunt Karin, Shea and Jordyn at their hotel and Reid visited the kids while we got checked in and then we all went to A&W – which is better than McDonalds in Reid’s opinion. Reid had initially said that she didn’t want me to stay for lunch. She said that she’d seen me lots for she hadn’t seen Aunt Karin for a “hundred days”. Reid is an exaggerator, a hundred is a popular number and also a million and a googol. I explained that I’d missed Aunt Karin, too, and I stayed for lunch. Reid barely looked up as I left and got in the car for my drive back to Ottawa.

How does she get so girly?

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Reid went to a birthday party of a little boy in her class on Sunday afternoon. When a present was first mentioned, she told me that J likes Spiderman and that we should choose something involving him. I’d already bought a chalk rake like we gave Dylan and always have a stash of book and so J got those instead. As Reid was signing the card and drawing a present, she asked if Ken or I could draw Spiderman for her to colour. I snorted at the mental image of what a Spiderman that *I* drew would look like and Ken also declined (though I bet he could have drawn something that could be recognized as Spiderman). Reid decided that a cat was “cool” and J likes cool. The fact that she can draw cats might have factored in ;+)

When it was time to put our shoes – or 5 minutes after we should have left – Reid paused in putting on her bejewelled Crocs. “J likes cool,” she said. I said that I thought her Crocs were pretty (especially since she was half-done putting them on) but Reid said, “No, these are pretty.” She chose some leather sandals from her bin and declared them “cool”. I somehow doubt that J noticed her sandals – cool, though they were. I don’t think 5-year-old boys think about such things. This 38-year-old mother doesn’t.

Go west, young women

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Reid and I went to Westfest – a street festival in the Westboro neighbourhood of Ottawa – on Saturday afternoon with M, Reid’s best friend from school. M was feeling shy and, by the time I parked the car, was complaining of a sore tummy. Fortified with water and distracted by Reid’s chatter about all of the amazing activities that awaited us, M walked along with us. I stopped the girls to get a pic of each of them, just in case we go separated. Reid was quite vividly dressed in a multi-coloured striped scooter worn under a t-shirt dress that was red, orange and yellow and topped with a flower-print sleeveless top. Guess who chose that outfit? M was less flamboyantly attired but I thought if I lost one of them, my memory and communication skills might be impaired by stress.

I was worried that we might have to go back home when M refused the first bouncy castle but she slowly came to the conclusion that there was fun to be had. The girls got balloons from the optometrist, though not eyeball balloons unfortunately, and lollipops from Mrs Tiggywinkle’s as we wandered down the street. We followed some Chinese drummers who accompanied three dragon dancers. M and Reid were entranced and moved more quickly in pursuit of these performers than at any other time during the day. We went to two other bouncy castles and Reid tried to climb a portable rock wall. She barely made the weight minimum for climbing the wall and wasn’t quite tall enough to reach the hand and foot holds. I helped her as high as I could reach and then, when she was high enough to tell me that she was scared, helped her back down. Reid was rightfully proud of herself.  At some point early in our adventure, M lost her balloon and we spent a long time looking for another. Finally, we retraced our steps only to find that the optometrists had closed up their balloon operation, as had the other couple places we’d seen giving them out. Fortunately, Reid spotted the Bicycles for the World booth, which still had balloons and helium. I’d already broached the idea that Reid would have to give up her balloon since M was our guest and she hadn’t liked the idea much. She had extra motivation, I guess.

We dragged ourselves back to the car three hours after we left it. I was ever-so-glad that I’d remembered our Kleen Canteen of water. The day was hot enough that having a Camel Back on my back would have been welcome. I was proud not to have lost either girl and kept them from sunstroke and dehydration. Since it was the first time I’ve hosted a playdate, it seemed important to avoid such outcomes. Next time, I think I’ll put stickers in the kids shirts with my name and cell phone number on them. Or maybe those rubber bracelets that were all the rage a couple of years ago. Any opinions on what would be better?

Dress like a tourist day

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Fridays at Reid’s school are dress down days, or “wear anything” days as we call them. Reid takes a lot of care to choose just the right outfit. I try to keep her from wearing the same outfit twice. There are so many clothes in her drawer that I like to give them a fair chance to get. To complicate matters, the last Friday of each month has a theme for what to wear. We’ve had Hawaiian day and Wear White day and Inside-Out day, among others.

Today is Dress Like a Tourist day. And I have to say that I was stumped. We decided that a souvenir t-shirt, sunglasses and a camera would do. And it would have been great if we hadn’t misplaced the camera. I spent time searching last night and then found it this morning, boldly sitting on a shelf in Reid’s room.  I’d also considered sending her old passport – too much personal information – and thought we could have made binoculars if I planned ahead. Which, of course, I didn’t. I thought about plane tickets but by the time I thought of them, Ken and Reid were standing in the foyer were their shoes on. Reid wasn’t worried about her outfit and so all was good. I took a picture of Reid taking a picture of me before she went into pre-care. That seemed a very touristy thing to do. The first kid we saw was also wearing sunglasses and carrying a camera. I guess Reid fit in.

I worry way to much about these sort of things.

Sound show-and-tell

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Reid has had a couple of show-and-tell activities lately for which Reid has had to bring items that begin with a particular sound.

I have to confess that I don’t always read Reid’s communication book as soon as she gets home. Thursdays are a particular challenge since we go straight from school to Kindermusik and don’t get home until after 7:00. I was feeling lucky one Thursday evening when I read the note in Reid’s communication book at home instead of at school the next day and it said that she needed to bring “a” sound things for show-and-tell the next day. There wasn’t any indication as to whether the discussion would be in English or French. Reid supplied the answer – French – and we gathered a few Playmobil people. Three kids in a Ziplock became “les amis” and some grown ups in a separate bag became “les adultes”. I added “une assiette” (plate), “un alligator”, a picture of “un athlète” and Reid was all set. At the last moment, Reid asked me to write the names of each item on a piece of paper. I complied after only a brief discussion of the fact that she can’t actually read.

Most recently, we were collecting “j” sounds and I was glad that they told us on Wednesday. “Jaune” was obvious and “jupe” came quickly but then I was stumped. It’s harder than you’d think, trying to brainstorm words that:
* begin with a certain sound;
* are spelled in a “normal” way, e.g. giraffe doesn’t work because it has the right sound but not the right initial letter;
* have physical manifestations, e.g. “jolie” has the required sound and letter but how do we put “pretty” into a sandwich bag? and
* are things known to Reid.

And all the while Ken and I are working in our second language.

Despite the fact – or maybe because of it – that we were running late, Reid insisted on writing the list of the things that she was taking herself. She patiently, precisely, though not necessarily accurately, formed each letter as I spoke it. Ken, meanwhile, fidgetted for a bit before resigning himself to being really late. On the bright side, Reid got to practice making her letters. She makes pretty much every letter in a manner contrary to the learn-to-print workbooks that I’ve purchased but never had Reid complete. I don’t know whether to speak with her teachers – maybe they are following a method that I don’t know of – or try and interest her in the workbooks. I don’t want her to spend 2 years developing bad habits that will then have to changed in grade 1. And, yes, I know I worry a lot but it’s part of my charm ;+)

How to get kids to drink their milk

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

On Monday night I made Hyderbadi Biryani chicken and rice with a new kind of spice paste. The kind I’ve tried before was too bland and so I was pleased to find a new kind that had many fewer four-syllable ingredients. Well, the chicken we had for supper that night was definitely not bland! Reid and I added yogurt to ours to calm it down some. Grandma Barb initially refused since she isn’t a fan of yogurt. She changed her mind, though, after her first bite.

Reid worked her way through her biryani chicken and rice, alternating bites and large gulps of milks. At one point, she looked up and declared emphatically, “This is hotter than curry!” And then she took another bite. Sometimes we have to keep her at the table to get her to finish her milk but, on Monday, Reid drank 3 times her usual amount and mooched some of mine.

If I ever need reminding of what a strong influence other people have over me, Reid’s attitude to drinking milk reminds me. At day care (I know) and at school (I think), the kids have to wait until the end of the meal to get their milk. I’m a sipper, myself, and really don’t like to drink a bunch of milk all at once. Ken and I prompt Reid to drink during the meal but she often doesn’t take our advice. We just don’t have the influence we used to have. The biryani chicken and rice, though, *it* has the influence we lack.

Can you make a career out of changing light bulbs?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

On Tuesday we – or at least I - dedicated at least 10 minutes to trying to leave Reid’s school but those fascinating fellows in facilities maintenance were distracting Reid. They have a sort of moveable, personal elevator that lifts them to the right level to change the lightbulbs. Reid found the whole process fascinating. I reminded myself that a good mother let’s her child explore and observe. We talked about the how and why and we shared the experience. I was wondering if there was a career in light bulb changing as we finally left.


Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I got my language exam results back this morning. I got the “C” that I needed and so I was doing a little dance of joy as I walked home from dropping Reid off at school. It was a sort of French country dance, if you were wondering, and I was whispering “Youpi!” over and over. That’s how bilingual I am now!

Thanks to all of you who sent best wishes and also to everyone who restrained themselves from saying, “Enough about your French training already!” ;+)

The first day of the rest of my …

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Oops. I was posting this bit that I wrote yesterday but forgot to change the time stamp. It only makes sense for yesterday.

With my oral language exam behind me, I’ve taken time off until the New Year. At that point I will either return to work or school but for a few days I will be in limbo. And so today might not be anything as dramatic as “the first day of the rest of my life” but it is at least the first day of the rest of my week, at least. I’ve lots planned, of course.

I let Reid sleep in today since she fell asleep on the way home from school last night (though she claimed to be pretending) and since I was thinking I’d start running my errands right after I dropped her off and I didn’t want to be waiting for stores to open. Ken, Reid and I, joined by Bruno, shovelled the theoretical 5 centimetres – given what we shovelled, I’d be 6 feet tall – from our driveway and even from our neighbours’ half. Finally, I gave Reid her breakfast, refilled the dishwasher and chatted with Ken while he waited and waited and waited for his ride. Do you remember about the bus strike? Rush hour starts about 6am and lasts til 7pm these days. Between the strike and new snow, it took me twice as long to get Reid to her class. Still, I got her there safely and was dropping cookies off to Amanda just after 9:00. My next stop was the train station to exchange my on-line transaction receipt for actual tickets. The last time we took the train, I waited until the morning of the trip and we ended up having to run for the train. It was all going so well until I heard the car door shut and realized that I had broken a cardinal rule of being me: I locked the door with the switch instead of my keys! Remember the extra cars on the road because of the strike and the snow I may have mentioned, say 3 sentences ago? They’ve got CAA tow trucks all tied up.

I remembered something my older, wiser sister told me about getting a key from the dealership (fortunately located near the train station) to get in the car for $13.56 (cost of the key) plus $19.22 (cost of the cab), I’ve escaped the hours-long wait for the tow truck. Imagine if I’d left when Ken thought I should, I probably wouldn’t have locked the keys in the car – it wouldn’t have been my turn – and I’d be two errands to the good. Ah well. Hope your day is going more smoothly.

Knights and boys

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

I have a pretty good idea of what Reid watches on television or hears in books, at least when she is at home. Someone, somewhere is talking to her about knights and dragons and monsters of other types. I wish whoever this person or persons are would stop. This morning, my sweet, little girl was telling me about a dream she had (not a nightmare) in which a knight “died” a monster. I resisted the urge to supply “kill” as the correct verb in this situation and decided I would ignore the sentence in the hope Reid would change the subject. When she continued talking about how the knights killed the monsters who didn’t share (apparently she *does* know the right verb), I told Reid that it made me sad that in her stories the knights killed the monsters rather than teaching them the right way to act. Reid explained that the knights tried to teach the monsters but if it didn’t work, then they killed them. Talk about a school of hard knocks! How does my little princess get so blood-thirsty?

I blame the boys in Reid’s class for the knights and the killing. If I weren’t even more afraid of an all-girl environment I’d be pouring over the brochures for a new school already. Just kidding. Well, mostly just kidding.

On the bright side, Reid isn’t afraid of the monsters.