Sunday, September 18, 2011

At some point a shift happened

So yes, kids get older. Their interests change, they discover things that are new and things that they like. And I also know that a big change does happen when they get teenagers. But really, since the start of school, both kids have really surprised me with their likes that have changed recently.

Trevor's change has been very nice from a homework perspective. I know some of it has to do with the ease of his reading now. Over the last part of the summer, he has really enjoyed rereading his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and even started writing in his journal part of the do-it-yourself book. So I've tried to run to the library before we head out on a longer car ride in order to get new books for the kids to enjoy in the car. I want to try to distract the kids in other ways than the movie. So for Trevor, I thought he was more interested in the series books, but nah...he'd rather do a comic strip book like Garfield. And he'll reread the books many times, which is also a bonus for me. For his class, his homework is to read at least 20 minutes every day and record how much he reads in a journal which I have to initial. His teacher then gives out a prize at the end of the month for the kid that has read the most. I haven't even had to set a timer for the 20 minutes, it ends up being close to an hour before he realizes he has been reading for a while. Now we just have to make sure to have books that remain interesting to him. Thank goodness for libraries!

Then there is Gwen. She has always loved music, and has gotten some enjoyment out of some of the songs that Russ plays. A newer show on the disney channel is called "A.N.T. Farm" it is about a gifted program for kids that are 10-11 years old that go to high school. I'm guessing that it is targeted at 10-11 year olds, but Gwen LOVES the show. She made me put a picture of the show on her "about me" poster for preschool. I've been looking on other kids and yep, the shows on PBS kids, Nickelodeon, Disney Jr...and then Gwen with A.N.T. Farm. She loves the songs that the main character sings and the title song from the show. She asks to watch any show that is on the DVR or cable box we have from the series. I guess part of the issue might be from me because I've been having the radio on Radio Disney which plays a lot of the tweener songs on it, and she knows most of the words, but oh well. She still loves her baby dolls, princess dolls, and playing dress-up so she isn't 10 years old yet!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new routine I am still not used to

Ah well, you think you are going to get more time, but nah...probably not. I do eventually think it will slow down, but honestly not until next year. I remember this feeling going from back-to-school straight into Gwen's birthday to Trevor's birthday to Christmas. I guess that's what happens when everyone's birthdays are so close together.

Anyway, we went through a few first days of school here! Trevor's was on the traditional day after Labor Day. Gwen actually had a school gathering, what they called open house for her preschool where we went and dropped off her school supplies. It was only supposed to run from 9 to 10 or you could come in the afternoon but do you think I could get her out of there? Even after I had let her go into the childcare the week prior. Nope, she was ready to spend the whole day there.

Thankfully, Trevor was SO excited to get back to school, and never mentioned one word about being sad that he wasn't going back to his old teacher's class. I think it helped that we met his new teacher and she made him feel very comfortable. The weather has been so nice that we have been walking to and from school a lot. Because his classroom is the farthest away from the front door I have also found an alternate entrance that the other bikers and walkers use for the time being.

His second day of school was a "rough day" as he put it. He has a hard time keeping his ears open if something is going on. For example he is watching tv, and I try to call to him, he wouldn't hear it. If he is reading a book, same thing. If he is playing his imagination games, nope...gone. So it didn't surprise me that he missed his class being called in from recess. By 15 minutes even. So he was told that if he did it again, he would get a pink slip (something that he is terrified to get). I guess his teacher also asked him repeatedly to focus on some classwork which he did not do. That got him another pink slip warning. So that day wasn't the best. But on Friday, he found out that for their weekly choice time, as long as they are able to go outside for recess (as in if the weather rain, or below zero temperatures/wind chills) they are able to use their Friday choice time as additional outside time. I can tell you at that moment, his school year turned around. He LOVES LOVES LOVES recess. His favorite subject in school is gym. I am pretty sure there is no way to tire him out until the clock turns 9:01pm. He is just full of energy. So that was a big score.

So immediately, I knew I had to figure out how to remedy the recess situation. Explaining to him to pay more attention would not do a bit of difference. I decided to get him a watch with an alarm on it, set to a minute before he was supposed to come inside. So far, so good. I'm not sure if we have the correct time set to come in or not. I may have to adjust it a few more minutes, but he knows to be listening or at least come closer to where they call for classes so he has yet to be late back to class since the watch.

And then Gwen has really been trying to adjust to her new schedule. She goes to preschool M, W, F from 9 to noon. It is a half hour longer per day and one extra day per week than last year. She has I think 4 more kids in her class than last year so it is a bit more to get used to. She has enjoyed seeing a lot of her friends come back and meet new ones as well. The strangest thing I think is that perhaps it is because she has a big schedule adjustment, or because she is having a growth/development spurt, but she is ALL out of sorts. She is sassing off to her friends and family (I am not certain about her preschool teachers...I hope not). And then today, she fell asleep in the car at 10:30 in the morning. Her sleeping has been out of whack. I guess I would call this period one of disorganization for her. So probably is some sort of growth thing. I hope she grows out of her choice of words soon. It worries me that she doesn't really have a whole lot of respect right now. Not to say I don't think I could remedy it by taking away her favorite things, but I just don't want it to have to come to that. Goodness....I never would have thought boys and girls would be THIS different!

And then there is my routine. I am so confused right now. I generally don't have any idea what day of the week it is because I'm thrown all off. I volunteered at school a few days this week and will continue to do so at least once a week, plus PTA responsibilities, plus wondering if I have too few or too many activities for the kids....blah...never ending. Only 20 more days until Gwen's birthday. Gotta get that started soon! Here comes the rush of days...weeks...months!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Finishing up summer vacation

As per usual, I am a little behind on the posting. Over the past few weeks we have been trying to get those last few things done before knowing that school is coming, as well as cooler weather, to not be as hot doing things as used to be. I have had the chance to go to a Twins game, take Trevor on a lunch date to one of our favorite restaurants, and go out to the Science Museum. We did also get a chance to meet Trevor's new teacher last week and make sure that we are all ready to go for the start of school.

Even without all the family activities, I have been also trying to get my stuff together for all the other non-kid tasks I have going on. But really, I want to make sure the kids use their last few days of summer vacation as having fun.

My dad, brothers and I all got to go to a Twins game, and it was always fun to spend a very nice night at an outdoor ball park. AND not have to worry about keeping an eye on someone. We were two rows in front of a person who caught a foul ball, and the game score wasn't very good for the home team, but it was a wonderful event with the family.

Last Wednesday, I was able to get Gwen excited to try out her childcare again before her preschool started up again. I used that time to get a few of my work things done, but also to take Trevor to Benihana for lunch. I have to say it is SO much less expensive for lunch than it is for dinner. We have to remember that for the next time we want to eat there as a family. Trevor was at first not wanting to go because he wanted the family to be there with us. Then he was worried about how much money I was going to have to spend. So he offered to pay for us. I explained that it was my treat, and that I wanted to spend some time with him, just him and me. When we arrived and were seated at a full table, he said he was much more excited. He was worried that it was going to be just him and me at the table. He said he was going to be embarrassed. I let him get an adult order of shrimp and along with most of the table, we ordered double the shrimp sauce. We mostly talked about whatever was on Trevor's mind which, at the time, was how he was sure that this meal was going to cure his cold. He seemed to feel it working and wanted to remember all the steps that he did during the day to drive the cold away. It was a very pleasant conversation and again, one where I didn't have to keep an eye out for the kid running around.

Last Monday, Gwen, Trevor and I went with my dad to the science museum to spend the day. It was meant to be just Trevor, as Gwen is a little young for the science museum, but we made do. We started off in the body section, and Gwen accidentally found the sneezing girl. It FREAKED her out. For those of you that don't know where it is, it is a mist-blowing mechanism that is meant to explain that if someone does not cover their mouth when they sneeze, the germs can travel up to 15 feet through the air. Last time we were there, Trevor loved it. I was surprised that he didn't race right over there and that Gwen found it first. But once he found it, if we were ever in the area, he tried to become the scientist of the area, explaining and demonstrating the activity to anyone around. But then he saw the lab area. It stated it was for ages 8-13 so when Trevor really wanted to get in, the people working the area said that if an adult went with him, he could still enter. So I went with and we did the cheek cell demonstration. It worked and he saw his cells. He also got a small magnifying glass to take with him which he really likes. Gwen tried to play along but was more interested in the things outside the lab.

We headed to the 1st floor which was called the big backyard. I had no idea they had a mini golf course there. My dad decided to be scorekeeper, so the kids and I had fun just playing around. It was a nice enough day so that we even got a splash or two in the water. We came back in to eat lunch and play in the dinosaur and weather area. Finished up with the news anchor jobs and headed back home.

That afternoon we headed up to the school to visit with Trevor's new teacher. Trevor was won over the minute he found out he had a "job". If you don't know, Trevor loves to be asked or find out he can be a helper in some way. I think he sees it as a teaching-type thing, so ever since he found out that he is going to be a lunchroom helper for the first week of class, he has been saying that is why he is looking forward to going back to school.

That brings us to Labor Day weekend. We were at the lake from Thursday night through Sunday night. It is always wonderful to see and play with family. It wasn't warm enough for us to go on a boat ride, although Gwen did get her swimming in on Friday morning before a cool front came in. Trevor also decided he was going to start writing in a diary/journal. He has been reading and rereading his "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books. He has 3 reading books and one activity book and the activity book was where he started his journal. In two days he wrote and illustrated 32 pages in his book. When he finds something he likes, he really goes all out. I don't know that we are going to be able to make it to his birthday without first getting him a new journal. Although with school starting up, I'm not sure how much time he will have.

I am happy to say that I had a glass of wine to celebrate making it through the summer. I hope all you moms did too!