Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December Days

We haven't yet seen snow, but I know that it won't be too long. The weather reports are saying it'll be here by the end of the week. I'm still not quite sure what happened to summer. Needless to say, winter is sneaking up on me.

I'm about 96% over a pretty bad bout of Bronchitis. (How's that for alliteration?) I always say parents shouldn't be allowed to get sick, but the kids had back to back stomach bugs and I got worn down in the week and a bit it took them to both get better. It started out as a cough, which I chalked up to a combination of tired and weather, but got progressively worse, and then worse still while we were away in PA for Thanksgiving. So Monday morning I was off to the doctor and then filling prescriptions for antibiotics. Thank goodness for modern medicine. 

The good thing about being away while sick is that there were lots of other hands around to help out with the kiddos. I got to sleep in late and nap pretty much everyday, which was ah-mazing and definitely wouldn't have happened at home. Sprout decided that she loves Grandma more than she loves me. The Bean decided he wants to live outside. Really, I can't blame either of them. We're so lucky to have this home-away-from-home. Both kids had to be forced into the car when it was time to go. Thank goodness we'll be back over Christmas. Otherwise might have had to leave them there.

The week before the holiday the kids got their report cards and we had Parent/Teacher interviews. Both kids did really well. I'm always trying to read between the lines when we get their report cards and every "usually" or "with reminders" sends up red flags. I embarrassed Jen by bringing a clipboard with their report cards and my notes of things I wanted to follow up on. Both their teachers were very reassuring. The Bean is excelling. His teacher is encouraging us to find additional ways to challenge him, such as doing the Spelling Bee. She seems to be challenging him to do more than the bare minimum and will send him back to add details in his writing, etc. I think she's a good fit for him. He was also awarded the "Super Ace" character award for Empathy the week after reports were sent home. We were proud of him. It's also reassuring to know that while he can be a bit of a bear at home, he seems to behave well at school. Sprout also had a great report. She is coming out of her shell and stepping into more of a leadership role in the classroom. She's very helpful and, they say, is starting to branch out in her friendships (I still think she mostly cares about her best friend). I noticed that she was becoming more interested in reading and put a bunch of sight words up on the wall. This past week she's gone from recognizing one word ("the") to about twenty! I was shocked and also felt a little badly that I wasn't more on top of where she was and what she needed to progress. I'm trying to carve out a little bit of time after school everyday now to read with her and work on phonics. 

What else is new?

We got family photos taken on the weekend. We got a Groupon for a local studio. They don't do the greatest job, but the price is right and it guarantees that we have at least one photo of all of us each year. (We've been going for four years now, I think.) The Bean was being a bit of a goof and his smile isn't what I was hoping for, but it is what it is. We also got a nice one of just the two kids. The kids also visited Santa at the mall. Sprout modified her request for a unicorn, to a request for a horse and a horn. I had told her unicorns weren't real creatures so even Santa wouldn't be able to bring her one, so she has adopted a DIY attitude and is planning on crafting one herself. Tenacious little girl. The Bean hasn't had any stand out request, but asked Santa for the tools and pieces to build a mobile home. Hopefully neither of them is too disappointed on Christmas morning. 

Sprout's fifth birthday party is this weekend. She's having a few friends over, mostly from school. We're decorating treasure chests, watching The Little Mermaid and eating cupcakes. I tried to keep it pretty simple, but still have it be something she enjoyed. I hope it goes as planned! I don't have too much left to do other than buy balloons and make cupcakes. I cannot believe our baby is going to be five. 

Once her birthday has passed it'll be time to start thinking about The Bean's. What a season! I'll try to update again soon.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mid-November

Somehow the fall has passed me by. Technically I know that's not true, but there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees and we had our first snowfall last week, so never mind what the calendar says,  it feels like winter has started.

With it came our first illnesses of the season. The Bug vomited in bed a week ago Friday and we've been dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids since then, because of course, just about the time she was starting to feel better the school called to let me know The Bean was feeling sick. I'm completely run down. I've been trying to push through it during the days, but by the evenings even talking is taking the wind out of me and sleep is interrupted by coughing fits throughout the night. I just hope I'm doing better by the time it hits Jen, because despite all the oregano oil she's downing every morning, she's probably next.

I think I owe this blog a summer bucket list update, but summer seems so long ago. I will likely just leave it at that we didn't complete our entire list, but we had a good summer. We were outside a lot. We visited family and friends. We swam and hiked and played and read and chilled and ate about a bazillion popsicles. Just what summers should be.

The kids started back to school without any issues. The Bean was so ready for Grade One. His teacher is a little more no-nonsense than last year's, but that's okay for him. He's been happy to be able to do "Kilometer Club" at recess and participate in some of the activities kindergarteners are excluded from. He's been acing his spelling tests every week. With the exception of a girl in his class who seems to enjoy annoying him, he doesn't have any complaints about school. Buggy is also doing well. She seems more confident than she was last year. I worry a little about her academic skills, but I have been reminding myself that had she been born a week later she'd be a grade below where she is. She's funny and clever and very sweet and has a wickedly good memory, she just doesn't read yet. I'm sure she'll get there. It's hard not to compare. Parent/Teacher interviews are on Thursday night. We'll get the official school updates then.

Speaking of the school, I took on the role of School Council Chair this year. There wasn't anyone who wanted to step forward, so I thought since I'm already there so often and pretty involved already it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Silly me. (Though, to be fair, I was a little mislead by the previous chair, who assured me it was only "an hour or two" of work a week. More like and hour or two a day...) Anyway, all that to say my free time has been a lot less free, keeping up on emails, and insurance documents, and fundraising plans, etc. etc. I keep thinking things will  settle down, but I at this point I'm starting to realize that's probably wishful thinking.

So, anyway, here we are. Well past summer. Winter and all the holiday and birthday craziness just around the corner. I'm working on wish lists and party planning, and thinking about what to pack when we go down for Thanksgiving next week and what we'll wear for our annual family photos. Things don't ever seem to slow down. But, sickness aside, everything is good. We have a week of vacation to look forward to. We have an almost-five-year old who is obsessed with unicorns and mermaids, likes conducting science experiments, and still snuggles me every morning, and an almost-seven-year old who loves tech-y gadgets, soccer and is a voracious reader. My wife wakes up at 5:30am every day so she can do professional reading, bikes to work in the most colourful bike gear in all of uptown, and despite me not taking complements well, is incredibly sweet and doting and helpful. I have amazing friends. I'm enjoying tutoring and working over lunches at the school. I've got a few good books stacked on my night table. Life is pretty good right now. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Coming Out

Last night, when I was vegging out, scrolling through FaceBook I came across a few posts about National Coming Out Day. I'm always conflicted when I see these things. Coming out was a process for me. It was not easy. Short story, which I do believe I've shared here before, is that when my mother suspected that I was in a relationship with a woman I was kicked out of the house. I always feel a need to say, "Protect yourself!" when I see what could be construed as across the board encouragement for people to come out and that things "get better."

After some consideration, I decided to make a post. I tried to be very thoughtful in my wording. To acknowledge the support I have received and for which I am beyond thankful (including my mother's --while there will always be some element of hurt and lost trust, we have come a long way and that isn't something I take for granted), while also acknowledging that coming out can be hard and asking for compassion from those who find themselves being "come out" to.

Here is what I wrote:
Coming out can be a very difficult process for so many of us. Speaking to my own experience, it is terrifying to worry how the people who matter most to you will react. Please be kind. Please try to put your fears and prejudices aside and show love to anyone who trusts you enough to come out to you. It may not be easy for you, but I am almost certain that it is harder for them.
My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported me since I came out and who supports me now.

I knew if my mom saw my post she might feel defensive. I hoped that she would take it for what it was --a call for empathy. Support for those who need it. Unfortunately she did not. She wrote a response in which she tried to justify her actions. The two of us have had these conversations. As much as I am ever going to, I understand that her fear came from a place of love. I really have tried to move on. It's been 17 years. She does her best to show support now for myself, Jen and the kids. I wasn't trying to rehash anything. Not trying to make anyone feel guilty.

Anyway, the result is that because of her response I felt the need to further defend/explain myself. To seek reassurances and perspective from friends whose opinions I value. In many ways I think the post was successful in opening some interesting topics up for discussion. But still, it's been an emotional day which was very much NOT the intention.

Trying to navigate feelings that will always be hurt while trying to reassuring the person who hurt them in the first place... it's hard.

So that's what's been up here in the past 24 hours. I realize I need to update on the past three months, and I will try to get there. My brain has been pretty full lately.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Bean is Six and Half!

Today The Bean is six and a half... actually, that's not entirely true. It's been a little over a month since he reached that "milestone" age, but summer equals busy and I'm only just now finding the time to sit down and write his update. Don't worry folks, we'll pay for his therapy.


What an interesting age this is. The Bean certainly isn't a "little kid" anymore, but he's not quite a "big kid" either. While he very much wants to be a part of grown up conversations and have all kinds of independence, he still loves to pretend play with his sister, is afraid of being alone, and loves getting snuggles.





This may sound a bit funny, but he seems to be speaking in a more mature way lately. I think a lot has to do with all the reading he does, because he has been trying out new words and phrases fairly regularly. Sometimes he gets them in the right context, other times not so much. It catches me off guard. I guess it's just not something I really expect. It is pretty neat to see him try to figure out. It also surprises me in that I would definitely hesitate to try out a new word with other people, but he is so willing to take the risk. I'm not sure if that's personality, something that has been fostered, or what.





While he can be shy at times, particularly around new people, overall he is outgoing and confident. He's still on the small side, but rarely hesitates to approach older kids and ask them if he can join in. He wears his heart on his sleeve and you can see his shoulders slump when he is rejected. Occasionally he needs reminders of how it makes him feel to be told he's "too small," but overall he does well with younger kids too. He adores babies.





He LOVES be outside. I think he would live outside if we let him. He and I did a "Nature Nuts" program at the Brickworks over the winter. I didn't think it was very well organized, but he loved getting out on adventures. He hikes, runs, bikes, scoots, skateboards, skates, climbs, swims... The summer has been pretty fabulous for all of that. Second to being active, he probably enjoys reading the most. Okay. Not entirely true. iPad or other tablets might rank as #2, or maybe even #1, but they're almost exclusively reserved for short periods over the weekends. He also really likes TV. But again: his access is limited. He's become a lot more interested in playing games. Uno and Old Maid have been in high rotation this summer. He's very competitive.







We have been so busy over the past few months. The end of the school year was a whirlwind with lessons, and playing at the park after school and visiting friends, but the summer has also been busy. We've taken a break from all scheduled programs, but will likely go back to piano, swimming and gymnastics in the fall. The Bean wants to do everything. Jen and I have talked about putting him in dance or acting, because he seems to enjoy both, but he's been talking more about learning to play drums and basketball. I think our neighbours might find a way of getting us evicted if we bought him a drum set, and we'll see what happens with the basketball...







On top of being active, he's also pretty fearless. He has no reservations about climbing to the top of the tallest trees and jumping from their branches back down to the ground. He loves to go fast. He got to ride go carts for the first time this summer and thought they were pretty much the best thing ever along with the roller coasters he was able to ride on at various amusement parks. I can totally see him getting into some sort of extreme sport.







Health wise he's been good. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned what we found out about his belly issues. The gastroenterologist we've been going to hasn't been super helpful. After reading some research, we decided to take him off Restorolax, and if anything I'd say we've seen a positive improvement both with his digestive issues and with his temperament. We tried to have him tested for Celiac, but it turns out he actually lacks the protein that is used to check for it. Then, again after doing some research, I found out that the vast majority of people who lack this protein are allergic to dairy, which we strongly suspect is The Bean's #1 issue. Anyway, we may have him tested for other allergies, but it's not a huge priority right now as things mostly seem to be under control.

His teeth have been an ongoing issue. He lost his first tooth in the spring, which was pretty exciting with the tooth fairy coming to visit and all. His second tooth fell out shortly after. We were happy that they came out as the new ones were already growing in behind the baby teeth. The top two were wobbly for a while and both fell out, again within days of each other, at the end of the school year. Meanwhile his six year molars erupted and when we went for a dentist appointment last month they were already showing signs of decay. The dentist assured us that we're doing a good job looking after his teeth, but that probably because of deficiencies or an illness during their developmen, he has what appears to be very weak enamel and is prone to cavities. Poor kid. He got his eighth filling shortly after that appointment.

He eats well. He seems to like what he likes, and NOT like what he doesn't like. He isn't super into trying new foods, and often will say "Yuck!" before it's even touched his tongue, only to say after another few seconds that actually he does like it. Lately he's been eating a ton which makes me suspect he's about to have another growth spurt. He would be happy to survive on carbs and ketchup.

He's currently about 44/45 inches tall and about 44/45lbs. We just got him new running shoes for school and they are a size 13. They're just a smidge big, but I'm hoping they will last into the new year. In clothing he's anywhere between a 4 and a 6, but leaning towards the larger sizes. Bottoms are generally smaller so they don't fall off his tiny waist. If he had his way he would be either in underwear or pajamas 24/7.

We've been a bit off of our schedule, but generally speaking he goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:30pm and sleeps to about 6:30-7:30am. There were a few days earlier in the summer that he slept until after 9am. It was amazing!

I'm not really looking forward to getting us all back on a schedule for the start of the school year. The Bean is excited that he is going to be in Grade One. I feel like he's ready. Like I've said before, his reading is amazing. His comprehension is just a little behind his reading abilities, but still far beyond what would be expected at his age. His math abilities are average. Science and Social Sciences are probably average too. Gross motor skills are awesome and fine motor are probably right on track. He's able to reflect on his actions and does a pretty decent job with self-regulation, for the most part. I am slightly concerned about how influenced he can be by others, and hope that he'll behave appropriately (meaning with respect for others and with kindness). He's got a strong personality and is very sweet, but he also wants to fit in with the crowd, make people laugh, and get lots of attention.




A story: Back in April he and Sprout had been out drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. He had spent a long time working on the characters from P.J. Masks and Sprout, not really paying attention, drew over some of his work. He was so upset. He grabbed a white chalk and drew a big square around "his" area and went over to Sprout and said, "Sprout, do not draw in my area!" Later on I told him that I was impressed at how he handled the situation, knowing that he had been pretty upset. To which he says to me, "Self-Regulation, Mama." (He's also been known to coach me into taking a breath when I'm losing my temper with them.) Overall I'd say he's a pretty fantastic brother.

And on that note I am going to wrap this very overdue update up. I'm pretty sure this sweet child will be empathetic when he reads these later on and sees how behind I was. He keeps us on our toes and is such a great kid.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sprout is Four and a Half!

Sprout is four and a half!

Fourth Birthday Celebrations

Closer to four and a half

  
Our baby... well on her way to being five years old! My goodness. 

What to say about her? For one who has only been alive for four and a half years, she is so very much herself. She is affectionate and loyal and independent and quirky.

Western Pennsylvania Girl






Most days Sprout wakes up grumbly. You dare not speak to her. She will lumber over to wherever I am sitting and climb up into my lap for a snuggle. She likes to turn sideways and curl up into a little ball, tucking her head under my chin. She just barely fits. After a few minutes she will allow someone to ask what she would like to eat and prepare her breakfast. Then she's good.



She has been warming up to Jen more and more. She'll occasionally hold her hand when we're out for a walk, or lean up against her during story time. Jen relishes it. I love seeing her being more affectionate with Jen. We both know she loves Jen, but having Sprout admit to it and show it more openly has been a long time coming.



Her brother is her best friend. They get under each other's skin from time to time, but overall they're so good together. Sprout is fiercely loyal towards him. I have a feeling that she's going to grow up always having a few very close friends, rather than a wide social circle. There are several kids in her class that she likes well enough, but only two or three that she really wants to spend any time with outside of school. We were happy to find out that one of her favourite classmates will be with her again next year, as well as a little neighbour that she really likes. I think it'll be a bit of a transition not having her brother there.

The school year finished out pretty well. Her separation anxiety improved somewhat... or I got better with dealing with it. Her report card was very positive. She was described as very helpful and caring. Proud moms over here.



Making playdough for her class


She still tends to prefer make believe play over anything else. Family, school, and doctor/vet are her most favourite games. She has a fantastic imagination and will get completely immersed in her play, even if no one is playing with her. She does like playing with others, and sometimes I feel badly because I don't exactly jump at the chance of pretending to be her baby and I often try to get her into something else --arts and crafts, cooking, or playing outdoors. She is not easily distracted.



Mismatched

She loves performing too. Nothing particularly rehearsed or choreographed, but she'll set up a stage and grab something to use as a microphone and put on a show. She often makes up her own little songs. I adore it. When she is happy she'll sing to herself.

She continues to be very nurturing. She loves animals. When we're out she will, without fail, stop people and ask to pet their dogs. She approaches them so gently. I swear she connects with them on another level. She also loves babies. Her Christmas wishes (we start planning early over here) are for 200 babies and a real live unicorn.



Her motor skills are coming along. She's definitely much more interested in writing now than ever before. She likes to make notes for her friends, write grocery lists, draw pictures. She knows how to print most of her letters, but will still ask for confirmation. ("How many bumps does a B have, Mama?") She's become much more coordinated in her gross motor skills and more confident too. She runs, skips, gallops and dances... climbs, swings and spins. She seems to enjoy her gymnastics classes and is a little fish in the swimming pool. She made huge progress with skating over the winter as well. Dance class was a bit of a bust, but not because she couldn't do it, she just wasn't into being there and often dug those heels in once it came time to participate.







She can be very stubborn. Another example came to a battle of the wills with her clothing choices. She went through a long phase this winter of not wanting to wear anything that matched. It drove me a bit bonkers. Fortunately she seems to be back on the matching bandwagon now.

She also went through a phase of unique hairdo requests


She is most definitely part squirrel. She hides things all over the place. She loves things that are tiny. She also loves things that are shiny and sparkly. So maybe she is part magpie too? She's definitely way more into princesses than I would have imagined a child of mine would be. But, thinking back, I also loved princesses and sparkly things when I was four.

We've seen a lot of progress with her articulation. There are still sounds that she is working on... "sh" and "r" aren't quite there. I'm still a bit concerned, but it is reassuring to know that her classmates and teachers didn't seem to have difficulty understanding what she was saying. She is pretty chatty and her vocabulary continues to grow. I find it especially cute when she answers questions with words like "actually..." or throws in an "in particular..." She picked up a lot of little phrases from her ECE this year. (Some more appropriate than others... "For the love of God" was among them!)

End of year primary music concert


She's been asking me to teacher her how to read quite often lately. She still loves to look at books, but will go more for books she's been read many times than ones she is less familiar with. If we leave out parts when we are reading to her, she will correct us. I think I'll work with her on it over the summer. I'm pretty sure she'll be able to pick up CVC words and some simple sight words. I really did not push it at all this year, and wouldn't, but she is asking so I will try.

She is a pretty good eater. She will almost always take a lick of something unfamiliar and more often than not will go on to eat it. She is, however, a painfully slow eater. It's not necessarily that she dawdles, she just really, really takes her time.

I almost dare not mention it, but her sleep is finally good. Lights out is between 7:30 and 8:00pm. She sometimes has a hard time settling, but once she is asleep she has pretty much sleeping in her own bed through the entire night. Hurray! If she's tossing and turning she will ask for me to come and cuddle her. Lying quietly with an arm around her usually helps. She rarely wakes in the night, but sometimes her brother wakes her up. She likes to "sleep in" in the morning, and usually is up between 7:00 and 8:00am.

This bug. She's quite a character. As I said, so very much herself and we're getting to see that develop more and more. It's a wonder and a privilege. I just love her.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Bucket List 2017 Edition

Jen tells me I sounded depressed in my birthday post. I am not. I did have a pretty shit-tastic day yesterday, but I'm good now. 

Now, because yesterday was, literally, the longest day of the year which means it is OFFICIALLY summer, I figured I'd put together my annual summer bucket list. We have very few things scheduled, but I have a feeling we'll all enjoy the flexibility and filling our days with summery activities.

The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2017
1. Swim. In pools. In lakes. In rivers. 
2. Spend time outside, preferably near trees. 
3. Visit animals.
4. Take care of our little garden.
5. Go berry picking.
6. Get the kids helping in the kitchen. 
7. Make art.
8. See live music.
9. Meet up with friends.
10. Visit new places.
11. Take waaaaay more photos. 
12. Blog more.

Very general, but I figure I can go into details on all the blog posts I'll be making. Right?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Thirty-Seven

Gosh. Does that sound old? I would think nothing of someone else being 37, or 47 or even 77, but me, 37? It hardly seems possible.

I was looking through a box of old photographs tonight. Ones taken on cameras that used actual film.

I came across some from the days when Jen and I first started dating. I think about how young I was then. Just 20 when we met. I think about how then-me would never have imagined everything that's happened in the past 17 years. What would I tell my 20-year-old self? What would she have to say to me?



There were older photos. A few of me as a baby, a kid, a teenager. I don't have many clear memories of my childhood, but I have strong emotions tied to certain places. I wonder what my kids will remember of their own early years. It's hard to imagine that they won't remember sitting on my lap listening to book after book, or dancing in the living room to the same song played on repeat for over an hour. I hope what they do remember is happy.

The years go by quickly.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Separation Anxiety

So, I wrote about The Bean's issues with perfectionism, now time to talk about Sprout's Separation Anxiety.

Sprout has always been attached to me at the hip. I get it. I've been home with her essentially since birth. I'm her safe place. When she started school back in the fall I was really proud of how well she transitioned. I chalked it up to her being well adjusted and feeling safe and secure. If I'm remembering correctly we had a bit of a set back just before the winter holidays, but whatever happened then, let me tell you, it's nothing compared to what's been going on the past month or so.

I have literally been having to peel her off of me in the mornings. She has been anywhere from slightly teary to nearly hysterical. It's completley frustrating and exhausting. I KNOW that minutes after I leave she calms down. I know that she is well-liked and well taken care of at school. I do not know why this has suddenly started or how to get her past it.

As frustrating as it is for me, I know for her it is real. I know she truly does not want me to leave her in the mornings. I've run the gamut with my reactions, from quickly peeling her off of me and leaving to lingering around until she's settled, reassuring her that I'll be back at the end of the day and can be reached if there are any problems, and then saying low-key goodbye before heading out. I feel better handling things the second way, but I'm also wary of overstepping. The school does not like parents lingering around.

I'm guess just not sure what to do. I know it's a phase. I know either way she will be okay. But I also want her to know that I wouldn't ignore her "needs."

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Break

We are nearly mid-way through March Break.

I feel like, for all of us, this is a much-needed time. There has barely been a moment to pause lately.

I over-scheduled the kids this winter, which means we were all over-schedule. Running around to various lessons and activities more days than not. Mostly enjoying things, but still exhausted. Sprout was crying at school drop off nearly every morning saying she wanted to come home with me, or that she wanted me to stay with her. Some days I lingered a while and quietly left after she'd settled in, others I had to peel her off of me, apologizing profusely to the teachers on yard duty and hoping that she'd settle down quickly. (Her teacher, who is so good to me, has texted me reassuringly many a morning.)

This break, while still busy up to this point, has been good. Not having to rush out the door or away from each other. Not having to get to skating, or swimming, or meetings. I wish we had two weeks instead of only one.

My dad is here visiting for the first time in three years. I was looking forward to seeing him, but even more than that, having him spending some quality time with the kids, who barely remember him. Except he was bizarrely non-committal when I tried to make plans before his arrival. And his first day here he told me he wouldn't really be up for many outings because getting around has become quite hard for him, which I can see, but still am disappointed about. And now he is sick and mostly just seems to want to sleep. And in a few days the kids will be back in school and then he'll be returning home and I don't know when we'll see him again. There is more to this --his wife is very sick, I worry about her and what he would do without her, yet it is hard to talk about what his plans for the future are without seeming morbid or like I am overstepping.

And since that sort of came out of nowhere, I'll jump in and briefly address other family conflict. My sister and her husband welcomed their second child last month. With their first I was there. (I believe) supportive during the pregnancy, labour, and months and years after that. I am fairly certain I knew that my sister was pregnant with this child before she had made any announcements, because sometimes one just knows and eventually that knowing is confirmed. I knew it was a girl before she'd said anything about that too. But we haven't talked in nearly a year and a half and while that's been a very, very good thing overall for myself and my family, I still feel disappointment that I haven't been able to be there for this little one. So complicated.

And, back to the theme of being busy, I don't think I've mentioned that I have started working for the kids' school. I'm supervising lunch and recess for an hour and a bit each day. It sounds like nothing, but it actually has changed my days in a noticeable way. That said, it's only been a few weeks and I'm still adjusting my routines. And, I should also note that I am enjoying it. It's not teaching, but I love being with kids and talking to them and I am cautiously hopefully that being a board employee might somehow positively impact my ability to be hired into a teaching position at the board. Probably wishful thinking, but at this point even the tiniest possibility that I may have gained some sort of advantage in getting hired is something to feel celebratory about.

In addition to school pick ups and lunches and drop offs I've been doing a lot of work with the School Council and have been appointed the "point person" for the new playground they're hoping to put in for the kindergarten students. I've been doing lots of research into outdoor classrooms and the benefits nature play (which I love, love, LOVE) and also into grant writing and landscape architecture and all sorts of other related avenues, which is very interesting, but utterly exhausting.

And with those little bits and bobs, I should probably head off to bed. It's become tomorrow and the morning will come too soon.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Perfectionism

Many things seem to come easily to The Bean. As great as this seems, we're starting to see the flip side. We've been noticing that he often gets quite frustrated when he isn't able to do things as well as he would like.

We try to be cognizant of praising his efforts rather than his ability. That is, more, "You worked so hard today in swimming class! You figured out how to get your legs straight on your kicks!" Rather than, "You're such an awesome swimmer! You kick your legs so hard!" Yet he still always seems to want to be the fastest/strongest/best. I'm not sure if it's common for this age, if it's his personality, or if there are a whole variety of factors all coming into play. I have to admit though, it's not his best quality.

This drive also does not bring out the best in him. He will stack the deck before playing a game of cards. (Sweetly, but perhaps counter-productive to his end-goal, he will also stack the decks of other players.) He will brag about how he was the fastest in his skating class... even if he wasn't.

He hasn't been as into swimming lately and has saying that he wishes he could go back to his previous level. Last week I watched his class a little more closely than usual to see what was going on that could be making him feel this way. I observed that his swim instructor seems to pit the kids against each other in many of the drills that they do. The mama bear in me wants to call the head instructor and ask if something can be done differently --cooperative games rather than competitive ones --more time in the shallow area of the pool where The Bean feels safe and secure. The rational part of my brain tells me to back off and let me experience what it's like not to be the best.

In many ways I can relate to his frustration. I hate it when I know I've messed something up. I don't like to be second best or to know I could have done better. I can be very hard on myself. I put a lot of stress on myself worrying about things that are often relatively inconsequential.

While I want The Bean to do his best, I don't want him to think he has to be the best.

Has anyone been through this with their kids? Any words of wisdom? How would you deal with a kid who has to be the best.