Back to School, Bring it On, Carleton University, Grade One, literacy, preschool activities, preschool literacy activities, preschoolers, Scandal, Tooth Fairy, work-life balance
Until the moment when I clearly don’t.
Hi! Remember me?
It’s been a few weeks since my last post.
There were moments where:
Then there were moments where I kinda just wanted to do this:
Life’s been busy.
Mostly of the good.
Last time I posted, it was about a Twitter Party in the lead up to the Carleton University third annual Throwback Weekend that I’d been helping with.
Both went more than well.
I had a blast. Tweeting, Alumni Pub, Carnival, Football Game, Dinner, Terry Fox Run …
What was that?
There was other stuff going on in September too?
My eldest started Grade One.
And we discovered homework.
It should take 10 minutes.”
Sincerely, the instructions.
I don’t want to sound defeatist, but I’m just gonna call bullshit on that one now.
We’ve been clocking on average 20 minutes a night since school started and not getting through it.
And it isn’t like we hadn’t been road-flaring scholastic issues since pre-school.
Fine motor and concentration problems, you say?
Shock and awe.
First meeting is already scheduled with the teacher for this week where I’m gonna try REALLY hard to get the year off to a good start and not wince or be overly defensive if he:
- suggests we take her for a hearing test (done twice, not the issue);
- asks if we’ve gotten a speech/language therapy referral (yup!);
- points out she is behind on the stuff we’ve been flagging to every teacher since before she was three like this should be some wrecking-ball style revelation; and/or
- without EVER actually saying it, suggests we just TRY a little harder at home.
Because if we could have busy-bagged our way to spelling, printing and numeracy at level? We would have by this stage.
We’ve done First Words, library and circle times, we read, we’ve done Family Math, we practice writing, we sing, we are Go Fish! and Alphabet Bingo experts, we trace letters and numbers on the wall before bed by unicorn-light….
I know my child isn’t dumb, so I keep hoping for a literacy eureka moment like this:
Until then? I see her improving, even if it isn’t at the obviously desired pace. I’m hoping she’s gonna get there when she gets there.
The City of Ottawa is out to get me.
I’ve posted before about the gauntlet parents must leap through to register for childrens’ programs.
What I discovered this fall?
You can find that perfect combination of activities.
The utopic elusive prairie whale-like convergence of city programming …
… that allows you to register both your 3-year-old and 5-year-old in classes in the SAME LOCATION at the SAME TIME on the morning that is your husband’s morning with the kids, so as to assure yourself at least 2.5 blissful hours home ALONE in your house …
… but the city will then cancel just ONE of those TWO classes THREE days prior to start date and TWO MONTHS after registration for EVERYTHING ELSE, thus ensuring nothing else is available.
After a half hour scour of all other programming, I THOUGHT I’d found a solution: pre-school cheerleading.
So we were all for Spirit Fingers Sunday…
…until that got cancelled too.
Dad has committed to having them at least leave the house for a while Sunday mornings so I can have some alone time.
Didn’t happen yesterday, but hope springs eternal.
So, um… cops.
This blog is about the good and the bad in parenting, right? And I want to honestly capture those “non-Facebook” moments.
Two weeks ago Monday, I got the girls to swim lessons only to realize I’d forgotten their suits at home.
How? … dunno.
Maybe it was dinner running late because hubs was equally rushed, or having to throw suits in dryer because they were still wet from the previous day, or the drama and tears about … whatever that evening’s drama and tears were about, or …. squirrel!
I packed snack. And towels. And goggles. Arrive at pool 7-minutes before class and realize we didn’t have swim suits.
This would be that moment where I no longer “had it”.
Moment of pure self-hate. Seriously? I forgot the mother f*&%ing swimsuits?
No wonder my kid can’t read! I can’t even get this right!
Then I remembered I was four minutes from home and my husband could just drop them off!
Only he wouldn’t pick up the phone!
So then I was stressed, self-hating AND pissed. With a goal. Because in irrational moments like this? Failure is not an option. They were GETTING TO LESSONS. Despite the OBVIOUS LACK OF SUPPORT FROM MY SPOUSE.
I loaded kids back in the car and, apparently drove home a little quickly.
I missed it because I was running around the house like a crazy woman trying to find the swim suits, but apparently I caught the attention of an off duty officer who pulled up to yell at my husband – who was sitting on the front porch having a beer (relaxing during HIS downtime with phones cheekily indoors) – about how he needed to tell his crazy wife to slow down.
Thankfully he didn’t ticket me. Though I’d have deserved it. It was poignant reminder about how MAYBE perspective is important and in future I should just miss swim lessons rather than let one moment in a busy month somehow become the barometer on which I measure my parenting prowess.
Speaking of busy months, today was a PD day.
Good thing I have a daycare provider, because otherwise we’d have TOTALLY missed that fact!
I’m sure there’s a calendar somewhere. It may have been sent home in the mounds of other paper, or be available online somewhere among all the forms we’re suppose to sign, but Lord knows neither my husband nor I ever found it!
My eldest lost her fifth (I think) tooth last week.
Much excitement. It came home in little ziplock bag.
We found a purse to put it in to stick under her pillow.
Then made dinner, ate dinner, did homework, put kids to get, and proceeded to completely forget about it.
Morning arrives, I wake her up and she’s all ready to check out her loot.
I like to think in this moment we LEARNT from the bathing suit fiasco. Hubs and I were a madly coordinated Tooth Fairying Ninja Unit! Distraction combined with quick dash to purse, change slipped in, and she NEVER KNEW THE DIFFERENCE.
Oh, and Tooth Fairy Ninja? Also a thing. Thank you Internet.
How was your September?
Martha Kennedy said:
Dear Louise — Way too much pressure on parents and children today. Not every first grader is a “first grader.” Some are third graders some are not quite in school yet. It’s normal. Yours, Martha
Thanks Martha. I know this – or at least hope it – but the homework demands feel overwhelming because I know she can’t complete them and I don’t want to stress her out/have her hate it. Then we’ll make progress and instead of a positive comment home about achieving something that was a BIG DEAL for her, we get notes about something else she can’t do – it’s been the school story of the past three years and it’s hard not to find it difficult.
Appreciate the comment – I obviously need to hear it, so thank you.
Martha Kennedy said:
First graders should not have any homework but play. I’m sure that’s one reason by the time I quit teaching my students — across the board — hated school and feared failure. I’m so sorry. I think her teacher is an idiot.
Laurie Free said:
I agree ..too much pressure !! great blog
Thanks Laurie – both re: blog and life 😉
Please just relax, Louise Mom, you have a whole school year to get through! Things will be fine and your little grade oner will bloom at some point, if not this year, then another one.
Thanks Patricia – I think September just always feels a bit school-overwhelming with work and kids and everything starting up again. Sheets of homework was the new stress this year on top of everything else. I know she’ll get there. And I know my job, in part, is to not let her see this stuff get to me. Hence – blogging. Cheaper than therapy, yes?
Missed you but knew you were probably returning with great stories – just like these! She’s making progress – slow and steady wins the race.
Thanks Regina! She actually has already improved since this post. It’s still a struggle feeling like she’s behind, but wonderful when I see her “getting it” – which she is starting to with the reading, if not the printing quite yet.
Brenda Davis Harsham said:
Louise, Your post is filled with humor and tension. What is a PD day? We have early release days, every Tuesday is a half day. And five Thursdays. And the pressure on kids and parents is intense. I blame standardized testing, which has everyone strung out — teachers and administration. My daughter started first grade, too. Teacher conference is in a few weeks, where I will undoubtedly hear that she is not as advanced as many of her peers. I don’t care. As long as she blooms academically by high school, I’m good with it. But she’s my third. And I’m a zen person most of the time. Just remember, if she isn’t ready for reading, you can recite the alphabet while standing on your head, and it’s just sounds. She’ll get it when she’s ready, and devil take the hindmost. It’s so much easier when your kid is advanced, but then you can have other issues, like anxiety and social cue misfunctioning to contend with. Your daughter sounds creative and charming. That matters more at this age than spitting back rote-memorized learning. Hugs, you can do this. You’ve got this, bathing suits or not. Dang, we all forget stuff. I would have had a huge laugh over forgetting the bathing suits. That’s a good one, really. You need a beer on the porch more often. 🙂 XOXO
PD days – Professional Development days for teachers = no school. Didn’t realize until your comment that this is a Canadian thing (I guess?)
Thanks very much (as always) for the kind and helpful words of advice here. I think Grade One was just a bit of a shock all round. Then my neighbour showed me her grandson’s homework book – for JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN. Sort of put it in perspective.
As for beers on the porch – a necessity at times. The month just went by in such a blur.
Brenda Davis Harsham said:
Ah, PD, now I get it. We call them half days, because the kids get out early. But there are a lot.
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