Thursday, September 30, 2010
I'm pretty sure I told my mom this just this past Sunday.
Do you suppose Sydney overheard something? And even if she did, would that have motivated her to change? Consider the otherwise coincidental evidence:
That's the Scooby Doo gang, in case you couldn't tell. They're all lined up and tucked in for bed. Monday night, Sydney provided them with pillow and blanket.
By Wednesday, she was also caring for her other dolls, making sure they got their bedtime treat of strawberries and cookies.
Note the grip Sydney has on the doll's hair. She was making sure the doll sat up straight. I didn't say she was taking good care of her dolls... just that all of a sudden she's paying attention to them again.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I questioned AJ about his day at school yesterday. By his lack of volunteering information, I could tell he was tired, so I asked, "Did you rest your brain today?" (His teacher's code term for taking a nap.)
"Yes," he answered, clearly no longer fooled by the terminology, because he followed up with a question for me. "Did you get to take a nap while you were at work?"
"No," I said. "We don't get to take naps at work."
"It'd be nice sometimes if we could, but the work wouldn't get done if we were napping."
AJ had an alternate theory. "Or maybe your boss is afraid the stuff in your pockets would get squished."
Monday, September 27, 2010
Early on the way down, Sydney was engrossed, watching a movie on the portable DVD player. AJ was trying to get her attention, and it apparently never crossed his mind that she might be ignoring him because he suddenly blurted out: "Sydney! Snap out of it!"
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Five is a tough age. Who knew (or remembers) how many things there are to worry about? In addition to the typical, irrational bogeyman fears, there are the new worries associated with school.
Watching and listening to AJ, I've figured out his top four fear factors:
*The principal's office. Never mind that AJ has met Mr. Harker on numerous occasions and has always found him to be quite friendly. The fear of the unknown is a powerful deterent.
*Missing the bus. The bus was a few minutes early on Friday. As it came down the street, AJ was prepared to run out the door without jacket or shoes. (He hasn't yet figured out it takes the bus a minute or so to stop at the neighbor's house first, then round the cul-de-sac to reach our driveway.)
*Yellow and red. The teacher uses a color grading system to let us know how our child behaved. Green is good. Yellow means slow down and think about your actions. Red means stop what you're doing.
*Forgetting a library book. His class goes every Tuesday and each child is allowed to check out one book. That book must be returned the following Tuesday. If it's not, the child can't check out another book. And that's simply a fate worse than death. Almost daily AJ asks how many more days until Tuesday. I help him count it out, after which he reminds me how many days until he has to bring back his book.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sydney may have him beat.
It's been too many years since piano lessons for me to remember exactly how complicated a minuet is, but surely it can't be that much more elaborate than the impromptu "Mommy and Sydney" song that a certain prodigy of mine composed on the spot at her favorite toy store.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Low temperatures combined with a Lake breeze during Monday's finale to make it a brutally cold evening. Wrapped in a blanket on the sideline, it was hard to believe just a mere five games ago we worried the kids would get heat stroke.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
For instance, at Sunday School this past week, I was teaching his class about Noah's Ark. To emphasize how long it rained, I had all the kids count to 40. Just as the kids were finishing, "37 - 38- 39- 40," AJ blurted out "My Mom's 40!" (To my relief, that set off several other children announcing their parents' ages. I discovered I'm not the oldest parent of a kindergartner.)
Monday, September 20, 2010
What did AJ learn at the Fair this year? Before you stick your head through the cut-out in a piece of plywood, you should probably first check what's painted on the other side.
Actually, I have no idea if the lesson will stick. What he does remember is the sugary sweets he found in abundance. Sweet Martha's cookies and cotton candy. Is it any wonder he loves the fair?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday morning, my back was killing me. I must have slept wrong. Nevertheless, I found myself down on all fours with AJ's Nerf sword in hand trying to fish out a wooden "N" from the far corner under Sydney's bed, so that she won't grow up thinking - based on the decorative letters hanging on her wall - that her name is spelled "SYD EY."
What I discovered when I finally got down to floor level, was that the "N" was surrounded by a whole bunch of partially used kleenex. Apparently every time my daughter wipes her nose, she stuffs the tissue between the wall and the mattress. (I guess I'm glad to know the dog hasn't been eating them, which is what I'd always assumed.)
Stretching with the sword, I'd retrieved about half the kleenex when I heard Sydney call loudly from the living room.
(No response.) I continued to swipe at the kleenex.
Still no response. I started to get up.
By now I reached the doorway to the living room. "What Sydney?"
She was laying on the floor watching TV. She held up her empty glass of milk, "I'm done with my milk."
I directed her to get up and put her glass in the sink as she's always expected to do.
She followed that up, just a couple hours later, by running inside and excitedly announcing, "Mommy, I picked you a flower!"
A mix of frustration and sweet moments. That, my son, is what it's like to be a grown up.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Foam blocks made from recycled materials kept them busy for 10 minutes, and would have held their attention even longer if we'd let them. Sydney seems to like vertical stacking:
While AJ's goal was to build some sort of compound.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Here's a hint: There are six.
Once at the top, AJ looked a little concerned about going down on his own.
It looked as if he was going to roll off his mat toward Jeff. But there were two problems with that idea: Jeff and Sydney had already started moving. And so had AJ.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
And believe it or not, the fact that she was standing on her own, as opposed to clinging to my neck, is progress over last year. At age 2, she was terrified of all critters big and small. By age 3, she was at least interested in the baby animals.
Piglets were here favorites. We got to see them both in the pig barn and in the miracles of birth exhibit.
Meanwhile, AJ was perhaps a little too excited.
The babies were a hit with AJ too. The lines weren't too long this year, so he was able to pet a chick, duck, rabbit and sheep.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday afternoon, I volunteered for the Duluth Youth Agency Coalition's Kick off for Kids event. It's a group I initially got involved with through work, but then continued helping because I appreciate what they do. Jeff brought the kids down, thus AJ's involvement.
Speaking of my big kindergartener, day three (Monday) seemed to go by smoothly. AJ's recap of the day included:
"We had lunch. We didn't have gym. We had math, but it wasn't real math."
"What kind of math was it?"
"It was monkey math."
The conversation deteriorated from there, so I have no clue what monkey math is all about. He had an activity sheet in his backpack, but he insisted that wasn't it. So I guess we shall see...
Monday, September 13, 2010
And so we ate. A lot. Every one of Sydney's wooden food sets came out. She started with the stir-fry set you can see above in the lower right corner. After that, my little sous chef moved on to pizza.
And we washed it all down with tea. Normally she makes me coffee, but on this day she was in the mood to use her tea pot.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
He caught me crying while watching a Sept. 11 tribute on TV and started asking questions. I tried to keep it simple: some bad people destroyed some buildings and a lot of people died. I tried to keep out the areas that might affect him: no mention of airplanes, no mention of the firefighters and policemen who died.
Of course his first question was "why?"
"Because they didn't like America," I told him.
"Why don't they like America?"
"That's a good question," I said. "It's just a very sad day."
Later in the evening, we attended a 9/11 ceremony in Duluth, which Jeff took part in. As luck would have it, I found a couple flags in the trunk (most likely still in there from the fourth of July parade), so the kids were able to carry them to the event.
I've gotten used to seeing very low attendance at this event. Quite honestly, if Jeff wasn't with the Honor Guard, I wouldn't go either. But I was really disappointed by the number of flags I saw flying at full staff yesterday. Almost 3,000 people died on 9/11, and approximately 6,000 military men and women and have died in the nine years since. Yet the majority of the people in this area couldn't be bothered to lower their flag in honor of them. Even the flag at the stadium where the tribute was at the top of its pole. How quickly we forget.
Except AJ. I know he'll be asking me questions about this for days and weeks to come. One nice thing about the small community we live in: the husband of AJ's teacher was marching along side Jeff in the ceremony. So if AJ starts asking his teacher a lot of questions, at least she'll understand why.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It wasn't much (at least not for him, since he already knows how to write his letters.) Side one involved tracing some lines. The flip side had a dot-to-dot.
Other exciting events: AJ got to ride the bus home for the first time. Apparently he did not realize you need to get up and walk down the aisle when you see your house. And the fill-in driver didn't realize where AJ was supposed to be let off. When I saw the bus coming down our street, I stepped out into the front yard to greet AJ. When the door opened, I saw our three neighbor kids get off, and then the door shoot and the bus started to drive off.
I started waving my hands and calling out to stop. One of the neighbor kids heard me and started yelling too. I looked to the kids and asked, "Wasn't AJ on the bus?"
Yes, he was. They hadn't realized he wasn't following them down the aisle. They quickly assured me the bus would be stopping at the next driveway to let off another boy, so I started jogging after it. Sure enough, the bus stopped and the boy got off. And then the bus shut the door again.
By this point, there were three of us yelling, which caught the attention of the boy who'd just climbed out, who was able to motion to the driver. At the same time, AJ must have finally figured out what was going on, because I saw him inside the bus, moving toward the door.
The driver was apologetic. AJ was grumpy. I was simply relieved.
By the time we walked home, AJ was excited again and able to tell me about his day. He had fun and he had homework.
I asked if he'd played with his friend Owen. "No, they didn't play. But they put their mats together when it was time to "rest their brains."
So that's what you say to get a five year old to take a nap.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Before we headed out the door yesterday, AJ struck his version of the thinker pose. Apparently he thinks that's how kindergartners sit.
So how did his first day go? One child got sent to the principal's office, but not him. Yes, that was the first thing he reported. Why did the boy get trouble? "He made some bad choices," was AJ's solemn response. (Apparently a boy in his class was having some separation anxiety. AJ tried to comfort him and the boy responded by trying to hit him. I told AJ it was nice that he tried to help, but next time my little peacemaker should let the teacher handle it.)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Speaking of funny thinking, silly AJ, who still doesn't like going under water, thought he could go down the slide and avoid full immersion by carrying a swim noodle with him. He quickly learned otherwise.
The smartest one in the group? Sydney. After tiring of swimming she planted herself by the patio table and filled up on chilled shrimp.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
For years (almost five-and-a-half, to be exact) this photo has sat on my desk at work. It was our first family photo.
Somehow, through all the pictures taken at the hospital and during AJ's first two months of life, we never got a shot of the three of us. Until we visited the Metrodome when AJ was nine weeks old. (Yes, the former reporter in me recognizes what a nice little story that will make should AJ ever make it to the big leagues.)
And just look at how big he is now.
Meanwhile, all those Twins players I had such crushes on in high school and college. Just look at them now, too.