Baby Shower and Liam’s First School Music Program

April 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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DSC_0018We had our little baby shower for Violet on Saturday, and it was a perfectly lovely, low-key affair. We all met at the Olive Garden for lunch and presents, with seven in attendance. I got lots of cute girly stuff, including these purple (of course!) bibs from Jan and adorable outfits from my mom. My friend Tracy got us this wonderful framed photo holder with Violet’s name, which I can’t wait to hang up in the nursery. And we’ve received a lot of gifts from our out-of-town family and friends, very much appreciated. With six years between kids it’s amazing how much we still needed. We finished off lunch with these yummy homemade red velvet cupcakes. My mom made the little buttons, of course. They say, “Cute as a Button.”

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Liam stayed home with his dad and grandpa while he play, play, played with his cousins. Apparently they had a great time and didn’t tear up the house TOO much. Sleeping arrangements were a bit chaotic – Evie ended up crawling into bed with my parents in the guest room because she refused to sleep on the couch near her brother (oh, the drama!), and Liam was upset that I wouldn’t let Evie sleep in his bed (from past experience, that never ends well). I fear everyone was a bit cranky from lack of sleep on Sunday, but we let the kids get all their wiggles out at Jumpy Jump Land for awhile. As always, Liam wished his cousins could stay the whole week. But, alas, they all had school Monday.

My parents decided to stay a few extra days to see Liam’s first school music program Tuesday night. It was flippin’ adorable, as you can probably imagine.

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I’m particularly proud of Liam for actually singing and performing, something he wouldn’t do for his preschool performances. Just like his mama (and probably his daddy), he was in the front row, tiniest in the class. He did a great job following along with the music teacher, sometimes very seriously studying her every move, which was hilarious. And he was very proud of himself and his classmates for putting on “the best” show, as he put it. Very good, son!

No surprise, Liam wanted grandma and grandpa to stay the whole week. He said, “When grandpa leaves, I’ll just have to play with boring MOM!” Fortunately, I expect my parents will be back before we know it. We even joked that they may have to turn right around if Violet decides to come earlier than expected. I’m headed to the doctor’s tomorrow to assess exactly how ready she is at the moment. I still have four more weeks until my due date, but she really could come at any time. Exciting stuff!

Principal Fletcher

March 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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In honor of Dr. Suess week, the kids at Liam’s school all dressed up as the job they’d like to someday have. He told me this weekend he wanted to be a school principal. I told him usually you’d be a teacher first, so he got his plan in order: he’ll teach first grade, and then when Mrs. Sites retires, he’ll take over her job as principal. Fair enough.

So this morning I got him dressed up in his nice white shirt and one of daddy’s ties, and I wrote him a name tag that said, “Mr. Fletcher.” When he got to school, Mrs. Sites was stopping kids to ask them what they dressed up as, and when he answered “school principal,” she just couldn’t resist taking him under her wing for a day. He excitedly told me all about it when he got home from school. First she let him dismiss each table after lunch, something the principal always does. Then she took him down to her office and told him all the things a principal does. As he described it, “Working at a computer, and calling the moms when the kids have to come to the office for being bad.” Then she took this adorable photo of him sitting at her desk. 

After school, Mrs. Sites gave me a call to tell me all about it, and asked if they could use the photo in the school newsletter and maybe even the website. James and I joke that Liam is the teacher’s pet. Now he’s the principal’s pet, too, lol! I’ll definitely be hanging on to this photo…and who knows, perhaps he’ll want to hang it in his office if he actually DOES become a school principal when he grows up!

And, wow, what a great principal Liam has!

Liam’s Kindergarten Shenanigans

February 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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We had Liam’s second Parent-Teacher conference last week, and all is going well both socially and academically. He’s improved his reading skills, which was an area he needed to work on last time. And he’s been playing more with the toys in the classroom and with other kids, now that he’s gotten used to the place. He’s also been better about staying on task and finishing his school work, due in large part to his new seating arrangement:

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A little blue pillow and footstool were just what he needed to improve his posture and keep him from fidgeting. We may have to do this for him at home, too. My feet never reached the floor when I was in school, but nobody ever gave me a footstool!

We did have one question for the teacher – Liam told us he had to move his stick for doing something naughty the week before, though we couldn’t seem to figure out what he did. His teacher laughed and told us the story: Apparently during a coloring exercise, the teacher spied him leaning back in his chair, content as could be, as the girl next to him colored his page for him! Why didn’t I think of this months ago, he was probably thinking! So the teacher called both kids over and explained that it was ok to help him with work, but not ok to do it for him, and she had both kids move their sticks to the green (a first warning), just to let the lesson sink in. I have a feeling little naïve Liam had no idea what he was doing – she probably offered to color and he happily accepted. What a goofball!

All during the conference Liam played quietly with Legos, which got us thinking we should get him one of those Lego piece sets soon, maybe for Easter. All the Legos he has now are parts of box sets, so he doesn’t get much chance to build freely.

Dog Days of Summer

August 26, 2014 at 9:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I have a morning person on my hands here. Saturday he got me up at 5:45, ready for breakfast and a bike ride. I guess all those 6:15 wake up calls all week got him conditioned for early mornings. Yay. Actually, the bike ride was pretty awesome. It’s been 100+ degrees almost every day lately, and it was only 75 when we left the house. We’re still working on stamina – about three blocks from our house he pooped out and I had to call James to pick us up. But it was nice to get on the bike again.

It was so nice, in fact, that after I dropped Liam off at school on Monday, I went for a solo ride around High Park and surrounding neighborhoods. And you know what? After riding for an hour, that uphill on the way to our house had me huffing and puffing, too! Perhaps I should cut the boy some slack.

Monday afternoon I volunteered to help out with Liam’s art class. It’s been interesting to see how he is in a classroom setting. His art skills are definitely on the rudimentary side, though he did an admirable job making a little doggy face on his construction paper. This time he was far less clingy, though at one point he got very upset that he’d done the project wrong. I wondered if that was just for my benefit – I have a feeling he wouldn’t have erupted into tears if I hadn’t been there to give him a hug. I walked around and helped the kids with their gluing, and as each child finished, they were told they could play with their “busy bags” – little bags of blocks and tinker toys at each table to keep their hands busy. Each of the kids went right for the bags…except Liam. I asked him several times, but he seemed much more content just to watch the kids at his table play. When his teacher arrived at the end of art class, she instructed them to take their seats, put away their busy bags, and signal – a little hand signal they all do with one finger over their lips and two fingers in the air, a sign to be quiet and listen. Liam went right to his seat and signaled, eager to please the adult in the room.

This morning Liam was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, finally over the cold he had over the weekend. They’re serving hot dogs today at lunch, so he wanted to try buying lunch today. That left us with extra time this morning, and when I asked him, he jumped at the chance to walk to school. And what a difference from last Monday! He practically ran the whole way, and we made it there in record time. We even had time to stop and watch the marching band practicing on the football field at the high school. Liam says someday he wants to play a trombone…made of poop. Sigh.

I left him in line behind his friend Joshua, and I overheard him excitedly telling him how he’d walked to school. I’m hoping this bodes well for future walks. It really is a nice way to start the morning.

Kindergarten Learning Curve

August 18, 2014 at 11:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Liam’s not the only one learning the ins and outs of elementary school. I thought this morning would be the perfect opportunity to walk to school. He starts an hour later on Mondays, the temperature was perfect, and we’d already timed our route the week before. We had a nice, easy morning – we had time for waffles and TWO Curious George episodes. But then, suddenly, it was 8:15! Quick! A mad dash through teeth brushing, making lunch, getting shoes on, getting out the door. According to my calculations we would JUST make it. Liam assured me he could walk very fast.

Right.

What was supposed to be a nice hike on a sunny morning turned into a boot camp whine-fest. I was the drill sergeant, “C’mon, let’s get a move on!” and Liam was my reluctant recruit, “Mooom, I’m going as FAST as I CAN!” Which is to say as slow as a five-year-old can conceivably walk. As we neared the school, I could see all the kids hurrying to get inside. Liam stopped cold. There was something in his shoe. For the love of Pete!

The Kindergarten Handbook said his class would line up outside and walk in together, but it seemed we were too late for that. We hurried to the front door, dashed down the hall, and 50 feet from his classroom door, the bell rang. I understand they’re quite strict about tardies at this school, and he has to be in his seat when the bell rings. Damn, a tardy on the second day! His teacher was understanding and helped him hang up his bag and get to his seat. I said a quick goodbye, ready to be rid of my whiny counterpart. Let’s hope this doesn’t taint the whole rest of his day.

Always a glutton for punishment, I’m already scheming how to better this walk to school. Perhaps if we leave earlier? Or maybe walking to school is too ambitious, and we should save those walks for after school in the fall? Why am I even doing this? Because it bothers me the waste involved in driving him to school and back everyday. And I enjoy walking. It’s good for both of us.

Liam’s First Day of Kindergarten

August 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We did a lot of preparing for this day. We talked about what school was going to be like. We got up at 6:15 every morning a week before and ran through our morning routine. Some mornings we walked up to the school and played on the playground. Others we drove, timing our trip. We met his teacher and dropped off his school supplies, checked out his classroom, found his cubby and his seat. And all that preparation paid off.

Thursday morning we both got right out of bed, ate breakfast, watched only one cartoon (no arguments because we’d been doing that all week), and even had time for some photos before we drove to school. I packed him some corn dog nuggets, “yellow cookies” (vanilla wafers), granola and a capri sun for lunch. He was ready.

Many parents walked their kids to their classes on the first day, so I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one. We got him all settled in, asked the teacher to move his back pack hook to the front row so he could reach it, got his pencil box from his cubby, and sat down. We had a little helper along the way, Joshua, who we remembered from Liam’s preschool class at Jack and Jill, and who would be sitting next to Liam this year in Kindergarten. In fact, there are three boys from Liam’s preschool in his class, which I was happy to see.

With hardly a goodbye, Liam was ready for his first day. No tears. No drama. No clinging. Just a, “See you later, Mom.” Amazing.

My day was nice and quiet. I was going on week two with bronchitis, so I laid around in the bed with the humidifier on catching up on The Good Wife. At 11:10 I pondered how Liam was handling lunch. He doesn’t like crowds and strange smells. But I didn’t think he’d kick up much of a fuss without me there. He reserves most of his whining for me.

At 3:25 the kids all lined up behind their teacher and marched out the back doors. The Kindergarten class dismisses from around the back, so he was easy to spot. He almost didn’t want to come with me, unsure whether he should continue following his teacher around the front like she had instructed. But I coaxed him out of line and toward the car. I asked him how his day went, and he immediately launched into how TIRED and HUNGRY he was. I made the rookie mistake of parking near the pick-up line, so we had to wait a bit before we could pull out of the parking lot. All the while Liam was getting HUNGRIER and HUNGRIER, and whinier and whinier.

We finally made it home, opened his lunch box and discovered he’d only eaten half of his lunch. Well, there’s your problem, son. He complained that he thought the lunchroom was stinky, and he didn’t have time to finish his lunch. Hopefully he’ll get used to eating faster soon. He’s a very poky eater at home. He ate and ate and ate and ate, and finally feeling better, he was ready to share about his day. He had a little raccoon in his backpack he’d glued together and colored. He told me all about his three recesses, how he’d played tag with Joshua, but how his third recess was TOO CROWDED, which he didn’t care for. He said there had only been boys in his class – they break up the Kindergarten in half by their last names the first couple of days, so I guess all the A-L last names are boys.

Liam had Friday off, so we’ll be headed back for his second day of school on Monday. The teachers have an hour-long meeting on Monday mornings, so the students start an hour later, 9:05. A perfect opportunity to walk to school, which takes about 25 minutes. I think the walk will do him good, though I’m sure I’ll be in charge of carrying his back pack. He doesn’t like to be…encumbered. We’ve been talking up how strong he’s getting, so hopefully that will change in the coming weeks, too. On Monday I won’t be walking him to his class, instead walking him to a line outside with his teacher. He’ll be in charge of carrying all of his stuff in, putting it away and finding his seat. 

When I was a kid my mom volunteered quite a bit at my school. She worked in the library, helped in the computer lab, made crafts for our class parties, brought snacks to all the PTA meetings, led our Girl Scout troop, and ran the country store at the school carnival. In that spirit, I volunteered to help with Liam’s art class on Monday afternoons. I’m looking forward to seeing what Liam is like in class, and I thought art would be right up my alley. Should be fun for both of us.

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