Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sleep Overs

Yesterday afternoon, after some last minute plans were made, good friends of ours showed up for an impromptu play date and sleep over.  Other than family, the kids haven't had a sleepover party before so everyone was jazzed up.  The kids ate pizza, ran around and played in every room in the house.  It is amazing that having more kids in the house can actually be less work because they entertain each other.  After a few hours of crazy town, we settled all of the kids to sleep in the basement and wondered if any of them were actually going to sleep.  While the adults sipped our adult drinks, we patiently went up and down the stairs to quiet them.  Sweet Pea was the first to be pulled to sleep in her bed because she just couldn't settle down.  Peanut followed shortly after.  Then the youngest of our friend's kids N moved to the spare bedroom, followed by his older brother and by 11:30 at night Little Man, sound asleep, was the only one left sleeping in the basement.  He is honestly, the least like kid to sleep on his own, but he slept all night and when he woke up alone in the basement found his ipod touch that he must have secretly stored near him last night and facetimed Papa Bear to let him know that he was awake.  He really could have just walked up the two flights of stairs but it served the same purpose.  It was a little crazy with so many kids, but it was also a ton of fun and a great way to end the summer.  A house full of friends and fun! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

School Open House - Little Man Style

Little Man and I got to go and check out his classroom, meet his teacher, see old friends and drop school supplies this afternoon.  On the way over he was just full of questions about why they call it an open house and who was going to be there and what happens if you are on vacation and can't be there.  Questions.  Questions. Questions.

When we got there he saw a bunch of people and said hello in his tentative and shy way.  We made our way into the school and I asked him to show me where the first grade classes are and he went into a total panic.  "I don't know!  I was in Kindergarten, not 1st grade.  I am not a professional!  YOU are the professional!!"  I wanted to laugh so hard, but it was not the right moment.  So I walked him to where his Kindergarten class was from last year and then said, "Ok, so how do you get to the 1st grade pod from here?"  Now we were in business and he led the way, this time much more confident.  We located the classroom and met his teacher, found his desk, did the scavenger hunt and said hi to new and old friends.  He asked his teacher a ton of questions and I just stood back against the wall and let him find his way.  That was harder than I make it sound.  Then we left the classroom, went back to the front door and practiced finding his classroom to avoid the "I'm not a 1st grade professional panic" on his first day.  After that, we went to visit his Kindergarten teacher who he gave a big hug and told her all about his summer and his new teacher. 

I think this is going to be a great year for him.  His teacher seems kind and he has some good friends in his class.  I am going to hazard a guess and say that in just a few weeks, he will be a 1st grade professional without any issues. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

An Oven Fire

Today we had our oven catch fire.  It is fine, no one was hurt and Papa Bear thinks he can fix it by replacing the heating element.  The piece about this oven fire that is worth capturing on (electronic) paper is the reactions of all of the kids.  It just encapsulates the differences in each child.

The Cast of Characters:
Little Man: the disaster preparedness expert
Peanut:  the laid back hungry child
Sweet Pea:  drama queen

The Event:
The heating element in the oven catches fire as we pre-heat it to make cookies

Little Man: The oven is on fire!  Get the phone!  Where's the phone?  Call 911!  Call 911
Sweet Pea:  Fire! Fire! Fire!  (running around in circles and crying)
Peanut:  Fire?  Can we roast marshmallows that don't have corn in them?

I used the smaller oven, made the cookies and then got on a work call while the kids all had a cookie and watched Charlotte's Web.  I clearly wasn't paying close enough attention while on my work call because I thought they were all watching the movie and behaving while I was working, instead I found that they had eaten all 16 cookies and Sweet Pea was on such a sugar high that she was singing "more cookies" in a cracked out minnie mouse voice.

We win some, we lose some and sometimes our ovens catch on fire.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Middle Child Dynamics

I have always heard that the middle child is the hardest or most challenging birth order to have and I am sure that has been true in the past and will be true in the future.  However, Peanut is in a good place right now.  He is the chosen playmate for both of his siblings and often gets to pick which one or which game he wants to play.  Little Man is always trying to entice him into a game of school/spy or scientist and Sweet Pea is usually asking him to chase her, fix her boo boo or play dolls with her.  Peanut usually is happiest playing with Sweet Pea, mostly because he can direct the play and she just goes with the flow while Little Man is much more bossy and wants Peanut to play by his rules.  It is nice to see Peanut in this position, the sought after playmate.  I am sure there will be a day when he won't be so sought after by his siblings so I am hoping he enjoys it while it lasts.

Yesterday, Sweet Pea, Peanut and I went to a park while Little Man was at a play date with a school friend.  About an hour into the park time, the kids seemed ready to go and then I introduced Peanut to another 4 year old who was playing near him (I met his mom and we realized the kids might play well together and leave us alone for a minute).  The next thing I know, Peanut and his new friend have formed a band of 4 year old's who are running around together fighting bad guys, playing hide and go seek and generally being boys.  It was wonderful to see Peanut be the leader of this band of misfits and to watch all of the other kids understand him and join/follow him on his adventures.  Sweet Pea followed behind thinking she was playing with them as they ignored her for the most part.

Right now, it seems that the middle isn't a bad place to be at all.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Learning Time

Learning time is when the kids spend time working on activities to prepare them for or keep up their skills for school.  I honestly dread this time.  The kids look forward to it and love it.  I am not meant to be a teacher.  I don't have the patience or the skill to work with multiple kids at different levels.  I will say it again, I am not teacher material, not by a long shot. 

Little Man is the easiest to plan and prepare for and he can work independently on a lot of the lessons while I get my HR work done.  He works on everything from reading, telling time, counting money, addition, subtraction and thinking skills.  Peanut absolutely loves learning time but has a much shorter window of time that he will hang with it and almost all of the activities require my attention in some capacity even if it is just to tell him that he is doing it correctly.  Sweet Pea just makes a mess, disturbs the boys and loses interest in her activity and takes over one of the other activities meant for the boys so I try to do learning time during her afternoon nap.  She will get plenty of alone learning time with me during the school year.  The thing that really gets me is how much the kids love learning time.  It is one of the few structured activities that does not require bribing or cajoling or reminding.  If anything, they ask me for it and I hold back a moan (again, the patience required while I am already trying to work is not something I have in large quantities) and pull out the activities I planned for that week.  But while I am not teacher material and I don't know if I display the right amount of patience while working with them, I absolutely love watching them learn and grow.  Getting to see Little Man understand how to tell time or count up the money or do double digit addition is just awesome. I envy their teachers this year because I feel like both boys are poised for some jumps in their learning and watching it click or the light go on is so rewarding that the pain of being a pretend teacher for the summer is worth it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School Prep

We have 3 weeks before school starts back up and I am both happy and sad over the changes that I know are going to take place.  I have absolutely loved all of the time that we all got to have with Little Man being home all summer.  We got to read some of my favorite books like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together.  We worked on writing stories and math.  We laid in my bed and each read our own books and just spent time talking.  Peanut and I have had our special moments too as we practiced writing his name and doing some math work.   And don't even get me started on the fact that my baby girl will be going off to preschool for the first time.  I will have my first empty nest time for a few hours two mornings a week and I both look forward to and dread those hours.  Not only does the end of summer mean that the kids spend more time away from the house but it also means that we are back to a strict schedule that will include bus stops, cub scouts, soccer, winter swim, homework, preschool pick up and drop off....I am tired just typing it out.  So the last three weeks of summer we are packing in our fun and the kids are picking our activities.  So tomorrow we are going bowling which is going to be interesting and quite an adventure with my crew.  What can possibly go wrong, I mean I may be handing Peanut a 7 pound ball of destruction but it will work out!  Ah, oh those summer days.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Peanut Diving

Do you want to know what a summer of swim team and a few private lessons can do for a Peanut, not to mention the peace of mind for a Mama Bear?  Check my 4 year old out!  I am so proud of him.  The combination of no fear and some one on one lessons plus swim team turned my little boy into a swimmer.  A real, swims all over the pool, jumps off the diving board, don't have to worry about him as much kind of swimmer.  And he is only 4!  I am so glad no one told him that children with apraxia have a hard time combining the motor movements required to be a good or confident swimmer because he makes it look easy.  I am so relieved that his skills are catching up with his confidence!