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September Round-Up

Well, that was a fast month! Welcome to October!

September meant back-to-school for myself and the boys. This year, Carter started junior kindergarten and he’s loving it. The first few drop offs were pretty intense, but once he saw all the cool new toys he could play with in the before-school program, he was fine.

Evan started grade 2 and seems to be enjoying it. This year, there’s not really a structured reading program, so we’ll be getting lots of books from the library so he can keep reading every day.

I also went back to school! This year, I’ll continue to supply (substitute) teach, as we’re finding it’s the best fit for our life right now. It’s so nice to be working in schools closer to home, and always nice not to have marking!

It was our 9th anniversary and we went out for an amazing dinner at a new restaurant in town.

DH got in a car accident at the beginning of the month. The car was a write-off, so we had to buy a(nother) new car. This time we chose a Mazda 6 and we like it a lot. He got a concussion and had to take time away from work. He’s doing better now, but not fully recovered.

We had a fight with an appliance dealer about a dishwasher. Ours hasn’t been working well for months, and DH finally decided to just get a new one.  But, less than an hour after making the order, he figured out the issue, and called to cancel. Then, they told him it’d be a 25% re-stocking fee (on something that hasn’t been ordered, nevermind being shipped or stocked!). After writing a negative review of them on Google and 5 days of phone calls, they agreed to give us all our money back.

Sometimes being an adult sucks!

The last week of September was super hot here, so I’m welcoming the cooler temperatures that October is bringing!

How was your September?

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Ramping Up Summer

Summers at home with the boys have basically been a free-for-all, trying-not-to-kill-each-other, kind of experience. This year, inspired by Nicole & Maggie’s recent post, I’m trying something different.

It’s called STRUCTURE.

My boys need it, especially since they’ll both be in school come September (E will be going into grade 2, C into junior kindergarten). BUH-BYE super expensive daycare!

E has two weeks of summer camps (first one is science/multi-sport, second is outdoor/nature-based), and will be home otherwise. C will be at daycare Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and home otherwise. We will also be going away in mid-July to visit my family in Alberta.

So, here are my rough thoughts so far:

For E (between grade 1 and 2)

  • Reading time each day (15-30min?)
  • Writing practice each day (1-2 workbook pages)
  • Learning piano with me M/W/F (15-30min?)
  • Math practice on T/Th (1-2 workbook pages)
  • Weekly journal entry
  • Other educational activities: puzzle books (he likes word searches and mazes), electronics and robotics kits, flying drone
  • Video game time and unstructured play-time of course (board/card games, lego, etc).
  • Summer goals: learning to ride a 2-wheel bike; learning to knit

C loves doing homework when E does, so hopefully this will work. I have a couple pre-K workbook, so he’ll work on:

  • Letters
  • Numbers
  • Reading time
  • Other educational activities: puzzles, his codeapillar, colouring
  • He’ll also get screen time & unstructured playtime
  • Summer goals: writing his name legibly; not drive me insane!

For both (T/Th):

  • Soccer practice
  • Arts & crafts
  • Field trips!
  • LOTS of outdoor time/exploration

Any thoughts or suggestions for kids that are 3.5 and 6.5 years old? What are you doing with your kids this summer?

 

 

Valentine’s Protest

As with many elementary school classrooms, E’s requires students to either give valentines to everybody OR nobody.

The past two years, he’s given them to everybody, but never seemed to care too much about it.

This year, after I bought him some dollar store valentines, he said he’d rather not give them out. When DH asked him why, he said that there are a few kids who have been mean to him this year, and he doesn’t want to give them Valentines. So, he’d  rather just not give any given the choice.

I totally respect that, and am actually very impressed and proud of his decision.

I think the whole “you have to give Valentines to EVERYONE” rule is ridiculous and totally takes the meaning out of the tradition. Yes, I get that some kids would not get any, and that’s sad. So, since both these options suck, I wish the whole thing would just be abolished at this age.

6 year-olds don’t care about cards! Why not just have a Valentine’s party without the stupid cards and be done with it?

We got a message from C’s daycare about this topic. Since the kids don’t know how to write and no parent knows all the other kids, they suggest just sending in blank cards. WHY? Just GET RID OF THIS PART, for the love of God!

Based on this, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that DH and I basically ignore this holiday (unless me asking him to pick up 50% off chocolate the day after counts). His birthday is about a week after VD, and mine is in mid-March, so we’d much rather focus on celebrating those.

What do your kids end up doing for Valentine’s? 

Our Kids to a “T”

It was just after the kids went to bed, and I needed them both to sign a Father’s Day card for DH.

I go into C’s room first. I creep inside, whisper “C, are you still awake?” Dumb question. As I get close I see his eyes are wide open and he has a big smile on his face. I tell him I need to turn on the light and he needs to “sign” DH’s card. He gets very giggly and exuberantly signs the card multiple times. I tell him that’s good, and he lies down and practically yells “goodnight mommy!!”.

Then I got into E’s room. I had just left about 5 minutes before, and he is completely passed out. Luckily, since it wasn’t for long, I was able to wake him up (which is usually impossible*). After a few false wake-ups, I was able to get him to sit up and he mumbles something completely incoherent at me. I put the pen in his hand and ask him to sign DH’s card. He used the wrong side of the pen first, and then didn’t press down hard enough his second try. Then he signed his name quickly, laid down and promptly fell back asleep.

These two are as different as night and day in so many ways!

*One evening, our fire alarm (which is located right outside our bedrooms) went off for a good 10 minutes, with us running through the house, turning on lights, yelling at each other trying to find the source of the smoke**. E never even flinched once. It’s a bit scary.

**C has put one of my old stuffed animals on the bulb in my bed-side lamp and it practically burnt to a crisp. We were luck it didn’t go up in flames! We now use LED bulbs in all our open lamps!

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Poor 1980’s Stegasaurus

(Not) Listening

Okay all…I know I haven’t been blogging much, but boy, I need help!

C is right smack in the middle of his terrible 2’s, and it’s really, truly, terrible. I remember this stage being difficult for E, with a handful of major temper tantrums, and a lot of whining, but this is practically impossible to deal with.

E has always been a rule-follower. He tends to push right to the line, but rarely goes over. C, on the other hand, sprints over the line and jumps off the cliff backwards with his eyes closed.

He doesn’t listen to anything we say. He always says “no” to absolutely anything. He has extreme meltdowns regularly. Time outs don’t work. Positive-reinforcement doesn’t work. Negative-reinforcement doesn’t work. Yelling doesn’t work. Hugging doesn’t work. NOTHING WORKS.

I know my description of his behaviour probably sounds “normal” to everyone who’s had a 2-year-old, but please trust me in that this is completely different than anything I’ve ever seen.

Does anyone have any suggestions – techniques, websites, books, secluded institutes we can ship him off to, anything?

I NEED HELP, especially since summer is coming up and I’ll have both boys at home (ARRGH).

Changes for the Summer

I’m done teaching my university and college course, so I’m heading into the post-secondary summer (yay for 4 months!).

E will stop attending before/after school program starting tomorrow, and I’ll be walking him to and from school every day. I’m excited about it because a) it’ll force me to move and b) I get to spend some good 1-on-1 time with him.

C will be going back to part-time at the daycare and will be home with me on Tuesday/Thursday each week. This will allow me to have some nice 1-on-1 time with him as well.

I’m a bit nervous, because the summer last year was very hard for me because it was just TOO MUCH kid time after a very stressful and busy academic year. But, I’ve put some things into place that will hopefully make this summer more enjoyable:

  • I’m taking a couple additional qualification courses for teaching (special education and getting my physics teachable). This will help me make strides toward my goal of getting into a public school board, but shouldn’t be too stressful (I hope!)
  • I’ve registered E in 3 summer camps, so that’s 3 weeks with him out of the house and being around kids his age
  • Both sets of grandparents will be visiting
  • We have booked a cottage for a week
  • I have joined a women’s soccer team in the hopes it will motivate me to move more AND I get automatic social time every week

At the end of summer last year I was more frazzled than at the beginning and ended up taking a not-so-great job just so I could BE AWAY. So, here’s hoping this year will be better (and hopefully with some kind of decent employment in September.

All About C

The daycare asked us to provide something for a display they’re putting together about the kids called “All about me”. They want to include info about each kid both from the perspective of the staff and the parents.

So, here’s my input about C:

C is outgoing, energetic, and a risk-taker at heart. He knows what he wants and doesn’t back down, but he’s also very in-tune with the emotions of his friends and family. He can often be heard asking “what happened?” or “what’s wrong?” when someone is hurt or upset. He loves to make people laugh, and can be super silly! He seems to be relatively laid-back (for a 2-year old): things don’t tend to phase him too much.

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He love dinosaurs, cars, Lego, Paw Patrol, and his big brother. He hates eating at the table, going to nap (but he’s an awesome napper once asleep), not getting his way, and sometimes his big brother 😉

He thrives in the outdoors, and loves to explore. His favourite activity is to jump off anything he can climb onto and chase his brother (or us!) around. He LOVEs to rough-house with DH and E, but he loves to cuddle too.

His talking has exploded in the last couple of weeks, stringing together a couple sentences at a time. It seems like he asks more questions than making statements, like “what’s that?”, “what was that sound?”, “where did X go?”, and more. He’s definitely interested in learning about everything around him.

We’re looking forward to watching how he’ll change and grow as he moves from toddler to little boy.

 

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