Thoughts on the end of 2nd grade

photo-353We celebrated my book launch last week in this household, but we also have another new book around here. My second grader spent quite a bit of time these last few weeks working on a book called the ABCs of Natural Disasters. His wonderful teacher had the kids come up with a big topic, and then find examples starting with each letter. This involved a lot of research, and then writing and illustrating each page. My son learned the valuable lesson that your first topic doesn’t always work. He’d wanted to do “Japan” but was having trouble coming up with topics for each letter. I’m sure it could have been done, but natural disasters proved to be a more fruitful vein for research. Some of his musings on volcanoes and the like illustrate this post.

My 5-year-old finished a kindergarten program at his preschool a few weeks ago, and will be starting public school kindergarten in the fall. I’ve not been thrilled about the way this works with birthday cut offs (he’s late September, and it’s September 1 around here). I’ve gotten used to people saying “oh, but it’s great, he’ll be the oldest kid in his class!” (I write a small blog on the side on gifted education and photo-354I am a huge proponent of acceleration). In any case, I have high hopes he won’t be bored. He’s a curious kid who likes to figure stuff out, and he’s just decided that reading is something he wants to figure out. He and the 8-year-old are sharing a bedroom these days, and some nights the 8-year-old writes poems for the 5-year-old to try to read. They choose a word to base all the rhymes on. This comes with varying degrees of difficulty, and humorous moments too. One recent choice? Giraffe. The 8-year-old tried to rhyme it with “path,” which made sense for the 5-year-old, since he says it as “paf.”

My 3-year-old daughter is recovering from her eye surgery. In the category of “live and learn” with parenthood, albeit a category I’d really have preferred not to “live and learn” in, we knew much better how to manage it this time. We talked with the surgical team about not giving her a sedative prior to the surgery. She’s able to go to playdates by herself and I knew she wouldn’t be freaked out by going into the OR without us (though I was still intrigued to see how the pediatric OR nurses do their jobs. In the pre-op area, one of them picked her up at one point, and I think that was completely intentional — a way to cross that line so that she was comfortable with her). Because she didn’t have the sedative, the recovery from anesthesia was slightly easier. We got her painkillers right away, and I’d already told her I had a present for her in the car on the way home. Two years ago, the ride home had been a screaming nightmare, until we got home and our nanny at the time presented her with a nicely wrapped present (a doctor doll, it turned out). The present took her mind off her discomfort for just long enough to help her down from the initial freak out reaction. I mentally filed that away, and had gone to Target earlier in the week and bought a few little presents for her. She got a Hello Kitty doll in the car, and a photo-355Frozen T-shirt and My Little Pony at home. Friday still sucked, but it sucked less. By evening I took her for a walk in the stroller (while my husband took the boys in the pool– she can’t go in now) and she was in a good enough mood to ask me to push the stroller through all the puddles.

The baby has started eating cereal and he loves it. Loves it. He gobbles it up. Some children have trouble initially with the concept of spoon feeding, but my 5-month-old has such an appetite that pretty much 100 percent of it goes in the mouth and down the throat. We spend a lot of time together in the morning these days since he’s usually up before 6. We spend some of it out on the porch, which is nice. I have my coffee, and he plays on my lap. The net result of all this is I have to go to bed freakishly early — long before the 8-year-old, and often not too long after the baby. He is defying attempts to give him a 7:30 bedtime. My children just aren’t that into sleep.

In other news: I’ve been interested in the whole discussion about putting a woman on the $10 bill. I think it’s great, although there’s a certain element that happens when companies decide that they’re going to have, say, one female director. All potential candidates are pitted against each other for that one slot, which directs the conversation in unfortunate directions (is Harriet Tubman or Susan B. Anthony more important??) Women are evaluated in competition with each other, as opposed to on their own individual merits.

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