Monday, June 15, 2015

First Grade Finale!

It's mind blowing to me how rapidly this school year flew by.  I can't believe my girl is almost through with first grade. She started out on that first day so afraid, and with tears in her eyes she braved the first day in a new school as the only new kid in her class. It took her a month or so to admit she liked it, but she would add not as much as last year. By December she admitted to be though that she liked her new school even more than last year.

It took me time to warm up to the school as well. I held the experience at our previous school in very high regard, so in the beginning all I did was compare the elements that weren't like that. I also came around to like this school better for many reasons but especially because of the sense of community. There is just something about Culver City that makes you feel welcome. I appreciated that being the newbies this year. The city itself has so many community events that are created with families in mind.

One thing that I was afraid we would never be able to replicate from last year was the amount of school spirit from the teachers and students. Last year there was an assembly every Friday and kids would wear their school shirts. I was disappointed to learn that at this school there would be an assembly only once a month. What I didn't know though was how many spirit days, and activities and events would be happening in between.

She had crazy hair day, sports team day, pajama day, tropical day, jog-a-thon and hat day. She was in the school choir and they performed a few times throughout the year. They had several movie nights, when kids would come in PJ's and bring sleeping bags. They got to go on field trips, they had science night, game night, and bingo night.  Each grade focuses on a different social studies unit and for first grade they learned how to square dance as part of their unit. If that wasn't enough they had a family Sports day.  The school earlier in the year was divided into "families"grouping a teacher with a child or two from each grade giving the kids an opportunity to meet teachers and students from the whole school. On Family sports day each team wore a different color and competed and relay's and played games.

Her confidence has grown and her academic accomplishments have soared. She was student of the month the first month of school but what came after that was what was so impressive to me. Her classroom has a bunch of kids that love to read and that passion is contagious apparently. She will read sometimes two full chapter books a night. I have to go tell her to turn her light off so she can go to bed. She loves writing and math and comes home each day and diligently does her homework.  She worked hard each week on spelling words and as a result has gotten 100% on every test. She loves school and is sad that this year is almost over.

I was never like this and am so happy to see that my negativity and procrastinating leaning didn't rub off on her. She accomplished so much this year and I am so proud of her. I am beyond impressed with her abilities, determination and  joae  d viv. There is no lack of school spirit, not in my girl anyway.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Oh 3!

Today is my sweet boy's birthday. He can be such a joy. He sings Beatles songs at the top of his lungs. He loves trains, skateboards, scooters, cars and monster trucks. He loves to play in the dirt, and he loves to swim. He is so affectionate, he kisses and hugs, and won't let his sister start school each day with a big hug and kiss from him before she goes. He says "I love you" a lot. He is beautiful and we are proud. Most of the time.

He can be adorable but he is also a bruiser. He is that kid that you take over to someone's house to play and if someone snatches something out of his hands he will hit them. We just went to a little boy's house to play and when that boy didn't want to share his car, my boy took it from him and hit him in the head with it. Oh, and that's not all. He can be a screamer and a biter too. He wanted a gumball recently (he doesn't chew gum-he turned three yesterday) and I said no and he started screaming in the store. I lifted him up to leave after offering him some other toys, but he just screamed and then scratched and hit me in the face. We are not physically violent people here so he must have a touch of the devil in there somewhere.

I know so much of this is his age, and that he will out grow it (I hope.) I've been the parent who has to apologize for him at the park, and remind him that throwing sand isn't nice. I have read books, articles, asked advice from friends, and tried multiple tools to help him react differently. So far not so successfully. My husband and I are not used to this behavior at all. Our daughter is pretty much the most obedient kid when it comes to school. At home if she acts out inappropriately she pretty much only needs to be told once why what she did wasn't a great idea. There is no reasoning with our son though, no distracting, no negotiating, no listening.

Some of the things we have tried are saying that we don't want him to do that and that it can hurt someone. We have explained after he hits that he doesn't get to be with us when he hits and that we need a little space. Then we try to walk away but he doesn't let us. We both know that the worst things we could do would be to hit, bite or scream back, but somehow sometimes we just can't help it. He evokes some mean parenting in us to and we react. I don't like it nor do I think it has ever been effective, but it has happaned. I have screamed right into his face "STOP HITTING" and if anyone ever yelled like that at me. I am pretty sure I wouldn't ever hit again but not so for him. I fear the day he starts preschool, and all the new parents I will have to apologize to, but I have heard that starting preschool can be the single most helpful thing for kids who hit. They learn by being socialized what is acceptable for others, not just what us parent folks want him to do. So here is hoping that three brings on some positive change. I know three was pretty rough for my daughter but I am hoping since two wasn't so pretty for him at times that three will get better. We are only a few hours in and its not off to the best start but I hear three and a day can be magical!