Monday, November 23, 2015

Shifting Orbit

Now that Maeve is in school, our relationship is... changing.

See, when she first got here, I was her whole world. Daddy was kind of okay, but I was the Earth her Moon-self orbited. No one else came close.

When she was a toddler, she discovered the wonder of Daddy. This guy could really put in some serious time playing and being silly, when Mommy was exhausted from being orbited all day. And Daddy became the one she longed for all day, the one she wanted to sit next to, the one she preferred for entertainment. And I was massively okay with that, because I was tired.

This had remained pretty much steady until this year starting school. Now I'm not just the rule-maker, schedule-setter, playdate-provider anymore, I'm the one she comes home to. The one she wants to sit next to and have special time with. She still gets excited for Daddy time, but will actually be sad if I'm not there to sing to her at bedtime. I haven't become the Earth to her Moon again and probably never will, but she misses me when I'm gone. She wants me, too.

And when her hand reaches up to hold mine, just because, I try not to clutch at it too tightly, but my heart wants to. Because I love that feeling and I'm always afraid of losing it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Expanding Artistic Horizons

One of the best things about having a five year old is watching her artistic horizons expand rapidly. It seems that every time she produces a new piece of art, I am bowled over by its creativity, its newness, its unique quality.

Lately, she painted a sunset while she was home with Shaun. It's glowing and vivid, and as my aunt pointed out, the tree trunk is solid, not an afterthought. I love the color she used, and she told a story with the picture.

Last night she decorated a tissue as a robe/dress for her stuffed puppy. I love how the flowers turned out, so lively and green. The effect of markers on tissue gives it a gentle, fuzzy-edged look, I think.

I also love how she designs clothes for her dolls and stuffed animals, and herself, but that's another post. It just seems to me that her creativity is reaching out in a hundred directions right now, and I love watching it spread.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Where Has All the Play Gone?

A lot of people, parents and educators alike, are writing about this problem lately. And I have to say, I agree with a lot of what's being said. What I hear from Maeve's teacher, and from Maeve, is that there is almost no time at all for play in today's Kindergarten. She gets fifteen minutes of recess, but the rest of her morning is completely devoted to math, reading, and writing.

Not only that, my daughter gets no gym, no art, no music, no science, and no social studies. She would get some of those if she were in full day kindergarten, which I both can't afford and don't feel she's ready for. Once a week, they get to go to the library, but that's the only "special" her class is allowed.

And yet, so many leading educators and scientists in the field of early childhood development have said that play is the most important component of learning in young children. When I was a child, we had plenty of time to learn reading and writing in Kindergarten, but we also attended specials and had center time every single day. AND recess. And sometimes even assemblies. Of course, when I was in Kindergarten, the state was not testing me at every turn, either.

I wish my daughter could have had the gift of a year of real kindergarten. As it is, I feel she's basically getting a year of training to be a first grader, and that's really not the same thing. I try not to let her know my disappointment in her kindergarten experience because it wouldn't benefit her at all to know things used to be different. At least, not at this point. But I feel a loss, some days, when I ask her what she did at school.

Since she's in AM kindy, we try to get in lots of learning and fun in the afternoon, anyway.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Reading Milestones

So, one of the biggest deals in kindergarten is learning to read, and Maeve is waist-deep in the stuff right now. She's learning the two-vowel rule, sounding things out, and memorizing sight words every single day.

At first, it frustrated her so badly that she absolutely hated anything to do with it, but now that she's getting the hang of it, it's not so onerous. And yesterday she did something that I vividly remember doing as a new reader: reading signs I saw while we were in the car.

Although what she read? Not a road sign. Not a billboard. Not a bumpersticker. No, she found some graffiti to read to me.

Oh-so-luckily, the graffiti she found said M_A_S_K. So not a new vocabulary word with an embarrassing definition, thank goodness! But we did have a brief discussion about how writing on something that doesn't belong to you isn't really a good idea.

Reading milestones!

And she still plays in her play kitchen a lot, too. Unfortunately, Patches has eaten everything except for the vegetables, so I order a lot of salads...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!

I meant to write about trick-or-treating, but it got away from me a little.

Anyway, this year Maeve got to go trick or treating with a group of her kindergarten friends. We met up at one girl's house, right here in our neighborhood, and then walked around a large loop of houses. I think having a group to go up to the door with helped give the kids a little extra nerve to knock on strangers' doors. And it was really nice to have a group of grownups to hang out and chat with while we waited and hoped our kids were saying "Thank you".

The kiddos did get spooked pretty well at least once, at a house that had a motion-activated animatronic spider that popped up when they walked past. It also boasted a pumpkin-headed figure that moved and spoke when the kids walked by, and that's when Maeve gave up on that house. She just walked back to us and said, "That house is just too spooky for me." We, of course, told her that was just fine.

It was just the perfect night for trick or treating, clear sky, very little wind, and really quite warm, considering. In fact, it was absolutely the nicest Halloween weather we've had since Maeve started trick-or-treating. And of course, she got plenty of loot, which is being shared equally among us.

I hope all of you had a great Halloween, too!

From her school Halloween parade, the kitty in motion

Maeve and the trick or treat crew!