Thursday, September 13, 2007

I See A Trip To The Museum of Science and Industry In Our Future!

With two of the biggest Star Wars fans living right under this roof, I feel quite certain a trip to Chicago is in our near future.

Two of the descriptions of the many features of this exhibit are:

Jump to lightspeed and tour the galaxy in a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon cockpit


Your experience will not be complete without seeing more than 80 props, models and costumes from the Star Wars movies and extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers.

Oh yeah, there will definitely be a trip to the city to see this!

Second Day of Speech

Well, Zoe went to speech again today. It went a little differently today than two days ago. She started crying at home and I had to carry her limp body out to the van to get her to go. She calmed down on the way there and cheered up when I asked her if she wanted to play on the blue dinosaur before going to speech.

She happily played in the lobby of the Early Childhood Learning Center until Miss Laurie came out to get her class. "Where's Miss Jan?" Zoe asked. "She'll be coming soon," I assured her.

Sure enough, a minute later Miss Jan comes out with her little charges looking for their moms. I tell Zoe it is time to go and she grabs my legs and begins crying and saying, "I don't want to go to speech."

While the other four kids are fine going back into the classroom, Zoe is not. I walk (drag) her over to Miss Jan where I peel her hands off from around my knees and hand one hand to Miss Jan all while Zoe is wailing, "I don't want to go. I want Mommy." I tell her I love her and that I will be there waiting when she is done. I try hard not to let the tears that are filling my eyes to spill out. That would not have been helpful at all.

Zoe goes with Miss Jan and I leave quickly. As I got into my van I made sure my cell phone was turned on in case her teacher has to call me. So I left and ran to two stores and got back to the school with 10 minutes to spare - no phone calls. I was definitely anxious to see how she did.

When Zoe came out she ran to me all smiles and her teacher said she was completely different this time. Apparently Zoe talked Miss Jan's ear off today. Miss Jan also informed me that her son, now 21 years old, spoke exactly like Zoe does. So, she is very tuned to understanding a child like Zoe. I have to admit I'm thrilled with Miss Jan thus far. She really has handled Zoe well and at the same time has reassured me about Zoe's placement here.

But the biggest treat of all was Zoe's comment as we left school today. "I like speech now. I'm not going to cry when we go anymore." Amen to that!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Baby Went To Speech Today (Or How I Went to Wal-Mart with No Kids!)

Zoe started speech class today. I was a little nervous of how she would react, because except for ballet class at the park district, Zoe has never taken any kind of class by herself. Ballet class was 1/2 hour a week and met only six times over the summer. Zoe cried for the last four sessions of ballet and wouldn't even dance at the parent watch class.

So, it was with some trepidation that I dropped her off at the Early Childhood Learning Center for one hour of speech with Miss Jan. I had been talking it up since her orientation last Thursday morning. She was excited to pick out her very own backpack, just like her big brother and sister take to school everyday. (She picked out one that had Princess Aurora, Belle and Cinderella on it, but the clincher for Zoe was that it came with a lunch box and wallet.) I hadn't had a chance to get her few other supplies that she needed, so this morning after dropping off the kids at school, we stopped at Target to get her four glue sticks, a box of tissues, and white index cards. She was thrilled with getting her supplies and eagerly watched as I placed each item into her backpack.

After a quick shower for me, I came downstairs to check on Zoe. Her Winnie the Pooh show was ending and we talked a little more about speech class. When it was finally time to go, she fussed a little but got into the van fairly easily.

When we got to the school, we got out and went into the lobby to wait for Miss Jan. Zoe played on the blue dinosaur there and made sure her backpack stayed on. She asked me a few times if I was coming with her, and I explained that Mommies don't go to the classroom. When her teacher came to pick her up, we found out that there are four kids in her group, three girls and one boy. She looked back at me with those green-brown eyes and waved goodbye as she took Miss Jan's hand. She did awesome, and I was so proud of her.

While Zoe was in speech class, I raced down the road to the brand new Super Wal-Mart and proceeded to buy everything on my list, plus several other things. Without any kids, I can be a fast shopper! I kept a close eye on my watch and was back at the school about 7 minutes before pick up.

When Zoe came out and saw me she talked a mile a minute. Miss Jan said that was the most she talked all class. Zoe did well, but got a little choked up now and then about Mommy, but then got over it. According to her teacher, she also didn't play with the other kids or toys, but she handled the situation. If you listened to Zoe tell it, you would think the teacher and Zoe were in different classrooms. Zoe told me she made lots of friends, that Miss Jan was her favorite teacher, she played with the toys, and that she didn't cry and did such a good job. She told me a lot more, too, but due to her rapid rate and being in the car, I just couldn't understand a lot of it. (The reason she's in speech!)

Anyways, it was a great first day from both Zoe's and my perspective.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Any parent can relate to this Dad's song. Take a listen. Be sure and stay until the end, it's worth it!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bad Morning

Well, the new school year has officially started at home. This morning was the first morning of having problems getting Ian ready to get out the door and off to school on time. This has been a recurring problem for the last three years, from when he started kindergarten. It reappears on and off all year, every year, and I still haven't figured out how to solve this problem once and for all.

During three years of bad mornings and bad feelings and bad behavior, I've come up with several modifications to our morning routine to help make our morning go smoothly. I have ensured that Ian has at least 20 minutes to eat breakfast, at least 20 minutes to get dressed, and at least 10 minutes to brush teeth and get shoes on. I also get out his clothes (he wears a uniform) to help move him along. I also will come upstairs after 10 or so minutes and casually check on him to make sure he's moving along. I will often give a reminder that he needs to get moving in a nice tone of voice if he's being poky.

Inevitably, after several good days, we have a morning like we did this morning. Despite plenty of time and at least three friendly reminders (I learned a long time ago that I didn't want to yell on a school morning because everyone leaves the house in a bad mood), the mood disintegrated quickly as I told him he was in trouble for not getting ready. Tempers flared and Ian mouthed off, causing TV to be revoked for the day, possible longer.

What really irks me is that I still haven't figured out a way to handle this problem. I hate getting myself and Ian all upset about getting ready to go to school in the morning. I feel bad for handling the situation poorly, and Ian is just mad - not a good way to start the day.

I really wrestle with how to handle this. Ian is very motivated by charts and rewards. But, I hate the idea of rewarding him for something as mundane and necessary as simply getting dress in a timely fashion each morning. I mean, it's getting ready for school, for goodness sake. However, part of me says, if using a chart and reward system makes the mornings go well, then that is exactly what I should be doing.

Then, the fact that Emma is now also getting ready for school and could probably get up 20 minutes before it is time to go out the door and still be ready with at least five minutes to spare adds a new dilemma for me. Should Ian be rewarded, but not Emma? Is that fair to Emma?

I remember from my teaching classes in college that a teacher can't be "fair" to every student in their class, at least not from an equal time/ equal effort for all students perspective. Some kids simply need more time and attention, for whatever reason. And as a teacher, I was told that being fair is giving to each student what they needed, not giving equal time to each child. That meant some kids took proportionately more of my time, effort, and patience than others. Just a fact of classroom life.

I guess being a parent isn't a whole lot different in that respect. But it's a lot harder.