Monday, October 31, 2011

Finally...the loot!

True to form, Helen was ready for "just one more house" though she also requested to be carried because her legs were "SO TIRED". And though the wee ones may disagree, I think the haul was sufficient. Plus, I got nervous and purchased an extra bag of candy at Target yesterday so we have a lot of left-overs.

As soon as Helen and Connor returned home from their final outing, Connor started sorting. Chip off the old block, that kid is. Sorting marks a long-held Halloween tradition for my sister and me. I have to say, the pile of "yucky candy" which was always reserved for my dad was pretty small. And mom, there were NO Mounds or Bit O' Honey this year.  Strange, I know. Please don't cancel your upcoming trip on account of this. There's lots of other good stuff!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Favorite Garbage Truck

For Halloween this year, Connor wanted to be a garbage truck. He also wanted Ed to be a garbage can and asked me to be a raccoon. Helen had some roll in his garbage themed schema, but she refused. She stomped her food and said she was going to be a pumpkin, and so I made her a pumpkin outfit.

I stressed about the pumpkin outfit briefly, bought a yard of orange flannel (a couple of weeks BEFORE Halloween, as I learned from last year's costume quest that although fabric stores are typically vacant, they have enormous lines the week of Halloween). Then, I remembered that Helen is 4. Her idea of a pumpkin is probably radically different than a Hollywood costume designer's idea of a pumpkin. I knit the hat for the outfit in a couple of hours. I made the pumpkin in fewer than five minutes. All I did was fold the yard of fabric over, cut out a hole for the neck, tie it together with a ribbon we had in our ribbon box, and voila - a pumpkin. Helen loves that outfit, and every single person who saw her on the costume's inaugural run at Connor's school's Halloween parade knew exactly what she was and thought the costume was fantastic. And - since it might be SNOWING on Halloween here, wearing a flannel blanket is a perfect costume.

Ed took the more difficult task of coming up with a garbage truck outfit. With a few boxes, some straps from some decommissioned booster seats, and pads from a nearly decommissioned stroller, a garbage truck was born.

There's a box in back where the candy goes, and the white thing up front is trash-dog Pugsley, who has his own ghost costume (paper towel with a rubber band around it).

I might be able to go as a raccoon, just by being my normal under-slept person with baggy eyes. Not sure what ed's going to come up with in the garbage can department.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween at School

About a week before Friday, I lost my mind. You see, I foolishly decided to volunteer in Connor's classroom in the morning for "the Great Pumpkin Caper" and then decided to do double duty and volunteer for the Halloween party as well. When I got home, I wanted to collapse. Connor? He wanted to run around and play baseball. Clearly, he has more stamina than I give him credit for.

First...the Great Pumpkin Caper. There are no photographic records of this, because it would've meant ruining my camera by getting it full of pumpkin goo. First, have the children estimate how many seeds are in the pumpkin. Guesses from the table I was helping: D - 20; P - 80; F - 129; Connor - 200; me: 432. Actual number: 672 - plus a few more because D got tired of counting and his piles of 10 were not exactly even and F decided to make a last grasp for additional seeds on the floor that I had deemed out of play and didn't add to our total. Yeah, I can CRUSH 6 year olds in the estimating department. I'm proud.

Second step was the counting. I needed to remove the top of the pumpkin, but some parent who donated the pumpkin to the table I was at was an a$$hat and though they cut around the top of the pumpkin, they never actually removed the top, and apparently they missed a spot because I could not pry that FU**ER off, so I had to climb on a cabinet and get a knife, while D decided to wander around the room, break the stem of the pumpkin, and then start beating on the damn thing because he. is. so. strong. But not strong enough to make actual progress in the quest to remove the top.

Connor was thrilled at getting to count piles of 10 and then make groups of 100. F was pretty diligent in his task, P gave up around 100 and D counted about 30 seeds and then decided to just make random piles of seeds. I guess I can't blame him, but F and Connor were not thrilled about the inexactness of it all. Eventually, Helen joined the counting because we were never going to finish. Connor was perfectly happy to reach into the pumpkin and get the seeds and goo out. D just wanted to reach into it, mash it around, and then wave his hands wildly. P was too precious to get too close to the goo, and F kept waving his hands wildly whenever he decided there was too much goo near him. So, for the team, I scooped those seeds out like a pro and kept telling my little counters to keep going. I also told F repeatedly that if he kept flicking pumpkin goo on me, I might start smelling good to a wild animal and be attacked on the way home. This deterred him ever so briefly.

Next, we measured, counted ridges, and then eventually, the Great Pumpkin Caper ended.

Helen and I dashed out to sanity only to turn around an hour later to get kids ready for the parade and then make sure the number of children lost at the parade stayed at acceptable levels. Although Connor was happy enough to march at the end of the first grade line, Helen prefers the front. So, she just marched right up to Mrs. H. and walked with her. And then she spent the two laps of the field waving at all the moms she knows, pretending she was in first grade. She loved it.

Next, Helen and the first graders went to music. I'm not even sure the music teacher realized she had an extra kid in her class until she told me I didn't need to watch (which was code for: I'm doing such an embarrassing job at teaching today, I'd prefer you not witness it) and I told her I had a little one in the class. She let Helen stay (which thrilled Helen) and I went downstairs to prepare for the party.

Anyone notice the kids who's not actually in first grade pretending as if she is?

I taught the kids how to make bats. Totally cool.

Then, the kids cleaned the room up a bit, we went home, and I wanted to lie in a ball and sleep. Too bad my kids didn't want to do the same.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Homemade Friday: Pig

This pig sold for $25 at the Fall Festival before an hour had gone by. Had I know it was going to sell for so much, and so early, I would've made more. Notice the super cute tail that I made by finger knitting the embroidery floss used on the rest of the pig. That was my extra touch on the project. The pig is about 4 inches in length.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mirror Mirror On the Wall, Who's the Princess In My Hall?

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine posted the below on Facebook.

So I quickly reposted it, and many other friends posted it, and I got involved in several discussions about the messages the media sends to our children.

Neither of my children have ever seen any of these movies. They have heard the fairy tales behind many of them.

I do think that media images matter, and we are an intentionally low consumer of all mass media in our household. I think I matter more, for sure, but I just can't ignore the growing rates of disordered eating by girls - even very young girls, and I think the images are so much catchier now than when I was exposed to them as a kid - so I just can't blow it all off as benign.

Much as I try to weed out this stuff, I have to admit that Helen is drawn to this crap like a magnet in an MRI machine. Show her something pink and sparkly, and she wants it.

So, in the interest of full disclosure, this is how Helen went dressed to dance class today, because I haven't yet finished making the pumpkin costume she requested. And yeah, because she loves her pink and sparkly dress-up.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Reading Between the Lines: From Left to Write Book Club "Lost Edens"

I used to be in near constant conflict with myself. Now, I am only occasionally in conflict with myself. As an example of a conflicts I had recently with myself, I outbid myself at a silent auction I chaired for Helen's school. I’m not even making this up. There was a painting in the auction that I adore. I was absolutely convinced that someone would try and outbid me at the last minute, and so I raised my bid by $25 with two minutes left to go in the auction because if I lost, I wanted to lose by at least $50. I realize I make no sense. This move did, however, provide much entertainment for friends watching me debate with me. (I WON! and lost.)

The sort of conflicts I used to have with myself were over figuring people out. I often read between the lines. I take small gestures to have significance whether they do or not. For example – notice the way that person blinked a lot while they were talking to me? Probably super bored or lying. Notice how she said she hoped we’d get together soon, but then gave me instructions to “call her”. Probably means she’s not actually interested, and is hoping I’ll forget. Or what about that question I asked that was left hanging in the air? I probably exposed something that wasn’t supposed to be known. This type of thinking can be exhausting.
A few years ago, I decided this activity was a waste of time. I decided instead, that I would just take people on face value. When I moved into my current house, my children trespassed on my neighbor’s lawn because it has a very cool tree house. My neighbor came out as I was attempting to retrieve them, stopped me and said “your kids can come over any time they want”, I looked at her and replied “I am from the Midwest. When you say things like that, I want to trust that it’s what you mean. If you don’t mean it, it’s totally fine, but can you just tell me soon so that they don’t end up bothering you.” As a note – people from the East coast are generally not this nice about people running around in their lawns. She laughed and said “me too! I mean it!” And it was then that our backyard pact was formed whereby her 3 boys come over to my yard to play basketball and Helen and Connor go to her house to enjoy the swing set and tree house. It has saved us a lot of money! I am certain we'd own at least one of those fun objects right now if I had second guessed my neighbor and not taken her at face value.

The flip to deciding I would take others on face value is that I would expect them to take me on face value, too. As a result, I’ve been a lot blunter. I know at times I offend, and I also know I surprise people occasionally, but it is a super easy way to live life. You know the famous poem about the woman who’s going to wear purple when she’s old? That’s who I’m trying to be. Now.

When I was reading the book “Lost Edens”, by Jamie Patterson, I was reminded of my pledge to not spend time reading between the lines. Jamie finds herself with a cheating husband who emotionally abuses her. So she looks for signs. Lots of signs. And the thing about all of it is, from the second page of the book I wanted to shout “your dog doesn’t like him – he’s no good!” Because that dog? He can't look around and see the good - he knows the bad. But it takes Jamie time to see her (ex) husband for who he is. Instead, she relishes the moments when he wears his wedding ring, and they appear to be a perfect couple. The symbol, as it turns out, is meaningless.

Now…why did this fact strike me? I’m married to a man who doesn’t even know where his wedding band is, much less could he remember the last time he wore it. So I could make myself nuts and try and assign some significance to this, or I could just accept what he tells me every night. “I love you.”


I’m a member of the From Left to Write book club. I received a free copy of the book “Lost Edens” by Jamie Patterson. The book is a fast read. It was very emotionally draining for me, and made me worry about Helen's future.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Helen!

Dear Helen,

Yesterday, after much anticipation, you turned 4. Since Connor's birthday, you have been pretty excited about your own celebration. At one point, I told you that your birthday was in the fall. I received the following note from your teacher a couple of weeks ago.

"I am sure you are aware Helen's birthday is approaching (she reminds me often)! The first day of school she saw some leaves fall and said "oh no, it is fall. Maybe I am already four now. We might have missed my birthday. I will have to ask my mom. I will tell you tomorrow if I am four."

I have heard several theories related to the ebb and flow of behavior, and how for six months, life is gloriously easy as a child settles into herself. Then, there's six months of testing limits and reaching out to the next developmental phase and age. You have easily hit your stride so I'm banking on another six months like this. Did you hear that, Universe? SIX MORE MONTHS OF FUN, HAPPINESS, AND LOVING LIFE with LITTLE TO NO COMPLICATIONS.

The best thing you do these days is running after your dad or I as we head off to work and you race us to the corner. Pure delight on all sides. Your dad takes the time to bring you back. I'm afraid I'll drop you, so you run back to your dad after waving to me at the stop sign.

You are wonderfully expressive and emotional. Things are often very good, or terrible. And if they're the latter, you let everyone know. Often. Even after you're supposed to be sleeping, you will call downstairs to issue that one last important grievance. Sometimes, it's hard to convince you to just go to sleep.

You are S.L.O.W. when it comes to eating, but also somewhat adventurous. Mostly, you have a lot of rather unimportant things to say at dinner, when you have a pretty good audience since others are eating, and you like to fill our time with entertaining, rather than eating. I attended class with you on your birthday and when it came time for snack you were served rice, seaweed, sesame seeds, and kale chips. You happily told me that the rice tastes even better when it's rolled in the nori and then you sat and ate every bite of snack, asking for seconds. After eating the first bit of kale, you gave a little shiver and told me you didn't like it - but then you gobbled it up and explained to me it was quite delicious. Love that!

You know what you want in life, and you easily direct others to help you. Occasionally, you decide to use your cuteness and charm to convince people to perform even the simplest of tasks for you. I think I'm the only one who hasn't been convinced to turn the light on in the bathroom for you.

You adore Connor, and the best days in life are the ones that include him. This melts even my heart.

Grandpa Rodney and Grandma Carlene came to help celebrate your birthday. Presents! Fun!

We are so very lucky to have you in our lives!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Back from Kansas

For those following along at home - this actually happened in July. For whatever reason, I never published it. Enjoy!

We just spent a week in Kansas, and the whole time we were there, it was super hot, and I resisted mightily the urge to cry out "I'm melting" just like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. But really, I should've. I was able to remember the absolute best thing about my family. We don't believe in sunk costs. Ever. And that means, if we have purchased tickets for an amusement park, and we have made plans to go, if it is open, we go. Even if it's 200 degrees outside. We make a pact to all pretend like we don't notice it's 200 degrees outside, we don our hats, and we drink lots and lots of water.

And so it was, that on what was possibly the hottest day of the year, we found ourselves on our annual adventure to Worlds of Fun. Connor is now big enough to enjoy quite a few of the rides, and Helen is daring enough to climb in with him whenever the gatekeeper will let her.

Here we are at the entrance, totally ready to rock it! Ed is holding a coffee cup behind his back. Yeah, like that was necessary!
One of the things I like best about Worlds of Fun is that many of the rides are the same as when I was a kid, pounding pavement in 200 degree whether if that's what the weather happened to be. The "Old Cars" are classic. My sister and I decided to let Dad drive. I'm not sure if he fell asleep at the wheel or if he's reading a map so he knows where he is going. Both are equally likely.

Although I am becoming a greater and greater wimp when it comes to rides, my sister is defying age and getting more and more daring. Here she is with Ed (our normal go-to guy for all things dangerous at amusement parks) and Emily - thrill-seeker extraordinaire on the Detonator. I'm not going to tell you whether anyone vomited, but I will tell you that I don't remember anyone going a second time.

Before the ride.
After the ride.

During the ride.

Last year, Helen was too short to go on the log ride, and everyone in the park knew it. This year? Score!

At lunch, we had Connor practice being tall so he could go on the Fury of the Nile. Fail.
Add a few spins on the Octopus, a roller coaster, the train in the kid section of the park, and several other days and you have a family visit to Worlds of Fun.

Rather than whining about how hot it was all night - do you know what we did?

We patted ourselves on the back for choosing a day when the LINES WERE SHORT. Now that's a good attitude - friends!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Once Upon A Monster

Recently, I took the kids to an event at Georgetown that was hosted by the folks who did the studies Helen participated in. We got to see the Kinect in action - which is pretty groovy if you have never witnessed it. I know, you probably have. I live under a rock.

There are no controls on the games. Instead, kids "wave in" to play the game - and that and other actions are picked up by cameras in the game. In this particular game, kids become Elmo and Cookie Monster and go through a series of movements that are happening in the story. At the end, there's something of a free dance session. The technology is incredibly impressive. Remember, I grew up on Pong, and then the Commodore Vic 20. Wow. Just wow.

And while video games might not be our home's entertainment du jour, I will say this. These games are totally intuitive. I'm always impressed when I see a young child with an iPad, and it's for the same reason I'm impressed with this gaming system. With no training whatsoever, it's possible to - in this case - play the game. Pretty clever. And Helen and Connor both had a lot of fun. It's clear that the creators of the game went to great lengths to meet children where they are, rather than just simplifying an adult game. Kudos for that.

But here's my objection. The game is focused on getting children out of their chairs and moving. We know that's generally a good thing. But when we decide to use games like this to promote exercise, I feel like we're trying to figure out how to win the battle, while at the same time admitting we have lost the war (and maybe we have - remember, I live under a rock). Yes, if I had to choose whether my child was sitting down passively playing a game or running around engaged playing a game, I would choose the latter almost every time.

But that's a false choice. And I think we've forgotten that. Gaming doesn't have to be inevitable. It's a choice we make each day - and we can choose to become Elmo and run around inside a world that some very creative person brought to us, or we can run around outside and create something magical ourselves. And there's a lot of middle ground available, too.

Is the game fun? Absolutely. Is the game better than other gaming alternatives? Absolutely. But is it the best use of a young child's time? I'd say there's plenty of room for debate on that one. And frankly, I've had to "agree to disagree" with almost everyone I know on this point.

Also, for the record, I think cookie monster eating a box of cookies all at once is funny. I'm a little bit wistful that he's eating fruit now.


PS - In irony of all ironies, I won a gaming system at the event. I knew from the moment Connor drew "9" that it would be drawn out of the bowl. It hasn't arrived yet.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Camping Trip with Dad

Connor is a cub scout. And that means that Ed, for possibly the first time ever in his life, is participating in a school sanctioned activity.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy 47 Months, Helen

Dear Helen,

You started drop-off school this year and you could not possibly have been happier. You've been wanting to go to school without me for a year, and you were not disappointed when it finally came to pass. I was happy to drop you off at school and feel great about how you spend your mornings.

You are a laugh a minute, and I can hardly keep up with you. Your energy is explosive, and you both fall in love fast, and draw others to fall in love fast with you. It's super endearing.

You have one habit that is so annoying, I want to scream. Many times. Each day. You cannot be wrong, and you always get your way. Neither of these are, of course, true. But you will argue with anyone that they are. This, for example, is not an unusual conversation.

You: "I want that toy purse."
Me: "No, Helen, I'm shopping for a birthday present for your friend today. I'm not buying anything for you."
You: "I meant, I will buy that purse for my kids. I didn't mean I wanted it for me."

- or -

Me: "I'm taking you to a new park today."
You: "I've been there before."
Me: "No, you haven't."
You: "Yes I have. I flew there last night."

at some point, this annoyed me so much I added to the previous conversation:

Me: "What did you see there?"
You: "I'm not telling you."

Do you know why my forehead is flat? It's because of the number of hours I spend banging my head against the wall because of you.

You also do the cutest thing ever, something that a neighbor commented was "straight out of Norman Rockwell". Each morning, you race your dad or me to the corner. Your dad or I hops on our bike or gets in the car, and then you should "READY, SET, GO" and you start running and waving and shouting "bye mommy" or "bye daddy" as appropriate until you get to the stop sign. You always win. But you started feeling bad about winning all the time, so you declared that we were a team, so even though you touched the stop sign first, we were both winners. When it's your dad's turn, he brings you back on his bike, which you love.

Your teacher sent me the following note a few days ago:

"Hi Elaine,
I am sure you are aware Helen's birthday is approaching (she reminds me often)! The first day of school she saw some leaves fall and said "oh no, it is fall. Maybe I am already four now. We might have missed my birthday. I will have to ask my mom. I will tell you tomorrow if I am four."

Did I mention how much I love your teacher?

Another day, you made me and another jogger laugh quite hard. I decided to take the jogging stroller out because you preferred to go running with me rather than stay home with your babysitter. At first, you were terribly annoyed with me because you were trying to draw a picture, and the ride was too bumpy. You decided to put your notebook and marker away. Then, we hit a big hill. I was working as hard as I could to get up the hill and you just kept shouting "you sure you're still running back there". Another buy on the trail laughed so hard he stopped running. I prayed that I could maintain forward momentum long enough to get to the top of the hill, because it would've been a long ride down for you.

May you always lighten my days, Helen.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Week of Public School: Recap

Ha! I was going to be so good at recording my impressions of Connor's new school, but between preparing for the Potomac Crescent Waldorf School Silent Auction (which I am running - although I have three people helping that have been an enormous help!), an ear infection for Connor, and a crazy project ending at work, I never seemed to hit send. So...pretend you're reading this a few weeks ago.

Day 1. Helen and I took Connor to his classroom. Only, we arrived a few minutes early, so we were there alone. I didn't know we were supposed to drop off in the multipurpose room, but apparently everyone else knew this. I swear, I read every single piece of paper and email that comes to me (and the amount is vast!) and this was not mentioned. This is a problem with starting a school in first grade, rather than Kindergarten. The Kindergarten parents received instructions on what to do. I was supposed to just figure it out, I guess.

After putting a photo of me and Connor up in Connor's locker (from our recent trip to the Red Caboose motel) and showing him where his lunch would be, we went searching for the other 21 children in his class, and found them in a super crowded room. I figured out where Mrs. H's class was sitting, and Connor joined the line. Then I walked with the line to Connor's class, but Mrs. H. wasn't there yet.

Connor was noticeably thrown by all of this. He then followed the other children in taking his seat.

Imagine this - for an entire two years of your life, you've started school by saying a morning verse with your parent and then running around outside on a playground. Now, you're supposed to just sit at a desk. Connor tried very hard to hold back the tears, and I do believe he would have, had another girl not started bawling. She thought her parents had failed to get her school supplies, and she was super upset about it. Her emotional outburst validated his own insecurities.

Connor became very pale, like he does when he's about to cry, and a single tear slid down his face. He wiped it quickly away, and did his best to ground himself in his chair. It was then that my heart broke into a million tiny pieces. I really felt like I had betrayed him.

Helen and I began our exit, because I knew I'd lose my positive disposition and be a mess of tears in minutes if we didn't leave fast. When we reached the door, Helen ran back to Connor and gave him the biggest hug ever. It was as if to say "I'm sorry she's doing this to you. I'll figure out a way to get her to spring you from this place, but I need a little time".

Little did Helen know, but I had plans for her, too. Quickly, we set about mopping the floor.

I felt so awful that I called Ed and I think we were both convinced that we'd be writing a tuition check to the Waldorf school soon. At noon, I emailed the principal and asked if she'd seen him and told him he was very sad when Helen and I left.

I liked her response. She emailed back that she had seen Connor three times that morning, and although he could be holding it in, he seemed fine. I appreciated that she was aware that, having met him only a couple of times, she might not have a complete handle on how he would show his emotions.

When Connor came home that evening, he reported that snack was good, music was not good (no instruments!), that they didn't get to play with the toys in class, and that two boys had their fishes moved to blue for being naughty. Apparently, his fish is on the rocks. If he's naughty once, it gets moved to blue. Twice, it goes to yellow and your parent gets a note. Three incidents of being naughty result in moving your fish to red and a visit to the Principal's office. And this next part is what I love about Connor. Mrs. H. told the class that if your fish stayed on blue for 10 days in a row, you could get a prize. So Connor, always the good listener, decided that he needed to be naughty once in order to get his fish moved to blue, but then not be naughty again for 10 days so he could get his prize. I *think* I convinced him that rocks or blue would qualify for a prize, but I'm not sure. I sent a note back on the "daily news" about this so Mrs. H could clarify.

He then told me I needed to sign a paper for him, because if I did this 10 times, he could get a prize. If we remember to do this 20 times, he's going to get a prize for Helen, too. He'll look for something pink. [Edited to add: And since I am publishing this much later than it was written, I can add that the very first opportunity Connor had to get a prize, I was volunteering in his classroom. He noticed that there was one wristband bracelet like the ones all the first graders received on the first day of class, and he plunged his hand right into the prize jar and told Mrs. H "I'm getting this bracelet! Helen loves mine and has been wanting mine for so long. Now she can have this one". I was not actually surprised by this, because Connor does sweet stuff like this for Helen all the time. Mrs. H. about fell over though, and pretty much stopped the whole class to tell them what a nice thing Connor had done, and in honor of his nice thing, she gave him a second prize. I did want to punch Mrs. H. when she did this. You see, I don't like external motivation and prizes, and I wanted Connor to just be proud of his action, which would then motivate him internally to continue to do nice deeds. Attaching an extrinsic reward to it all cheapens the act. Connor was thrilled, of course. Psychology be damned!]

Day 2. Initially, Connor wanted to be dropped off at his class door. Then, he decided he wanted me to take his stuff to his locker, and he would go to the gym. He did an about face to head to the gym, missed the door, and managed to get to the front of the school as I swam upstream to try and get him back to the right place. When he saw the front door of the school, he realized he had gone too far, and spun around. He seemed relieved to see me - so I took him to the gym door, and he disappeared inside. Helen and I waited by his classroom to make sure he found the right line. When he passed us, he gave me a big hug, and then he picked Helen up and carried her all the way into class. He and Helen were laughing up a storm, and Mrs. H. joined in. The woman is a saint. She could've easily been annoyed.

That evening, he brought me the paper "the daily news", and although it was lacking in details yesterday, on Wednesday it reported that he played with the cash register and had the names of the four little dudes he played with. Apparently, the torrential downpours we're experiencing here meant indoor recess - a phenomena previously unknown to Connor as Waldorf kids play outside, every day.

Day 3. We were really getting into the groove by now. Connor went to the gym, found his line, and repeated the whole carrying Helen thing in. Every girl in the class is now in love with Helen and Mrs. H. stops whatever she's doing to give Helen a hug and let me know how much she loves her. This was the first day of science. The experiment? Eat a gobstopper. Observe what happens to it. Now put a gobstopper in a dish of water to sit overnight.

Day 4. Connor was excited to go to school, and was starting to know the names of the kids in his class. He was eager to learn what happened to that gobstopper, and I do not believe he was disappointed. He impressed Mrs. H. with his mad math skillz, and he is reportedly her best sitter and listener. That last trait is a trait many Waldorf educated children have. They hear stories all the time, and it's important to listen in order to know what's going on because there are no written words for them to rely on. That was Friday, and thus concluded Connor's first week of school.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I think this will be true for a long time. Connor most definitely feels loved and cared for, which is very important to me. He's also happy and he's certainly learning lots of random things, which may or may not prove useful at some point. The one thing I wish I'd done prior to sending him to first grade? Teach him to hold a pencil. I was so worried about the reading, that it never occurred to me that he would need to know how to hold a pencil. His teacher has asked me if I think it's an OT issue. No, it is not. You can take that to the bank.