The trouble with not blogging for an extended period of time is that I'm left with loads of photos and memories I'd like to capture, but life still moves forward. This blog has lost all concept of time. In that way, it's much like parenting seems some days.
Connor started school last Tuesday. He was given a gift of a teacher, and I very much appreciate that. Random luck or intervention from something in the universe - I'll take it. Although Connor does perfectly well in school, he is not one of those "can't wait for summer to end" kind of kids. He likes his summers, and he'd be fine extending them indefinitely. Having a great teacher at least takes the edge off of the end of summer.
The end of last year was hard. It took a lot to not just call it quits and end early, but a sense of obligation kept me bringing Connor to school daily. And true, the last week was fun, but I think everyone in this house was ready for the year to end. I am still, in fact, considering a vacation the last few weeks of school this year. I'm probably kidding myself that I would actually do this, but it keeps me going, so pretend it could happen right along with me, please.
This year started with Connor running into my home office after the first day of school letting me know we had to invite N to his (delayed birthday) party. Uh, sure, Connor. I love sending invitations out three days before events. Makes me feel like a rock star. Fortune of all fortunes, N has a September birthday, so his mom occasionally sends these emails out as well, so she completely understood and was happy to drop N off at my home at the appointed time. Phew. Connor sits next to N, and it's nice that the two of them like each other. Oh, how much difference a year makes.
Being that Connor is still at a public school, the urge to reward is irresistible, but his teacher chooses the one reward I can probably get behind - chocolate. Good behavior earns a chocolate kiss. By the end of the week, it took exceptionally good behavior. Connor has earned a daily chocolate, and he loves it.
His best day the first week of school was during math. His teacher showed the class her jar of kisses, and they shook it, moved it around, and discussed estimating. Then they made their guesses, and whomever had the closest guess would get 10 kisses. According to Connor, one student guessed 30, nearly every other student guessed between 60 and 120, he guessed 250, and another student guessed 600. The class laughed at his guess - until the correct answer of 258 was revealed. It was a real high point for Connor.
The teacher appears extremely organized and my challenge for myself is to match her organization by returning everything she sends home that needs input from my by the next morning. So far, so good. Of course, I must remember that with the loads of paperwork I'll be seeing, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I must not get too excited, yet.
My hopes for Connor this year are similar to last year. I hope his teacher recognizes that children change. And I hope she also knows that each child she'll teach this year, including mine, deserves her best. They are unique, they have something magical about them, and she might be the person that unlocks that magic. My own second grade teacher favored gnomes, could put a bunch of second graders in line if she needed, and created a real atmosphere of warmth and getting along. My contribution to her class was creating a "class book", which she kept up until she retired a few years ago. I didn't remember doing it until she showed me the project, but my friend Jennifer and I had drawn a picture of each student in the class and written a sentence about them and then given it to her for our "class library". Fine literature, that book was, I'm sure. I only wish I had that book now, because I remember when I went to visit her many years after I had left her class and she showed it to me, I thought it was extremely funny. I can't even remember what I wrote about myself. I do remember it included tidbits about people being "good in art" or "nice" and most of the sentences were three words, along the lines of "Jennifer is nice".
One thing I'm excited about for Connor is that students will be given difficult vocabulary words. Parents are asked to use these words in conversation throughout the week. This, I suspect, will be good, and could have the byproduct of improving my Scrabble skills. If you haven't already read it, search for the word "exaggerate" in this linked post. You will know why I adore vocabulary words.
Connor reported that his favorite class one day was Spanish, and his least favorite was art. Oh boy, not there again. I'm keeping my eye on this one early, and will try and meet with the art teacher if the feeling continues. Surely, we can figure out a way to work together.
All in all, I'm hoping for a good year, with a few good friends, and a sense of accomplishment at the end. I'm also hoping for a year of no surprise phone calls. I learned last year that I'm not good at handling them.
Here's the first day photo. Connor started the year off biking, and I'm hoping it continues.
Good luck, everyone. This time of year is filled with so much hope.