Thursday, March 7, 2013

Soccer star

It is 4:47pm and I'm sitting in my living room, about to take the boys to pick Olivia up from school.  She began a YMCA after school soccer program this week.  That means Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons she will stay after school for an hour and a half with other kids from her class.  They will play soccer, receive healthy snacks and (hopefully) have a lot of fun.

What is weird is that three days a week I won't see her until 5:15.  She wanted to do the program.  In fact she wanted to do it last semester but I wanted to see how the adjustment to first grade went before I shipped her off three out of five afternoons.  Since first grade has gone so well and she really wanted to try this, I figured what the heck?

It just seems so grown up to have her gone so much.  She came home delighted on Tuesday.  They didn't have school yesterday because of a freak March snow storm.  And we will see how it went today.  Her good buddy, Lila, is doing it with her.  That should be great fun. 

It's also nice that I have three afternoons a week that the brothers and I can get errands done, come home and relax or just have a bit of freedom to do whatever rather than turning around an hour and a half after I pick them up to go and pick Olivia up. 

My kids are growing up.  I like who they are becoming.  Even I am growing as a mom.  I have much to be thankful for and I feel it today!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Giant pencils on key chains and puffy stickers, Oh my

We had a big celebration around here the other week.  I couldn't let my sweet girl turn 7 without posting pictures of her big day.  She had thought long and hard on how she wanted to celebrate and what she came up with was:
Getting her ears pierced and fancy dining.  We talked about a party, but she is a girl who knows what she wants and she insisted she didn't want a big party.

 For years now, Steve and I told her she could get her ears pierced (if she wanted) when she was 7.  I figured by that point she could decide if she indeed wanted to go through the pain and responsibility. This is what my mom had done with me and I like to think I turned out ok.
We invited her good buddy, Lila to be moral support.  Lila and Olivia are true partners in crime.  Lila is in second grade and O is in first.  They were in the same pre-k/kindergarten classroom.  Then Lila moved up.  This year, O got moved into the same classroom.  The girls have become fast friends.  I truly love their friendship. They are a great match, two peas in a pod.

O was brave.  And all smiles.  She declared that day to be the *happiest day of her life, so far.*
The girls then shopped around Claire's Boutique for awhile.  (Is there really anywhere else for an American girl to get her ears pierced?)
I stood back and tried to get out of the way.  I felt like I was in some kind of weird dream where my daughter and her friend giggled over the sparkly hello kitty press-on nails... and then I realized, nope, it's just the beginning of the rest of my life.  Somebody get me a refill on my Xanex, please.
We ended with fancy dining at the Cheesecake Factory.  The girls were so excited and chatted and checked out the bathroom and the cheesecake case.  They talked about earrings and diaries that had locks on them at the store.  I basically re-lived my 1st grade year all over again. 
 I know there is a distinct possibility (dare I say certainty) I will take these words back but, I love watching my daughter grow up.  I love her choice in friends.  I like the friend she is to others.  I am not taking for granted the fact that she wants me around right now.  I know there will be a day she will ask me to want me to drop her off a block away from wherever she is going.  She will purchase a diary with a lock on it to keep ME out. 
I know I will do things that she will roll her eyes at.  I will embarrass her (and sometimes it will not be on purpose.)  Now I need to go work on figuring out how to pick locks... it might be a good skill to have one of these days.

Friday, March 1, 2013

High Hopes

I was in the classroom the other day helping some kids to read.  Most of the kindergartners in the class are on track for reading.  Several are not.  I've gotten to know the kids in the class pretty well.  I'm there just about every week for two hours.  I'm not sure how much I contribute by my measly two hours, but I like to think its something.

This week I spent time with two kids in particular who are struggling to read simple words.  It seems like rather than being unable to read, they are distracted.  Uninterested.  Unmotivated.  It's no fault of the teacher, she is amazing.  It just is what it is right now. It makes me sad.

De'Sean has made a lot of progress since I first met him.  Some weeks he is more focused than others.  This week was a not so focused week.  At first he rose to the challenge of not letting me "stump" him.  Then he got bored.  After about 7 minutes he was rocking in his chair.  Looking around.  Telling me "I don't want to read any more."

I had noticed earlier that De'Sean was good at and interested in drawing.  I asked him about art.  He said he liked drawing.  I told him I noticed he was really good at it and encouraged him that some day he might be a famous artist.  He said, "Yeah, but ain't nobody gonna take me for lessons."  I let him know there are schools where you can learn to be an artist but you have to know how to read to go there.  I tried to cast some vision for him to learn to read so that he can one day draw cartoons for other kids to watch on tv.  I don't know if those words sunk in.

Next up was Aleyah.  She is a smiley round girl who loves to give me a hug when I come in the classroom.  She lights up when she is called into the hall to work on reading.  She breezed through the letters and their sounds.  She grew discouraged and bored when we started reading the words.  Her brightness and smile faded after a few minutes of struggle.

I decided to ask her some similar questions.  She loves to sing and wants to become the most famous singer in the world some day.  I told  her I couldn't wait to hear her sing.  I also explained to her that singers need to know how to read so they know what words to sing.  I let her know that she is on her way to being a famous singer, but that it's so important she focuses on reading. 

When I think about the kids I get to spend time with, I have high hopes for them.  I pray that various negative cycles will end with them.  I pray that they will know Jesus.  I pray that they will have hope and dreams that don't get squashed along the way.

There is a reason we keep our kids in Dayton Public Schools.  Actually, there are a lot of reasons we keep our kids in Dayton Public Schools.  De'sean and Aleyah are two of those reasons.  I believe God wants to use our family to breathe hope and life there.  I also believe God wants to breathe hope and life into our family as we rub shoulders with these kids too.  I'm the one being schooled.