The Month of August

Gretchen came back from St. George knowing how to play Battleship and she loves it.  In general she loves to play games.  She kept talking about it the whole way back from St. George and was disappointed when we couldn’t stop at a store right then to buy the game.  I think we went out the day after we got home to buy it.  It’s actually not as above her head as I thought.  She has beaten Steve at least once too.

Alternately, Wes got a late b-day present of a duplo fire truck when we were in St. George and I wouldn’t let him take it out there because I was worried about losing the pieces and he talked about that the whole way home and was disappointed that we wouldn’t put it together when we got home at 10pm that night.  He remembered the next morning; he was on top of it asking to get it out before he had even eaten breakfast.

Due to the lack of pictures I took, we must not have done too many exciting things in August.  We dinked around in the yard and probably went swimming.  It’s all a blur.  I’m sure the kids did cute things I should have recorded and didn’t.

There were still boxes in the house

Working in the yard

Working with his truck

The major event for the month was Gretchen starting Kindergarten.

She was very excited, until she got there, or course.  We walked her in for her first day and it was mass chaos because every single parent/grandparent etc was there to see their child to class as well.  And they hung around.  It was ridiculous, the poor kids couldn’t even walk around the room to find their name to sit down.  Seriously people, back off.  So Gretchen got nervous, it was too much activity for her.  We didn’t stay until the bell rang like everyone else, we picked a moment when she wasn’t about to cry and left.

Outside her classroom

Sitting at her spot

And then the bomb drops, here’s the way this all started to work.  Gretchen starts Kindergarten and the first day I have two hours’ worth of homework.  I am going to be in so much trouble when I have more kids in school.   All the forms she brought home that needed to be filled out for the next day.  I don’t know what parents of multiple school children do.  It was crazy.  And the homework she has is driving me crazy.  She’s in Kindergarten, why does she have homework?  Poetry is due every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; Handwriting is due on Friday; Guided reading is 20 minutes every day; she has a monthly activity form that’s due at the end of every month; storytelling comes home over the weekend and the folder needs to go back on Monday; I have to sign her daily folder every day and sign the weekend folder on the weekends; book orders; and whatever else miscellaneous stuff she brings home to complete.  Holy cow, it’s ridiculous, I had to get an app on my phone to start tracking all of HER due dates and activities.  I’m DONE with school; I’m not the one going back.  Then came the color songs, we needed to listen to them every night and she needed to wear specific colors on specific days. And camouflage on this day and this day brown so she can be an Indian, black and white to be a pilgrim, it’s crazy.  A child this age is totally incapable of tracking all this themselves.  And then I feel like I am buying something every week to donate to the class, we need rolos for our project and we don’t have the budget for it, please send in four lemons, a bag of pretzels, we need tulle, Friday treats, donations for this party, toy drives, pj drives, present drives, box tops…etc.  She’s just finally learned the days of the week, there should be some rule where they can’t assign homework until they have an understanding of due dates and days of the week.

Not to mention the parades, she’s had three parades so far where the Kindergartners merely walk the halls while the parents ooh and ahh and take pictures and the other kids sit in the hallways and watch.  I have no idea what the purpose is unless it’s to help them not be shy.  The first was a bear parade, they brought in a favorite bear and carried it through the halls.  The next was the Monster parade, they made paper bag masks and the third was a literacy day parade where they were supposed to have a costume that showed the meaning of a word they picked out, this one was a week after Halloween and I thought was ridiculous (not that they get to pick the day literacy day is) but I had JUST finished making a handmade costume for Halloween I didn’t want to turn around and make something for a word.  So I picked Phantasmagoric for her and she went as a fairy, the same as her Halloween costume.

It just complicates the night tremendously because she comes home and she is exhausted.  It’s all day Kindergarten and they don’t do a single rest time.  And they only get ONE recess.  Why can’t kids be kids anymore?  She goes to after school care at the daycare and they are supposed to help her with her homework but half the time she rushes through so she can play and they don’t correct her.   So she comes home super tired and here I am erasing her homework, making her do it again, while trying to make dinner AND listen to her get all frustrated as I have her do it a third time or she “can’t” do it or whatever because she gives up so easily because she’s TIRED.   I know her teacher doesn’t agree with it, she’s said she thinks homework at this age is wrong but they team teach and she doesn’t have a choice.  The issue is, she’s in the minority because she has kids and all the other teachers are straight out of college and have some warped sense that five year olds are old and mature and are learning machines.  Well they are learning machines and this may be good for her, but it really sucks for me.  I did have a stint where I had her read her guided reading books to Wesley at night, Gretchen really got into it and excited, which was great for me, it killed two birds with one stone but she had the same books for like two weeks straight and both kids got super bored with them and Wes wanted to go back to Monster trucks.

Gretchen LOVES Kindergarten, but she matured in a day.  She’s asking questions about things I have sheltered her from on purpose.  There was a night she started dancing around singing “I’m sexy and I know it.”  (Coincidentally while she was taking her clothes off to get in the bath, completely not intentional) She doesn’t even know what it means.  I told her not to sing that and of course she’s like why?  Or the day she asked me if she can stick up her middle finger.  YOU’RE five!  You don’t even ride the bus, how do you know this.  I thought we would be better off because we live within the radius that we have to drop her off but apparently not.  And then came the barrage of comments about this boy at school.  At first she wanted me to always braid her hair because he might not recognize her without the braid because when he first met her she had a braid (he’s in her class and sees her every day, it’s not like he’s a stranger who passes her in the hallway between classes).  And then it was Caleb says he likes my hair not in a braid.  And then it was Caleb sat next to me at rug time I think it’s because he thinks I’m beautiful…WHAT?!?!  YOU ARE FIVE.  It’s RUG time.  And the day she came home all sad because Caleb played with some soccer friends at recess.  I was like, were they boys?   She said yes and I said GOOD he needs to play with other boys.  And she was all like Whhhhyyyyyy?

Her attitude increased as well.  I have to remind her often what she does with her friends is not what is appropriate with her parents.  For instance, she started this whole copying thing.  There was a period where she would come home and copy everything anyone was saying before I finally said, that is disrespectful and you will not do that to your parents.  (I went to the school one day to eat lunch with her, after her begging with me because the other mother’s do this often and lunch time was a disaster, she and her friends are copying each other left and right and fooling around, and I thought no wonder she copies so much this is all they do.)  Or other times when I ask her to do something or try to talk to her and her response is completely attitude.  Now that she is able to interact with kids with more freedom than she had at daycare they are banding together and forming their little anti-authority coup already.  Those rebels and they are infecting my sweet little girl!  But, this is all part of life, she’s now going to have to learn respect in a different way and how you talk and play with your friends is different than what you can do with adults and parents.  It’s part of learning to be a socially normal being.  It just drives me crazy sometimes.

And now I have to compete with other Mom’s and Families.  This was never a problem in daycare because every child was in daycare because both parents worked or their single parent worked, etc.  She never knew any different.  Now she sees a world of Mothers who can come and eat with their kids every day or can come and read to the class or just be more involved in the school.  I finally worked from home a day in November to eat lunch with her and read a book to her class.  And luckily the parades they do, which last a total of five minutes, happen in the morning and we are able to just go late into work so we can show our support because I know that is probably what is most important right now.

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