Monday, March 24, 2014

The Learning Fair

This past week Aiden had a learning fair at his school. This is an event where the kids can pick any topic they're interested in to research and then present. Aiden came racing home the day he heard about it and begged to do a project. On the outside I was very excited because, well, I had to be. Learning is super fun! On the inside however, I imagined all the extra work this was going to create when he eventually bailed halfway through because he's a kindergartener with the attention span of...well....a kindergartener. That might sound cynical but he's a typical kid whose interests are very mercurial and I don't have a whole ton of extra time these days.

We talked about what he'd like to do and he bounced from topic to topic. Bugs! Ladybugs! Volcanoes! Birds! Sharks! All the bugs on the whole planet! The night before the deadline to sign up I finally put my foot down and suggested Shetland sheepdogs since we have our very own subject to study. He agreed. I suggested some websites to check out, we printed off some information and pictures and I bought some poster board. He decided what info he thought was important, he cut and pasted pictures by himself and painstakingly copied the facts that I wrote out for him.

I ended up doing very little of it and he followed through on each part. Each day he sat down and wrote, glued and colored in this poster. At the very end he was so proud of his work and that was just the most heartwarming thing. The little moments of watching your child work and accomplish something that you weren't even sure they were ready for is one of the best things in life. Of course, I was worried too. He worked really hard but he's still mastering his handwriting and his cutting skills and I was afraid he'd be taking this awesome, adorable but slightly wobbly effort into a fair filled with typed out, totally perfect posters.

He kept working right up until the day of the presentation. Even though the poster was done he told me he'd been practicing saying all the facts to himself each night as he fell asleep. Hearing that almost had me in tears because he was working so much harder than I expected and this perfectionist streak is something I can relate to for better and worse. I really didn't realize how seriously he'd take the whole thing and it made me really hope he could maintain this pride in his hard work regardless of what everyone else's looked like.

The night of the learning fair was great. He was really nervous at first because, much like me, he hates crowds and it was packed. But eventually he loosened up and got to talk about his poster to his friends and his teacher. As it turned out his poster was perfectly imperfect and almost every other kindergartener had hand written and decorated their work.

Of course, this project taught Aiden all about Shetland sheepdogs the satisfaction of hard work. It taught me that maybe I need to have a little bit more confidence in my children's abilities and to just get out of their way sometimes. He's clearly got a lot to teach me.

The master and his masterpiece

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life Since January

Audrey is nearly two months old! I'll start with that as the excuse for why I haven't been able to sit down and blog. Do you realize we have three kids now? Do you know what flavor of crazy it's been over here? Yeah, wow.

Bringing Audrey home has actually been a pretty easy transition. We are still learning to juggle all three but some things have gone quite smoothly. Sean and I spent my entire pregnancy both longing to  meet her and dreading the inevitable insanity a third baby would bring. Yet, when we got home and every day life kicked in, it was just not that difficult. The move from one to two was MUCH harder and now we both feel like life is so busy anyway what's one more ? We also worried about her and Rory being so close in age but it in some ways it's easier. There are difficult moments where I am carrying both kids down stairs and praying I don't drop someone or when I have to nurse her and Rory takes it as his cue to climb furniture and empty cabinets. However, we haven't slept through the night since Spring 2012 so waking up with her at night isn't a shock. We are still elbow deep in the "baby stuff" with Rory so it's not a massive change for us. We've got it all down.

We were also worried about sibling rivalry and once again we've been surprised by how both boys are so protective of her. They love giving her kisses and bringing her blankets and they've even been getting along with each other better since she's been home.

So even though it hasn't been to difficult it's still been very busy. We're still in that stage where we wake up and suddenly it's nine o'clock at night and you wonder what you did all day. I spend my days getting people dressed and fed and refed and then it's night. I'm looking forward to the days where we can actually get more than that accomplished but I'm still trying to enjoy this newborn phase too.

Aiden has been doing awesome in school. We just got his first "report card" (as if you can really call it that in kindergarten). He's definitely strong in math, which we knew, but he is also loving music! He sings his heart out all the time and we're hoping he'll take an interest in piano. We've been stuck inside this winter thanks to some of the worst weather I can remember, but Aiden has been having lots of play dates and sledding with our new neighbors so at least he's enjoying this season.

Rory is still our little linebacker. He is too smart for his own good and gets into anything and everything. If Aiden likes to engineer things, Rory likes to reverse engineer. If it can be broken or pulled apart he'll do it. If you hide something, he'll find it. If you try to distract him from something he'll throw all of his energy into getting it. Too smart. On the bright side this means he's been picking up words also. He has a wide vocabulary and is putting together two words at a time now. It's so nice to hear him says "all done" or "please help" instead of him getting frustrated and throwing things across the room.

Audrey is just growing like crazy. For some reason I always assumed she'd be on the small side like me (narcissism I guess). Well, this little girl has blown through all the early sizes of clothing and we are barely keeping up with her. All she does is eat and grow, eat and grow and now she even smiles!

Those smiles make all the crazy worth it. She fits so perfectly into this family like a little piece we never knew was missing. Life has been very busy and sometimes overwhelming but I still stop and look around and can't believe how lucky we are to have these amazing little people in our lives.