Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sunday, October 26th

The day started early. Really early. 3am early. Lola Gray insisted, at 3am, that she was no longer sleepy and it was time to get up. We tried everything, but she never went back to sleep. Ugh.

Fortunately, all 4 of us had a good nap after lunch so we had enough energy (and sanity) to go outside and enjoy a beautiful autumn afternoon. The neighbors across the street hung a new tree swing, and Fletcher had a ball playing on it. He fell off several times, which scared me to death, but he hopped back up and got right back on again!

I also got some nice photos of Lola Gray playing in the dirt in the backyard.

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Visiting Borough Market

Flat Fletcher and Flat Lola Gray came along to borough market with me today. We had hot apple cider and bought brussel sprouts! That is southwark cathedral you can see in the background. We took the bus over London bridge but there wasn’t enough time to take a photo. Will send more photos of our adventures soon. Love, AM

Fletcher’s 1st soccer game!

This morning Fletcher had his first soccer game! The field was a soggy mess after all the rain we had yesterday, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. The game started out great and Fletcher looked like he was having a ball. But, as I feared, the team he was playing against was . . . a bit more serious about the game than the “Super Blues” have been. They pretty much rolled right over them. This would not have been a big deal at all (and I don’t think it was for the rest of the team) but Fletcher was really upset by it. After the first 2 quarters he said he didn’t want to play any more. I thought at first that he was just tired, but when I asked him about it he started to cry and told me that he wasn’t any good at soccer because he couldn’t score a goal. I thought my heart was going to break in two. I shouldn’t be surprised that he is competitive and a perfectionist. He comes by it naturally.

But he gave up. If he couldn’t win he didn’t want to play.

I’m not sure I handled it well. I was alternately encouraging and ticked off at him. It was very frustrating! Fletcher was not alone in his decision to stop playing – the other team’s coach kept saying “Do you know you only have 1 player on the field?” and other equally snotty comments. As if we hadn’t realized that most of the team was in tears or running onto other playing fields!

When we got home, I showed Fletcher the video of the game so he could see how much fun he was having BEFORE he got frustrated. He watched for a while, then hit the stop button (how does he even know which one is the stop button?) and said “OK. Let’s talk about this.” (I managed not to laugh at how serious he was.) “Mommy, I didn’t score a goal.” “Fletcher, how did that make you feel?” “Really bad.” “Do you want to try to score a goal next time?” “Yes.” “Then you have to PLAY.” “Ok Mommy!” He finished watching the video and then ran off to play, happy as a clam. I hope he will give it more of a try next time. We have another game on Thursday evening, so we’ll see how that one goes.


passwords

The world is full of perverts. I didn’t want to believe it (though Lindsay warned me!) but it is true. It seems the post I put up over the summer about the Babble.com article “Bad Parent: Clothing Optional” has led my blog to pop up when sick people search the internet for “naked toddler.” It makes my stomach turn to think of it. Anyway, I have gone back and put a password on some of my posts, and will certainly put passwords on a few in the future. This is not to keep friends and family out – it’s for those “others.” If you want the password, email me. I don’t want anyone to miss out on all the Fletcher and Lola Gray cuteness!

I’m in love with a school

This morning, Raymond and I visited Charles Ellis Montessori Academy. This is the school we hope to get Fletcher into for kindergarten next year. We knew it was at the top of our list – we have heard nothing but wonderful things about the school, and the fact that it is walking distance from our house is a huge bonus – but after visiting the school today, it’s official. I’m in love with this school.

It felt like an elementary school should feel. Everywhere we went, people were smiling. There were children we know in every classroom we peeked into. Every teacher we came across spoke to us. We saw a dozen parents that we know. It was the epitome of a neighborhood school. But better than your typical neighborhood school, because it’s a Montessori school.

The Montessori method is all about observing and supporting children’s natural development. There is a focus on creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and time management. The children work independently or in small groups, and while they are guided by their teachers they are also free to decide what they want to focus on and when they want to do it. Now keep in mind, this is a public school and the children have to pass the same standardized tests and meet the same standards to which all state school are held. These kids learn everything they need to learn, but they do it (without text books) in a very individualized way. Montessori schools have mixed-level classes, so Kindergarten and 1st grade might be in the same classroom, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade in the same classroom. But it really doesn’t matter, because each child is working at their own level in each subject area. A child might be at grade level in one subject but above grade level in another. This seems like sooooooo much work for the teachers, but it means that no student is ever slowed down and no student is ever left behind. The advice of Maria Montessori was to “follow the child.” That makes so much sense to me.

As we toured the school, I was struck by the classroom environment. Most of the classrooms, especially in the pre-K through 1st grade classrooms, had the overhead lights off. The rooms were lit by lamps around the room, so it was easy to see but the light was soft and quiet. There was a lot of activity everywhere we went, but there was not a trace of chaos. Every child was working. Some were at tables in small groups with the teacher, others were working on rugs scattered across the floor. At another elementary school I visited recently, I heard teachers fussing at children in the hallway, scolding them to get back in line, get into the classroom, get out of the bathroom. We all have bad days, but 3 scolding teachers as I walked down a single hallway seemed like a bad sign to me. There was none of that at Ellis.

As we were leaving, the school nurse was walking down the hall towards us with 2 little girls, probably first graders. She stopped and introduced herself to us. We told her we had a 4 year old and were looking a kindergartens. She asked his name, and I told her. One of the little girls smiled at me and said “That’s a nice name.” I was surprised, and thanked her. The nurse said that one of the things the school focuses on is good manners. Then she turned to the girl and told her that was a very kind thing for her to say. I think that goes beyond good manners. This school just really seems like a place where every individual is respected. And I can’t think of a better learning environment for my children.

Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that Fletcher gets in. Applications will be available in December. They estimate that they will only have 25 kindergarten spots and will probably receive 75 applications for those spots. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is! I know we need to have a back-up plan, but I’m having a hard time thinking about anything other than this school!

Now that’s love

I haven’t been feeling well the past few days. The cold has been building gradually, but I knew from the start where it was headed. The last few years I have followed the same pattern and I have ignored the problem until it was so bad that it hung around and made me miserable for weeks. Literally, last year I was sick for 14 weeks straight. That’s crazy. I’m not going to let it happen again this year if I can help it.

So when I woke up this morning with my sinuses throbbing and (warning: TMI coming) mucus coming out of my eyes, I decided the best course of action was to stay home and try to fight this thing off now BEFORE it gets out of control.

The kids were a little confused as to why I was still home (and in my pajammas!) when they were leaving for school. I told them that I was sick and getting back in bed. Lola Gray looked at me for a second, held out Blue Bobby, and said “I’m not going to take Bobby to school today. I want you to snuggle him so you will feel better.”

Now that’s love.

Modern Love – A Mother Chases a 9-Year-Old Who ‘Loves’ Her Son – NYTimes.com

via Modern Love – A Mother Chases a 9-Year-Old Who ‘Loves’ Her Son – NYTimes.com

If I hadn’t been sitting at the front of my classroom as I read this article, I would surely have been in tears. Full on bawling by the last line. No doubt about it. In fact, I was close to tears well before the end. How could any mother NOT be in tears reading a line like “It seems like sons, no matter how much you love them, just grow up and leave you to marry someone you hate.” Ugh.

What is it about mothers and sons? I know I love Lola Gray every bit as much as I do Fletcher, and yet I don’t feel that same sick-to-my-stomach sinking horrified feeling when I think of her growing up and falling in love and getting married. I wonder if Raymond does? Or if he has even thought about it yet?

As a follow-up here, when I came home from work tonight the kids were still awake. Fletcher was on the sofa circling toys in a new catalog and didn’t even get up to come hug me. I sat down next to him and asked when I became less important than the toys in the catalog and he jumped into my lap and said “Oh Mommy. You know you are my favorite toy!” An odd statement, but it made me happy none-the-less. I wonder how long it will be before I am no longer his favorite . . .