Archive for the 'School' Category

Schoolyard

Posted by laura on Sep 24 2009 | School, Uncategorized

I was standing next to the playground after school with some other kindergarten parents yesterday. These are new acquaintances, so we were chatting, getting to know each other a bit. Suddenly, Hot Wheels ran up.

“May I please get a drink of water?” he asked.

“Sure – go ahead!” I said.

There was a slightly awkward pause. I turned to the other mothers and said, “We have strict water rationing in our household.”

Thankfully they laughed and one said, “When we were at camp this summer, my son ran up to me and said, ‘Mom – can I play?’”

So what’s with the kids, eh? They won’t ask if they can roll one of their bikes down the ditch behind your retaining wall, or climb the tree with the skinniest branches, but they’ll ask if they can drink water? Instead of even answering the innocent requests, we really should be looking around wildly for whatever nefarious plot is really happening in the background.

And now for something completely different: I had some surprise visitors today:

borderlab

I don’t know their names because they had collars but no tags. As I rounded the bend to our street on my bike today, they were poking around the bushes by the restaurant on our corner. I started up the street and saw a woman heading my way with a concerned, ‘where are those dogs’ look on her face. Thinking they all belonged together I told her the dogs hadn’t gone far. She replied that they weren’t her dogs, but she’d just seen them running across the super busy street together and was trying to nab them before they got hit.

One thing led to another, as it usually does, and once we’d rounded the dogs up it made sense to put them in my house as opposed to her car. Turns out the rescuer was my neighbor’s sister, which was fun – I’ve heard her name for so many years, it was great to finally meet her.

After I called the humane society and gave the dogs some water, I had that funny feeling you get with a baby that’s clean and fed… just what do I do with you now? I couldn’t put them in the yard, because our fence is more decorative than secure. I closed all the doors to the other rooms, since the lab was still young and interested in chewing on the kids’ toys. So they just followed me around as I put things away and tidied up.

That border collie was sweet as anything. She was clearly the older one and just so gentle and beautiful. Too bad whenever she sidled up for some scratching, the lab would jump all over her and shove her away. He was such a pup – all wiggly and pushy and eager. I hope their owner gets reunited with them quickly, and buys them some tags!

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There is no Casanova in the Kindergarten

Posted by laura on Sep 22 2009 | School, Tasty

Last week, the subject of birthdays had come up, and Tom asked Hot Wheels who he might like to invite to his birthday party this year. After listing a few friends’ names we were familiar with, he casually added, “my girl.” (He actually said “my gril” but I thought the barbecue image would just throw you all off.) It made me wonder when he started listening to the Temptations. Tom got to the bottom of it; Hot Wheels’ girl is a new classmate (let’s just call her K) who is super cute and tomboyish and fun. Turns out she likes him too. So fine, I think. Sweet.

Then yesterday I was chatting with Hot Wheels about his day, asking him what he did at school, and he said, “I played with K.” “That’s great,” I replied, “What did you play?”

“We played the kissy game.”

And that’s where we are. 3 weeks in. He was crushed to learn that it’s simply not appropriate to kiss your classmates. I tried to explain it to him without my voice rising and cracking in panic over the hours of teacher meetings in our future. 3 weeks in, and thankfully only just over 500 to go. No problem!

I guess it’s pretty hypocritical of me to say anything; I myself was engaged in kindergarten. When Bret and I looked down the corridor of our elementary school, we could see the future. The rest of our class would leave fifth grade through the doors at the end of that hall and turn right towards middle school; we’d simply turn left to wedded bliss. That was the plan, anyway. Bret’s family moved away the next year. Stupid Montagues.

Overall, however, school has been going great, particularly in kindergarten. My favorite thing so far has been hearing Hot Wheels singing new songs around the house practically every day. One afternoon he was snacking away in the kitchen and suddenly started up with Waddly Acha. I hadn’t thought of that one for years – I can still see my cousin Mary teaching it to me when I was in elementary school (this was years after I’d been dumped by my fiancÚ) and it brings back such great memories.

Honey’s classes are serious now, because they are in Fourth Grade. Fourth Grade, it turns out, is not for sissies. It’s not good enough to get the problems right, you have to write them perfectly as well. One missing comma means you get the question wrong. Very serious. Except for one day…

There’s a teacher across the hall named Mr. S. He’s a fourth grade teacher and he means business. He wears a suit to school and calls his kids by their last names. Or sometimes by a number. His room is a bit like basic training. However, he has an impish streak and loves to drift over to Honey’s classroom and interrupt her teacher, whose name is Mrs. S. (no relation). One day last week, he kept meandering into their classroom. “We have work to do, Mr. S.” Mrs. S. said to him. “You have to go now.” But he kept on drifting back in and bugging them. Finally, Mrs. S. closed the door after him and locked it. A short while later, the kids could hear the classroom printer running. Their teacher took the paper out of the tray and held it up. “Dear Mrs. S,” it read, “HI! – Mr. S.”

Enough school stories for now. Let’s look instead at this gorgeous bag of cucumbers that Joan dropped off yesterday.

cucumbers

Trust me – they’re cucumbers. I know they look like lemons in this picture – that’s because they’re lemon cucumbers. Tricky little things. She popped a fennel blossom on the top just to make it pretty.

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Back to School

Posted by laura on Aug 31 2009 | Fun, School

day1

The guys did go back to school last week. I contemplated making a run for it, but decided I’m not cut out for a life on the lam. So they went, and what do you know – it was really fun to see everyone again. Both kids have great teachers this year, and nice classes.

Hot Wheels was highly suspicious heading in, but he skipped out of the classroom at the end of the day and said, “That was great!!” We also found out over the weekend that he has a new best friend, but he can’t remember her name. Honey seems to have turned into a parochial school girl – she just sighs over her blue zippered cardigan and her ‘caramel’ pants. She’d probably give anything for a blazer and pleated skirt ensemble. Helloooo Nancy Drew!

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Teacher Gifts

Posted by laura on Jun 24 2009 | Making, School

It’s that time of year – schools are wrapping up, and parents are wondering just what to wrap up for their children’s hard-working teachers. It’s always a dilemma. My cousin Maura and I usually end up emailing each other around now to brainstorm fresh ideas. (Now Maura, it should be noted, once gave their teachers a Margarita kit at the start of summer. That is what you call a hard act to follow. Not sure what I can add to her idea bin.)

But in the interest of sharing, I thought it might be handy to post my top 5 favorite teacher gifts:
1. Cute mugs with funny sayings on them
2. Scented candles
3. Lotion
4. Soaps
5. Anything with an apple on it!

I know what you’re thinking…. and you’re welcome.

No, no, no, TEACHERS, wait – I’m just kidding!! Shoot, I didn’t mean to, honestly, IT’S GOING TO BE OK! Stop crying!!! Please? Here – have a hankie.

Seriously though, some of my best friends happen to be teachers, so I believe I have an inside track on what they like and need. (That and I’ve asked them.) When asked what they like to receive for gifts, most say “nothing,” because they’re so well respected and compensated. Oh, no, that’s not it. They say “nothing,” because kindness is its own reward. Hm. Maybe they say “nothing” because they’re afraid they’ll receive objects with apples painted on them. Anyway, after “nothing,” they usually say a note is good. And I have to agree – a thoughtful note always rocks. But after that, they might say something like, “wellll, if I had to choose something, gift cards are nice. Oh and lots of cash.” Ok I made that last line up – but I’m very intuitive, and I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re thinking.

These days in our schools, the common thing to do is for the room parents to put out the word that they’re gathering money from everyone, and then they get a VISA gift card that the teachers can then use wherever they’d like. I’m all for this, because a bunch of parents pooling modest donations together makes for a more substantial gift to each teacher. So we go with that plan, and Honey writes her own notes to all her various teachers, and I write a note to her primary teacher.

This year, Hot Wheels is leaving his preschool, which means it’s our last year there as a family as well. It’s a lovely school, and in addition to the donations to his main room teachers, we wanted to give all the teachers a token of appreciation. They all look after him at some point during the day, and we’ve been at the school for years now. I’m writing them notes, but we also baked up some thank yous as well. We had an Anzac thank you, a chocolate chip thank you, and a straight chocolate thank you.

teachergifts1

We stacked the cookies into these bright bowls and topped them with cards from Hot Wheels.

teachergifts2

Unsurprisingly, the pictures were all of cars. (Peculiar looking, but cars nonetheless.)

teachergifts3

These fit my criteria of being mostly consumable with some personal effort thrown in. I’m always open to new ideas, though, so any teachers who want to weigh in – here’s your chance!

Happy summer.

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My Favorite Day of the Year

Posted by laura on Jun 17 2009 | Awesome, Holiday, School

summer

Goodbye school, helloooooooo summer!

Let the games begin.

summersneaker

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Countdown

Posted by laura on Jun 15 2009 | Awesome, School

THREE

MORE

DAYS!

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Countdown

Posted by laura on Jun 01 2009 | Awesome, School

2.5 weeks till summer vacation.

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