Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dear Gwen: Month Ninety-Four

Dear Gwen,
Today you are ninety-four months old.

February has been a fun and busy month. I organized some Valentine-themed activities, all very crafty, which were very fun. Starting on the first night of February, I put a foam heart on the wall with something I love about you written on it. It was neat to watch you discover it the next morning. You were even more surprised the next day when that heart was joined by another one! I had planned to keep this activity going for every day of the month, ending with twenty-nine reasons why we love you. Of course, Dad was foggy on the concept and so he hung ALL the hearts he’d made for you on one day. It was fun to watch you get excited about all the new hearts, but when I went back to adding one heart a day the following day, you couldn’t care less – you haven’t looked at the Wall of Love since that time. Sigh. Oh well, it still looks pretty!

Another crafty-love activity we did is one I heard about from a workshop. I cut out a big heart from red paper, and we talked about all the things, people, and activities that you love – those that fill your heart. You drew big and small shapes on the heart to represent each one, and then we hung the finished heart on your bedroom door so you can see it every day.

On Valentine’s Day itself, your dad had bought you some super-fun Star Wars-related stuff (Star Wars takes up a big space in your heart right now!). You got a water bottle that looks like a light saber, an awesome Star Wars chapter book, and a shirt with BB-8 on it. You were thrilled!

You continue to be very engrossed in reading, and Dad and I have learned that if we need you to stop demanding our attention for a little while so we can get something done or, perhaps, have an uninterrupted conversation, we just say you can have “free time”. You are seemingly overjoyed with the opportunity to choose your own activity (usually reading), and don’t seem to notice that “free time” actually means “please leave us alone for a little while”.

Your teacher recently started giving you Grade Three spelling words (even though you’re in Grade Two). You had been complaining about how easy the Grade Two words were, but I wasn’t sure you would be successful in making the big jump to Grade Three words. However, week after week you prove me wrong. These are VERY big words, and you are doing so well with them! We are very impressed, and so is your teacher!

You are doing pretty well in school, it seems. The Class Dojo app keeps me informed of how your day goes. One week, you had 100% positive Dojo points, which is so awesome that I just had to take a picture! You get points for things like Being Responsible, Working Hard, Cardio Work, Being On Task, and Being Ready to Work. Unfortunately, your time at Before and After School Club is not going as well. Your dad and I are struggling to figure out how to help you. There seem to be several factors at play, such as lack of structured/stimulating activity, lack of supervision during certain activities, lack of compatible playmates, and you being targeted by certain kids until you lose your temper and lash out, which then leads to you getting in trouble. It’s very frustrating for all involved.

You’ve made a new friend at school, which is wonderful. Amelia invited you over for a playdate last weekend and I walked with you to her house so I could figure out where she lived. It’s so great to live in a neighbourhood with a school, as it means many of the schoolmates you meet there live within walking distance of the school and thus, our house.

I have been completely consumed with theatre commitments lately, as the play I’m involved in (Office Hours – I’m the Assistant Stage Manager) is about to open. ASM turns out to be an enormous commitment, and I haven’t been able to spend as much time with you as usual, over the past few months. I do try to set aside specific Gwen-and-Mom time, though, and last Friday was one of those times – I had the day off work, so you could walk home from school and join me right away instead of going to after-school club, and we had a sleep-over together on the downstairs hide-a-bed. We got into our jammies, did each other’s nails, read books, and watched movies together. Such fun!

We also got to spend some dedicated time together on the Family Day stat holiday. It was such a beautiful day that we went out for a bike ride together, exploring our new neighbourhood (we didn’t have a lot of time to do that last summer, as we were busy unpacking, and then before we knew it the weather was too cold). We went to the nearby connection to the Parkway Trail and rode for a while, then turned around and came back home. We saw an ENORMOUS ant hill along the trail, and took silly selfies.

Art and creativity continue to be an excellent outlet for you. You drew this wonderful picture in response to a challenge for kids to draw what they want to be when they grow up. You are in a rocket ship with your space dog Zero, and yes that is a disco ball above you. The sun is in the background, and Mars is in the foreground. There are dinosaur bones on Mars waiting to be found. You are a part-time paleontologist, part-time astronaut, and part-time deejay spinning the dance tunes.

Another day, I was doing crafts with a friend of mine who had originally intended to bring her son along to play with you. You were very disappointed that the plans had changed and you had no one to play with. Miraculously, you took a few minutes to shake off your anger, then decided to join us to make crafts. You made this incredible card, which you designed all by yourself.

Well, that’s it for this month, Gwen. As always, you are a super-awesome kid and I’m glad I get to be your mom.


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