Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Honor Roll Asssembly

This afternoon the last Honor Roll assembly took place. There were a lot of awards earned and received. We were gobsmacked when forty-five children received plaques for perfect attendance for the entire school year. We were seated on the front row and thanked every child for the unknown amount of illness they spread around the school. But hey they went home with a plaque. There were also awards for perfect attendance for the third trimester, for those in the reading improvement program, and those who participated in the science fair.  Outstanding effort awards were next, leaving academic honor roll for last. SS is known for her lack of patience and today was no exception. Even tough there were chairs still available on stage when she entered the auditorium, she decided to plop herself on P's lap. Minutes later other kids frantically looked for chairs while the principal repeated there were no empty chairs, and they needed to sit with their parents on the floor. SS sure is a funky chicken.

Entering the multi purpose room and granting one of the few smiles we would receive. SS then sulked on P's lap until her name was called.

One would think SS would be more excited about her award, and she even received a college bound T-shirt for making honor roll two trimesters.

 She would not smile, nope, she was done.

We tried a second time but SS was determined to show her displeasure at being subjected to the indignity of waiting her turn. All the children on stage are third graders, the size range is rather amazing. At least the two boys on the left are shorter than SS, hard to believe.

I was able to coax this almost smile when I mentioned the grandparents would appreciate a smile. SS then proceeded to dump her T-shirt on my lap as soon as I took the picture.

We later found out why SS was over the assembly by the time she entered the MPR. The height of SS's day had happened earlier, when Mr. H bought ice cream sundaes for the kids who excelled that trimester in reading. SS achieved the most 100% on her Advance Reading tests for the third trimester. Not a bad ending to the third grade.

Monday, May 30, 2016

It's all about symmetry.

 This morning P was examining the Lego structure SS made yesterday. SS spend at least two hours making the structure above, and it came from her imagination. This is not the result of following directions on a Lego booklet. P was impressed with the symmetry SS achieved, especially taking in consideration her dexterity issues.

SS has an amazing imagination and loves to build, we are not sure how is that going to develop, but we are enjoying the ride. SS has expressed she would like to build things when she is an adult. That is when she doesn't dream of becoming a firefighter, a super hero, or one of the amalgamated animals she comes up with for sport.  We have impressed upon SS that if she wants to study architecture or engineering math is a must. Actually, even if SS decides to major in liberal arts (over her father;s dead body) we expect her to be competent at math. P is very good at the subject and I have shamelessly relegated all math homework to him.

Although SS is going through serious iPad withdrawal she has focused that attention into her Legos, not a bad trade off.  It's going to be interesting to see how long it will take for SS to ask for her iPad back. We have realized that we were remiss regarding the amount of time we allowed SS to use her tablet on weekends. P and I spend a lot of time on our iPads (P mainly on his phone) reading, but SS uses her tablet to play games and watch movies.

I became a reader because Mami U set an example with her daily bible reading. She would sometimes pretend her vision was faulty (the woman only wore reading glasses until she passed away at 83, her vision was not a problem) and would ask me to read for her. That sneaky woman knew what she was doing and I'm thankful. P became a reader because his mother was a voracious bibliophile. I once asked him how much she spent on books, and P told me if it wasn't for the public library they would be broke.

It's shameful that we had such great examples and did not do the same for SS. Tablets are a great way to read because you can carry a large book anywhere. We also read news, and in my case research studies, as well as snark forums, also known as trash (anything from TV shows to cults). But we realized that SS was not receiving the message we received early on about the importance of books. I do not know when it was the last time SS saw us reading an actual book, aside from reading to her.

Now we are committed to using our library frequently, have decided to put our tablets away and read real books. P loves true crime, I enjoy medical thrillers, bios, and of course first hand accounts of those who successfully leave cults. 

We recently implemented a new nightly ritual. We bought the first Harry Potter book, and it is a shame we are the only people in the world that have not read that book. We are reading a chapter a night in bed, P and I take turns reading.  I was worried SS would be scared when Harry's parents are killed, then I forgot she has seen too many Disney movies. Let's face it someone, most likely a parent, is going to die in a Disney movie. SS likes the story and  really enjoys reading and cuddle time in bed. We asked if she wanted to read so she would not feel left out, but SS declined.

Once we are done with the book we will rent the movie and make it a pizza, candy and popcorn night. P wanted to take SS to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, but we looked it up Online and SS declared all the rides scary.  P is really bummed, maybe we can go for other attractions as well, because P was really looking forward to going. Plus there's more than rides at the Harry Potter attraction. Since there are seven Harry Potter books we are going to be busy for a while.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

An oldie but goodie.

SS found a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip book in JJ's room. I don't know if JJ even remembers it was there. P and I remember C&H well, not only because we bought JJ the strip compilation books, but also because we enjoyed the comic ourselves. Way back then P and I would go to Starbucks on Sundays, order each a Grande Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream, and read the Sunday newspaper. Of course we read Peanuts first to do otherwise would be sacrilege, but C&H was perhaps our second favorite. That's right a newspaper with real pages, ink, good memories. We would spend two to three hours on Sunday reading and talking over coffee in the mornings.

SS asked if she could read the book and I said of course, but wondering if she would like it.  I must disclose that SS has finally found her inner naughty self and is in trouble, big trouble (for someone who's never been in trouble). SS asked to use her iPad to listen to music and we said yes, but she is not to use the tablet for anything else during school nights. I accidentally found her iPad hidden while looking for her school college shirt. SS was watching Netflix, and to her credit told the truth when I asked what I already knew. Although she copped to her crime we wanted to deliver a strong message that deception of any kind is not OK*, and SS will not be using her iPad until July 1. We might lift the restriction only for educational activities like math games, under our close supervision. SS has plenty of time in her hands and we hope she uses it wisely.

I should not have wondered because C&H was a hit! Now we can't believe we did not introduce her to the comic before. Calvin (the little boy) is a world class slacker, and of course SS identifies with him. I'm sure everyone knows that Hobbes is Calvin's toy stuffed tiger, that comes alive through Calvin's imagination. It makes sense that both JJ and SS identify with Calvin so much, since both are technically only children.

This is what SS found so funny, because she knows it's exactly what she would do. SS read the book in one sitting, then reread it a few more times.  It's good to know we won't have to worry about SS reading for half an hour a day. I'm going to check the public library for other books. We know JJ has many but there's no way we are going to the storage unit to dig for them.

On a completely unrelated note, SS is nine years old and can still stand up comfortably inside the van. We are sure we could not have done that at her age. SS was proudly wearing her customized Spiderman shirt.

* We know the deception issue will come to bite us in the rear end with Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. However, I strongly objected to that deception (because I want SS to trust us, especially when it comes to her adoption), but her father insisted it was a necessary part of childhood. I will gladly throw P under the bus like he did to me a few days ago. I'll post about that later, but the man had the gall to tell me I will always be the bad cop when we have to say no to SS, because he is the fun parent.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

SS's first lasagna attempt.

SS really wants to get back to cooking on a regular basis. She asked to make lasagna a few weeks ago and we just needed the planets to align to make it happen. I can't remember the last time I made lasagna. Thankfully we keep P's spaghetti sauce stocked in the freezer. I could not take pictures of the process because I was focused on helping SS.  

Our Angels loving angel.

The finished product and not bad for SS's first time, and for my first time in goddess knows how long.

Now the opinion that matters, SS gave herself a thumbs up.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Lunch at school with SS.

SS's school invited parents to join their children today for lunch to celebrate the school year.  On the menu, nachos. It has been many decades since either one of us was in a school cafeteria line. We were impressed with how many parents attended, although P lamented he spotted only two other couples besides us.

Even though SS was well aware we would be at school for lunch she still had to pretend to be surprised.

I had been present during lunch before, but I was focused on SS's birthday cupcakes and tuned out the chaos around us. This time I did not have that luxury and neither did P, the noise level was rather overwhelming.

As we were leaving we ran into Mrs. S, SS's awesome first grade teacher. She asked us how was lunch, and smiled while we were trying to answer tactfully. Mrs. S told us, "I told my parents to bring something for them and their child to eat." Great advice and something to keep in mind for next year, if they repeat the event.

I've have wondered why SS did not request to eat at school more often. She has an account that we keep current for those days she fancies what is on the menu, or we are on a rush and can't put together a decent lunch. But I expected SS to demand to eat more at school at least by second grade. Must be the lack of sushi, bahn mi, carnitas, flautas, tilapia, salmon, and zucchini chicken with garlic sauce cream on the menu.

Obviously we were not there for the food but to share with SS and let her know how proud we are of her. SS is the laziest child when it comes to homework, but this year she has accepted the inevitability of this necessary evil. She has her days but it is no longer a battle, she knows what needs to be done and does it. SS's diligence has paid off and now she understands the need to do her homework, and read as much as possible.  It's been a good school year for our girl.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Open House

The teachers at SS's school use the Class Dojo application to keep in touch with parents. We do not know how often other teachers use it, but Mr. H posts almost daily. There is a class story section where he posts pictures of what they are doing in class in real time, when out on field trips, and to celebrate special achievements. There is also a section where we can check on SS's week in terms of behavior, attitude, and homework. Then he can contact us individually by text. Mr. H usually texts SS's test results as soon as possible, and even her homework scores, in case we do not check the weekly progress area.

Last night we were surprised to receive the above text at 9:04 p.m., not the time when one would expect a text from the teacher. Good thing we do not have lives, no need to check our social calendars, we would attend.

Because of Class Dojo and because we are that kind of annoying parents,we have regular contact with Mr. H. Other parents had long conversations with him, because it is a good idea to wait to check how your kid is doing in school until May. It was really embarrassing that we really did not have any questions about SS's performance. We walked around and looked at SS's desk and whatever projects were displayed. SS was particularly proud of this one.

The kids change desks throughout the school year, initially I was worried because SS thrives in consistency, but she has not complained.

SS's black panther drawing and essay.

The kids keep a journal that is kept in the classroom. I love the top entry, SS has always been proud of her Baba's job. She has visited his lab more times than my office. We were surprised to see dad instead of Baba, SS only uses Baba at home.

SS needs to work on her spelling skills (ironically the lowest score she has received in spelling tests is 82%) but her imagination rocks.

Clearly still on her animals are awesome phase.

I remember the day SS wrote the top sentence. Mr. H sent me a text and he was cracking up because all the other kids had plenty of stories. For them it was hard to narrow it down to one incident, but our daughter could not think of one. Mr. H knew this was true in the classroom but was curious about home. I hated to disappoint him, but no, there was no drama to talk about, no misdeeds to share.

The second entry, "well that's concerning (one of SS's godmother's favorite expressions)."

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

To all the amazing mothers out there, and to all the barely average like me, chin up.

Chilling with the cutest Optimus Prime and her Baba.