Sometimes we get very lucky in life. Sometimes our best friends have kids and those kids become the best friends of our child as well.
These two bicker like siblings some days. But so much love, too. They call themselves “bro” and “sis.”
Our advent calendar activity of the day was to have waffles for dinner. Truth be told, this is not the most unusual activity for us; we probably do it at least once a month. We are all waffle fiends. They are one of the very, very few things August will eat (and I cant sneak orange vegetables into them easily and with no ill effects!)
I wanted to make it a little more special than regular old waffle night – so I decided to try Carrot Cake Waffles. It was much more fussy recipe than my normal (fabulous) sourdough one, but it was a fun change, and they were delicious. And plus? I made fresh maple whipped cream to go on top. So, yeah. It kind of kicked ass.
I was asked to be on a panel representing homeschooling for parents that have kids that will be entering Kindergarten in the fall of 2013 at the groovy preschool that Silas attending for a year (age 4-5). The other folks on the panel were all schooling parents in some form, representing different schools and different ways of doing kindy (half-day, etc).
Sometimes I forget how amazing homeschooling is. Just listening to all of the ins and outs of navigating public school, the way that “the man” will come after you with scary letters if you miss more than three days of school, the way that the kids are just beyond exhausted for the first three months…I started to get so overwhelmed with how many concessions people make in order to make school work. Don’t get me wrong – these parents all by and large loved their schools and were there representing them in a positive light.
But still I sat there thinking, man we won the prize though. My husband agreed. He attended for moral support (and because our kids wanted to come and play in the school in the childcare while we were occupied) and he agreed – it was bewildering to hear about “the real world.” How very little control you have, how much you give up of your freedom, of your child’s freedom, in order to make school work.
Some useful things that came out of it for me, though. Several parents and one of the kindergarten teachers talked about how some kids really thrive on the predictability of structure, and it made me wonder about how fluid our days are and if that’s a good thing or not. I like it, but it’s making me examine if it works well for Silas or not. It might! But it might be interesting to explore other ways of being, too. In a cooperative way, of course.
A few times over the past couple months, I’ve become aware that Silas and various friends would play school. Some of these kids attend school, some don’t. But today, I got inspired to ask him if he wanted to play school with me. He did, enthusiastically! So I printed out some fun-looking worksheets and experiments from Pinterest, and away we went.
He really does know so much, and I so take it for granted. His reading is really improving (not that we’re in a hurry, but he has been working on it and it shows) and I’m thrilled that he knows how to add quarters because of playing Plants vs. Zombies (each quarter is worth 1 sun!) You can learn things from video games. Duh.
We had a lot of fun playing school, and I even made him a “hot lunch” like his school friend is always so happy about (chicken nuggets and homemade french fries, apples and a cut up cheese stick).
And then we played video games together. And had dance parties. And all was good.
Something that Silas has wanted to do for a long time that we’ve never managed to make happen is making his own gingerbread house. So this morning, when I walked into Trader Joe’s and was greeted by a self-contained kit for $7.99, I knew we had a winner! We made a last minute substitution to the advent calendar line-up, and away we went.
The kit is really cute, requiring only an egg white and a few drops of vinegar to mix up the frosting (and it even comes with its own pastry bag thing to pipe the frosting!)
Needless to say, much fun was had, many candies were sampled, and all in all, it was a big hit.
I wrote yesterday how we’re doing an experiential advent calendar this year (which I plan to write more about eventually, because it is SO fun!)
One of the experiences we included was a trip to downtown Seattle to take in some of the city’s holiday spirit! We did this with friends last year, and it was a blast, so we decided to do it again. We hit up the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton, the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont, and the carousel twice!
This kid. He LOVES the holidays. He was positively giddy when we were walking through Nordstrom to meet our friends – skipping, counting all the christmas trees, and exclaiming with wonder and joy the whole time. His joy is truly my joy.
We decided to try making our own experiential advent calendar this year. Silas is not a chocolate fan, and those Lego/Playmobil calendars are so darn spendy (and I’m not sure that 2 1/2 year old August would really get those).
We have something planned for every day until Christmas Eve. Some are big (tomorrow we’re going on a Downtown Seattle Extravaganza, seeing the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton, the Teddy Bear Suite, carousel, and more). Some are small – today Silas got instructions printed out to build a Lego Christmas Tree (out of Legos we already have). We also wrapped our holiday books and we open one per day.
There have been some stumbles (like planning to do salt dough ornaments today and not getting around to it) but so far, it’s so fun. Silas is obsessed with holidays (all of them), so having a little something to look forward to everyday is really giving him something to focus on, instead of just obsessing about when Christmas is.
Aug is just along for the ride, having fun, opening books at the wrong time, taking ornaments off the tree and declaring, “Here this is!” Thanks, buddy. We were looking for that. 🙂