Don’t push me, MFAH

During the summer all over my Instagram feed were pictures with the #sotosummer. You all know I don’t like to be left out so I had to find out what this was, how could I do it and then post it on Instagram myself. I have total FOMO, in case you didn’t already know.

Once I realized it was at the Museum of Fine Arts my stomach sank. I am not on the best of terms with the MFAH. I mean, I am allowed in (so far) but they are not happy to see me coming.

Back in the spring, I took the boys one afternoon. Zach is very into art and I packed some crayons and drawing pads and thought he could draw what he saw as we walked around the museum. You would have thought we walked in carrying spray paint for the amount of stares we received and the number of docents following us around.

I mean, I get it, the art is priceless and the sculptures are old. However, I have a little boy who is fascinated with art and in whom I would like to cultivate a love of art. Can you give us some breathing room, Nancy?

But I do also have James.  A three year old who wants to touch, climb, smell, lick and caress everything.  He may or may not have darted up to what he thought was a wall, pushed against it an almost fell into a sculpture. It was metal, like it would have been hurt. But Nancy was NOT pleased.

I left with such a horrible feeling about the place. I felt like a bad mother because I have a three year old and like a failure for even trying to do something with art for Zach. Instead of getting sad about these feelings, I turned them into anger at the museum.

So when I decided we were going to the Soto exhibit, you know I went in guns hot. Don’t even come over here Nancy, I will cut you and your blunt cut bob.

To be clear, the exhibit is “A vast, floating sea of plastic strands suspended from the ceiling…”. Basically plastic spaghetti. My boys were enthralled. They walked (not ran) through it with their arms stretched out, they got lost in it and called to each other (not yelled) and we reunited in the middle to lay down and look up.

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But we were not alone….Nancy was back and brought Ray with her this time. At one point James was holding up the end of the strands and connecting them together to see if they were the same size. Ray rushed over and told me “He can’t be tugging on those, ma’am”. I did not even hesitate in my stare down of Ray and told him he was not. I was not going to get into it the fact that by James holding them up, it in fact took pressure off the hanging strands aka the opposite of “tugging”. He continued to stare and I continued to not tell James to stop.

And the boys loved the exhibit.

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I loved that they got to experience the art, touch it, wander through and enjoy it. They didn’t know about the anxiety I was feeling nor did they notice Nancy watching them.

As it should be, NANCY…..

Kindergarten is not messing around

So Zach has been in big time Kinder for four weeks now. We are starting to settle into a routine a bit and he is getting more comfortable in his class, aka he is getting in trouble for talking. We all knew this would happen, how could I possibly be surprised or mad given who his parents are? Plus I can distinctly remember my mother exclaiming to me, in a very exasperated tone, “Kinsey, can you just stop talking?” after I had my color changed from green to yellow to red for talking to Mindi Miller. I could not. Physically, I could not. I had SO much to say that she just HAD to hear, right that second. I still have fairly terrible impulse control.

But this is not about me (who are we kidding, blog readers, it always about me).

In his class, the only homework so far is to practice his sight words and read for 20 minutes. He can’t read so that means I have to read to him for 20 minutes. I clearly count the five minutes we read with James before bed, so I have made it 15. Now, we also have to write down one book he read and rate it. I thought this was merely a suggestion when the “Guided Reading” sheet came home, because as stated, he can’t read anything except “Subway” and “Chick-fil-A” on his own, but whoopies, no. He was supposed to fill it out. Luckily he knew this and reminded me the night before it was due. So he ran and got seven books that we have read at some point and we wrote them down and rated them. He kept wanting to check the box to show that he read it and I was all, “buddy, if you want to read it then learn to read”…he was not pleased with my suggestion. IMG_4653During open house with the teacher she gave us the list of 68 sight words they would be learning over the year, two a week. You all know I had restrain myself from printing them out that night. But I managed and the next day the second I dropped off James I got out my laminator and I was ready. You see, I found a link to a blog where the mom set up the sight words for printing complete with the traceable version on the back. I heart her, we are clearly crafting soul mates.

My mom read something when I was in elementary school about children memorizing better when a word is written on yellow paper versus white. I can still remember have nightmares about writing all my spelling words out on yellow index cards. So, I found two pieces of yellow cardstock and printed two sets on those. You can only imagine my disappointment in not having more than two pieces of yellow cardstock. How was that possible? I could not roll my eyes harder at myself. Luckily, as my mom says, the store had not run out so I was able to secure more the next day.

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Can you see my vision coming together?

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I love my laminator so hard. Even though, similar to the paper cutter, it is too small and I will need to be upgrading at some point it gets the job done. Plus, it is cute and can also make stickers.

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Darling, right? Wait, are sight words supposed to be darling? Don’t answer that.

And here is the issue with my darling flashcards….the list is for the Dolch Sight Words and Zach’s sight words are not the Dolch sight words, or not all of them are. So I have 64 laminated flash cards that may or may not be on his list. Of course. Of course I do. So now, for the ones I didn’t have I had to write them on the yellow card stock and make the tracing ones with little lines that are totally not up to my standards, but will have to do.

I hole punched them all and have them hanging on a ring ready to go. We flip through them each night and he reads them, spells them and uses them in a sentence. We may or may not trace them, depending on time. We have to get to our 20 minutes of reading after all.

Just in case you want to kiss up

I am really not on board with the “first day of school gifts”.  How could that not be sucking up, loud and clear? (This is foreshadowing, in case you are wondering). What I am in favor of, is a thank you gift for putting up with my child all summer AND yeah new school year. That clearly is not sucking up. Not in the least.

Last year I gave the teachers doughnuts in a cute container and it was a big hit. This year, I made this label for my friend Sonia. She needed something for the crossing guard at her daughter’s school (they have required drop-off and pick-up; a dream). Since men like smoothies, I suggested Smoothie King and with a card reading: “Thank you for making our days run smoothly”. I love a good pun.

Smoothie Treat

I have since made another one for Zach’s Kindergarten teacher with a gift to a local, kid friendly yogurt store (she has twin first graders) that says:

Smoothly Tag

So maybe I am on board with first day of school gifts….

Really, I am on board with gifts for teachers in most settings. Especially when they involve gift cards and me getting to make something. Plus, Zach’s first week was tough. I think he handled it great, but I know that is largely due to his teacher being so warm, calm and supportive. I can imagine her week and I thought a little treat for her family over the long weekend, was not too out of control. But my concept of “out of control” can tend to be skewed, I have been told.

In case you want to kiss up be supportive of your teacher, here is a link to the printable of the first card.

School’s back

You guys, I have a kindergartner, how is that possible when I am only 26 years old? And how is it possible this guy is in big-time elementary school?

His smiles were much more genuine then, but he still has the ability to shrink his eyes to 1/8th their normal large size when he smiles. He gets that from me – he is so lucky.

This is not going to be a weepy long post about my oldest starting kinder. Mainly because it has been done for me and I don’t really do weepy. This post is my favorite first day of school ones (not weepy, just funny) and this one made me cry. Everything has been said and it is all true. However, I didn’t cry, I practically danced out of the school and once I dropped James off, the only thing going through my head was:

I then spent an hour and a half at the grocery store (I had to make two trips and chat with friends) went to an eye doc appointment and prepped dinner. I could not have been happier. I then made what I thought was an awesome snack which both my children refused to eat asking instead for cheese and crackers. Naturally they did, it is the standard Wall snack. No worries, I polished off three to make myself feel better.

My friends keep asking me how I am doing, with a sympathetic look in their eye and I tell them I am fine. I am EXCITED. These boys are used to being in school. Zach likes it, James does as well once he gets past me not being there (I am awesome in his eyes, more of you should cry when I leave). Zach is so social and has oh, so many questions, he is a great fit for more schooling. He has already come home asking me to be sure to read him the author and the illustrator of the books we read before bed and has learned the sight word ‘am’. Kindergarten = success.

Oh there have some hiccups too. Like getting up early. No one in our family is thrilled with this plan and we are pretty terrible at it. But luckily since Zach has to wear a uniform (basically, he can chose from khaki or navy shorts and a red, navy or white shirt) him getting dressed is fairly easy. When he does not get distracted by legos or something. And since they eat lunch at 10:40 I don’t really worry if he doesn’t eat all that much breakfast.

We have been riding our bikes to school, since we live less than a mile away. My sister says I am such a stereotype. Totally. I just need some pedal pushers (now called skinny pants) and I could be a 1950s housewife.

Except that on the way home, this guy sneaks my phone out from the pocket and plays games on it.

He also started school and did great for about three days then realized that this was also for real. He goes every day and staged a revolt (see paragraph above about my awesomeness). The revolt involved full body convulsions on the floor and a piercing scream to go with it. You would not know it from these angelic photos, but he is a beast when he wants to be. Which is anytime I tell him “no”.

Happy first weeks of school my friends!

Here is the look back at the boys first days of school and the best example of the fact that clearly I birthed twins, 2.5 years apart.

Zach:
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 James:
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2012