Parent/Teacher Conference

On Friday, Max received his first report card. There were a couple of things that caught Rachel and I off guard. We met with his teacher this morning for a parent/teacher conference and I feel much better now.

First, I’ll mention some of the things that Max’s teacher said he wasn’t doing consistently. First and foremost, she noted that Max was not always cooperative in the classroom. This is a pretty broad statement, so we asked her for some clarification. She said that Max sometimes lacked focus and didn’t pay attention. When she is explaining what they are going to do, he tends to focus on what he was already doing and doesn’t look up at her and listen. Or he will not want to stop playing with his friends when it’s time to do something else. Once we heard this from her, we both felt a little better. I think this is something we can work with him on. But overall, I think that is pretty typical of 4 year olds and kids in general. Heck, a lot of adults are like that, including me.

The other thing she noted was Max didn’t always hold the pencil properly, so his lines tend to be squiggly instead of straight. Something else we’ll have to work on with him.

One other thing she noted was letter recognition. At home, we often use a magnetic board to test Max on his letters. I’ll put 5 letters on the board and ask Max to point to a specific letter. He usually does really well with this. However, when his teacher showed him a list of all the letters of the alphabet, he was only able to identify some of the letters. So we’ll have to work on quizzing him in different ways.

She also noted that Max did not express himself with words and sentences. This came as a real surprise because Max is a chatterbox at home. I think this has more to do with his shyness. He has always been good with expressing himself and asking for specific things that he wants. His teacher mentioned that he seems to hold conversations with his friends, but doesn’t feel as comfortable talking in a group.

Last thing was regarding shapes. Max can point out different shapes, like circles, squares, diamonds and rectangles, but he cannot yet draw the different shapes. When she asked him to draw a circle, he drew a circle, but when she asked him to draw a rectangle, square and triangle, he drew circles again. He likes to draw people, and starts with a circle for their face, but we’ll have to start drawing things like a house with a square base and a triangular roof. And incorporate the different shapes into his drawings.

It was actually good to hear an opinion from an impartial person. As Max’s parents we tend to focus on the positives and don’t always notice the negatives or where he is lacking. This gives us some concrete feedback and areas to work on with him.

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The return of Happy Max, and overnights without a diaper…

Im happy to report, that for the most part, “Happy Max” is back. After two weeks of being back into a more regular schedule, Max seems much happier. On weekends, we usually keep him pretty busy, and it has shown. This past weekend, Max slept in till almost 8AM all three days. He went to bed around 8:30 the night before, so he is getting 12+ hours of quality sleep which seems to be agreeing with him.

On Sunday, I took him swimming. We ended up staying for three hours. I know I felt pretty beat when we were done, and judging my Max’s face, he was too, which made for a relaxing Sunday evening.

Last week we tried putting Max to bed without a diaper. He’s been using the potty for over a year now, but overnight has been a different story. For the most part, say 5 out of 7 days, he would wake up and his diaper would be dry. But then on one or two nights a week his diaper was wet. We explained to him that if he had to go pee pee at night, to come get one of us and we would take him. We even put a night light in the hall bathroom in case he wanted to go himself. We felt like the time was right to eliminate the night diaper, so we gave it a try last week. The first 5 nights, he woke up dry. Then Friday morning, Rachel found him soaked. We talked to him about it, and explained again to come get us if he needed to go pee pee. Saturday morning, he was dry when he woke up, but on his way to the bathroom, he couldn’t hold it and wet himself a little. Sunday he woke up soaked again.

So I thought we should wake him up before Rachel and I go to bed and have him go, just to empty his bladder so it wasn’t so full in the morning. Rachel tried on Sunday night and he just cried and said he wanted to go back to sleep. I tried around midnight last night and it was kind of comical. I carried him out of bed over to the bathroom and stood him in front of the toilet. I reached down to pull his pajama pants down and his legs were like jelly and he almost fell into the tub. He was literally sleeping while standing up. He never peed, but luckily he was dry this morning.

I think during the week, as long as we limit how much he drinks before bed, he should be ok. Rachel usually wakes him around 5:45 to take him over to Nana’s. But on weekends, we like that he sleeps in. It allows Rachel and I to get some extra sleep as well. But if he sleeps 12+ hours, that is a really long time for him to hold his urine. We’ll see how things go this week. I think he gets into such a deep sleep, that he can’t wake himself up to go. When he’s in a sound sleep, you can literally pick him up, shake him, call his name and he doesn’t budge.

First Snow of the Year!

Much to my surprise, we got a little bit of snow yesterday. It snowed off and on the whole day, but temperatures were above freezing so it didn’t really stick. Then as I drove home, temperatures started to drop and it began to coat the grass and trees. It snowed pretty heavily for about an hour, which left us about an inch of snow. It wasn’t a lot, but enough for Max to play in. As soon as Max walked through the front door, he said “Hey daddy, do you want to go outside and make snowballs”? Well how I could turn down a request like that?

So we put on Max’s snow boots, I got my Timberlands on, and we headed outside. Max quickly made his way to the backyard and started making snowballs from the snow off the deck. After throwing snowballs around for a while, the sun was setting, so Rachel got the idea to make a snowman. Before long we had a nice base, and started working on a second giant ball of snow for the torso. Max comically tried to lift it, but it was a little heavy and it ended up crumbling. So we made another one and with my help we placed it on top of the bottom snowball. Finally we finished with the head. Then I remembered that Nana bought Max a snowman kit last year. Rachel ran in the house to find it. A few minutes later, she returned with the small kit which contained some button eyes, a carrot nose, some coal for the mouth and a hat and scarf. Max enjoyed decorating the snowman and even posed for some pictures. It wasn’t a lot of snow, but Max had a lot of fun none the less…

Somebody needs a nap…

Everyone knows about the “Terrible Two’s” and the “Tantrum Threes”, but I think the best way to describe the age of 4, is the “Whiney Four’s”. I actually felt like the age between 12 and 18 months were far worse than when Max turned 2. When Max started walking, it was such a stressful time. I felt so on edge and was constantly worried he would fall and hurt himself. Or he would wander somewhere and pick up something that could hurt him. As far as the tantrum 3’s, luckily we never really experienced that with Max. But I digress…

About a month or two before Max turned 4, he gave up his afternoon nap. For a while he seemed ok. Then his birthday and the holidays were upon us and that lack of afternoon slumber started to take it’s toll.
The holidays are a busy time, so instead of being in bed at his usual time between 8:00 and 8:30, Max was going to sleep closer to 9:00 and 9:30. These late nights began catching up with him. A few afternoons on the drive home with Nana, Max would doze off in the car. It was only a 5 minute nap, so he would wake up grumpy. It was between 4:30 and 5:00 PM, so we didn’t want him to fall asleep for a long time, or he would be up till 11:00. One Saturday afternoon, I took him to the park and on the ride home he fell asleep in my car. I drove for a while so he could stay asleep. He woke up on his own about 45 minutes later and was very pleasant. Proving that a little nap goes a long way.

Problem is, most days he feels like he is too busy to take a nap. He doesn’t need a 2 hour nap like he used to take. He sleeps between 10 and 12 hours per night on average, but he really could use a 30 minute “catnap” each day. He just keeps pushing himself to keep going and gets so tired, that he doesn’t know whether he wants to laugh or cry. We’ve actually witnessed him doing both simultaneously.
Besides the rollercoaster of emotions, another side of effect is he gets really “antsy”. He can’t sit still and concentrate. Normally Max loves to sit down and draw, or do puzzles or some sort of craft. When he gets overtired, he gets all fidgety and can’t focus at all. Nothing seems to hold his interest and he just wants to go from one toy to another and ends up just making a mess.

We’re hoping now that the holidays are over and he is back to his regular daily schedule that he will adjust and acclimate. We only get to see him a few hours a day, so we don’t really want to start putting him to bed at 7:00, but it may come to that. The last few days, by 6:00 in the evening, he’s been miserable. Laughing one minute, crying the next, hugging on me one minute, yelling at me a few minutes later. He’s normally such a sweet and lovable kid, so we hate to see him like this. Fingers crossed that he will be back on track by the weekend.