Family Fun Day

The end of the school year is bitter sweet. The way Max’s birthday falls, he misses the cutoff for Kindergarden. Most of the kids in his class have early birthdays, so they will be going to Kindergarden starting in September, while Max returns for another year of pre-school. So yesterdays family fun day was sad, because it was probably the last time Max would see a lot of the friends he made this past year.


Family fun day took place at a local park. The school had reserved two of the picnic pavilions, so there was lots of room. There was a nice playground towards the middle of the two picnic areas as well. When we first arrived, Max was more interested in the woods that surrounded the picnic area. He found this downed tree and hopped up on it and started walking across it. Before we knew it, other kids saw what he was doing and they all wanted to try. It was cute seeing him and 3 of his friends balancing themselves across the log.

Max also spent some time on the playground with his first little “girlfriend” Remi and his buddy Monty. Monty and Max get a lot so well and have very similar personalities. It was cute to see. Max talks about Monty all the time, so it was nice to see them playing together for myself. Rachel talked to Monty’s Mom and made arrangements for the two of them to get together over the summer. Hopefully our schedules work out and the kids can play together a few times over the summer.

The class Max was in this year was such a nice group of kids. I hope his class next year has as many nice kids. Most of the kids were very sweet and well behaved. The kids took turns and played nicely together. We got to meet his new teacher that he will have in September. She seemed very nice and hopefully Max will like her as much as his two teachers this year. One of his teachers said to Rachel and I that of all the kids she taught, Max had the most kissable cheeks.

After the family fun days commenced, Max asked if we could walk down one of the hiking trails. After a few minutes, we came across a cute little turtle. Max was fascinated by it. He was hesitant at first, but eventually he picked the turtle up so he could take a closer look. The trail was only maybe a mile long. Much shorter than the one we did last weekend. So Max was a little mad it all ended so soon. Something tells me we’ll be heading back to the one with the stream over the long holiday weekend.

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Family Fun Day

The end of the school year is bitter sweet. The way Max’s birthday falls, he misses the cutoff for Kindergarden. Most of the kids in his class have early birthdays, so they will be going to Kindergarden starting in September, while Max returns for another year of pre-school. So yesterdays family fun day was sad, because it was probably the last time Max would see a lot of the friends he made this past year.

Family fun day took place at a local park. The school had reserved two of the picnic pavilions, so there was lots of room. There was a nice playground towards the middle of the two picnic areas as well. When we first arrived, Max was more interested in the woods that surrounded the picnic area. He found this downed tree and hopped up on it and started walking across it. Before we knew it, other kids saw what he was doing and they all wanted to try. It was cute seeing him and 3 of his friends balancing themselves across the log.

 

 

Max also spent some time on the playground with his first little “girlfriend” Remi and his buddy Monty. Monty and Max get a lot so well and have very similar personalities. It was cute to see. Max talks about Monty all the time, so it was nice to see them playing together for myself. Rachel talked to Monty’s Mom and made arrangements for the two of them to get together over the summer. Hopefully our schedules work out and the kids can play together a few times over the summer.

The class Max was in this year was such a nice group of kids. I hope his class next year has as many nice kids. Most of the kids were very sweet and well behaved. The kids took turns and played nicely together. We got to meet his new teacher that he will have in September. She seemed very nice and hopefully Max will like her as much as his two teachers this year. One of his teachers said to Rachel and I that of all the kids she taught, Max had the most kissable cheeks.

After the family fun days commenced, Max asked if we could walk down one of the hiking trails. After a few minutes, we came across a cute little turtle. Max was fascinated by it. He was hesitant at first, but eventually he picked the turtle up so he could take a closer look. The trail was only maybe a mile long. Much shorter than the one we did last weekend. So Max was a little mad it all ended so soon. Something tells me we’ll be heading back to the one with the stream over the long holiday weekend.

 

Backyard Safari

Max loves the outdoors. A few weeks back, while at Walmart with Nana, he spotted a Backyard Safari “bug vacuum”. We picked one up for him and he’s been using it to collect spiders, and all sorts of insects around the front and back yard. Rachel found this little clear plastic bug box, which worked well with the vacuum. Max dumps the bugs he sucks up into the bug box for observation. A cool and safe way to watch the bugs. While at BJ’s the other day, Rachel saw a bigger Backyard Safari kit. It was reasonably priced and since the vacuum and box was such a big hit, she picked it up for Max. We opened it up Saturday morning and Max wanted to go out and start using it all. Rachel had the idea to head to a local park to do a nature walk. So I filled up Max’s canteen, packed a few drinks for Rachel and I, and filled a backpack with all his new goodies.

We headed over to Lake Ridge park. I had done a couple of trail runs there, and it was always interesting. Lots of little frogs, turtles, and waterfowl. Seemed like a perfect place for Max to explore. We hopped out onto the trail, and quickly came across a shallow creek. Max noticed some water striders scooting a long the surface. He quickly scooped a few up with his net. We but a little stream water in the new bug habitat and dumped the striders in. Max then noticed a few tadpoles. I helped him scoop one up and we also dumped it into the habitat. Max was thrilled. So in his element and excited at all the new things he was finding.

He wanted to cross to the other side of the stream, so Rachel showed him how to use the rocks to step his way across. His foot found the water once, but he made it across safely. On the other side he found more tadpoles and crouched down to watch them. As he did, a small fish swam buy which surprised and excited him. This caused him to lose his footing and fall into the creek. Luckily it was a warm day and there was a nice breeze, so he dried off quickly. Fortunately the water was very shallow and he was not hurt. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera out to capture him falling in. But I did manage to get a few quick shots off while he explored. We’ll definitely have to head back this weekend and do some more exploring. 

One of the cutest things was how Max copied my every move. If I jumped over a log, Max jumped over the log. If I grabbed a stick, Max picked one up. I didn’t notice at first because he was walking behind me. But Rachel (who was walking behind Max) pointed it out to me.

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Waiting to scoop up a tadpole

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Max saw some prints in the mud and insisted that they came from a Spinosaurus. 

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Balancing across a log

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Drinking from his canteen

A new friend?

After writing about Max needing more time with kids around his own age, seems as if we may have found just that. There is a little boy who lives 2 doors down from us. Recently while playing outside, him and Max spotted one another and said hi. The next night, we were out riding bikes, and Max said hi to him again. And then we were out front digging for worms, and the little boy yelled from his house “Hey Max, what are you doing?”. Him and Max talked back and forth for a bit. Seemed like Max had an interest in what he was doing and he was curious about what Max was doing.

On Friday night, Rachel was stuck in horrific northern VA traffic. So I picked Max up and we played outside for a while, waiting for Mommy to get home. While we were outside, Max asked if he could play basketball. So I got his hoop out of the garage and set it up in the driveway. We noticed the little boy outside again. He asked what we were doing. I took the initiative and asked him if he wanted to try to shoot the basketball. He got wide eyed, looked at his grandmother and she gave an approving nod. So he came over. We have two basketballs, so I got one for him and Max continued with his own. They played nicely together and took turns shooting.

After a few minutes, the boy lost interest in basketball, and his attention tuend to some of Max’s toys in the garage . He worked his way up the driveway and into the garage. He picked out a few toys that peaked his interest, and asked Max what they were. One thing that really interested him was this little rocket Max has. You put these sort of paper caps in the nose of the rocket before you launch it. It goes up in the air and when it comes down, it comes down nose first and pops the cap when it hits the ground. The boy thought it was great. Not sure if his grandmother thought he was imposing (which he wasn’t), but after about 10 minutes she called him to come back over to their house.

Max then decided he wanted to make some water balloons. We we put all the basketball stuff away and got the water balloons out. I filled a couple up and Max ran down the driveway to throw then in the street. The boy from a few houses away noticed Max and asked what he was doing. Max answered him and I asked him if he wanted to try. He nodded so I picked up a water balloon and walked it over to him. He wasn’t sure what to do with it, and ended up squeezing it and popping it. He stood there shocked for a second, and I thought he was going to cry. But then he looked up and said “Can I have another one”. As I walked over to the hose to fill one up for him, I asked Max to show him how to throw the balloon. Before long he got the hang of it and the two of them were running up and down the driveway to retrieve more balloons. They were throwing them so fast, I had trouble keeping up with the demand.

Again after about 10 minutes, the grandmother called the boy home and said it was time to go for a walk. They disappeared into the house for a while, and I never saw them actually go for a walk. Not sure if she felt like they were imposing or what. I really didn’t feel like they were and I enjoyed the time he was spending with Max. Hope I didn’t seem put off or seemed like he was a bother.

Rachel came home and we went in to have dinner. After dinner, we went back outside and the little boy was outside again. He walked down to our house and found the rocket that he liked and asked me if he could play with it. Him and Max played for a while, and then after a few minutes his grandmother called down and said it was time to go. They were going out for dinner. After a few minutes, the little boy never did make his way back home, so his grandmother walked up. Rachel and her talked for a bit. I looked after the two kids as they played. Grandmother kept saying it was time to go, but the little boy was having fun and didn’t want to leave. Eventually the sun had set and daylight was fading, so we told Max it was time to go in. I still find it a bit odd that the grandmother is always calling him back home whenever he starts to play with Max. Not sure if she is be

Turns out the boys name is Ziggy. The dynamic at his house is rather unique. His mom is a single mom, I estimate her age to be in her early 20’s. She works, so he spends a lot of time with his grandmother. When we see him, he’s usually outside with her. Seems like the dad is not around much . The grandmother explained to Rachel that she thought Max was much older because he’s much taller than Ziggy. Turns out Max is only about a year older.

The next day, as soon as he woke up Max asked if he could go outside and play with Ziggy. We went outside and he was nowhere to be seen. Max and I played outside for about an hour and then Max spotted Ziggy with his mom. Max asked if they could make more water balloons. So I said sure and got them out. Max invited Ziggy over and they spent a good hour playing together. They seem to get along really well, and I hope that they continue to play together over the summer. They rode scooters together, collected bugs, played basketball, threw water balloons and scribbled with sidewalk chalk. They seem like they love each others company.

Ziggy still takes an afternoon nap, so his Mom called him home for his nap. Max was sad to see him go. His Mom and grandmother said he would come back out after his nap. So it seemed like every five minutes Max was asking “do you think Ziggy is awake yet”. Unfortunately Ziggy got in trouble with him grandmother, and was punished the rest of the evening, so he never got to come back outside. Max was crushed. Hoping if the rain lets up, they’ll be able to play together again tonight.

First year of school

I can’t believe Max’s first year of school is almost done. Only 2 more weeks, and he starts summer vacation. Looking forward to his findal day because they are finishing the year with a special event. We are all invited to a local park for “Family Fun Day”. They did a similar event back in October and we all had fun.

Max did pretty well in his first year. He’s learned all his letters, can write most of them (thought not very neatly), and he knows the sounds most of the letters make. He can count to 20 pretty easily, and sometimes can make it as high as 30. He also recognizes the numbers 0-9. He knows all the basic shapes like square, circle, triangle etc. The other day he surprised us when he pointed out a trapezoid in a book. He can also do some basic addition and subtraction. I try to give him little quizzes while we play. I’ll hand him 3 crayons and them give him 2 more to see if he can add 3+2. Will also keep working on his letters and numbers over the summer. He worked hard to learn them, so don’t want him to forget it all over the summer.

He also learned quite a few phrases and words in sign language. It’s adorable watching his little hands when he signs phrases like “stand up” and “drink”. We’ve also seen improvements in some of his fine motor skills, like when he uses scissors, or buttoning and unbuttoning his pants and shirts. He’s also gotten very good at stacking blocks. He can make towers of 15 or so blocks before they fall over.

Some areas we need to work on is interaction with other kids. Max is a shy kid, doesn’t surprise me because Im the same way. When we went to the pumpkin patch back in October, Max seemed to interact really well with the kids in his class. He went off with them and played in small groups. When I went up to his school for Daddy’s night, he seemed very withdrawn and didn’t talk much to the other kids. I asked him why, and he just kept saying “he didn’t feel like it”. When I dropped him off at school on Monday, it was only Max, his teacher and one other student, a boy named Monty. Max talks about Monty, so I know they play together sometimes. Monty seems like a shy kid too. The teacher asked Max and Monty how they were doing and both of them just sat there on the floor quietly. This is unusually to me, because Max is such a chatterbox at home. They sat there quietly and didn’t say anything to one another. Max looked sad when he saw me leave. Guess because he is used to Nana dropping him off. Kind of sweet that he wanted to stay home with me.

When I went to pick him up, he looked so happy to see me. His face “lit up” which was awesome. When we went outside, Max ran off with a few other kids and started playing tag. So I was glad to see him playing with them. But other times, when we are at a playground, kids will come up and talk to Max and he locks up and doesn’t say anything. He finds a quiet spot and tries to play by himself or asks Rachel and I to come over. Other days, he will run right in and play where the other kids are playing. I don’t know what it is that scares or intimidates him about certain kids. Will have to try to schedule some more play dates for him over the summer so he is more comfortable around kids his own age.

Most of the kids in Max’s class will be turning 5 by September 30th, so they can start Kindergarden in the fall. Max’s birthday is late in the year, so he misses the Sept 30th cutoff. We found out that one of the kids in his class (Brody) also has a late birthday and will be in Max’s pre-k class next year. We were glad to hear there would be a familiar face. We talked with Brody’s mom and she said she would like for the kids to get together over the summer. I think that will be good for Max. He’s comfortable around people he knows, but needs to get better at being around new kids, especially kids closer to his age.