Parent Teacher Conference

Today was our meeting with Max’s preschool teacher for his his mid-year review. I remember when we met with Max’s teacher last year, Rachel and I both felt a bit defeated. There were a few areas that Max was struggling with, that really came as a surprise. Especially when his teacher said Max was not expressing himself, and using his words to explain things. He’s a chatterbox at home, and has no trouble expressing himself. In the presence of other kids his age, it was a different story. He was also not doing well with counting and while he could recognize the letters of the alphabet, he had a lot of trouble writing his letters.

This year, his report car that they sent home with him on Friday was pretty solid. There were only two things that his teacher noted needed improvement. 1) Doing what he was told, instead of doing what he wanted. This didn’t really come as a surprise. Max is an only child, so he is used to being able to do what he wants. His teacher explained that her #1 priority is keeping the kids in her class safe. So she went on to explain that when she asks the kids to sit and read a book, or to complete an activity sheet, it’s important for all the kids to remain seated. She said that Max sometimes continues to walk around the classroom on his own, looking at the artwork, or the toys. We’ll have to chat with him about this and make sure he cooperates. It didn’t sound like she was overly worried about it, but she made her point clear. She was worried that Max would wander out of the classroom while she was attending to the other kids. So it’s important for all of them to be seated and in one central location.
2) He needs to be more vocal when asked a question in front of the class. One on one when she asked him to count, she said he counted from 1-200 singularly and in multiples of 10. They have a board in the class, that marks counting milestones for each child. They start at 15 at the beginning of the year, then get rewarded when they can count to 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and beyond. When she asked him to count in front of the class so he could get his 200 milestone sticker, she said he got a bit flustered and stopped at 69. She said he didn’t really like all those eyes from his classmates on him.

She told us he is a good problem solver, good with numbers and had very good attention span. Other areas she noted were his ability to arrange items based on size, shape, color, etc and he was good at noticing patterns and differences. He does a lot of activity books with his Nana, so I’m sure that is why he is so good at that sort of thing.

She also said something that made me very proud. As part of the mid year evaluation, she said he grabbed a handful of small building blocks (probably Lego’s) and set them down in front of the child, then asked him to count them. Most of the kids just tried pointing at the blocks, and would get confused and would either miss some or count the blocks more than once. Max was one of the few kids who picked up each item he counted and moved it to a separate pile once it was already counted. Over the summer, I would give him a cup of Fruit Loops or Cheerio’s and I would dump them out and have him count them. Then we would arrange them in groups. So I feel like doing that with him over the summer, helped him get a better understanding of numbers and counting.

He’s come a long way and has really done well in his 2nd year of school. Im not sure if he is more mature, if his teacher this year is better, or if it’s a combination of the two. But he seems like a little sponge. Need to get him to come out of his shell a bit, but glad to hear is doing so well. Now the hard part, deciding where he will go to kindergarden next year.

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Funny Stuff

Max has had some classic lines the past couple of weeks.

Last weekend, Max asked for a string cheese. I got it for him, and attempted to unwrap it. For whatever reason, I couldn’t unpeel the wrapper. After struggling with it for about 30 seconds, Max stuck his hand out in my direction and said “allow me!”.

The 2nd funny he made was after I had come out of the bathroom. I walked out, and Max announced he had to go, so he walked in as I walked out. I joked that I hope it wasn’t too stinky in there for him. He walked in, closed the door behind him and I went to sit down. A few seconds later, I hear “Hey Daddy, thanks for warming the seat up for me!”.

The 3rd funny happened on Sunday night. One of Max’s favorite shows is Good Luck Charlie. Sunday night was the season finale, which Max watched before bed. The dad on the show is an exterminator. On Sunday’s finale, he brought these rare termites home from work. He assured everyone they were secure in their case, and there was nothing to worry about. Well of course they get loose and start eating up all the wood in the house. Well towards the end of the episode, the Dad is leaning on the kitchen door eavesdropping on the conversation in the living room. The door was weakened by the termites and he goes crashing into the living room. During a commercial break, I got up to use the bathroom. When Max saw me walk towards the bathroom he said to me “Hey Daddy, be careful. Don’t lean on the door, you might fall on your penis”. Rachel and I couldn’t stop laughing. That night when I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, the sound of his voice saying “you might fall on your penis”, kept echoing through my head.

So entertaining watching his little sense of humor develop along with the rest of him.

Happy New Year

Max had been staying up later than usual for most of the holiday season, yet he seemed to still wake up at his regular time each morning. So he was definitely a bit sleep deprived. He was kind of grouchy, overly emotional and crabby. I like to refer to him as “Groucho Max” when he gets like this. So there was no way we were letting him stay up till midnight on New Years Eve.

I found a roughly 8 minute clip from last years “Rockin’ Eve” on Youtube. So about 7:45, Rachel opened a bottle of sparkling white grape juice, we all got on our New Years party hats, got our noisemakers ready and were prepared to party like we were in the Azores (where it was 11:45 PM). I fired up the clip from Youtube and displayed it on our TV. I instructed Max to go nuts when the countdown finished and to blow his horn, shake his noisemaker and yell Happy New Year. He make quite a racket, and seemed to have a good time doing it.

By next year he will probably know how to tell time, and know that it’s 2013 going into 2014, so this is probably the last year we could trick him. After we partied for a few minutes, drank the sparkling grape juice (which was pretty gross), we headed upstairs to put Max to bed. It took him all of about 2 minutes to fall asleep. That left the rest of the evening for Rachel and I to relax, snack on some food, and watch a movie. We had started “That’s My Boy” the night before, but got interrupted by a phone call. The movie finished around 11:45, which gave us a few minutes to watch Kathy Griffin make Anderson Cooper very uncomfortable.

2012 was a pretty good year all around. And for that, I am very thankful. Hoping the New Year brings some good news regarding Rachel’s dad’s health, some career progression for Rachel and I, and of course the start of Kindergarden for Max in the fall. In between, would like to do a little traveling, and maybe experience a few things we’ve all never done before. The first challenge for me comes in March when I’m scheduled to run my first half marathon. The rest of the year will be a work in progress…