Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Holiday Under the Belt!

Halloween: Check!
Thanksgiving: Check!
Now for Christmas.  I always loved the rituals of holidays when I was growing up.  Then, when my family was scattered and when I lived in Seattle with no snow to set the mood, they just weren't the same.  Now I'm enjoying them again with Zane!  It's fun to explain the holidays, read books, buy/create new decorations, and do art projects.

The weather this year produced some really lovely fall leaves (as far as Seattle can do!).  I remember an art project my Mom did with sealing leaves in waxed paper with an iron.  I figured we wouldn't do this too often, so I threw in the shaved crayons, too, rather than make that a separate project.  Zane loved shaving the crayons, and was excited about the iron.  I made him wear his little cotton gloves just in case he touched the iron, but who needs pants?  :)  It was a fun project to put together, but interest quickly waned on ironing them enough to stick together.  I think Zane liked shaving crayons most of all.  His sheet came out OK and is in a window, but mine fell apart.  Maybe if I had done the project with my pants off I would have had better luck.

Early in the month we had our very first parent/teacher conference at Zane's Montessori school.  I made the day even more exciting by organizing a boy trade with two other families so we could all go to our conferences.  First, when I picked Zane up from school we brought Ryder home with us.  Then, Ryder and Zane went right across the street to the Cole's to be with Henry and Caz while Michael and I had our conference.  Next, all four boys came to our house!  Henry and Caz went home after about an hour and a half, and then Ryder stayed until 5p.  Zane and Ryder got to chill in one little chair while snacking and watching Dinosaur Train.  They even got into a slo-mo wrestling match which was incredibly cute.  Now, I am a gal who has always avoided babysitting like the plague, but I figured that now I am a parent I had better get a stiff upper lip and learn the trade.  It wasn't so bad!  The chaos was kind of fun. Zane did much better at sharing his stuff than he would have done just a half year ago.  I think it helped a lot that these boys were well known friends from school, and they already had a lot of experience sharing with each other.  And now I have earned some time for Zane to go to Ryder's house!  I think Michael and I will find a movie we want to see and take a weekend afternoon off some time soon.

The parent teacher conference was really interesting.  They had a whole worksheet filled out with Zane's progress in various Montessori environments: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math.  Since Zane is just three his work is mostly in Practical Life (sweeping, stringing beads, pouring tea ...), but he has done a little Sensorial (sorting graduated cylinders) and Math (counting stuff).  Language comes later.  Zane also had done an interview with the teachers where they asked him about things he hadn't had lessons on.  He thought letters and numbers looked like worms; now, I know he knows most letters, so I think he was being a little silly and truthful.  His counting is pretty good, and he knew lots of shapes, including an octagon!  The thing that impressed me the most was on the back of the interview sheet he was asked to draw a self-portrait.  We've never done any kind of people or animal drawing together, just scribbling.  And there was a little sausage-body with stick legs and oval shoes!  I was amazed.  One teacher said that many kids watched other kids do the interviews, and so he probably had an idea of what was going on and how others did the drawings.  We were also happy to hear that Zane's behavior is very good, especially since we have had trouble at home lately.  He goes to an adult for help when things go wrong with other kids, he doesn't generally cause trouble, and he is very polite.  Whew!  All good things to hear, and we are very proud of him.

That evening Obama was re-elected and I felt a great sense of relief.  I didn't realize how worried I had been until it was over and I cried just a little.

Zane's behavior issues from the last post have calmed down a bit, but most of them are still there.  I think we have learned to anticipate and avoid some, some have died down a bit after Zane finished experimenting with them, and some are still rolling along.  Napping seems to have come back, so I think that is helping quite a bit.  Life is definitely better.

One exciting development is that I think Zane read a word!  I've been sick so Zane and I have been watching more TV than usual together.  One day we watched a Sesame Street where the letter of the day was X.  I showed him how to make X with his fingers.  He knows most of the letters by sight, but not always.  He's more familiar with letters in our names, like M for Michael and J for Julia. Later we were watching an animated version of Where the Wild Things Are, and the story talked about Max.  As Max's boat floated by, Zane said, "Why is his name on the boat?"  I was floored!  Nobody had pointed that out, so he had to have read it!  It is a short simple word with very familiar letters.  Michael and I told him how proud we were, and he smiled.

We had our first small Thanksgiving together.  A larger family dinner didn't work out, so I bought a few small things and made a dinner sans turkey.  I enjoyed cleaning off the table, getting out the table cloth and nice dishes, and having a fancy meal.  Zane was super excited about the fancy dishes, and could hardly wait to try the apple cider "wine" we all shared.  We actually had to leave the house while the food was in the oven, as the anticipation was killing him.  We played with a friend down the street for a while, and then ate dinner together.

Next up -- Christmas!  I'm looking forward to this, as every year Zane can enjoy it and look forward to it more.  I bought an advent calendar.  I've got lots of things planned, like ice skating and seeing the mini train village at Seattle Center.  I'll try again for a carriage ride downtown.  Santa at the mall, shopping for Daddy and JoJo, wrapping presents, getting the tree, decorations, cookies ...  Our schedules can be tight, so I've got it all mapped out for the month to make sure I don't miss something by accident.

It should be fun!

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