Friday, June 3, 2005

What crummy weather

But crummy weather doesn't stop First Grade field trips. All the chaperones timidly poked their heads into the classroom, hoping without saying it out loud, that the trip was canceled. But no, we boarded the bus and took the 10 minute ride to Potomac Overlook Regional Park.

I don't get to go on many field trips nowadays. It's against policy to allow younger siblings along, so unless the trip is on a Friday when grandma helpfully takes care of the boys, I wish the girls well and know they're having fun anyway. But Rebecca has been asking me to go on a field trip with her the entire school year and finally it worked out. It worked out so well in fact that my parents agree to take the boys last night, keep them all day and again tonight. I think they're doing OK and that Nicholas will make it through tonight as well. Tomorrow morning they're all coming back in time to go to the farmer's market in the morning.
My mom thinks that Rebecca's obnoxious tendencies stem from not enough personal attention. Perhaps she's right, but overall Rebecca is still as loud and "obnoxious" even when it's one-on-one time with mom. The difference is that she's got my full attention and is trying to look good in front of her friends, whereas at home with her siblings she's just being annoying.
Becca is a complicated person. The same child who has difficulty reading her assignments and following two sentences of homework directions can listen to an entire chapter from a story and pull out one piece of vital information. Or she will blurt out puzzling thoughts that then confound the adults in the family. Most recently we were driving in the car and ourt of nowhere she asked that if Adam and Eve were the first people, did that make them cavemen? And from that stemmed questions about how spoken language came about when cavemen didn't speak the way we do. Was the alphabet created to tell stories? We discussed the early stories that were never even written but told from one generation to the next (it tied in nicely with Katherine's recent section on Ancient Mali) along with drawn stories on cave walls.
The thing with Rebecca is that she does -nothing- unless it suits her. If there is some gain for her, she will participate, help out, share her knowledge. Otherwise, she is stubborn and difficult, without exception. I don't really know how to deal with that and for this reason, we have a hard time getting along. It's the times she amazes me with her insight that keep me going each day with her. I don't think it's the lack of one-on-one that has made her behave the way she does. Besides her reward currency (doing something only for something in return) she is a stickler for rules and regulations. That doesn't always jive with the daily life of a family of 6, ideas or plans and such things as bad weather.
But today things worked out and we went to Potomac Overlook Regional Park. It's raining, it's cold (barely 60, but remember it's also June 3rd), the nature center was damp and had that smell buildings do that house plenty of stuffed pelts and turtle tanks. The kids were very well-behaved including my little pack which included Becca, Alex (one of the twins), Ariana (a lovely, well-spoken girl) and Amirkhon (yes, pronounced American). The naturalists gave a short talk about the differences between nature circles (tree rings, the sun) and nature cycles (water cycle, tree growth cycle) and I was amazed how much these 6 and 7yo knew and understood about energy (what changes a circle into a cycle) and recycling. Rebecca learns very well from listening and doing, rather than reading, so her time at the Science school should really affect her overall learning.
After another segment about predators and food chains where various pelts were brought out for the kids to compare and touch, the class was free to investigate the nature center, among its exhibits were honeybees and baskets of animal feathers/skully/claws. Two turkey feet became a favorite as kids pulled their sleeves down over their hands and let the turkey feet protrude instead.
Because of the rain the trip was cut short. Normally the classes are taken on a hike to see deer and other animals in their natural habitat, but today we all ate lunch then boarded the bus back to school. With the rest of the day scheduled for math and social studies I dropped Rebecca off in her classroom, said a quick hello to a "not feeling well" Katherine, then hoped that the car was where I left it since I couldn't recall locking the doors. I'm home so obviously it was OK. My cell phone did disappear though. I don't think any of the First Graders took it, so hopefully it just slipped out somewhere easy to track down.

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