Friday, April 18, 2008

What a Day! (and it ain't over yet!)

My eyes are tired and I just want to go to sleep. Still another couple hours to go though.

The kids were off school today. April is like October, the kids just aren't in school much. Spring Break ended, then Tamil New Year on Monday, three days of school, and another day off today. I think they're in school all week next week. I hope they are.
But today the kids were off for parent-teacher conferences. I carpooled to the school with my neighbor so our husbands could carpool together to work (this friendly-with-the-neighbors thing really works to everyone's advantage!). I didn't have my first appointment until 8:45 but the neighbor had hers at 8 so Katherine and I sat in the library for a while flipping through magazines.
My first appointment was with Rebecca's teacher. She's doing great. No news. The second appointment was with Nicholas's teacher. The parent before me ran over, right through my time. Rather than push everyone else late, I rescheduled for right after my last appointment. I'd planned on being gone by 11, now it was pushed to 11:20. Next I waited for my time with Jonathon's teacher. She ran over, right through my time. I rescheduled to after the last reschedule... now my departure was pushed back to 11:45. Oh well.
The PTA store was open so I picked up a cold coffee and some chips. Breakfast of champions.
The rest of the morning went fine, and Ian did make it for a few of the conferences, aided by the delays. For the elementary kids I put in my wishes as far as next year's teachers. The school officially doesn't take requests, but they are open to at least listening to parents. Last year I requested a change for Nicholas and feel that it was exactly the right choice. This year I'll wait to see which teacher assignments we get, then pick my battles. It's not worth being a thorn in anyone's side until I know what we've been dealt. As it is, the school has decided to add another teacher for every elementary grade, pushing some of the specials into trailers next year. If you're keeping track, you'll notice that the teacher count went up to 3 per grade just this year... There's a waiting list of students. Our first grade teacher commented that that when she joined the school in the 2005-2006 year, there were 250 students. This fall the school will open with 650 students. If you're like us, you're thinking that while growth is good, this is going too fast. The teachers feel it, the parents I've talked to feel it. No one seems to know how to get the administration to just calm down for a year or two, let the numbers settle, have a year without construction going on, and allow the teachers to manage the current numbers.
Jonathon's teacher did note he'll continue to need a teacher with a firm hand. I concur and I hope he'll get Nicholas's teacher from this year. For Nicholas, his teacher feels his work ethic in class will allow him to do well with just about any kind of teacher. Good to hear since 3rd grade is completely up in the air. I know exactly who I want for Rebecca next year. Keep your fingers crossed.
Ian took the rest of the day off since he is at a working dinner tonight. We took Katherine to Citi Centre for lunch with a stop at Landmark bookstore. I picked up a birthday gift for Nicholas (from his great-grandma), Katherine got him a birthday gift too, finally got some printer paper for home though we're all out of spare toner so perhaps I should get on that, and Katherine picked out a her book reward. This quarter we've taken over her responsibilities as far as school work. Taken over is perhaps too strong a term, though we've instituted mandatory homework notebook use daily which is checked and noted by mom, locker check daily to ensure all assignments are turned in and all homework makes it home, math checks by dad, daily flute practice (band teacher only requires 4 days a week) to eliminate the "well, I don't feel like doing it today, I'll do it tomorrow" rut, evening school bag check to ensure everything makes it back to school, etc. A big hurdle though is getting her to use the notebook after every class or at the very least at each break. She has to note every class, even if she has no assignment that night. If she successfully fills in the notebook each day with every class for a full week, she earns a trip to the bookstore on Saturday. She came up with her own reward over spring break, so hopefully it'll be worth working for.
Today, she picked a book called Twilight, a book recommended by "all" the girls in 6th grade. We bought it, and it wasn't until we sat down to eat our KFC that I read the back, then later looked it up on "Bella adores beautiful Edward, and he returns her love. But Edward is having a hard time controlling the blood lust she arouses in him, because--he's a vampire. At any moment, the intensity of their passion could drive him to kill her, and he agonizes over the danger. But, Bella would rather be dead than part from Edward, so she risks her life to stay near him, and the novel burns with the erotic tension of their dangerous and necessarily chaste relationship." The book is now put away until she is quite a bit older. Poor kid, but she didn't complain. I told her that if she does well with her notebook this coming week, she can choose 2 books from the store next Saturday.
So we came home. I did a quick cleanup before one of Nicholas's friends showed up for the Big Birthday Sleepover, then we piled in the car to pick up another friend, while the third friend showed up in our absence (Ian was home). Yes, I now have five 6-8 year olds in my house. At first they didn't quite know what to do with themselves. Some played in the toy room, a couple went outside to play soccer. Then the others came out. Then they all went back in. I offered to take them swimming, 1/2 wanted to go. One wanted to play with the DS he brought. I suggested a card game, Apples to Apples Jr. One vehemently didn't want to play, two didn't know what it was and weren't curious. I brought out the Jumanji board game. Three boys played, Rebecca filled the 4th spot, the other boy split his time between watching and playing his DS. We had a snack. Ian took the boys outside to play some football. The kids were split into 2 teams and whichever team got the ball back to Ian received a "point." We tried to keep it not-tackle but kids ended up rolling all over the lawn anyway. They came in for a snack. Back out for more football, even I joined in. Back in to wash up and eat some pizza. A little time playing Worms on the xBox (which we got back for the 3rd time... 4th machine for us, let's hope this one is the last), then a movie on the projector with some popcorn.
That gets us up to... Now. One kid brought 5 different DVDs of Hot Wheels cartoon movies. Nicholas was entirely uninterested and another kid said he wasn't going to watch, but I encouraged them to give it a try and now I'm hearing how good it is. Whatever. I just kinda wish the computer wasn't in the same room as the projector because I don't want to watch/listen to this movie.
Is it bedtime yet?

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