Pandemic in Pictures: A Little Harmless Chaos

Before we get to the chaos part, a little parenting vignette.

We had Benji scheduled to do a phone interview with a guy who’s doing a podcast of interviews with kids talking about their experience of coronavirus. My Uncle Gerard suggested it, and I think it’s a cool project. So we were doing it. (I’ll post more about it when Benji’s episode goes live on the podcast. Edit to add: See the post about the podcast here.)

Five minutes before the interviewer called, Benji decided he really, really didn’t want to do it. He started melting down into his spiral of resistant complaints, excuses, whining, and arguing. I didn’t have time to deal with all that crap — by then we were at T-minus three minutes and counting — so I went full scorched-earth bribery: “If you cooperate with this, you can have an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.” Continue Reading >>

The End of a Marathon Summer

We started summer in the middle of May. This week, five months later, we finished it. It truly has been a marathon summer, and we’ve had so much fun and Benji grew up in so many ways — but it also validated my firm belief that I will never, ever home school my child. We would drive each other nuts in the first year (or less). So, we started at ORCS this year, and will probably go there for a couple years.

In any case, I’m also happy for Benji to start school because he needs that time with other kids. He can read surprisingly well and can count past 100, but although he likes playing with people and is friendly, he doesn’t know what to do with other kids as much. Also, I like that his large- and small-motor skills get stretched at school, as he tries to copy what his peers do.

And I get some time off during the day. Not as much time as I might like; his school this year is only 9:00 to 11:30, whereas last year it went until 12:45. It does feel a bit like I drop him off and then immediately turn around to pick him up. Thank goodness we picked a school only 8 minutes away by bicycle!

Oh, and it’s about 1/4 mile from the new house Benji’s extra-special friend Will just moved into! I’m hoping we can parlay this into lots of after-school lunches with our friends this year.

So, here Benji is giving me a “smile” on his first day.
Benji's First Day at ORCS

That very first day, they only did class for an hour, and parents stayed in the classroom with the kids. Benji and I both liked this; it let him explore the room and familiarize himself with it and the teachers, but with the safety of a parent around. I liked getting to see the room and the kinds of things he might do there.

Circle Time on Parent Day

Circle Time on Parent Day 2

Circle Time on Parent Day 3

Benji’s class this year has only 13 kids, compared to something like 27 kids at Bucky Beaver last year. I think this will be nicer, letting Benji do the coveted activities like weather and calendar more than a couple times a year.

Benji Cooking a Recipe

Benji and Mrs. M play letters

On Wednesday and Thursday, the first couple days on his own, Benji seemed really anxious about going. He expressed great concern in wanting to know where I was in the house all the time, and tended to react with tears and whining to everything. He tossed his yogurt on the carpet on Wednesday because the yogurt was “too wet.” I attribute it to the transition; adapting to change hits hard sometimes.

Even so, he got substantial time in the Cry Zone while I cleaned up the yogurt. GRR. Now I’m thinking I foresee cleaning in our near future.

ANYWAY, I, meanwhile, had a perfectly easy transition! Except that I have to adjust to bike commuting with him Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; but this was a perfectly gorgeous week, weather-wise, and made it easy for me to want to go out again (even with tired legs). I got a good bit of work done while Benji was at school, and then when I picked him up, he super enthusiastically described what they’d gotten to do in class.

Compared to the extremely structured Bucky Beaver, I think this Pre-K program is a lot more laid-back and Montessori-style, with centers for the kids to explore different things. I like this idea in theory, but I hope the teachers encourage him to not just play trains for the entire 2.5 hours.

OK, that’s probably enough on school. I’m just kind of meandering, anyway. But here’s to a great school year with lots of learning, fun, and growth!