Walking my kids to school, sort of

November 19, 2009

On the days when I work from home, I like to walk my boys to school in the morning. It’s the only chance I have to get to their school while it’s still in session (they go to an aftercare program after school and that’s where I pick them up) and see what’s going on, see the other mommies, and catch up. So I like to walk them to the classroom door, look quickly around the class, check notices, all that stuff.

But my kids make all that hard. We walk to school regularly, and I often take a couple other boys who live along our walking route to save their parents the walk when I can. And so all the boys run ahead of me, only stopping to wait for me to cross the street, then running on ahead. Our last two blocks have no streets to cross, and I can’t keep up with the boys. So by the time we get to the school, they’re already inside.

The other day, I walked four boys in, two of mine and two neighbours. When I reached the school, I checked to make sure the neighbours both got to their classrooms, but both my boys were long gone, having run up the three flights to their floor without waiting for me. And of course that’s fine. I know they’re at school and safely where thy should be. But now there’s no point in me climbing the stairs to their floor, so I miss out on all the social stuff with the other mommies.

It’s great they get the exercize of running/walking to school, but I miss the chatting outside class that we used to have in kindergarten. Ah well…


My kids barely know Oscar the Grouch

November 13, 2009

I grew up on Sesame Street. I thought everyone did. When I was my kids’ age (ie under 9), we had three choices of tv, so if we were allowed to watch, we were allowed to watch one of the few kids shows on. And Sesame Street seemed to be a big choice in our house. Did you know that this week, Sesame Street is 40? So it’s been on the air almost as long as I’ve been alive. Geez, I’m old… But I digress.

I learned my numbers and my letters from them. I learned Spanish from them. And my favourite bit

was when the pie man was at the top of the steps to count to 9 and then fell down with all the pies.

But my kids don’t know Sesame Street well at all. They’ve heard of it, they’re mildly familiar with Oscar and Big Bird. But they didn’t grow up watching the show. They watched Dora and Bob the Builder. I’m not saying their current choices are bad (although now they’re into Ben 10 and a bunch of other stuff I like less). But they have so many choices of kids tv, that Sesame Street doesn’t even rate on their radar.

I am told that Sesame Street was started because lots of inner city kids were entering school without a basic knowledge of numbers or letters, and that kids who watched Sesame Street had a head start on kindergarten. It makes sense — it’s a big reason why most of us send our kids to preschool if we can afford to.

But in this day and age (yes, I know I sound like an old curmudgeon!), kids today have too many choices, and Sesame Street just doesn’t cut it for them as much. Which is a shame, since it’s still a great show. And okay, Mr. Hooper died (so sad!), but I hear Gordon and Susan are still there. And I bet Big Bird is still the only one who’s seen Mr. Snuffleupagus. After all, they’re still the people in my neighborhood.

Adults reading children’s books

July 3, 2009

I just finished reading Twilight, and it made me feel too old to read it. It’s a bit of a shame, really, since I’ve read every Harry Potter book and loved them. I never once felt like the book was aimed at someone other than me when I was reading it. But not so Twilight.

In case you have been living under a rock or don’t know any girls 9-19, Twilight is the first book in a series by Stephanie Meyer aimed at pre-teens and teenaged girls. It’s about a teenaged girl who falls in love with a vampire. There are I think four books so far in her series. And all the girls are reading them, and obsessing over them, and the movies they are making from the books.

I’ve heard Twilight described as the girl’s version of Harry Potter, in that the Harry series got boys reading, and Twilight did the same for girls.

So even though I am not the mother of girls, I decided to see what all the girls were so fussed about. And while I enjoyed the read, I felt it was definately too juvenile for my reading tastes. Too much teenage angst, too much vampire lore.

So I’ve reached the conclusion that I am not a teenage girl. I know it seems incredulous, that I, a 41-yr-old woman, mother of two boys, is not a teenage girl. But like I said, I loved the Harry Potter books, I watch every episode of Degrassi, still enjoy movies featuring young adults, and love most of the books I read to my kids. But I didn’t enjoy this book, so perhaps I should rethink my viewing and reading habits.

Obviously I should only read books aimed at boys, just not girls.

Lazy summer days

June 29, 2009

I didn’t have to make lunches Sunday night, because the kids would be home with Dad on Monday.

I didn’t have to nag anyone to practice piano or do homework, because we’re done with all that for two months.

I didn’t freak out about getting the kids to bed on time, because even if they don’t get enough sleep (no matter what, I know they won’t sleep in), they don’t really have to be sharp the next day.

I’ve been finding time to read my own book and update my blog.

This is the first summer where both my kids are out of school and daycare for the whole two months. It will be a pain in so many ways to get them to and from enough camps to give us parents time to work but not too much so they’re overscheduled. But for the moment, all I can think of is the good stuff.

I love summer vacation. Today. Ask me again tomorrow night when my kids are sleep deprived and getting on my nerves.

A family walk — up Grouse Mountain

June 28, 2009

My family did the Grouse Grind yesterday morning. Yes, all of us, even the 8 year old and the 6 year old. And before you laugh at me too hard, yes, I was the last one up.

This wasn’t the kids’ first time climbing Grouse. Both climbed it a couple times before — the younger did it at age 4 (and yes, he did it faster than me then too). But it was the first time I climbed with them. Dad has always been the one to go with them before. In fact, two years ago, after my then-six-year-old did the climb in a reported 90 minutes, I went up the next weekend with a girlfriend trying to just beat his time (I didn’t, I tied it. Stop laughing!).

So this weekend we all climbed together. In my own defense, I have asthma, and it’s exercise-induced asthma, so when I climb a lot of stairs (and in case you’ve never experienced it, the Grouse Grind is described as Mother Nature’s stairclimber — it’s a mile straight up a mountain after all!), my heart rate skyrockets and I need to take a lot of breaks to slow my breathing down. The boys can just scramble up easily, even using their hands for the steeper steps. I can’t.

Anyhow, I told the boys to go on ahead with Dad and not wait for me until they reached the top, but they took a few long breaks and I managed to keep up with them. In fact, their time was 83 minutes, and mine was 86. Not too shabby for an old lady, right?

While it may not have been a crowning moment of athletic achievement for me, for the kids, it was an amazing one. They’re only 6 and 8, and they climbed Grouse Mountain in under 90 minutes. I am so proud of them, and so proud to have been able to do it with them.

And okay, none of us could even dream of doing it more than once, let alone 13 times like this superhero, but still, those two boys are my heroes.