Monday, June 11, 2007

Another info upchuck

The biggest news is that last week I signed Noah up for preschool. Starting mid-September he will go to school for two hours every Monday and Thursday. I’ve been wrestling with the school question for months now. I wanted him to start going only a couple of hours a week but all the city preschools I had knowledge of had 18 hour minimums. And I didn’t want, need or want to pay for that much time. Finally I had heard from someone at playgroup about a preschool with limited hours they ran at the Bridesburg Recreation Center – and then when the woman across the street from us told me her granddaughter had been going there and loving it for three years it sealed the deal. Bridesburg is a very old school blue collar neighborhood just to the northeast of us. The preschool has been run for years out of the rec center which is across the street from a string band headquarters and a VFW post. They have two huge green fields, a pool, a large and lovely fenced in playground, and a full gymnasium. And in addition to the preschool they offer swim camp, dance lessons, tumbling lessons, and sports camp. Noah’s class will have 5 instructors for a maximum of 28 children. And while the instruction might be a lot more traditional than the very artsy preschool center in my neighborhood – I’m actually quite pleased with him playing, drawing and singing for two hours under the tutelage of a few older neighborhood ladies. And best yet the program costs about $50 a month. I just hope it works out as well as I anticipate it to. Of course with only two hour days I’ll most likely be dropping him off and going grocery shopping and then heading back to pick him up – but it’s a good start. For us both.

My only real disappointment is one that I will always wrestle with when it comes to Noah’s education. I know everyone thinks that their kid is advanced, but I SWEAR – Noah is smarter than the average bear. He’s SO verbal and the things that he comes up with sometimes amaze me. But the problem is that Noah was born in the beginning of November, far past the September 1 cutoff and therefore he won’t start kindergarten until Fall of 2010. In his preschool he will be one of the oldest in the class. Intellectually I think that the toddler class won’t be very challenging for him, but socially I guess he could use an extra year. But it doesn’t really matter since I don’t have much choice in the matter.

On the baby front – I’m huge. I’m starting to get people asking me if I’m having twins, and balking when I tell them that I have SEVEN more weeks before my due date. Granted, I’m an Amazon of a woman to begin with and I’m not by nature a small pregnant woman. But still, people could be a little more couth. I’m finally starting to get my butt in gear and think about what needs to get done before Baby Ray arrives. Last week I bought a used Graco Duo Glider off Craig’s List for $50. Now granted, that is one fifth of the normal price so I wasn’t expecting it to be immaculate and untouched – but what killed me is that the woman gave it to me with the wheels absolutely CAKED with mud. I’m pretty sure I would have cleaned it up a bit if I was giving it away for free so it kind of kills me that she had no qualms of selling it in that condition. It’s nothing a little water and elbow grease won’t cure – but of course I still haven’t gotten around to it.

We had a really good time at Hershey Park this past Saturday. My Dad’s company has their company picnic there every year and since my Dad gets sick on the carousel he’s happy to hand over his tickets to us. I was a bit wary of the trip what with how tiring an amusement park day can be – but exhausted though I was after being in the park from 3:30 til 10 pm it was totally worth it. Noah enjoyed every variation of a train ride the park had to offer as well as the carousel, ferris wheel, track cars and big rigs. But his favorite thing was the Chocolate Tour ride outside the park that shows you how they make Hershey’s chocolate. He rode it twice and has talked about it nonstop since. Last year he was afraid of the animatronic singing cows but this year they were a huge hit. He keeps pretending to be a singing cow.

Yesterday my Mom and her fiancĂ© came to spend the day with Noah and I while Mark went to New Jersey to visit his ailing 97 yo Grandmother who is laid up with a broken ankle. Noah and I had a lovely lunch with Mom at the Tap and then some playground action at Liberty Lands. Mark got lectured by his Grandmother about his need to get his Master’s degree. Have you been recently told by an ancient woman with two doctorate degrees that your children won’t respect you unless you have an advanced degree? Me neither. I guess every family is kind of crazy in their own way.

For the last couple of weeks we have been really enjoying the food we have been getting from our CSA. I’m both daunted and excited by the challenge of trying to figure out how to cook what we receive. But so far so good. I think my kale was pretty kick-ass and the fresh whole wheat pasta last week tasted pretty damn good with the spinach, tomato, garlic and fresh mozzarella we received. My biggest cooking challenge however is always seasoning. I wish I had a better knack when it came to using herbs and spices. I just don’t know what to use or how much.

My new favorite Noah thing is the fascination with the road. When we’re in the car now he constantly asks what road we are on and has started identifying them. He’s even asking if we are going to make rights or lefts and for a complete flight plan of our trip. It reminds me of my little sister Jessica who was able to identify landmarks and tell you how to drive to her house by the age of four.

Today was a challenging day. I’ve come to realize that Mondays often are. It’s a combination of a slow typically uneventful day on the heels of a very busy weekend and the fact that Noah (and me too) has just gotten use to having Mark at home for two days when suddenly he’s gone again.

So this is another too long jumbled mess – but since this seems to be a once a week thing lately I can’t help it. I have too much I want to say but not enough focus to say it well. Forgive my scattered head and lack of planning. For today’s post and all the one’s to follow. Adieu.


Jen said...

Having the same birthday as Noah, I went through the same school thing, except that I was able to enter kindergarten as a four-year-old. I am sure Noah is very smart and he will probably be very bored in his class. I was bored in my classes and I was one of the youngest- my first grade teacher called me "sassy" when I corrected her spelling. She was horrible at spelling, though and needed the correction. ;)

Are there any advanced or gifted programs for the elementary school kids there? I was lucky to be able to go through one that they would bus kids from all over the county to once a week. We got to choose from classes such as archaeology, futuristic construction, languages, and journalism. That was a lot of fun and at least I had something to look forward to. Perhaps get Noah tested for the gifted programs and see what they have to offer once he gets old enough.

lonna said...

Congratulations on finding a pre school that fits your need. I have a lot to say about education of the gifted. That was my second choice of major as an undergraduate. I was a few weeks away from the deadline, so my parents had to plead my case to get me into kindergarten early, and I am really glad that they did. Currently the common view is that kids need to have an IQ of over 130 and be socially ready to go to kindergarten early. My parents had to take me to a psychiatrist when I was 4 to do all of the assessments. You may want to talk to local school about the chances. Some just say "no" while others will give you some advice. My mom always told the parents to get an IQ test done before she would talk to them about accelerating a kid. Lots of parents think their kids are gifted and they are not (I'm not putting you into this camp). My parents were the reverse. They didn't think I was gifted until the tests were done. Sigh.

No matter what happens, if Noah is bored in school, and I was bored to tears in the early years (literally), you can do the enrichment stuff at home. You are still going to be his number one teacher (You and Mark, I should say). Go to a teacher's store and buy math workbooks and language or phonics workbooks. At that age it's fun, it's not work. My mom let me work on things that my brother was doing who was three grades above me. I would slog through school, but I learned so much at home. This also taught me how important and fun reading is.

On to other things. I can't believe that Mark has a 90 something year old grandmother with 2 phds. Wow. Most schools weren't granting PhDs to women when she was at the typical age (late 20s). Good for her. My grandparents had 4th and 6th grade education. Imagine what they thought of my mom's M.ED. and my Ph.D.

I'm glad that Noah liked Hershey Park. It sounds like such a fun time. But I'm so sorry that you are so large when the weather is so hot. You must be one uncomfortable, hot, pregnant lady.

Anna said...

Wow, Noah is getting so big and sounds so bright! I'm glad you fund a pre school that sounds promising. I'm sure he'll do very well.

Seven more weeks, eh? Oh my goodness... Soon you're going to be a little family of four! I'm very happy for you. May the next seven weeks be cool and low in humidity ;)

NME said...

I wasn't tested til 6th grade and therefore didn't start gifted classes until Jr. High. And since my husband is without a doubt smarter than I - it wouldn't be at all surprising if Noah would qualify.

The problem is we have no idea as of yet where Noah will be going to school - and therefore can't do proper research on getting him tested. The Philadelphia school district is in a shambles and unless we get Noah in a charter or magnet school we will most likely have to enroll him in some sort of private school. But also the Philly school district is undergoing massive changes and something miraculous may happen between now and when it's time for Noah to start school.

Alison said...

Merrie, my five year old, is the oldest in her class. All of the academic stuff they were doing she had already mastered (she entered the 4 year old pre-K class knowing how to read, while many kids were just mastering letters, etc.). I was really, really worried, and I wanted to push her ahead into Kindergarten (she's an Oct. birthday - in some states, she would have been in K!). So far, though it's been great, and I'm sooo glad that she's had the extra year. The biggest plus really has been socially - all of that stupid social stuff, the you-can't-play-with-us (and girls are especially mean) just doesn't bother her. It has in the past, but not this year. I really do think that's because there's nothing socially that she doesn't understand. As a result, she's been more confident, more water-off-the-back about stuff, than she might have been if she were on the young side. And the teachers are good, so they really are keeping her engaged. Anyhow, that's been our experience. I don't know if it helps. I do know how hard it is.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was that "gifted" kid who always corrected the teacher, and I entered school relatively early. The worst part was that I didn't learn how to work until college, and that really set me back.

Recent research shows that it's infinitely more beneficial to praise and encourage a child's work, and not her/his smarts. The curious child will always find something to amuse the mind. Grammar school is the place to learn discipline and productivity. Proper support from home and school will teach these lessons regardless of the challenge of the curriculum.

I believe our son will also be ready for kindergarten like Noah, but Julie is convincing me to consider waiting. She thinks of the long-term benefits: an extra year to save for college, greater maturity in high school and college, getting the driver's license earlier than the classmates, hitting the bars in junior year. What's the rush after all? It's only life.

Then again, third grade was so stinking boring...

juliloquy said...

Hey, daddy sherpa commented while I was out of town! Cool. I've heard that for boys, socially,it's not a bad idea to wait. Boys might struggle more with fine motor skills and penmanship, plus the whole sitting still business. But of course that's a generalization and may not be true for Noah or Shmoo. The great thing is we have some time before kindergarten.

Also, wanting to email you about this, but since I'm here: are you guys around the week of June 30-July 5? We'd like to have you over sometime before we leave on vacation. Your due date is coming up so soon, and we want to see you before baby Ray makes his appearance!