Monday, October 13, 2014

Lego Maniac

Yesterday was our Lego Maniac's birthday. That's no understatement. This kid eats, sleeps, and BREATHES Legos. Unfortunately for him, school has put a dent in his Lego time. I mean, it could be worse. At least they're an "educational" toy. Plus it's fun to see his creative side come out with all his fun inventions. And it's good for some quiet, focused time.

Jack's Lego affinity made birthday shopping really boring. We kept asking him, over and over, for some ideas that ARE NOT Legos! He didn't really have anything good. So we had to come up with a few on our own--a watch, a new lunch box (his old one smells like rotten green smoothie!), a NY Giants shirt, and books--mostly about Legos. He's also been asking for a Venus Fly Trap this past month, and we just happened to find one at Lowe's on Friday, and have been eagerly tending our new carnivorous plant ever since!

Jon worked yesterday and Saturday was supposed to be soccer (it got rained out) and a farm festival, so we ended up celebrating our birthday boy on Friday. He wasn't expecting it, so we all stood outside with balloons and yelled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" when he got off the bus. Of course, as is fitting to our family, Lia's balloon popped right as the bus pulled up. Which kind of freaked her out. So while the rest of us and cheering and yelling, she's screaming her head off.

A similar situation occurred later that evening when it was time to open presents. Jack got a Lego set he's been asking for for months (but recently forgot about), and we knew he'd be pretty excited! So I wanted to take a video. Joci, on the other hand, was suffering from a too-short afternoon nap and fussed and wiggled the entire time. But that's life. In my head, I see things one way. In real life, there are screaming sisters and fussy babies. That's just the way things are right now!

You would think, with all this Lego love, that he would want a birthday cake somewhat related to that theme. But for some reason he's had his heart set on a "crane cake" for the last 364 days (he also already has his 7th and 8th birthday cakes planned out as well.) I was hoping he'd change his mind at the last minute, I mean, can't say I have any real affection for a crane, but alas, he was never more adamant.

And again, there was no Marmie to bail us out this year, so I pulled out the only crane I know--Cranky, from their Thomas the Train set, and set about making a pattern.

This girl--always near the sweets!
Like Julia, I let Jack pick out his own cake mix. I'm not really a cake person, I could try and make my own but who wants to make something they don't even want to eat? You can only imagine what he found. I think those bright tie-dyed mixes are purposely for foolish moms like me who let their kids pick out their own cakes. Add to that rainbow treat some gray icing and leftover gold piping from Lia's crown cake, and our creation was complete. I cannot speak to the taste myself, I haven't touched that thing with a fork, but Jack was pretty please. Although I did find out later that he did not mean Cranky the Crane, but rather a truck crane. You know! (No, Jack, I do not know my cranes!)

Anyway, back to the birthday boy. He's doing well. He still loves school, although sometimes he complains that his head hurts "because there's so much stuff he has to put in his brain." Of all the warnings I've received from others about Kindergarten, I think the most prevalent was how tired the kids get. We try to stick with a 7-7:30 bedtime in our house, and Jack's school doesn't start until 9:15 in the morning, so things have been going pretty well.

My children's feet--thank heavens we don't have carpet in this house!
But this past week was a bit of a trial. It seems that all the stress and exhaustion from the week always culminates at dinner time, and typically begins before Jack even reaches the table. Apparently,  he can tell by the smell of things, that he does not like what we're about to eat. Thankfully, Jon's been home for dinner this week and has been able to help keep things under control, because by that hour of the day I just do not have the energy for Jack's whining. I will say though, that for as intense as he can get in the thick of it, he can be just as intensely sweet when it all blows over.

So by the time he has finally cleaned his plate, and I get the table cleared and all the dishes washed, we're back at rights again and ready to snuggle up by the fire with a book. Because while Legos may be his first love, Jack will always be my book boy.

Boys and their bugs ...

He's lost a second tooth! And much like the first, his parents dropped the ball again. Jon has no idea where he put the old tooth (it's still missing) and I managed to run into Jack's room and stuff 4 quarters under his pillow just as he was waking up. Phew!
Jack brings home a new library book each Friday. And with the BookIt! program (anyone from my generation remember those pins and free personal pan pizzas?!), we use a phone app to time our daily reading and earn gold for his "dragon." Plus, he has a weekly book and project to do for homework. And finally, with Jon often at work during bedtime, books are my favorite way to wind the kids down before they go to sleep. So there has been lots of reading around here lately!

This week's book was the ancient classic "Choo Choo." Jack's first question was why weren't there any colored pictures.
Of course, I'm grateful that he's so interested in books and words and now, writing! He comes home from school with the most interesting papers. The other day I found a list of his classmates names in Kindergarten scrawl, but the very last line said, "I *heart* U SAW"--I asked him who SAW was but he claims that he DID NOT write that! Hmmm...

When you're learning to read and write, everything is fair game, including the back of a Sprite.
Yet another reminder that I will never fully know what's going on during the majority of my 6 year-old's day. And while we're on that subject, Jack "hobbled" off the bus the other day with this shoelaces knotted together. I came to the door to find Jon carrying him into the house because he couldn't walk. All we could get out of Jack was that an "older kid ... not older ... 5 years old but taller" ... crawled around the floor and tied his laces together when he wasn't looking. Or something like that.

Like the newbie parents we are, we immediately jumped to conclusions about who and how it happened. And how on earth a teacher would allow a student to "hop" out of the classroom, the whole way down the hall, to the bus. Or why a bus driver would ever let a kid "hop" in and out of a bus without attempting to offer a hand ...

I shot an email off to his teacher that afternoon and she quickly apologized that she never noticed and said she'd look in to it the next day. And so the next day she emailed back to say that Jack had confessed to tying his laces together himself and was too afraid to tell us for fear he'd get in trouble. And also according to his teacher, it happens every year. Really?!?

And so, the humbled parent award for the first month of school goes to Jack's parents, for immediately thinking that our kid had already made enemies and that knotted shoelaces it's just a sampling of what we're going to deal with this year.

"Me eating 'Old McDonald's' and I got a hex bug."
You guys, I took him to McDonald's ONCE this year, he didn't even eat his food, and now his teacher probably thinks I keep him on a steady diet of pink slime nuggets. (Okay, maybe I'm overreacting a touch,)
Truth is, that's as bad as it's got so far. We have had a few questions from Jack about who "Chucky" is --seriously, what elementary-aged children know about "Chucky"?!? And he went through a phase of saying, "Oh, my God!" for a few days, which I tried to explain isn't respectful and not something we say in our family. So I'm sure he went in to school the next day and told his classmate, Drew, (who I'm guessing he picked this up from) that very same thing. Kind of like telling that poor, unsuspecting kid on the bus that he's not your dad's son because he likes the Ravens. And because that's what life is like for a Kindergartener. So I can only imagine what stories his teacher hears about ME!

This is a picture of his entire class playing at the playground. I'm a little disappointed there's no translation because I cannot figure the caption out!
I can only guess that so far it's been nothing bad. Or she would have contacted me, right? And for that same reason, I'm assuming Jack is doing well in school. Because she hasn't told me otherwise. And it seems to me that he's doing well at home, too. He's growing, his mind is growing (all that STUFF he has to keep in there now, you know?), and even more important, his friendships are growing--a lot has changed since those early days of preschool!

"Me go on the bus."
He nailed this one, right down to his bus driver's long, straight hair and curly bangs. :)
We're so thankful for our 6 year old. He fills our house with so much excitement and anticipation--always on the look-out for something new to build or play. And we're so looking forward to watching him learn and grow in the coming year. Happy birthday, buddy!

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