Monthly Archives: August 2015

First Day of School

First day of grade 5!

Sparky’s gang of friends has been split pretty evenly down the middle, half in one class, half in the other. His English/homeroom teacher is lovely, and his teacher for the French half is the same teacher he had in grade 3. Looks like it’s already shaping up to be a great year.

Sparky was so laid back. Or rather, he was laid back on the surface, but he mentioned last night he was excited and a bit nervous. And I know he was, but he handled it all very well. It’s because he knows the place and the people, and he said that he was really looking forward to being back at school again when we were walking to the schoolyard. (This from the kid who had previously said he didn’t feel like he’d had enough of a summer and why did he have to go back, and who has been moping around bored the past two weeks.)

One more year of this laid-back return, and then we get to handle being nervous about going to his first day of high school! Ugh.

Owlet: Four Years Old!

Owlet is FOUR!

Okay, the biggest thing this past month was the glasses, coming in right under the wire three days before her birthday.

She got her first bike for her birthday! It’s a stride/balance bike. We probably could have gotten her one with pedals, but the weight of those plus learning how to pedal, plus the not-such-a-success of that with Sparky… well, when I found this balance bike at a super awesome price, we chose this route.

This past month she also decided to start using my fountain pens! Proud mum, right here.

We’ve been dropping Sparky off at camp every day, and Owlet is very taken with one of the teachers who staffs the sign in/out desk. This woman happens to be Sparky’s piano teacher, so we are very interested in piano all of a sudden. She’s taken to asking to watch videos on YouTube of little kids doing their Suzuki book 1 recitals, mostly piano and violin, but she sometimes asks to watch cellists, too. I inquired (iron, hot, etc) and the teacher said they like to start them around age 5, around the time they’re learning to read, although it depends on the child; she had a 4 1/2-year-old who had just started, for example. But she told me about an intro to music course the arts centre runs for three- to six-year-olds, which covers rhythm and movement, and every week they learn about a different symphonic instrument. (This is convenient for them to do because the arts centre teaches all kind of music lessons with various instrumentalists.) So we’ll hit the open house the weekend after Labour Day and check it out. They start violinists as early as three years old, though, so if Owlet is utterly taken with that at the open house… well, we’ll have to see. I think the intro course is the best bet for now.

Owlet is super into crafts these days. Her drawing has improved and focused, and her scribbles are resolving into recognizable things. She drew me next to a present for my birthday, and there’s even a multi-layered cake up top:

(What is everything else? Who knows. Fireworks?)

She also uses her art to charmingly inflict guilt for no apparent reason. “See? This is me. I’m crying. I’m crying because you made me so, so sad. Those are tears on my face. In the rain.”

She had the last two weeks of July off daycare, and there were many trips to Michael’s for craft kits and art supplies. I still find it mildly amazing that I can set her up at the table on her own, and she can glue things to other things and cut stuff up with her plastic scissors. Like this dragon. It may look like a warped Tonka truck to you, and indeed that’s what it was intended to be. Part of her ‘happy vacation’ goodie bag from school, it started out as a huge sheet of card stock with punchout pieces that you fold and slot together to make a 3D truck. She sat down with her little plastic pinking shears at the kitchen table and cut it all up, then used a glue stick to put pieces together to make a dragon.

As of her annual checkup, she is 17.1 kg (that’s 37.7 pounds) and exactly 100 cm tall (one meter, yay!). She’s wearing between size 8 and 9 shoes, depending on the style, and size 4 or 5 clothes. (Except the 18-24 month leggings she wears under her dresses; they’re like knee-length playground shorts, and I never thought she’d fit into them again, but she has stretched out and slimmed down so much that they have a second life.)

She’s in a weird limbo between needing a nap (or else she’s whiny at 5 pm) and needing to not take a nap so she’ll actually fall asleep before 9 pm. Bedtime has become a challenge, with several calls for water, a trip to the bathroom, someone to rub her back, and general whining. She doesn’t nap at all at home; we’re looking forward to the preschool nap being phased out and evolved into quiet time instead. Then she’ll go to sleep on time at home on school days.

Four years of laughing, loving, and being our Owlet. We think she’s turning out just fine.

Owlet’s Spectacular Spectacles

When I got my new glasses a couple of months ago, Owlet did a lot of sighing and trying on frames of her own, saying, “I wish I could have glasses.”

Well, this happened yesterday:

No warning, no chance to prepare her; I thought this was a consultation regarding the patch the optometrist had told me about two weeks ago during the kids’ trip to the eye doctor (Owlet’s first visit). He said he needed to see her again for a proper examination and evaluation, because small children’s eyes focus really, really well, and he needed to relax her eye muscles so he could do a proper test without the eyes trying to compensate. What he did know was that she was farsighted and her left eye was weaker, and he thought perhaps she may need to wear a patch on the good eye to force the weak eye to improve. So Owlet and I went to the optometrist yesterday morning, and they gave her the drops to relax her eyes; then we went to get ice cream while the drops took effect. Once back in the doctor’s office, he took about three minutes to peer at her eyes and flip a few dials, then boom, a glasses prescription. (Good thing I’d gotten mine a couple of months ago, so she’d seen me go through the process.) She is to wear them all the time for six weeks, then he’s going to check her eyes again. He says that often wearing a prescription like this full-time at this age can train the weak eye to work better. If it hasn’t improved as much as he’d like, she’ll wear a patch and the glasses.

I struck while the iron was hot and went next door to Lenscrafters. There were plenty of purple ones, even ones with butterflies on the temples, and she tried them all on. These were the final pair (they weren’t purple, so they weren’t initially on her radar), and they look terrific. They have little Elsa cameos on the temples, with ‘Elsa’ engraved on the arms with a little flourish. Apparently they were new in that morning, so we were lucky! We had lunch out while the lenses were made, then went back to pick them up and get them properly fitted. She got a pink plastic case for them, too, which I think she’s even more enthralled with than the glasses. I’d like to take a moment to bless Lenscrafters for their policy of 50% off both kids’ frames and lenses, and the $35 protection plan for kids’ glasses that covers everything minus a small deductible. (I’m told something like 95% of the plans purchased get used, and knowing how kids play, I don’t doubt it.)

The technician warned us not to have her wear them in the car, in case the change in vision made her a bit sick, so she put them once we were at home. But then, after she’d shown them off, she wanted to put them carefully back in their case and go off and do her regular thing without them. We helped her work through her initial resistance to wearing them at home; there has been lots of encouragement about how great she looks and how special it is that she gets lovely glasses and a case when none of her friends have them. Ceri had given us a copy of Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles when I got my glasses and Owlet was envious of them, so we sat on her bed together, both wearing our glasses, and read the book. This time, instead of identifying with Nancy, who is jealous of her best friend Bree’s new glasses, Owlet got to identify with Bree, who is happy to be able to see things without blurs and without her eyes hurting.

I took a peek through them when she took them off, and wow — that left eye is bad. We had no clue; her right eye has been working hard to take care of everything, so there was no evidence or obvious clues that she was missing details. HRH said this morning that he noticed she wasn’t hesitating as much on stairs and was moving out of the way of things more precisely than she had been doing previously, though, so what we thought was general preschooler klutziness or wandering attention may have been related to her vision. We’ll no doubt notice various other improvements in the next few weeks.

If we can get her used to them this weekend — and so far, so good — then going to daycare with them will be easier. She wearing them cheerfully when I got up this morning, which is a great start, and she was excited to go visit her oldest godsisters today to show them off. (Our eldest goddaughter has been wearing glasses since she was a toddler, so I am sure she will have encouraging words for Owlet, too.)

I was fine with her turning four this week, but turning four and suddenly looking so much older while wearing her first pair of glasses? This, I wasn’t prepared for.