Sunday, September 25, 2016

Uke lesson

Yesterday, C was giving D a ukulele lesson in her room (I've been encouraging that, so that C gets more teaching experience for ukulele club).  Baby T came in with her ukulele and all three of them were sitting on a row on C's bed, playing.

I got pictures.  (A little counterproductive, though, as soon as I snapped the first one, Baby T ran over to me to see how it turned out.)

Other September news

Here are some other things that are happening:

  • Baby T is smitten with Kipper.
  • C and D are gearing up for Halloween.  C thinks that her ninja costume doesn't fit and she is passing it on to D.  C is planning to get a Pikachu headband and tail.
  • Baby T wants to wear her butterfly wings for Halloween, but I'm not sure that they're going to make it.  


Here's some of what's happening:

  • I've completed our escape from the old PDO.  There was a space in the 3-year-old room in a friend's kid's PDO program and we took it, walking away from two weeks of paid-up PDO in the other program.  The old 4-year-old program was just too hard, both for Baby T and me--so much gotta do this, gotta do that, so little fun, and Baby T isn't even 4 yet.  They had weekly homework and a book log in a two-day-a-week program that is theoretically supposed to be mainly about giving parents a breather.
  • Baby T was in the old program only three weeks this term, after missing the first week due to illness.  Despite having gone to this PDO program for two years and adapting easily to her previous two classrooms, she never warmed up to the 4-year-old room, and it was often hard to coax her into the classroom.  Not unrelated--they didn't have free play at the start of the day.  The kids were supposed to write their names (Baby T could only manage a T) and then do a picture suggested by a prompt.  Baby T just scribbled.
  • Talking to the old teacher just made me feel bad, pretty much every single time.
  • Plus, because of Baby T's birthday, she's doing pre-k again next year anyway--she'll be doing a nearly full day at the big kids' private school three days a week.  
  • Baby T's new 3-year-old program has free play first thing in the morning.  They have toys out, including a really enticing LEGO setup.  (At the old PDO program, Baby T had been asking me where the toys were.  GAH!)  I am happy to hear from D that the pre-k classroom that Baby T is going to next year has a lot of toys.    
  • One of the big issues with the old program was potty training--we've been working hard for the past month or so and Baby T has made a lot of progress, but she is only about 50% of the way there.  It was very disheartening to be working so hard on the potty training and getting put on the naughty chair by the teacher from the old program anyway.  It's early days, but it's so much nicer to have her be one of the oldest children in the 3-year-old room rather than one of the youngest in the 4-year-old room.  I think Baby T is going to finish potty training by Christmas, but it's going to be on her time.      

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PDO blues

Here's some of what's happening:

  • PDO is kind of a pain right now.  They have homework and it's very school-ish and Baby T doesn't really seem to like it.  She's one of the three youngest children in the pre-k PDO class.
  • Baby T has been going to this program for the last two years, but I really don't like the pre-k class at all.  
  • I'm planning our escape.  Possible options:  move back to the 3-year-old room (if there's space and if they'll let us), pay a sitter (expensive and inconvenient and not a classroom experience and probably not what Baby T needs right now) or do a different PDO.  I have found a different program where Baby T would be in the 3-year-old room because of their age cut-offs, so she'd be one of the oldest kids in the group.  But it's a slightly longer drive and a slightly shorter day--but it might be a lot better. 
  • C has been teaching D ukulele and he's making progress.  I've been paying both of them a little to make that attractive, as I want C to have teaching practice before our next ukulele club meeting.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ukulele club

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We had our first meeting of ukulele club this past week.  It was at lunch time and right outside the lunch area, where everybody has to walk past.  We had some glitches but we had 5+ kids stop by and do ukulele stuff (6 if you count a guy who came in the last minute and 7 if you count C).  So, not bad.  We had a total of five ukuleles and that's just about how many I'm willing to tote around (we own a sixth one, but it was far, far away in the music room).  The 7th and 8th graders and the high school instrumental music class kids are the most interested, I think.
  • The upperclassman who came by at the last minute brought a ukulele and two of the kids who participated have ukuleles at home (one a souvenir from Hawaii), so I think that demonstrates solid interest.  A lot of the kids also have other music experience.
  • My job was to bring ukuleles in cases, electronic tuners, some books, arrive before lunch time, check in at the office, set up, and assist however necessary (answering questions, offering a handout, etc), and then haul everything away.  C helped tune everybody up and did a little bit of instruction.  We didn't have a lot of time.
  • We hope to do this once a month this year.  We'll see how it goes--there's the possibility of going to twice a month if C has the time and if there's enough interest.  This does have potential for being very nice college admissions fodder for C, but C herself finds that a sordid way to look at it.     
  • I've been pretty derelict with regard to school volunteering the last few years, so it was really nice to be able to record one hour of volunteering for me and one for C.
  • I have ordered two more Hal Leonard Ukulele Method 1 books for future meetings.  This meeting was valuable to get a sense of what kind of skill level and interest is out there--the answer being, a variety of beginners.  C is thinking of teaching them Frere Jacques next time.  (She did manage to teach it to D this summer.)  She also wants to teach them how to read tab, which will be very, very useful.    
  • Meanwhile, I'm hoping that by Christmas, she'll be able to teach some simple Christmas carols or songs.  As it happens, I own a ukulele cookie cutter and a palm tree cookie cutter, and it is my intention to bring gingerbread cookies to the December meeting.
  • So many plans!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Foiled again!

I took Baby T to Barnes and Noble.  We picked out a couple of nice potty prizes (a Doc McStuffins activity book and a Hank the octopus bath toy), a magazine for me and had a snack/lunch in the cafe.  (The Barnes and Noble membership card is well worth having, by the way.)  We got back in the minivan and I had every intention of going grocery shopping (the lunch/snack had been to facilitate good decision-making while shopping).  After I parked at the big grocery store, I discovered Baby T was fast asleep in her carseat.  So, I had to give up on the grocery shopping, but I drove us home, got her out of the carseat, and was able to set her up on a mat in the living room.  She seems to be having a good snooze.

Baby T is not officially napping these days, but she does nod off like this in the car probably once a week.  I've given up on her napping at home, but I think she has a nap/quiet time at parents' day out.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shopping confessions

Here's some stuff I recently bought or ordered:

  • GAP stretch pants with tiny flamingos for Baby T
  • three layer cupcake/cookie carrier (holds 36)
  • two Hello Kitty booster seats for Baby T.
I'm not sure what this says about me and us...


Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T was all dry at PDO her second day of class, but her teachers took her all the time to make that happen. 
  • She's been going spontaneously herself with us 2 or 3 times a day.
  • We're trying to start a ukulele club at school--C has gotten a lot of in person interest, but we haven't gotten any email responses to the email address I put up on a flyer.  I was hoping to get some info about number, level of skill and interest, and thoughts about times.  Next step--schedule a meeting, advertise it, and see if anybody shows up.  I've suggested that if that is a flop, that our next step would be waiting until Christmas time and doing a Christmas carol learning event.
  • C is about halfway through her Wilton Level 2 cake decorating course.  The Level 1 is bake-bake-bake-bake and bring in stuff to decorate, but the Level 2 involves a lot more technical practice without baked goods.  C is now interested in doing Level 3 next summer.
  • These cake decorating courses are very intensive in terms of commitment, so we find that a single one wipes us out.  The current one is an 8 hour course that meets for 2 hours a week for four weeks, and there's a lot of work involved in shopping and packing for the class, doing the class, and then unpacking and cleaning up after the class.
  • We had some leftover royal icing from last week, so I bought some Pillsbury sugar cookies and baked them yesterday.  The kids (including Baby T) decorated them.
  •  D is resting his hand after an injury while rock climbing.
  • C has gotten into student government in a small way.
  • We are starting to plan a trip to Great Wolf Lodge near Dallas to celebrate T's 4th birthday.
  • I've started collecting a few gifts for Baby T, although I screwed up and let her open an Amazon box that contained some gifts.