Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Really Matters

carefree is the way to be!
I had a lot of plans for Aiden this summer. Amidst playground hopping and long pool days and adventures around the city, I was going to work with him on core subjects. Practice writing strong paragraphs, learn all multiplication facts, and re-practice all of his second grade spelling words so that he doesn't forget them.

In short, I was gonna get him into shape and get him ready for third grade.

Well, summer's coming to a close and we hardly did any of that.

The only writing he did aside from his summer homework project was when he wanted to write a story of two. The only spelling he did was go over words that he forgot how to spell whenever he was typing something into his iPad. And there was no memorization of multiplication facts at all. (There was, however, the practicing and re-memorization of all of the addition and subtraction facts from 2nd grade.)

Be we -- he -- solved lots of math problems. Hard ones, too. Multiplication and division ones and multi-step ones too. Oh, and he read a lot. Chapter books about mysteries and about his history and about pulling pranks on friends and about a group of boys in the third grade doing third-grade boy things... just like him. And books about what it takes to be a good friends and make tough decisions and choosing to be kind instead of always choosing to be right.

He learned a lot of lessons. Hard ones, too.

Lessons that he talks to me about day in and day out.

working the Momtrends runway
photo via Momtrends
And that's when it dawned on me: I don't have to spend the entire summer trying to frantically teach him everything.

I don't have to drill academics into him all... day... long... just to "get him ready for third grade."

Because, quite frankly, that's impossible. But what I can do is instill in him kindness, generosity, a strong work ethic, responsibility, and how to be respectful.

What I can do is teach him how to build sandcastles and run away from waves at the beach... how to indulge in grilled cheese sandwiches while watching the sunset on our balcony... how to spend hours and hours and hours at the NYC playground of his choice... how to close out museums and science centers because he's so busy learning though play that we're literally the last ones to leave.

How to know when he's reached his limit on his iPad and how to enjoy childhood, unplugged.

Basically... how to be a kid. Fully, whole-heartedly, and unapologetically.

photo via Momtrends
The fact of the matter is that I have all school year to help him become a stronger writer. I have all school year to help him learn multiplication facts and I have all school year to help him memorize spelling words.

And the fact of the matter is that it really doesn't matter if he gets the best grades in school. It really doesn't matter if he's the smartest or the fastest or the best or the teacher's favorite. Those things don't really matter. Because, quite frankly, I'm gonna love him anyway.

The kid's already a champion in my eyes.

What really matters is if he's kind to others, if he tries his hardest even when he doesn't feel like trying, if he bounces back from set-backs. What really matters is if he continues to be the rockstar big brother to August. What really matters is if he knows that I love him no matter what and that I will always, always, always be his biggest cheerleader.

What really matters is if he's happy.

What really matters is if he feels free to be a kid. Fully, whole-heartedly, and unapologetically.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August Kingston, 8 Months Old

August is 8 months now and on the move, and, well, it's pretty much impossible to keep him still for longer than five seconds. Unless, of course, he's drifting off to sleep.

This babe is crawling everywhere. Everywhere! 

I mean, Aiden was content with staying in the living room. But August... homeboy crawls from the living room to the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen. No corner is off limits in this house. He's got things to do and places to go and he's not letting anyone stop him.

August and Aiden hanging out with Kyle O'Quinn of the NY Knicks

August Likes:

  • Crawling everywhere. Everywhere!
  • Pulling himself up to a standing position. All the time. Even in the middle of the night when this momma wants to sleep.
  • Cruising the furniture, especially from the couch to the ottoman and back again to the couch.
  • Pulling himself up to a standing position and pulling down all of the things. All. Of. The. Things!
  • Bath time and splashing the water. 
  • Drinking bath water. (Is that safe? Don't answer that!)
  • Kicking his legs and splashing around in the swimming pool. 
  • Climbing on Aiden whenever Aiden's sitting on the floor.
  • Making his way to Aiden's toys and trying to play with (read: eat) all of them.
  • Reading the book, "Robots, Robots, Everywhere." (I think he likes it because I make funny sounds when I'm reading it to him.)
August does not like:
  • The end of bath time.
  • Getting dressed after bath time. (Ask me how I know.)
  • When he's crawling around to get my attention, but I'm taking too long to acknowledge him. (And by "taking too long," I mean "taking longer than the 3-5 seconds than he would like me to take." #ImpatientBabies)
  • Whenever you take something away from him that he's about to put into his mouth (cellphones, books, the remote control, Aiden's basketball and soccer ball... the list goes on and on).

Next up: walking. And talking. 

Oh my gosh... time is flying! Make it stop!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Seeing The World Through His Eyes

"Aiden, what do you mean you can't see anything? The letters are right there! What are you talking about that everything's blurry?! Just read the letters! I mean, I know you know the alphabet!"

This was me a few weeks ago. Practically begging Aiden to read the letters on the wall during his eye exam at the pediatrics optometrist's office. (Or scolding him, depending on who you ask.)

But he kept saying the same thing. "I can't see any of the letters. It's all blurry. Is it a 'D'? Oh! I know... it's the letter 'F'. Right?" (No. No it was not an "F". It was the letter "P".)

The doctor kept reassuring him that he was doing a good job. "What about now? Can you read me the letters now? How about now? What if you looked through these lenses? Can you read them to me now? Okay... good. Good job!"

Me, on the other hand? I was dumbfounded. My first thought was, Oh my goodness! The kid's blind as a bat! My second? Guilt galore. How on Earth did I not make an appointment to get him here sooner?! All those times he was squinting to see the TV or something far away and I just let it happen?! 

He really cannot see! The world is really all a blur to him!

My third thought was something along the lines of, Why on Earth didn't Aiden say something this entire time?! I mean, if I were walking around and everything was blurry, I'd say something! Anything!

But then I finally took a step back and tried to see the world through his eyes. I tried to remember what it's like to not quite know that something's a little... off. 

Funny thing is, Aiden's probably been thinking that that's how the world is supposed to look -- blurry. And since I wasn't paying attention to the obvious signs that he's blind as a bat his vision isn't clear, I've been none the wiser.

Thankfully he has glasses now -- just in time to get used to wearing them everyday before his first day of third grade.

I'll never forget what he said when he put those glasses on for the first time, "Everything was so blurry before, but now I can see EVERYTHING! Oh my gosh... it's all so clear, mommy! It's a big difference!"

He never used to be able to see the signs on the street that were more than a half a block away. But, with his glasses, he proceeded to read all of the street signs that were a block or more away from us.



One of them.


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