Dalyn’s Week 8: E + D Toy Room Challenge

Yesterday we had a parent-teacher conference with our kindergartener’s teacher and speech therapist. Our son has been thriving in kindergarten, so I was pretty sure that it would be a great meeting and it was. He’s still struggling with certain sounds (he tends to turn ‘y’ into ‘yl’ for instance), but he’s made a lot of progress using subject pronouns instead of object pronouns, which was a major concern last time around. And he’s excelling in all the typical kindergarten stuff like writing, recognizing sight words, and, especially, math, which just seems to make sense to him.

This is both good and bad news. He still has a number of things he needs to work on for speech, but his IEP runs out in September. Because he’ll be six-years-old, we need to show that his speech is interfering with his academic progress. As his teacher said, “That just won’t be possible. His academics are outstanding.” So, we’ll take advantage of summer support and do what we can in the remaining months. But, in the meantime, we had some serious celebrating to do for a job well done.

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1/3 of the toy room, 2/3 of the children

Our local store, Belmains, which reminds me a lot of an old Woolworth, has an ice cream counter that they moved inside for the winter. So, we took the kids to get ice cream. It was lovely family time that we so rarely get to have in the middle of the week in the middle of the school year. At least it was lovely until the boys ran off to peruse the lego aisle. The kids are obsessed with legos, particularly Eames, and they’ve come to associate this particular store with treats–usually legos rather than ice cream. So, even though we were very clear that no legos would be making their way home with us, Eames has a complete and total melt down in the store. The kind you’d give me dirty looks for if you were in the store with us.

The good news is that I didn’t yell at him. I explained that we’re working on saving money (makes no sense to him), that we just moved (has no relevance to him), and that the toy room I so carefully cleaned last week was already a complete and total disaster because he doesn’t clean up after himself and that I’m not buying him more sets until he learns to take care of the ones he has (I don’t think he realized I was channeling my mother). This, of course, prompted him to make promises that he would. There was more screaming and crying and the throwing on one’s self on the ground until Josh carried him out slung over one shoulder. Good times.

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Kids forget things easily, so Eames was over the whole thing before we got home. But, I realized that I had solved one problem (needlessly spending $10) but not the bigger problem of the toy room, which they have destroyed to such an extent that they don’t like to play in there until I clean it up. So, Eames and I planned an “E+D Toy Room Challenge.” For two weeks, they will pick up the toys they played with for the day and complete another task on the grid–tasks I came up with. When they cross out each of the squares, we can go back to Belmains to buy a small lego set. I’ve learned through other chore systems that they start to lose focus if the goal is too far out. Two weeks seem doable. And small lego sets won’t break the bank. I’m hoping that what we can do here is set up some habits, since that’s the purpose of this blog and I’ve just made them contributors, then start making the challenge more difficult with each iteration (making the timeline longer and adding different tasks, etc). These really are the best laid plans…

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Julie’s Week 8: When Disaster Strikes…

Don't get it twisted.

Don’t get it twisted.

Well, the last two weeks have been a mess. A slushy, icy mess. With a big frozen turd stuck directly in the middle.

My university called a grand total of five (!) “snow days” (this is southeastern Arkansas, so it was more like some sleet, ice, and a light dusting of snow). In addition, I was gone—at conferences—for some additional days. By the time I finally met my first-year writing students this past Thursday, I realized I had seen them for exactly four (!!) class days in entire month of February. I will need to do some serious surgery on my schedules to get us back on track.
It would have made sense to use those days “off” to get work done. But I didn’t. I spent my precious snow days watching TV, napping, and generally being a waste of life. I definitely have a propensity toward laziness, but I’m also feeling a lot of sadness, loneliness, and generalized, career-related angst. There’s the apathy that comes with loss; nothing seems to matter anymore. I eat junk food. I get in fights with people I know, and with people I don’t know. And then, little by little, all the good progress I’ve made comes undone.
I’ve still got one day left to post—one day to save Week 8 from being washed away with nary an impact. I’m going to use it to concoct a strategy that I can use when things go bad–a disaster plan. Here goes:
  1. Get clean, in some way. Take a shower. Brush my teeth. Do the dishes, take out the trash, put in a load of laundry, pick up the stuff that’s not where it’s supposed to be and put it back.
  2. Get away from energy sucks. This includes avoiding social media for 12 to 24 hours. Anyone who knows me knows that social media can turn me into the absolute worst version of Julie Platt that is known to exist. I am aware of this. I am not proud of it. I can get away from it. I will.
  3. Pick an item on my to-do list that I have been avoiding, and do it. Pretty much the same as eating a frog (see Week 6).
  4. Pick a reward, and enjoy it. I’m in the process of making a list of rewards that don’t include spending money (see Week 5). A few I have so far: enjoy a beer, cook something good, take Dobson for a walk, play a game for 30 minutes.
  5. Listen to Allegra, Heather, and Katie’s HBIC playlist. I WOKE UP LIKE DIS
Have a good end to your Week 8, bitches.