It is amazing how much a child can grow in a few short months--both in size and in personality. Three months ago, I was looking at the end of his life before starting full day school. It is incredible to reflect on how much he has matured in his first few months of being a first-grader. His first grade teachers expect a lot out of these little people. They expect them to be quite independent and capable of doing a lot for themselves. These children rise to the expectations.
The addition of full day school to our lives has really changed the dynamic of life at home for Brayden and things we have been doing for years and years--pretty much his whole life.
Night sleep is the same. In bed between 8-8:30 PM. Up at 7:00 AM. But rest time is mostly gone from his life. No rest time on week days. We don't do it on Saturday, either. We only require rest time on Sunday. It is a day of rest, so we have him do rest time on that day.
The boy is eating like I can't believe. A few weeks ago, the family stopped for Subway. Brayden loves Subway. We got him a footlong, and yes, he ate the whole thing! The entire footlong. I didn't even do that. He is hungry, hungry, hungry. All I can say is, wow, what will it be like when he is a teenage boy? Brayden has always been an impressive food eater. If you read the solids posts, you will get a feel for what he ate as a baby. But as a toddler, he did the textbook eat very little thing. When he goes through growth spurts now, his eating is just incredible because it passes up what an adult eats.
Speaking of growth spurts, there have been a couple of nights when Brayden is complaining about pains in his limbs. I immediately heard my grandmother's voice talking about "growing pains." I need to look into it to see if this is legitimate or if is one of those things you hear from grandma...either way, he was in pain, he was eating a lot, and his school pants I bought way too big are almost too small now.
Playing is another huge thing that is different at home now. He gets home from school, sits on the couch while I painstakingly drag information about his day from him, then he does his homework, practices his piano, then he and Kaitlyn play video games with each other for a bit. Then we have dinner and family time.
He has independent play only on days he does not have school.
Brayden is doing very well in school. His teacher tells me how much she enjoys him and that he is "seriously one of her very favorite students." He is a good student behaviorally, obedient, and willing to help. He also is a good student academically. His teacher tells me how he thinks about things in such a different level from most first graders.
I love to go help in his class. You might think that when you help in class, your child would alter their behavior since you are there--and maybe some kids do that--but they seem to forget you are there after a bit and you can really observe how the child is in a classroom setting. You also get to see what other students are like so you can know who the child is talking about (and, um, encourage and discourage certain friendships). You also get to talk to the teacher a whole lot more than you do in a teacher's conference. I am already thinking about how to balance my time among my children as more get added to school.
I am also one of the room moms for his class, so it gives me extra time to be in the classroom. Helping in the class is so valuable to your child and of course to other children in the class. Most teachers love the extra help.
Another fun thing with school was during Drug Free week. They talked about different heroes and had policemen, firefighters, football players from the university, and other heroes come to the school. At the end of the week, they drew a picture of their hero. His paper said that his mom (that's me!) was his hero "Because she is nice." That was one of those payday moments. I am so glad he thinks that highly of me right now :)
Brayden is super sweet. He is amazingly good with little children. He is great with McKenna. At one of our Thanksgiving meals (yeah, we had three), he noticed he was the oldest child there and that there were several young children (all about McKenna's age). He said he would have to play with them and help keep them happy. He was so cute with the little kids.
THINGS TO WORK ON
Of course Brayden is not perfect. Something we are working on with him right now is to not tell people when they are wrong. He is a very smart person and also a very strict rule-follower. Those two things combined lead to him feeling some duty to correct people when they are wrong. We are really trying to impress it upon him that it is not his job to correct people and that people don't like being constantly corrected. My hope is we can get it through to him before a peer group does it, but sometimes it takes a group of peers telling you to knock it off to get the point across to you.
Without question, the favorite toy right now is Legos. Legos, legos, legos. Brayden even saved up his money for almost a year to buy a Lego toy he wanted.
WHAT WE ARE READING
Brayden loves us to read chapter books to him. His favorite series right now are:
- Harry Potter Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
- Chronicles of Narnia Chronicles of Narnia Box Set
- How to Train Your Dragon How to Train Your Dragon
- Dinotopia Dinotopia Young Adult Series Books 1 - 7
- The Indian in the Cupboard--this was a very favorite The Indian in the Cupboard
While lots of children have read Harry Potter as young children, I know book four gets pretty dark. Because of that, I have been making sure his time between books is spread out. We started the first book about a year ago and are currently on book 3. We read lots of books between each Potter book. A nice thing is that when reading, your imagination controls what you see--unlike seeing it on TV. Anyway, I figure if children survived at least a year between each book release when the books were coming out, he can survive reading them slowly so his grows in maturity between books.
I don't want to post a detailed schedule of his day on the internet, so I will do generalities.
Before School (day starts at 7 AM)
Before school he does these activities:
- Gets ready (shower, dressed, pray, brush teeth, make bed, eat breakfast)
- Read church magazine (I like to read an article from a church magazine we get to help him have a peaceful frame of mind before going to school)
- Plays with Kaitlyn
- He sometimes practices his piano before school--sometimes after school
- School stuff
- Practice piano if didn't do it in the morning
- Video game time
- Play with siblings
- Family time
- Get ready for bed (in bed by 8-8:30 PM)
Right now, the only activity we do outside of school is piano lessons.