To My Daughter- For Her First Day of Kindergarten

I am NOT a Poet – but what the heck …

You’re off to Kindergarten, and you’re quite well prepared.
Your Tinkerbell backpack is fully packed
With classroom donations of paper and paste,
And a shiny new lunchbox to hold every snack.
The princess’ new clothes are laid out with lace socks,
New shoes and a polka-dot frock
A headband with a bow is the final touch.
Kiss your dolly goodbye; you’re out the door with no muss.

Off to Kindergarten
She’s off and running!

Kindergarten is a doorway, beyond its threshold your classroom awaits
With chunky pencils, glue sticks, safety scissors, and crayons of every shade.
You will write, your will draw, you will cut and you will paste.
There will be learning centers to explore how things work,
From lego-built forts to clock hands to shoelaces and boots.

Just a few words of advice before you bolt through that door,

Stand neatly in line; don’t push and don’t shove.
Try something new, each day
Don’t give up, ‘til you’ve mastered the task.
Share your pencils and snacks
Ask questions – your friends might just be glad that you asked.
Be daring and bold, and unafraid to fail.
Stand up for yourself, and for your friends too.
You know right from wrong, remember that too.
Solve problems; don’t start them.
Be patient. Don’t whine, some things just take time.

Don’t forget – your teacher will teach, but the learning is up to you.

The School Bus
Kindergarten – Watch Out!

When a 4-Year Old Ponders Thanksgiving

I always wonder what will transpire when my children’s homework projects require them to respond to open-ended questions. This weekend, I helped my 4-year old daughter create her “Giving Thanks Tree” for school. She made a poster with a tree stump at school. We were charged with cutting out leaves from construction paper, on which she would write out the many things for which she is thankful.

Now, you never know how a 4-year old might answer these questions. Has she picked up on the “what-the-grown-ups-want-to-hear” answers, like “Mom”, “Dad”, “my family”, etc. or would she give thanks for the ring-pops leftover in the Halloween candy bowl? I tried not to coach her too much, realizing that some if the charm would lie in her undying gratitude for that lollipop.

True to form, my daughter included a nice mix of “I love my family” shout-outs, and a few less orthodox responses. I was a bit relieved to see that she is thankful for me and Dad (spelled b-a-d… oops), her grandparents, and so on. After a while, she even decided she was thankful for her big brother. From there though, we hit the things this pre-school girl really loves: baby dolls, puzzles, and her pink flower nightlight.

I really wonder though how high her teachers’ eyebrows will rise when they get to the leaf that lists the family dog: “Guinness.” Should I expect a phone call? 





Waiting on the Tooth Fairy

My son has had a big week. He turned 6, had a fun-filling bowling/birthday party and today, he lost his very first tooth.

This is our first experience with the Tooth Fairy as parents. It’s very entertaining. The tooth has been loose for a while, and quite wiggly for the past few days. The apple he had at lunch probably finished it off thought. It was hanging by a thread for most of the afternoon, and finally he gathered the courage to yank it out just before dinner.

The First Lost Tooth
The Tooth Fairy will be making her first visit to our house tonight

He was practically skipping and singing with joy for the rest of the evening, anticipating the Tooth Fairy’s visit. He asked several questions that we could not answer as well, such as:

  • Where does the Tooth Fairy live?
  • What does she do with all those teeth?
  • How does she know I lost my tooth?
  • How big is she?

It dawned on me, and my husband, that we have much more background info on St. Nick and the Reindeer than we do on the Tooth Fairy. Given that she will be making several more visits to our house over the next few years, I figure I should brush up on the Tooth Fairy facts and figures.

This is some of what I learned, courtesy of Wikipedia.

  • In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out. The tradition continues in Ireland and Great Britain.
  • When a child’s sixth tooth falls out, the tooth fairy sometimes will leave money/gift under the pillow, but to also leave the tooth as a reward for growing strong.
  • Sometimes the tooth fairy leaves trails of “fairy dust” on the floor of the child’s room.
  • The going rate for the tooth fairy varies widely. A recent  American Dental Association survey indicates that the average value received by children for deciduous teeth is US$1.00/tooth, and ranges from US$0.25 to US$20.00.
  • A Tooth Fairy Museum existed from 1993 to 2000 in Deerfield, Illinois.

What about you? Do you have any interesting facts to share about the Tooth Fairy?

A 6-Year Old’s Year in Review

To my little boy as you turn 6, here’s a list of a few of the things you’ve done, seen and learned while you were 5 years old. I know you’ll have just as many wonderful moments this year.

  1. You “graduated” from preschool, and made the daunting transition to kindergarten without a bit of hesitation, including riding the school bus!

    Kindergarten School Bus
    The First Day of Kindergarten
  2. You went on a Whale Watch during our Cape Cod vacation, and were awestruck when you saw a humpback’s tail up close and personal.
  3. During that same vacation Daddy took you to see “Toy Story 3”.  You got choked up, and announced that you would never give away your toys.
  4. You learned to swim across the pool without a flotation “bubble”.
  5. You went as Frankenstein for Halloween.

    Frankenstein for Halloween
    One Scary Monster
  6. You learned to READ!! You have no ideas how many doors opened for you the moment you started sounding out those words.
  7. You learned to count to 100, and then to count to 100 by tens.
  8. You defeated your parents and grandparents at Wii Bowling.
  9. You stuck up for a friend at school.
  10. You finished your first Year of CCD with a wonderful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine”.
  11. You learned to make your bed and clean your room, sort of.
  12. You said goodbye to your imaginary friend “Monkey”, and in fact, you’ve all but forgotten him. (I am actually a little sad about that.)
  13. Daddy taught you how to swing a golf club and a baseball bat, and how to shoot a basket.
  14. You’ve learned more about predators than I’ll ever want to know.

    Our Dog
    Our Dog Guinness
  15. You’ve begun to do more chores, including letting the dog out, and playing with him. Guinness loves you for that.
  16. You’ve developed an energetic 6-yr old boy sense of humor. Even though most of your jokes involve personal bodily functions a la Bart Simpson, there is a bit of a chuckle behind my scolds.
  17. You tried clam chowder, salmon, salsa and buffalo wings, and liked them all!
  18. You learned the names of each of players in the Celtics starting lineup, plus a few more.

    A few of my son's favorite players via
  19. You are no longer afraid of the loud boom of fireworks, though the buzzer at the end of your basketball games still unnerves you.
  20. You are generous and caring with your little sister (most of the time).

You have become a full-fledged Big Kid. Mom and Dad are so very proud of you, and we love you to bits!

Happy Birthday!

We must be doing something right

I picked up my son at the babysitter a few days ago, and he was beaming. As it turns out, all of the students who met their RIF reading challenge earlier this month were rewarded with new books to keep at home. My son received a certificate designating him a “Polar Bear” reader, and was allowed to pick out 3 books.

However, that wasn’t really the source of his excitement. He whispered in my ear, “I have a surprise for my sister!”

Apparently, when looking through selection of kindergarten literature, he spied the perfect book for his younger sister: “Purplicious”, a story in a series about a girl named “Pinkalicious”‘who is enamored with all things pink.

My daughter's new favorite book

My son decided his sister should really have this book. Rather than take three books for himself, he took only two, and gifted the third to her. He then decided he would surprise her when we got home. This in and of itself is a pretty huge deal. After all, it required that he keep this secret for about two hours, from the time he got off the bus until I arrived at the sitter’s house.

In the grand scheme of things, none of this is Nobel Prize worthy, but I was thrilled. Here, my 5-year old was displaying a level of generosity that is foreign to many adults. No one prompted him to share in his reward. In fact, I asked if any of the other students picked out books for their siblings and he said “No”. Honestly, at that age, I doubt I would have either.

I told my son that we were very proud of him for being such a good reader, but that we were even more proud of him for being such a good brother. He just smiled, a lot.

“Mom, I know LOTS of words.”

He might not know the word “epiphany” yet, but my 5-year old son just had a pretty big moment of enlightenment. As a parent, I am glowing unabashedly right now. I have just witnessed my little boy turn one more corner, sprinting down the path from toddlerhood, and racing toward the elementary school adventures of the “Big Kids.”

My son’s second half of kindergarten is in full swing. So far this year, I have seen his progress as he forms the shapes of capital F’s and lowercase J’s with his little fingers while clutching an oversized pencil. We do homework together, and I’ve watched as he has begun to master phonetics and “context clues”, carefully choosing between the words “see” and “look” when completing the sentence “I can ____ the bird.”

Kindergarten Homework
Kindergarten Homework










I’ve always made a point of reading to my son and his little sister most evenings as part of their bedtime routine. However, at the moment, his school is participating in a RIF reading challenge, and we have been asked to read for 200 minutes over the course of the two-week challenge.

As part of this challenge, I decided to step up the game a bit. This week, we would let my son try to read by himself, and I would help him along. Honestly, I thought this would be a futile exercise: before the end of the first page his frustration would peak, and I would jump in to finish the story before the book got thrown on the floor.


Kids Books
My Children's Little Library

To my surprise, though, my little boy was fully up to the task! He picked out one of his favorite books, from the Jon Scieszka’s, “Trucktown” series, and he began to read, by himself! Granted, he is familiar with the story. The vocabulary is great for a 5-year old boy, with exclamations like “Smash!” “Crash!” and “Splash!” repeated on nearly every page.

But, he wasn’t merely repeating the story from memory, he was reading! Some words were tougher than others, and we sounded them out together. He laughed and told me it was silly that the ‘g’ and ‘h’ in the word “high” are silent. He got frustrated once or twice with words that had a few syllables, but he did not give up. He read every word.

I studied him as he read, watching the synapses connect in his brain as he sounded out each letter. He shouted the word once he put the sounds together. ” No luck. Max is S-T-U-C-K. … STUCK!!!!!”

Clearly my son’s teachers are doing a great job, and I thank them for that. My son seems to be living up to his end of the bargain too. I knew this day would come, and that he would learn to read. It’s not an epic event on a global scale, but it’s a fairly big deal in my house. My husband and I could not be more proud.

After the 20-minute reading session, I smothered him with praise and plenty of High-Fives. On the other hand, he was very nonchalant about the whole thing. With supreme confidence he simply reminded me: “Mom, I know lots of words.”