Friday, December 07, 2007

12/7/07 The Light Show

Tonight after dinner, we trekked the crew out to see a raved-about Christmas light show in Sunnyvale, the Severns-Pease Christmas Display. This was no ordinary light show -- it's synchronized to music so that you can tune your radio to an FM frequency, and listen to the music with the lights together. It was fabulous! Once Gabriel understood that a funny sound in the music meant some light would light up with it, he thought it was hilarious. Julian, typically, didn't react right away, just watching it dumbfounded. Poor rear-facing baby couldn't see it at all from our otherwise optimal vantage point, and she was tired and fussy. I thought it was absolutely wonderful, the music really made it.

The Web site is really good too, with a lot of humorous detail from the homeowners who put this show together. They do it all on their own, spend their own money and their own time, just because they think it's fun. We'll definitely have to go back when Katrina isn't pooping out.

I'd asked Melissa to bring Katrina home to our house today, for a Friday afternoon break. Perfect! I left work early, went for a quick-hit run, a hard-hit trip to Trader Joe's, then spent my remaining free hour at home alone scrapbooking. It was urgent.

It's always hectic at home making dinner. It could be fun, but I have a little time bomb crawling around, who at any moment forces me to drop everything. But tonight I found a way to keep Katrina happy while I got things under control in the kitchen. Taking advantage of her hunger, I gave her a bowl of broccoli. And then another. And another. Small bowls, of course, but still. Nothing makes a mom happier than her baby calling out for more broccoli!

Another dinner-making challenge is that the boys want jobs to do. This is a really good thing, something I want to encourage, and something I really enjoy. But, there are times that I am just too busy, or there aren't suitable jobs for them, or the jobs I really need done don't measure up. Fortunately, I found one tonight for Gabriel: cutting the woody ends off asparagus. It made Julian jealous, but I found a job for him too: arranging the asparagus in the pan so that all the stems were facing one way. I could have done both jobs with one fell swoop of a kitchen knife and then one toss in the pan, but I love including the boys. And they're much much better about doing chores (though I don't call them that yet) like setting the table if they're already involved.

Katrina stood up for much, much longer today! Melissa said one time she actually picked up a sippy-cup, stood up, then drank from it standing up, then put it back down. Tonight she stood up and looked around, looked down at something she was holding, fiddled with it, looked around again, then lowered herself down. Her balance is getting more solid every day.

Gabriel got a report card today! That is, a Kindergarten Progress Report. For the most part, his teacher ranked his skills with S for Satisfactory (no 'N'eeds Improvements or 'O'utstandings), though to our surprise, she ranked his science-related skills ("shows understanding of concepts taught") lower than all others, including language skills.

Here are her comments.

Gabriel knows the alphabet and letter sounds (phonics), can can blend words as well as rhyme them. He is a good reader, is able to write complete sentences and has a great vocabulary. He enjoys our art activities and is talented at drawing. Gabriel is doing fine in math as well. The one area I hope Gabriel can make progress in this year is to focus more on his work, not daydream so much, and work a little faster. Many days he cannot finish his assignments, although the work he does complete is always good quality. Gabriel participates in all classroom activities and discussions. He is very sociable, well-liked by his classmates, and I really enjoy having him in my class.

Talented at drawing?! Now that's a first! I've seen the artwork of his classmates, and proud of my dear son as I am, I can't say that his drawing really stands out. But then, what do I know about art? Good for him!

Indeed, Gabriel has developed a new lollygagging trait, with a Gabriel twist to it: when he putzes and drags his feet, he really does it, and it's very hard to wrest him out of it. Julian, the master procrastinator in the house, interacts when he's trying to drag things out: complaining, whining, throwing himself on the floor, classic kid stuff. But Gabriel acts like he has headphones and blinders on. I don't mind it, I figure he's just being a kid. Still, he will need to learn to turn it off for school.

Ah, no lunches to pack tonight. Let's hear it for weekends!


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