Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28/08 First week of first grade

Gabriel's teacher sent home a "welcome parents" note the first day of school, with logistics about things like forgotten lunches and dropoff times. But the first thing it says is:
"Expect your child to be EXTREMELY TIRED for the first month of school. He/she may also have butterflies, aches and pains, and/or tears."
This is as much outside Gabriel's world as crying when Mommy was mad when he was a toddler (which the new reader might not know: that never happened). Hmm, those things might be related.

Gabriel brought home a sampling of work he did in class today. I was a little surprised to see addition so soon; I recall this sort of work being "extra" in kindergarten. Maybe the teacher was calibrating to find out what her class knows. Of course, what do I know of first-grade math?

Nothing is teaching Gabriel arithmetic faster than having an allowance though. The opportunities are endless: "How many more weeks before you have enough saved for that Lego racer car?" We've even had to [ try to ] explain percentages to him. There's no way around it when there's sales tax involved. "Why does California want my money?" he asks innocently.

However, the biggest challenge for a new allowance-receiver is where to keep the money and not to lose it!

Earlier on the learning scale, we have our budding botanist giving flowers kisses.

I don't think Katrina is quite speaking in sentences yet, as in, putting together individual words with grammar. Two, maybe three words, like, "help open box." But she sure says a lot of "sentences," such as: "turn on the light," and knows what the phrase means even if she doesn't understand its components. She's a little parrot right now, repeating back everything anyone says. And she talks a lot, yakking away in her own little language, with a few recognizable English words peppered in there.

She has a huge advantage in language development right now, which is two older siblings. Not only do they talk to her, but she hears her brothers talk to each other. They get a big kick out of enticing her to say silly or gross things.

Julian's language is so well-established that it's hard to believe that if he were suddenly moved to another country and never heard English again, it's quite possible he'd never remember that he ever spoke English. At 4-1/2, he won't have a lot of memories of this part of his life. Gabriel at 6-1/2 might have a better shot at remembering English. My friend Heike forgot most of her German when her family moved here when she was 6 (she later studied it and it came back quickly). Of course, there are individual differences -- Julian by nature is a much faster and more natural language-learner.

I find all this fascinating. I was one of the very few undergrads who didn't find the class "The Psychology of Language" really boring. I just talked to my college roommate today, and she told me she's back in school, for another master's in another field (nursing). I always thought it'd be interesting to go back and study psychology with more than an easy 'A' in mind...especially when it turned into not-so-easy Bs.

I'm so glad a 3-day weekend is coming up. I've felt a lot of self-induced pressure getting this school/work/remodel routine in place. Downtime is due. And a handy heatwave to coincide. Shorts weather, finally! I know white after Labor Day is a fashion faux pas, that rules out my pasty office legs.


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