A Year of Kindergarten & Preschool

When Aiden entered Kindergarten this year, I knew he was ready. Though he’ll always be one of the youngest (and probably shortest) kids in his class, he rose up to meet every challenge. Aiden blossoms in school. It suits his needs for structure and for socialization – two things he’s always needed – and he grew so much emotionally, socially and as a student as well. He has made a lot of new friends, is engaged in school, and is excited to learn. We were very lucky both with class composition and with teacher and I’ll forever be grateful that his first year in so school was so special.

Aiden’s favourite classes are music and library time, though he also loves math, reading and art activities at school. 

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Though we don’t hear much from Aiden about his days at school, he looks forward to each and every day and always comes out with a smile (and a hungry tummy!). I’m so proud of all he’s achieved this year. And just look at how much he’s changed! Onward to Grade 1 now (eek!)

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Damien, as well, had his first half-year of Preschool, starting in January. As a May baby, he’ll be starting Kindergarten at 5.5, instead of the nearly 5 that Aiden was. While I’m ok with this, it will mean he’s in preschool for a longer time (2 more years) and, given his engagement at school and his keen interests in learning, he may be quite ready by then. He’s already showing interests in learning to sound out words!

Damien did really well in preschool, adjusting quickly to drop-offs (most of the time), and learning to play with other kids (most of the time). He’s spirited and independent, with most of his interests being in very solo activities (making music). That said, he is learning to branch out into parallel play with other kids who have other interests, and this is nice to see. Occasionally he’s struggled with aggressive tendencies, but it has come and gone. We’re working on it and I feel he’ll be a different kid once September rolls around again. 

Here’s to a Summer of adventures!!

Our Biking Adventures

Last year, in an effort to safely teach Aiden to ride on roads, I purchased a new bike. The first bike I’ve had in many years. As someone who has suffered from neck injuries for many years, I thought my biking days were done… until I was introduced to the city bike style. City bikes allow you to sit more upright, like you see all over Europe, and suddenly the world opened up to me! I love my Brodie Bike!!

Last year, we took some long bike trips as a family, including around Stanley Park and more recently along the Spirit Trail. I’ve been wanting to bike on my own a lot more, but have had difficulty finding time in my schedule go head out. I think I’ve also been a little stubborn on my road to physical recovery, wanting to resume running nearly 1.5 years after I injured my foot. After a few months of ‘saying’ I wanted to switch the toddler bike seat onto my bike, it’s finally happened! And, since then, I’ve managed to take Damien on 3-4 rides per week – even trips to pick him up from preschool, then a jaunt up to the park for his lunch, are enough to fit in my ‘workout’ for the week. 

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Biking with a 3-year old strapped onto the back is a lot harder than just biking on my own. It’s taken some practice to get used to the balance, and I’m getting a lot more of a workout on the hills for sure! 

Damien still loves riding in the bike, though we’re starting to hear a bit of grumbling about him wanting to ride his bike instead. For now, this is working out for us. I’ll take advantage of it as much as I can, at least until Aiden is out of school and unwilling to take such hilly rides!! 

To My Damien on his 3rd Birthday

Dear Damien,

Today you turn three years old! THREE! As you proudly ask every day of late, “I’m bigger now?”, you have been excited about the prospect of growing up and getting to do all the things you see your brother doing. There’s really very little that stops you now anyway, but you so want to go from being a “little boy,” as you say, to a “big boy.” I, on the other hand, have mixed feelings about you growing up. 

Last year, we saw the emergence of your love for music. This year, it’s blossomed into nearly your whole life. When you’re not drumming (which in all honesty is most of the day), you’re playing guitar (du-gar, to you). Your biggest wishes in life are about “one day I have a red electric guitar” and “one day, I get a biiiiiig drums.” We talk a lot when you’re asleep about when is the appropriate time to indulge you with a drum set. So far, not yet. You rock out with far too much enthusiasm (and volume) for us to go there. 

Damien, your enthusiasm for life is infectious, just like that cheesy grin of yours. You run up and hug those you love. You run when you could walk. You speed down the path on a two-wheeled scooter, fearless of falling. You brave new heights at the playground. You play your music with a whole-body abandon that makes us want to laugh from joy. You LOVE, Damien. And those around can’t help but love you back. 

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Your enthusiasm for life does make you, at times, quite a handful. You want all of me, all of the time; I’m your ‘MumMum,’ and you always want to share your love with me. You want to dominate – to have your turn, or your choice, or leave when you want. Your emotions burst out with your opinions, though it’s always short lived. In the end, you’re an optimist and will find another way to be happy. You may sometimes be a handful, clingy, cheeky, or a crazy monkey, but I’d never call you grumpy. It’s not your way.

You love your music. You love playing cars. You love driving outdoor cars and scooters. You love bike rides. You love the swing at the park. You love running and jumping and skipping (at least you think you’re skipping). You prefer to use your imagination than play with a specific toy. You love books and drawing. You love life, and always show it. How many kids say “Oooh, I love shopping!” That’s your outlook, right there, even if your enthusiasm makes shopping with you less-than-easy. 

You are growing up, my little Damien. And I’m so proud of seeing you change. I’m proud to see you take your steps into independence, forging relationships with friends your own age or challenging yourself to play like the big kids on the playground. I’m always excited to see your laughing little face waiting for me after preschool. Or to watch your mind and soul expand as you listen to live music. 

The light shines from you, my boy, and it shines on all of us around you. I can’t wait to see what adventures this year bring for you. Embrace the world and make it yours. I hope that joy continues to burst forth from you always, for it brings such a rare light to this world. 

Happy birthday to you, my Damien! 

All my love, 
Mommy 

A Special Mother’s Day

Today I was invited to Aiden’s class for a special Mother’s Day tea. We were treated to a song (“Inch by Inch”), a poem, some treats plus some beautiful gifts. Each child created a piece of art about what they love about us (that I sing to Aiden at night), spoken to the whole group, a booklet with our portrait and favourite things, some jam they each made, plus a necklace they created in pottery class. It was so beautiful! I totally cried while Aiden sang.

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Every time I see Aiden perform I totally tear up. He used to hate it, and he almost never sings at home, despite the fact that he LOVES his music class at school. I don’t think he likes being on the spot! The only time I hear him singing is if I’m in the other room or if he’s falling asleep at night. Today, he stood right in front of me and proudly belted out the song! Such a beautiful boy. I was so proud!

 

I totally cried #mothersday

A video posted by Arieanna Schweber (@arieanna) onMay 8, 2015 at 10:32am PDT

Splashing Outside the West Van Community Centre

Did you know that the fountains outside of the West Vancouver Community Centre are kid friendly?! Since as parents we often have to tell our kids “No” whenever we encounter fountains and water features, it is so nice to be able to say “Yes” sometimes! Whether you’re in the Rec Centre for another activity (swimming, skating, bouncy castles in the summer – our destination last year), or want to enjoy a coffee while your kids cool off, consider this as an option!

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You might say, why would I go here instead of a spray park or beach? Well, if your kids are like my kids, spray parks are too overwhelming. Water always gets in their faces and too many things move around unexpectedly. Wading pools, which we grew up with, do not exist in North or West Vancouver anymore. This is the closest you can get!!