The Start of Something New

Is your child starting at a new school this year?

My youngest is entering middle school. His first new school in six years. He’s feeling a range of emotions – anticipation and excitement over the new school, what he’ll learn, how it will be different from elementary school, meeting the new students, and making new friends. He is also mourning elementary school. Classmates he grew close to, particularly towards the end of the year. Already missing those that will be moving away, or going to other middle schools. Concerned about if he will make new friends, concerned if he is ready for the harder material, ready for the independence he is gaining.

As a parent, I too am experiencing a range of emotions. I’m excited for him, but also concerned–will he be accepted as he is, will this experience be good for him, will he grow as my husband and I hope from it? I think every parent has these concerns at one time or another. But I have to let him go in order for him to grow, find himself, struggle, make mistakes and be there to help him work through the tough times, and celebrate the successes.

We’ll have the first day of school behind us before we know it. We’ll navigate the start of this something new like we have before (daycare and kindergarten)–by being open to what’s to come with optimism, preparing for unforeseen bumps, experiencing them as they come, and moving onward.

How do you help your child when they start something new? How do you help them adjust?

I’ll be off for Labor Day weekend and back in mid-September.

Summer Reading

What book(s) is your child reading this summer?

When I was growing up there was a summer reading challenge and I couldn’t wait to see how many books I could get done during the competition. I wanted to get the award. I don’t recall if it was a certificate only, or if there was any tangible prize, but it felt good to have the achievement under my belt.

Oh, how times have changed. Maybe I was so excited to read because my mom limited our TV time during the summer, and reading was the next best thing. Or maybe I really wanted the recognition that came from doing the challenge. Or maybe I just liked reading. Probably a little bit of all. What I can say is that my children have only shown mild to no interest in participating in a summer reading challenge. I thought I could get them enthused in this when they were younger. There was some interest when they learned the winners got to eat a meal at the top of the Space Needle (a pricey treat indeed), but when they realized how much reading it would take to win, their enthusiasm waned. When the top prize wasn’t as attractive the following year they pretty much lost whatever remaining interest they had left. 😞

While participating in a summer reading challenge didn’t take with my boys, getting them to read a (chapter) book or two has. My oldest has been reading fiction and non-fiction. I like that he’s taken an interest in finding topics he likes to read (sci-if, military and history). My youngest is still figuring out what he likes. We picked up The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel. As a parent you aren’t always the intended audience when your child reads a book to you, but I have to say both my son and I really enjoyed this book. It was much more than a ghost story. It was about finding out who you are, taking risks, and learning what true friendship means. We had a hard time putting the book down. I loved that I enjoyed the book, but that my son now knows there are really good books out there just waiting to be read. Will he be in a summer book reading challenge next summer? I doubt it, but I do believe he’ll have a better understanding of what he likes to read.

What good books has your child read lately? How are you getting them to read during the summer?

Date Night

How often do you get out for a date night?

My husband and I have tried to get our for a date night at least once a month since our kids were born. It wasn’t always easy to find a sitter, but we knew for the health of our relationship we needed it.

Our date nights have evolved as our kids have grown and become more independent. When they were young, our dates were planned, and would include a nice restaurant, and a movie or a show if we could swing it. But as the kids have grown, the date nights have become more casual, less planned. It’s just time for us to be together alone.

On our vacation this summer, the kids were happy after a day of being outdoors to have some downtime (or should I say screen time). My husband and I suggested one night early in the trip that we should figure out what we wanted to do for dinner. My oldest quickly piped in, “Why don’t you all have a date night. We’ve got snacks we can eat here.” My husband and I looked at each other. “Are you sure?” I asked, “Because we won’t be bringing anything back for you.” “Yes!,” both sons chimed in. My oldest finished with, “Go!” My husband and I shrugged and headed out. We had a nice dinner, we got to talk about the trip, how things were going with us, and how things were going with the kids. We talked about the upcoming days and our plans, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It became a common theme throughout our trip. We had dinner as a family most nights, but several nights the kids would insist it should be a date night and my husband and I didn’t resist. It’s nice that we all enjoy each other when we’re together but need our space so we can enjoy each other even more when we all come back together.

How often do you have a date night? How are you connecting as a couple during time away from your child?