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Andrew James Nicholas Geoffrey

Andrew’s First Year at School – Lessons Learnt

Just found this post sitting in my drafts waiting for me to publish. It was actually written at the end of January! Not sure why I didn’t just publish it at the time but I think I was meaning to go back and edit my spelling mistakes. Anyway, more updates to follow shortly.

As I write this there are only a few days until Andrew starts his second year at school – Year 1. When I look back at his Prep year I am amazed that it is all over already. It seemed to go so quickly! I must say that I am extremely proud of how well he did and his report card at the end of the year justifies my pride and his teacher confirms he did great. Having sent him to daycare from the age of one, I believed that he would adjust to school fairly easily and fit in well, even though he didn’t know anyone going to that school. On the whole this assumption was correct but as I should have expected there were a few surprises along the way. After a very short time we realised that Andrew had an excellent teacher. She was just what Andrew needed – firm but caring. It was at our first proper student/teacher interview in May that we first got the sense that something wasn’t quite going to plan. His teacher brought it to our attention that Andrew was having real difficulty concentrating in class. She had mentioned it to me in the past when I was dropping Andrew off or picking him up but I had dismissed it a little thinking it was quite normal and that I guess a lot of kids were the same. At the interview I actually realised that she thought it was a little more serious than that. She expressed concern that he may have been having petit mal seizures. These are a medical condition, also call absence seizures, which involves a brief, sudden lapse of consciousness. The teacher was having so much trouble getting Andrew’s attention that she thought he was totally out of it! She asked whether we’d noticed anything like this happening at home and we agreed it was difficult to get his attention sometimes but hadn’t noticed anything like a seizure. In any case we agreed to see a paediatrician and get an EEG (brain wave scan) and see if there was anything medical wrong with him. There wasn’t. The Paed said that he was being a normal 5 year old boy. He said he’d be happy to see him again towards the end of the year if we wanted but as far as he was concerned there wasn’t anything to worry about at this stage. He said he’d likely grow out of the behaviour and by the end of the year his teacher was also satisfied that it had improved. The way I’ve written this it sounds like Andrew’s teacher over-reacted but it wasn’t like that at all. She just wanted to make sure we knew what was happening and to give us an option to look in to it if we wanted. We were not forced to see a paed, we just chose to follow up on it at the time instead of waiting to see if got worse or affected his schooling any more.

One of the lovely things for me about Andrew’s first year at school was that I made some really lovely friends with the other Mums from his class. Some of them work and some are stay at home Mums but getting together for a coffee with them on occasion has been just great. I also got to get to know the kids a bit better in last term when I went in and helped out with group work in class on Mondays. I also found this to be such a great way to gauge how well Andrew was doing compared to his peers. In general he’s probably about average in most areas and maybe a little above in a few things. His language and communication skills I think have always been one of his strong points and he continues to do well with this. He also loves anything to do with numbers and loves counting and doing sums aloud when he’s in the car.

At the start of the school year I worked Mon-Thurs from 9am-2pm so that I could drop the boys off to school and daycare and pick them both up in the afternoon. Andrew’s school is about a minute around the corner from our house and Nick’s daycare was about 15 minutes away but on my way to work. That meant that I would drop Andrew then Nick and reverse on the way back. Nick adjusted at the beginning of Andrew starting school really well. He loved walking up to school with Andrew and waiting outside his classroom with the other kids to be let in and was fine at saying goodbye to Andrew and going to daycare. And it was the same at the end of the day when it was time to go and pick Andrew up. So I was a little surprised when about second term Nick started kicking up a huge fuss at the end of every day when it was time to walk up to school from the car to get Andrew. He starting having the biggest tantrums and refusing to get out of the car. He would yell and scream and I couldn’t work out why this was happening. Of course being 3 years old he couldn’t explain it to me either. I was always picking him up just after he’d woken up from his nap so I didn’t really think it was because he was tired but it really started to frustrate me and I wasn’t sure how to fix it. After much thought and consideration we ended up moving him to another daycare centre closer to home so I could drop him off first and pick him up last. This wasn’t the only reason for doing this but it certainly made everyone’s life a bit better. Then in August was another big change – I went from working 4 short days to 3 longer days. This meant that Nick was in daycare one less day a week and Andrew went to After School Hours Care for 2 days a week and Mum picked him up on Thursdays. This has worked much better for everyone. At work I was finding it difficult to get anything completed before 2pm and it saved us some money by having Nick in care one less day a week. That whole work/life balance really seems to have it’s equilibrium right now.

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Andrew James Nicholas Geoffrey

Andrew’s first ‘concert’ and other bits

On Thursdays Andrew has music with Mrs Sweetman at school. Last week she asked if anyone could play something on the piano and Andrew shot his hand straight in the air “so fast” that Mrs Sweetman chose him. He then proceeded to play Twinkle Twinkle in front of his whole class and at the end they all clapped and Mrs Sweetman said that it was terrific! When Andrew was telling me about this at the end of the day I asked him how it made him feel when everybody clapped for him, and he said “I was so happy that I got watery eyes.” That made me so happy that I got watery eyes. I was just so proud of him that he was willing to get up and do that in front of his whole class. I guess he’s adjusting pretty well to life at school.

In something totally unrelated, I noticed recently that Andrew has stopped sucking his fingers when he’s sitting around. I’ve only occasionally heard it when he’s trying to go to sleep. Another thing that school has helped with I think and also he’s probably just growing out of it.

Speaking of growing, Andrew also surprised me last weekend when he saw some older boys from down the road playing handball on the street. He asked if it was ok to go and talk to them. I said yes and went with him at first. After introductions were made Andrew was invited to play with them so I reluctantly left him to it and kept an eye on him from the garage. The boys were very nice and included him so I wasn’t worried about that, just the fact that it was on the road! We do live in a quiet street and they were very quick at getting off the road when a car came, but it was one of those moments when I realise just how much he’s grown.

Nothing much new with Nicholas, except he’s started putting his fingers in his mouth a lot and talking to us with them still in there. I really don’t like this and I can’t understand him when he does it so I’m getting very sick of saying “Take those fingers out of your mouth!” Hopefully persistance will pay off. He’s also had a couple of days again this week where he really hasn’t wanted to go to daycare and I had to leave him crying one day, which really makes me sad. However, he also becoming quite independant. He likes to get dressed by himself all the time now and get his own cup and bowl and cereal out. Very cute!

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Andrew James Nicholas Geoffrey

Andrew’s first day at School

Andrew had his first day at school today – although it was really only a couple of hours. St Joseph’s really likes to ease them in to it – and I mean reeeeeeeeeeeally ease them in. Today he was only there from 9am until about 10.30am but he wanted to wear his school uniform anyway so tooks some pics before we left this morning and then a couple at school. There’s one of his school bag and hat in his locker – or ‘port rack’ as it is also called up here, and another of him looking in his classroom window – bit cute. The kids all got sent off to one classroom and all the parents to another one. We were then given the run-down on times for pick up and drop off and when lunch and snack times were etc.

Nick has been to daycare the last couple of days and I have taken Andrew along to say goodbye so he understands what happening. Had a few tears from Nick yesterday but he was all good this morning so hopefully we won’t have too much trouble next week when it’s all full-on.

Andrew’s not back to school again until Friday and then only from 8.30 – midday. Nick will walk with us up to school that day and see where Andrew’s going so hopefully that will help him understand what’s happening too.

So, all good so far.

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Andrew James

Andrew – Oct 2010

Love my hair done like Daddy's
Love my hair done like Daddy's
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Andrew James House Nicholas Geoffrey

Has it been that long?

WOW! It has been a long time between posts.

I was just reading back over the last few posts we did in 2008 and realised how great this blog idea is to keep track of your kids achievements. Now I’ve missed a couple of years so think it’s time I started doing this again.

So, I think that going back over the last 2 missing years would take forever but there have been a couple of incidents of note.

The first one that comes to mind is when Andrew fell over in the back yard and knocked his forehead on the corner of a brick in July 2009. It was quite an open wound which bled a lot and we had to call the ambulance. He had 3 stitches and has a great scar to prove it. He was very brave the whole time and we learnt a lot of lessons through that whole process. It was the end of a bad week for him as he’d only been in hospital a few days earlier with breathing problems. We discovered that he has mild asthma and it can get particularly bad when he gets a chest infection. He had to be put on steroids for a few days and have ventolin every day for a while. Now he has a preventative ventolin that he takes every day and normal ventolin when he’s unwell. Generally he’s fine though.

Not wanting to miss out, Nicholas also had a ride in an ambulance a month later in August 2009. He’d spiked a temperature during the afternoon and after I’d given him some nurofen I’d put both him and Andrew in a luke warm bath to try and bring it down. Then while he was in there he had a febrile seizure. Luckily Daniel was right with him and got him out straight away. We called the ambulance and they were there pretty quick. He was unconscious the whole way to the hospital but woke up just as we got there. It was the most frightening thing that’s ever happened to either of my kids. Even though Andrew’s cut to the head was scary I could see straight away that he was alright and wasn’t concussed or anything. With Nick not responding and fitting for a few moments I was really at a loss what I could do. Thankfully, I’ve discovered I stay calm in a crisis. I was all about getting everything ready in case we had to stay in the hospital for any length of time. Making sure he had his favourite blankie, packing spare clothes, making sure I had my wallet with everything I needed. Quite proud of myself really. Of course, I broke down later and had a good ol’ cry.

Another major event to happen was my Mum and Dad moving to Brisbane earlier this year. They moved 10 minutes up the road from us to a lovely retirement village for over 60s and they’re loving it! And so are we! They’ve been terrific looking after the kids for us on many occasions or just coming over for a bbq together. The kids absolutely adore spending time with them and Andrew particularly loves going to their house for a sleep-over. Of course, Mum and Dad have lives too, it’s not all about us! The village they live in has many facilities including a gym, pool, library, cafe, pool table and bar. They’ve been involved with organising many social events and Dad often works behind the bar during happy hour which they have 2 nights a week. They are the happiest I’ve ever seen them!

Speaking of moving, we also moved house a few months ago. We only moved to the next suburb but we’ve managed to get the house of our dreams! It has 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, a kids play room, double lock up garage and covered entertaining area. Before we moved in we managed to get the interior painted throughout and it looks brand new! We love it! We’ve had some work done on the garden and so that’s looking heaps better too as it was a bit overgrown. One of the things we love most is our new master bedroom – it’s huge!!! And the en-suite has more cupboards than any bathroom I’ve ever seen. The kids play room is meant to be a formal dining room so it’s right near the kitchen so I can see them all the time. It’s lovely to let them make a mess and not worry about having to tidy it every night. At our old place the toys were always in the living room so at night I’d always want to put them away so I wouldn’t trip over them. Another thing we love about this house it that the kids bedrooms are at the back of the house and the formal living room is at the front. This means we can entertain or watch a movie without disturbing them at night. I’d say that Daniel’s favourite things in the new house are the 60” TV and 4 seater reclining cinema style chairs in that room. It’s our only little Gold Class cinema and I must say, it’s one of my favourite places too.

So, have I bored you all to pieces yet? I’ll just mention a few things that are happening right now.

Andrew started soccer lessons on Saturdays and loves it! He’s actually doing really well at dribbling and I’m very proud of the way he listens to what the instructor has to say. We’ve also managed to get him in to the local Catholic School which is just around the corner from our new house. He had an orientation morning last week and thought it was great. Hopefully he’ll think that when it’s time to start for real next year.

Nicholas is doing well too. We’ve finally managed to toilet train him – very trying time for us all. Just before his 3rd birthday we mostly had wees down, but it’s taken a little longer for poos. Seems pretty good now – fingers crossed it stays that way.

Ten interesting things about Nick:
1. He likes to sleep with his blankie and his thumb in his mouth.
2. He only puts his thumb in his mouth when he has blankie.
3. He loves a bit of rough and tumble – especially with his big brother.
4. He loves ABC Kids TV, including shows like Chuggington, Waybaloos, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Poko.
5. He loves anything his brother loves, including Lightning McQueen and all things ‘Cars’, Batman, Spiderman, any superhero in fact.
6. He loves having a bounce on their trampoline or running around and playing soccer.
7. He loves doing jigsaw puzzles. His favourites are Chuggington 30 piece ones he got for his birthday a couple of months ago.
8. He has a very infectious giggle.
9. He doesn’t eat bread. Very frustrating! Have to give him left-overs for lunch.
10. His favourite dinner is either McDonald’s nuggets and chips or Spaghetti Bol.

Ten interesting things about Andrew:
1. He still sucks his middle two fingers on his right hand – has done since he was a baby. Usually only when he’s tired.
2. He still loves anything ‘Cars’ although he has moved on from the movie a bit.
3. His favourite movies now are the Ice Age movies – all of them. He loves quoting lines Sid says.
4. He’s very interested in dinosaurs and knows many of their names.
5. He loves sitting down and having one-on-one time with adults. Playing board games, puzzles, drawing, colouring, writing.
6. He can write his name and recognises all of the letters of the alphabet and numbers up to 100.
7. He loves doing little sums like 2 + 2 = 4 or 4 + 5 = 9.
8. He loves going to stay at Nana and Pa’s house.
9. His favourite dinner is the same at Nick’s but he loves chicken curry and rice too.
10. He loves jigsaw puzzles too and he can do a 78 piece one that lives at Nana’s house.

Well, I think that’s enough for today. Bit of a catch up and will make more of an effort to keep it up to date now.

Julia