Wednesday I was delighted to attend an event at my kids school, Edison Elementary. Jared was being given a certificate for making Honor Roll. Friday, unfortunately I could not attend, Sidney was given the “Character Award for Trustworthiness”. And before, she was also given the “Student of The Month Award”. My kids are just amazing.
Last year Jared was all year long in the Honor Roll. It was a goal he set for himself and I am proud he achieved it. He did need some help from Elizabeth, and a little arguing on my part with the school, but he did it. This year, so far, the help has substantially decreased – at the end of the day kids do not like to do homework, what can I say – and I have not had to argue with the school on how Jared should be graded. He set the goal and he achieved it again. I am double proud.
Sidney is not such a different story, however, she takes different paths. Last year she had a little trouble focusing and completing her work. But her reading went from good to EXCELLENT. She devours book after book after book. This year, not only she is getting student awards, but her teacher can’t sing enough praises to her and recommended her for the gifted program. And her devouring of books continues.
Both kids brought all A’s except for one B on the first quarter of the school year.
As proud as their academic achievements make me feel, and as focused as I am on those achievements (without exerting too much pressure on the kids), that is only a small portion of the story. And each kids has a different story, that intertwines with each other. And … to be fair, both kids have their share of issues to deal with. But, who does not have issues. Granted, some more … some less.
Elizabeth and I are often criticized for how lenient we are with TV watching and video game playing times. We often explain that it is not an issue for our kids. For example, the kids really like watching TV, but after a little while they get bored with it, turn the TV off and start playing with each other, acting out what they just watched. An alternative to roll playing is retiring to their rooms to read, or in the case of Sidney, do an art project – she is really good.
Until recently, Sidney was not into video games. However, during the year she started to display a level of interest, so for Hanukkah we decided to get her a Nintendo DS just like Jared – we chose a pink one for her. She instantly loved it. Since then, video game playing has increased a little. Even though they spend a little more time on video games than TV, the pattern is the same. As some point they get tired and roll play or go read or go do art.
The only time the pattern changes is the first week of summer. The kids use that week to completely and totally decompress from the school year. The first couple of days is TV all day. They are glued to the screen; from waking up to going to sleep. They hardly move. They do not want to get up or go anywhere. They only leave the TV to go to the bathroom. You really have to see them, they are totally spent from the school year and it shows in their faces. To some extent it is even funny. Two kid zombies NOT walking around the house. You can hardly carry on a conversation with them. By day three it changes. They become more active, are more willing to leave the house and are a little more chatty, lively and start to get in some form of trouble by arguing with each other. Day four is almost back to normal and day five cabin fever hits and they are ready to tear the world apart again. Second week of summer is when we start sending them to camps.
We take our family summer holiday on the third or fourth week of the summer. This year we had to find a new place to go in Bahia De Los Angeles because Camp Gecko had changed how it operated. We went to Villa Bahia, a nice hotel-like place. I consider it hotel-like because the place is unrestricted unlike hotels, but you can get some of the common hotel services. In any case, we loved it. Compared to Camp Gecko, the place is luxury and Elizabeth was delighted. I missed roughing it and drinking with Doc, but Roger and Gene were incredible hosts and I got to drink with Joe and his family and also Roger.
Roger is a retired university professor. One night we invited Roger over for dinner and we talked about our backgrounds. When Jared realized Roger was a professor, albeit retired, he said: “teach me something”. Roger was taken a little aback. He thought for a few seconds and started to discuss the universe, celestial mechanics, the planets and physics. I know how intelligent Jared is and how easily he incorporates ideas, specially abstract ideas, but I was a little upset with Roger. I took it as though he was trying to show my kid up. Yes, I sold Jared a little short. To my surprise, Jared answered back with some astonishing comments and questions. I did not fit in my own body!!
Roger was not trying to show Jared up; he was trying to measure Jared up and adjust what and how he could “teach” Jared “something”. He decided to start high and then lower as needed. He was just as surprised as I was, but never skipped a beat. Sidney never really said a word; she just sat there taking it all in with a smile.
For Thanksgiving we went back to Villa Bahia for the week. As I normally do there I went fishing, caught fish and cleaned the catch back at camp. There was a lady with her kids that asked if I could clean the fish in such a way that their internal organs would be as intact as possible in order to dissect them and show her kids. Doctor Joe was asked to perform the dissections and “educate” the kids. He was only too happy to do it. Sidney was first row and center. We had been discussing what to do for her birthday. She had initially wanted a party with her friends, but after the dissection, she decided that she wanted Dr. Grandpa to dissect a cow’s brain or heart. Forget about a party. Unfortunately, due to health codes, brains or hearts are not sold to the public with all the veins, arteries and parts. Sidney was VERY disappointed. We ended up going to Disneyland and had a great time; but she would have rather had her Dr. Grandpa deliver an anatomy lesson to her for her birthday.
My kids are indeed just amazing!!