The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Kindergarten Complete

Today is the last day of kindergarten! This year flew by. I swear I blinked and it was Christmas, blinked again and it was June.

I’ll be honest. Last fall I was worried that my kids would be bored in kindergarten. They already knew their letters and numbers and could read a few sight words, surely they wouldn’t learn much new right? Boy was I wrong. Their handwriting has gotten so much better. They are reading like crazy kids. And I love how they sound out words when they are writing!

Beyond that, their International Baccalaureate curriculum has taught them so many new things. I can’t recommend IB schools enough. It’s crazy to me all the things they’ve learned just this year! And even with all of that, they had plenty of choice time to explore and play with whatever they wanted to in their classroom.

We were blessed this year with two amazing teachers that really got my kids, and with really great friends in their kindergarten classes. Both girls found best friends that they really clicked with, and that makes such a difference. For Delaney especially, it really seems to ground her and keep any day to day anxiety at bay. Caden’s teacher is moving to first grade, so Caden’s class will move with her. I could not be more happy about that! Delaney and her BFF will be together again next year, with a teacher I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about. Again, super thrilled!

Unfortunately, the end of school means that we are losing our favorite babysitter. She will be making some job changes this summer, so won’t be with us next fall. Amy came to our house Mondays and Tuesdays to get the girls off the bus, but we’ve all talked and agreed that this routine works best for everyone. The girls liked riding the bus and coming home to one on one attention, and I prefer the commute to our house as well. On top of that, I realized that I didn’t use Kid’s Place for the non-school days like I thought I would (too expensive!) so there’s no reason to enroll them. I thought the girls might miss their friends or teachers, or even all the activities there, but they’re adamant they would rather just come home so we’re going with it. I’m on the hunt for someone who could come to our house every day to get them off the bus, and who could also stay with them if I have to travel out of town. If you know anyone, please let me know! I love our daycare babysitters, but I’ve realized their hours don’t necessarily work with the hours I need now that the girls are in school. Ideally it would be someone college age who lives on our side of town who could be with us for a few years.

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Teacher Gifts vKindergarten

It’s Teacher Appreciation week, so the girls and I pulled together gifts for their kindergarten teachers. At the end of daycare we gave their teachers plants with a similar saying on them, but since it’s springtime, flowers seemed like the perfect gift. Plus, I love this sentiment because it’s totally true. Thank you for helping me bloom and grow this year!

flowers

On the way home from the lake we stopped at a little garden center and picked these out. I didn’t go crazy and try to find different pots, or even matching ribbon. A quick google gave me the printable, and once the girls cut them out I glued them on skewers. Done and done! Love them.

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All the Things

museum

* Last night we went to the Science Museum with the girls’ elementary school. With seriously, the entire elementary school and their parents. 800 people! I forget the specifics, I think maybe we got a grant from the state to do this? It was free so of course we went, bonus that the Science Museum has been on our list to go to for awhile. The downside was that the kids were super hyped for this, and basically ran from one thing to the next. It was hard to really check things out (which also made me glad it was free). The girls had a blast though, and I got to know Delaney’s BFF and her mom a little better so wins all around.

* Caden’s teacher was checking families in for the museum trip so we stopped and said hello to her. She asked Caden if she had told me her big reading news. She’s reading Level I books now! I think Levels A-D are kindergarten reading level. She moved up to E in January, and has been reading F and G books in March and April. She tested her yesterday and she breezed through H level books, so now she’s at I! Things have really clicked for her and I couldn’t be happier.

* Caden is still eating everything in sight. Breakfast at home (sometimes multiple breakfasts), breakfast at school, lunch, snack twice, and then a huge dinner. Last night she ate three pieces of pizza!

* Because I’m getting up early to work out, I get about an hour less sleep every night. Every night I promise myself I’m going to get to bed early, but every night I fail to do so. It’s really starting to catch up to me! I’m exhausted and even my usual dose of caffeine isn’t helping. Hoping to catch up on a bit of sleep this weekend, but I really need to get to bed earlier!

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O M G

The girls have made friends with girls not in their kindergarten class. It’s cute, but also vaguely confusing because names come up randomly and I can never remember how they know them. Bus? After school? Classroom? Delaney has been lobbying hard for play dates with these friends. Unfortunately for her we’ve been busy lately, and I’m also horrible at planning play dates with moms I don’t know. But, this does not deter her and she came home with phone numbers scribbled on paper Monday.

Last night my cell phone rang and while I didn’t recognize the number, it was local so I answered. It was her friend’s mom! I immediately started laughing when I realized that Delaney sent my number home with her friend. I thought her mom was calling to set up a play date but oh no! The friend wanted to chat with Delaney. O M G. I about died.

There was giggling and questions and more giggling and we will hopefully meet up with them on Saturday at some kite thing.

(From Caden there was tears, but what can you do? I separated them so they would make separate friends and they did.)

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Taking me back

What I didn’t know when I signed the girls up for a Thursday night dance class, is that every single elementary function is on Thursday nights. We’ve missed carnivals, math nights, and science fairs. The only exception I made was for the Family Science Night at the high school and that was definitely worth the make up dance class. The girls thought they were going to miss the Roller skating fundraiser as well, but a blizzard meant it was rescheduled for a Monday night. We could go!

They were so excited about this. The babysitter got all of their homework and dance practice done before I got home, so they just needed to eat and we were out the door. As we stood in line to pay they saw a bunch of their friends. All of the kids were shouting and hugging, it was adorable.

I haven’t roller skated in years, and couldn’t remember how difficult it is to pick up. Turns out, fairly difficult. After finally getting skates the right size, the girls took off with their friends. I put our stuff away and then found them. It wasn’t hard, they were the kids constantly falling down.

The first hour was non stop falling down. They tried holding my hand and tried skating on their own, they tried hanging onto the wall, and skating in a smaller section where they wouldn’t get run over. It was like some sort of cartoon, with legs and arms flailing everywhere. We were all sweating and frustrated, but we kept at it. They really wanted to be able to skate!

After some practice in the smaller section we ventured back out to the big rink. It clicked with both of them and things started going infinitely better. Caden found her hustle, and realized if she shimmied her shoulders and hips, and kind of did this run/skate thing, she could do okay. Delaney held my hand and did the slow stride thing, and made it around an entire time without falling!

Of course by this time we were all thirsty and tired. We took a break, then went out for one last skate. By this time they were doing well, but doing well means going faster and faster means bigger falls. They both fell within a few minutes of each other, with tears all around. I felt so bad! I scooped Caden up and skated her over to Delaney, with visions of another broken bone, that’s how hard she was crying. I think more than anything, she was tired, but it was a flashback I didn’t need.

After hearing about all of this, my dad is now hell bent on going roller skating with them. The rink is super close to us, and I think if we go early it’s family friendly (from the website, it apparently is adults only later at night? WOW). Perhaps a staycation activity?

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School Pictures

I’m about three months late with these! We got their pictures back in November? But my scanner was broken so I took a picture of their pictures and then let that picture sit for two months. Oops!

school

Didn’t they turn out so nice? At the very least, taking pictures of them every day has taught them how to smile on command.

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Fall Festival

Parties at daycare were always tricky because either I had to run back and forth between two parties, or one kid had to hang with their sister’s class. It was never ideal. So, I vowed to not do that craziness for the grade school parties. When Caden’s teacher emailed asking for volunteers to help at their Fall Festival, I quickly emailed her back and signed up for a craft station. What was much trickier was telling Delaney of this plan, who cried and cried and cried. (Come to think of it, that’s why she lost her sh!t last week.) I promised her I would be at her Christmas party, but oops! They don’t have Christmas parties, so Valentine’s it is. Luckily conferences were the day before and Caden’s teacher suggested having lunch with Delaney which worked out perfectly. I was able to meet her friends, get her in her costume, and then spend the rest of the time in Caden’s classroom.

fall fest 01

I grabbed a few pictures while we were at school because I had no idea if we would have time that night. What was kind of hilarious was that kids lined up to have me take their pictures. No problem!

fall fest 02

Delaney did not want me to take her picture in front of her friends. How awesome is this photo bomb though? This little guy was determinedly in character!

fall fest 03

The other three moms instantly had awesome ideas for their stations. Mine took a little more research. I went with a ghost craft because I thought it would be fun, and easy enough to buy the supplies.

fall fest 04

The kids drew a ghost on black paper, then went over their drawing with glue. I had marshmallows, cotton balls, and tissue paper that they could use to outline and fill in their ghosts, and then we had googly eyes.

fall fest 05

The kids really got into it! I loved seeing their creativity! I also learned quickly that there needed to be a rule of no eating the marshmallows until we were finished with our ghost.

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Conferences!

I hear a lot about Caden’s day on the drive home from school. She’s very chatty and it almost seems like she’s saved up a story or two to tell me. I know how they worked to get their reading stamina to 15 minutes, I know she’s the leader of her ‘listen to books’ group, and I see her sounding out words at home. So heading into her parent/teacher conference last night I felt pretty confident about how her session would go. Delaney has been quieter about her days, so hers was a little more up in the air for me. What to expect?

Both girls are doing very well. That’s no surprise though! Delaney will likely be placed in a higher reading group, and Caden will likely go into an advanced math group. How awesome is that? Caden is gaining confidence and speaking up more in class, although often won’t do something unless she knows she’s doing it right. (I have no idea where she gets that from!) Delaney is crazy smart. She wrote her numbers from 1 to 100, sounded out some kind of difficult words (the n in hand can be hard to hear but she got it), and she knew some shapes that surprised even me!

Often times, the social side of things is almost more intriguing. Delaney has a really great best friend. They are perfectly matched, help each other out, and are at about the same level academic wise. I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me. Delaney’s bff last year was a nightmare, so to have someone like this now? It’s heaven for everyone. Even with the awesome friend, her teacher said she was surprised and happy to see Delaney continuing to play with all the kids in the class.

Caden is the social butterfly in her class. She has lots of friends, both boys and girls. One thing I thought interesting was that the other kids will come to her to ask for help, be it with their school work or just getting a jacket buttoned up. So sweet!

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Finally Friday

I was awful last week about taking daily pictures. Oh well. The weekend was North Carolina, and Monday we were running super late.

I wish these kids were happier. So gloomy.

oct 22

Well hello Madison! You look happy to be here. Tuesday.

oct 23

Wednesday. I was so excited to get these sweatshirt dresses back out again. They are my fave, so comfy!

oct 24

Thursday

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Just the Beginning

Monday evening I was exhausted, so instead of trying to piece together a meal with what was in our fridge, we headed out to dinner. As we waited for our food, the girls were telling me about their day. Caden had a funny story to tell about how at their after care, they were singing a song to one of the grown ups that works there.

What song? “Denny is a penny. Denny is a penny.” In your best elementary sing song, haunted every kid’s childhood, voice.

At first I thought well, it sounds like this was all in fun, even though it was pinging me the wrong way. So I asked more questions. What did Denny say when you sang to him? Did he think it was funny? Did you think it was funny? As we talked about it I realized that this is the beginning of the teasing that happens on every playground. The teasing that you just know your kid won’t be a part of. And yet, it starts out so very innocently. A funny song, rhyming his name.

I explained how this wasn’t nice, how it sounded funny but could be hurtful. They were both adamant that it was only funny. So I turned it back on them.

“Laney is a painey. Laney is a painey.”

You should have seen the look on Delaney’s face. She screwed up her nose and said “That is a bad word! You can’t say that to me!”

“How did that make you feel when I sang that to you? Was it funny or was it mean?”

Needless to say, I made my point. We talked about how it isn’t nice, and how if our friends do it we should either walk away, ask them to stop, or tell the friend they’re singing to that they’re a nice friend. I also talked about it with the after care teacher that is around them the most so she could keep me updated on if it happens again.

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