Monthly Miles Memo #97

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:09 pm

Dear Miles,

Year eight is off, sometimes with a whizz-bang and sometimes with a slog.  That’s how February is.  We’ve had some tantalizingly nice days and a lot of predictably awful ones.  You told me that the other day you hid from the wind during recess in a hollow tree stump.  That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Your school changed how it identifies students for ELP.  Now, instead of having to go to a room and take an oral test with a stranger, the ELP teacher came to your classroom, led some activities, and made recommendations based on her observations in conjunction with input from your classroom teacher.  Suddenly, you qualify.  I’m not surprised.  I knew that testing format was totally wrong for you—like the time you failed an eye exam not because you couldn’t see the letters on the chart, but because you panicked and clammed up in an uncomfortable situation.  Not that I wasn’t already, but it makes me even more concerned for an educational system based on testing.  I just hope you continue to enjoy school and find appropriate challenges.  I’m glad you’re now able to participate in ELP, because you love it so far.  After your first meeting, you came straight home and started working puzzles on a math website you learned about.

Piano is still going well.  You’ve really improved, and your latest piece is “Hedwig’s Theme,” aka the main theme from the Harry Potter movies.  You’ve done very well in the nuances.  We talked about how to form a story about what’s happening in the song and use dynamics to express those ideas.  Your teacher Tara said you did a really good job in your last lesson.

Tara is moving to a new house that will include a home music studio.  You’re a creature of routine, so I wasn’t 100% sure you’d like the idea of ending our weekly trips to West Music.  I told you it was your choice:  you could keep Tara as a teacher and go to her new house for lessons, or we could stick with West Music and get a different teacher.  You hesitated exactly zero seconds before telling me you want to keep Tara as a teacher.  That was even before I reassured you that her new house is close enough to Dairy Queen that we can continue our weekly ice cream dates.

I was 95% sure you’d pick Tara.  I just wanted to make sure it was your decision.

You’ve been resisting haircuts.  I’m not sure if you’re cultivating a particular style or emulating anyone, though we did watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last weekend, and your hero Harry is pretty shaggy in that one.  Your dad has been trying to talk you into getting it trimmed up.  It gets pretty wild, especially when you go to bed with wet hair after a bath or swimming lessons.  It’s your head, though, and I’m not going to make a fuss about something as transient as hair.

You just started a new session of swimming lessons, and the only time slot I could find that worked for both you and Tobin was 7:30-8:00 on Thursday nights.  That’s pretty late, but so far you’ve handled it fine.  I’m glad you’ll have some review under your belt before our spring break trip.  I haven’t gone to any of your lessons this session, because it seems like a potential disaster to bring Callum into the mix.  I’m looking forward to seeing your progress.

Photo by Denny

I definitely won’t sign you up for that kind of schedule during the next school year, because after a year of 8:45-3:45, the school board has decided to change the elementary bell schedule once again.  Next year you’ll start school at 7:55, which could be a serious challenge for a fan of sleeping in like you.  You’ll finish at 2:55, though, so I’m looking forward to having more time in the afternoon together again.  Nowadays, we don’t have time to do anything but go home and get dinner started.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do some of our old favorites again, like trips to the library and the Natural History Museum.

I’m none too psyched about dragging myself out of bed to get you ready for school that early either, but I’m hoping it will be worth it.  I’ve really missed you this year.  I’ve enjoyed our special Java House dates, but it’s not the same as having some actual time together every day where we’re not scrambling.

You’ve gotten really into Minecraft again, which we feared you never would after a traumatizing (seriously) situation in which a lot of your hard work got destroyed.  I don’t claim to understand it all, but it’s very popular with a lot of kids, so it provides a good entry point to conversation with other people you meet.

Your social development is an area I watch closely.  I coordinated childcare at your school on caucus night, and you seemed to fit right in with the other wiggly kids.  We still sometimes have to remind you about listening to people’s tone of voice and making smart choices based on nonverbal input, but maybe you’re not the worst in the world at it.  At school and at Family Folk Machine, I see you getting along with other kids and working through the complicated world of human relationships.

Photo by Gary Clarke

I love you, my sweet firstborn.  Next thing you know, it will be spring, and we’re going to have some serious fun together.



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