December 27, 2014

the apple doesn't fall far...

In the third week of November, Lady M received her first official report card. The reports received in kindergarten covered important details such as skills at the sand table, in the bean bag chair library and in the house centre. So, this one was exciting. This one was going to cover the real crux of my daughter's educational journey. This one was going to set her on a path to greatness.

Ok, not quite. But, I was curious to see what her teacher chose to say about her. I had my hunches, of course, but not getting to be a fly on the wall in her classroom each day, I was eager to read through her report.

It was very good, and she seems to be progressing quite well in first grade. Once I had a handle on everything that was said, I did my best to break down the lengthy commentary into an abridged, Coles Notes version so Lady M would know what had been said about her. 

There were two main things: first, she needed to improve in the area of 'personal responsibility' - I took that to mean that she needs to "pick up her stuff"; not surprising, as that's an ongoing challenge at home as well! The second theme that came up again and again was around leadership skills - she seemed to be exercising these skills quite frequently. 

"Lady M, do you like to be a leader at school", I asked her. 
"Yes. Today I organized all the kids into groups", she replied. 
"Did your teacher ask you to do that?", I queried. 
"Nope, I just decided to do it", she shared honestly. 

Clearly, my kid likes to be in charge...I have no idea where she gets it. :) 

I develop and deliver leadership programs for a living; so I am always thrilled when my daughters' show their tendencies toward natural leadership abilities; we foster and cultivate that skillset, but I needed to dig into this a little more. 

Every year when we head up to my camp, Lady M observes the leadership camp that I co-teach. So I asked her "Lady M, when we're up at camp, is mummy always the one leading the group?"
Lady M: "No"
Me: "Who else leads the group?" 
Lady M: Well, T and R (my co-teachers) do"
Me: "That's right - and who else leads the group?
Lady M: (pausing to think...) "The campers lead sometimes!
Me: "Yes! So, what does that mean to you?
Lady M: "I see mummy...I need to give others a chance to lead too."

EUREKA! Thankfully, she seemed to get it very quickly, and hopefully I didn't squash any of her budding leadership skills in the process; I just want her to know that there's a time to lead, and a time to let others do the same. 

So a week later, I headed to the school on a PD Day to have my first official parent-teacher interview. Another exciting moment in my mom career! Lady M's teacher is a lovely woman who has made a really positive impact on her so far this year. We discussed her conduct in class, and worked around to discussing the 'personal responsibility' piece that had come up in her report. As it turns out, this is coming from her penchant to travel around the class to ensure everyone else is completing their work properly, to the detriment of her own work at times. The leader strikes again! I'm told that many kids go to her for her opinion, assistance etc., so her tactics are working, but striking a balance is key...I just need to make sure my 6-year old is clear on that. 

It's true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I'm more than happy to see her budding leadership skills...we'll just have to work to ensure she learns that the fine art of leadership consists not of telling others how to do things, but empowering them to become leaders themselves. 

Maybe that enhanced skill will be captured on her next report card!

December 26, 2014

christmas comes this time each year

Ahh, the magic of Christmas time. With a 6 year old and 3 1/2 year old in the family, this was one of the most exciting years yet, that's for sure. Lady M is enamoured with the holidays, and loves everything about it. This year, she happily helped her little sister remember the many traditions we have over the holiday season. Lady A didn't remember much from Christmas past, but this will be the year that she really starts remembering everything, which is super fun.

I could recount a million different stories over the past couple of weeks, but I thought perhaps I should make a little point form list to bring you up to speed on our Christmas season, and to serve as wonderful memories for our family when we look back on 2014 one day.

So here are some things that made our family Christmas magical this year, in no particular order...
  • Lady M's spirit of generosity (see: A Tale of Giving, if you missed it!)
  • Both girls singing duets of this year's favourite Christmas songs, including I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and the 12 Days of Christmas
  • Holidays crafts - this year, along with some crafts done at home, one of my girlfriends put on an amazing craft day for Ladies A & M. She has two older daughters who my girls think the world of, and they were so excited to spend a whole day with them making ornaments, christmas trees, sparkle jars, and more! 
  • Our tree (though put up extremely late this year - we're talking, like, the 23rd of December) filled with beautiful handmade ornaments that the girls have made over the years
  • Lady M's Irish Dance recital - after four short months of dancing, she's rocking it! More importantly, she is sooooo happy when she's dancing...and super adorable. 
  • A visit to Mountsberg Christmastown with our friends - a very magical night filled with a horse-drawn wagon ride singing carols, cookie decorating, and capped off with a visit to Mrs. Claus and the big guy! 

  • Christmas brunch with my mum and dad
  • Our annual shopping bonanza day - Cal and I save it all until the 11th hour, then embark on a marathon shopping trip. Some people think we're a little crazy for leaving it so late, but seeing as I have a list that's been cultivated over a 2-month period, complete with gifts, prices, and order of stores we are going to visit, it's just a really fun (and well organized) day! Don't worry though, there are several random purchases that jump into our carts wouldn't be fun if it were totally regimented! 
  • Finding the girls' most-wanted gifts - this year, Lady M wanted holiday barbie (easy!) and Lady A wanted a stuffed hippopotamus - a little more challenging. But, we did it! Thank you, Hallie the Hippo from Doc McStuffins. (Last year all she wanted was a stuffed "baccoon"...let me tell you that raccoon was not easy to find...but we did!)

  • Lady M's holiday recital at school - her first in French. She sang Petit Papa Noel with her classmates, then they narrated a little play. Lady M had quite a long solo line, and nailed it! We listened to her practice her line (backwards and forwards!) for about two weeks, so she was well prepared! 
  • The beautiful fire burning on Christmas morning... ok, we don't have a fireplace, but this Netflix fire was the next best thing...

  • Putting up the Christmas lights - again, this one was done quite late this year, but the house looked festive, just in time! 
  • Christmas dinner with my family
  • Lady A squealing with excitement when she saw her new baby that Santa brought her
  • Christmas movies! My favourite has always been National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, so Cal and I watch that one on Christmas Eve every year while finishing wrapping our presents. Love Actually is my other favourite. The Santa Clause is a favourite with the girls, among many others! 

  • Matching Christmas pyjamas for the girls. I figure they'll grow out of this eventually, but I'll enjoy this every year I can until then! 
  • Annual Christmas cookie exchange with my girlfriends
  • Time off from work to spend time with my sweet family
  • The mess of toys in our home on Boxing Day, mixed with the happiness and exhaustion of the holidays
We are now blissfully worn out, and happy to be spending a day at home together with no plans at all.