Sleep and nutrition

I’m somewhat of a foodie. We make choices in our food considering facts like how it was produced and where it came from. You know, pears from USA instead of Chile. I cook a lot, we eat whole foods, and have reduced the amount of over processed stuff that comes in the house. This kid has never had white bread for crying out loud. For almost a year, we only ate meat purchased directly from a local farmer.  Simply put, I’m all about good nutrition.

Apparently, it wasn’t good enough.

I’ve come to realize that I must be diligent with what goes into this kids body. And it’s not just whole food offerings, but the types of food – whole grains, protein, fruits and nuts. But even more detail, sometimes it needs to be cheese and crackers instead of grapes. Breakfast now must include milk instead of juice. I thought I had it down. But I have realized after a week of reports from teachers on his attitude, energy level, and lack of focus that I needed to make some change.

Today there was progress, and good reports of hard work and focus!

I’ll chalk some of this up to sleep. This weekend our little guy slept 12 hours Saturday night. He’s needing 11+ to keep up. There are no complaints from him either, so I know he’s tired.

He told me today that he felt good, worked hard, and “wasn’t tired at all today!”

Of course, these kids don’t come with an off switch. I remember begging  crying for one when he was an infant. This kid never slept. And true to form, I can hear him chattering now and it was light’s off an hour ago.

Two steps forward, one step backward. But I’m hoping for another good day tomorrow.


A fun new game

I’ll pass the credit here along to our friends at SpanglishBaby (again). Thanks to them I found a new game that our son and I had fun playing together this morning. Most of the games I have found to date are preschool level type games and he gets bored with these quickly. This one we played together, and we both had fun.

Mindsnacks – A language learning program, disguised as a game, in an application for your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.  Available in four languages, it comes with six games that cover basic vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and conversation skills.  When you use it for the first time it asks you to take a short quiz to asses your language level and then it keeps track of your learning process.  The games are definitely fun and challenging, even a bit addictive, while at the same time teaching you and your kids language lessons.  This one is for early readers through elementary.  Price is $4.99.

This morning Devlin and I played the first level with numbers. This particular game lists a number (in English) and you have to spell it in Spanish. You do as many as you can in 90 seconds. He’d read the number in English, call out to me the Spanish equivalent, an I would type it in.  OK, I had NO IDEA he already knew that “nineteen” = “diecinueve”, and honestly I didn’t know how to spell it. Level one makes sure you master these numbers, 0 through 20, in a series of timed games. Master one game and it unlocks others that are harder. And even kids who know their numbers in Spanish, it would be a great way to reinforce some spelling also.

A few hours later, I caught him counting backwards from 20 to 0, in Spanish.

Best $4.99 I’ve spent in a while.

I’m sooooooo tired…

<insert your whiniest voice ever>


Yesterday he told his teachers he couldn’t do is sight-word spelling test because, “I didn’t have enough protein at breakfast. I’m too tired…”  What have I created!

We have capped television viewing in the evening, moved bedtime 30 minutes earlier, and increased our reading time to 30 minutes. I’m still waking him in the morning after almost 11 hours of lights out. I know he’s working hard and playing hard and eating well. But now I’m at a loss.

I sent him to school today on a tummy full of chicken sausage, toast, and milk after almost 11 hours of sleep. He had no excuse, right?  I inquired this afternoon how he did on his Spanish spelling test. We practiced last night, he got them all. Today, he tells me, “I only wrote down one word because I was hot and sweaty and soooooooo tired.” Ugh. He spelled a few in the car to me on the way home. Oh the frustration!

I can’t decide if I want to be upset by his unwillingness to participate and frankly what a lame excuse! Or really, was he tired and that unfocused? I don’t know. We decided that next week he would try every word, otherwise we would have consequences at home (his choice). I’m all for letting the teachers handle this stuff, but I sure am frustrated – he knew it!

The mid-morning crash

I know this isn’t just an immersion school issue. But this is the first time I’ve actually received reports back about it from teachers.

You see, Monday I fed my son pancakes for breakfast. I thought adding a glass of milk was enough.

Not a chance.

Apparently, by 10:30 he was tired, unable to focus, and not at all himself. He was unable to complete the simple tasks routinely completed by him the days prior. Later, he was found laying in the grass under the tree by our principal. He said he was trying to take a nap.  When I arrived to pick him up, his English teacher and his principal were discussing his odd behavior.

On my way home with him, it occurred to me – he’d crashed and burned from the carbo loading breakfast.

Tuesday I added some chicken, apple, and maple sausage to his morning meal.  Marked improvement, according to one of his teachers.

Note to self – feed this child more protein at breakfast.

Is the honeymoon over?

I think the honeymoon period is over.

Despite his unwillingness to leave when I arrive (a good sign, right?), tonight he was almost in tears as we walked to the car. I was queued in last night when he wanted to sleep in our bed (unusual), and was completely sound asleep this morning when I went in to wake him (also unusual). On our way home this afternoon, I heard a variety of complaints including:

“I’m so tired!”

“I’m never going to school again.”

“I’m so frustrated. I don’t know what Maestra is saying.”

“My head hurts.”

“I just wish there was some place to take a nap.” (This, my friends, comes from a kid who gave up naps before he was three.)

I know this is normal. I was hoping it was just with other kids, not mine. Granted, he’s been fighting a cold. He claims he’s sporting an ear infection too. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.

Tonight we kicked back and relaxed, ate a decent dinner, read our books, applied some warm ear drops, and got into bed with the lights out 10 minutes earlier than normal. I think it’s time to push it back 10 minutes a night for a few days and see if that helps.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow he’s energized to tackle this again without complaint, and that this ear thing isn’t brewing a cocktail of infection.

Day 3 – Glowing

I am glowing. My heart was warmed this evening with an amazing and detailed report from my son on his third day at school. Tonight was another reminder of why I love to hang with him for a few minutes after lights-out at bedtime. Highlights:

1) Being picked as a “scout” to identify students acting safe, respectful, and responsible during English class. Not only did I get a full story of who he picked, but when I asked him why, I got a detailed reply about what that student was doing to demonstrate his respectful behavior.

2) Being asked by the principal to help a classmate who was having a difficult time. His heart is so genuine and he was proud to be a help to a buddy, who he also names as one of his favorite friends.

3) Being called to the front of the class to demonstrate (verbally and physically) what the teacher was saying and doing. I would have been mortified by such a request! Oddly, he enjoys this kind of thing, despite being born to introverted parents.  And I love that he’s doing this in Spanish. There is such comprehension with total physical response techniques.

Here comes Friday!

Day two – What did you learn today?

I know, it’s that question I think every parent asks their child after school. Usually I just ask him to tell me about something exciting that happened. Today, I joined in with parents around the world and asked:

Me: “What did you learn at school today?”

Devlin: “I learned about being responsible, respectful, and safe.”

Me: “Who taught you about all this?”

Devlin: “Maestra Nardy.”

What does this mean for me? That he’s absorbing the concepts of Positive Behavior Support (our adopted model for behavior) in two languages. Don’t get me wrong, this is introduced by our principal (in English) every day at morning assembly and reinforced by our teachers (in Spanish and in English class) throughout the day.

I arrived today to observe a playground with happy, energetic children, and smiling parents. My son was no exception – happy and obviously content in his place there.  Was there stress in his voice after day two? Not an ounce.

First Day of School – part two

Me: Devlin, what was your favorite part of school today?

Devlin: Second recess. And when we came in, I got ‘dragon’s blood’ hand sanitizer from my friend Olivia!

My observation – happy kid.  Lunch was eaten. He requested more grapes in his lunch for tomorrow. And a chocolate milk for dessert. He seems un-phased by the introduction of the second language. I was expecting some hesitation or concern on his part. Not today!

I will confess, I was going to take pictures once I got there and I didn’t. We had a crazy downpour! I never got a break from the rain to get some kids together for a shot, so tomorrow, that is my objective.

We did skip soccer practice tonight. I’m not a fan of that. He was tired and already soaked from a very short walk in a torrential downpour. I’m a softie and didn’t want to push it and end up with a disaster on a good day.  He is, after all, barely 6. He can have sports pressure later. Today, we celebrate!

First Day of School!

Today is the big day! After a mild panic about being late due to unexpected traffic, we managed to arrive pretty much on time. Cubbie chosen, desk found, friends hugged, and name tag applied. Then we made our way into our community room, where I left our new first grader with the rest of the school kids (and a few parents) for morning assembly from our principal.

The sight of all these kids, nervous and excited, filing into OUR school with their uniforms on, was enough to bring me to tears.  At least I waited until I got to my car…

This school has been 2.5 years in the making, including a year of my involvement as a volunteer and school board member. It seems like a lifetime, with so many hurdles and roadblocks to tackle. But here we are, opening day! It couldn’t have happened without our amazing team of volunteers and staff, and a fantastic school board to run the details. We are blessed with such a sense of community already.

More on first day details coming soon! I will give a report, and some photos, once I hear things first hand from some students.