This morning has been growly and irritable, though I swear I don't know why. I wrote over 500 words last night and went to bed before 11 and slept relatively well. It must have been a little disturbing for the kids; usually it's me rescuing them from Matt's bad moods, not the other way around, but apparently this morning he was the one with the patience and I was the one who was ready to throw things at every turn.
Alex's daycare has begun a new pre-preschool program in his classroom which I like very much, because Alex is so obviously ready to be mentally challenged. Each week, the class focuses on a different number, letter, shape, and color. On Friday last week, they sent home four photocopied worksheets, one for each. (Last week it was the number 1, the letter S, the circle, and red.)
Alex had no interest in them until I said they were "kind of like Penny's homework" and that sold him. Now, he can't get enough. The "1" worksheet was easy -- trace the lines and then free-draw some more number 1s in the provided space. A 1 is easy to draw, and he whipped right through it. The "S" is much trickier; he did pretty well at the tracing portion, but couldn't quite put it together for a free-draw. (I didn't press; he's got years to get this down, and there are first graders who still have some trouble with "S".) He whipped through the circles, and then on the back of the sheet, he drew a huge circle (well, sort of a circle, anyway) -- so I showed him how two more circles could make eyes, and a third circle in the middle was a nose, and he drew a curved smile and... voila! A face! That may well be Alex's first recognizable art. Then I gave him a red crayon so he could color in the pictures of red things on the color worksheet, and he did surprisingly well at staying in the lines.
He didn't do them all in one session, but it seemed like every time he had a few minutes free, he asked if he could do "his homework", and he'd climb up into his chair and I'd let him pick which worksheet he wanted to do, and I'd get him a crayon and stay nearby to help him out. He's gone over all the "1"s three or four times, and the "S" sheet at least twice, and I think the backs of all the pages have big smiley faces on them.
This morning, as we were getting our stuff together, he asked if he could do some homework, and I had to tell him no, that we were about to leave. But that I would make some new worksheets and bring them home for him, and that made him incredibly cheerful and happy. Which, I have to say, did a lot for my own mood. There's nothing like having a kid be enthusiastic about learning things to make a parent happy.
You know what else makes a parent happy? When your kid is interested in the same things as you. I'm missing a book out of the Little House set, so while we wait for it (I ordered it through the school's Scholastic program so they'll get some extra books out of the deal as well) I started her on the first Harry Potter book.
I wasn't sure if it would be a little too old for her, but... she loves it. Loves. It. And this weekend, she and Ray and a few other kids on our street were running around brandishing sticks and pretending to be characters from the Harry Potter universe. "I made up my own character to be," Penny told me.
It made me think of when I was a kid, running around with my friends and playing Star Wars.
And it made me happy.