So our little friend finally spun a chrysalis. When we got up this morning, he (she/it??) was hanging upside down, in J-formation. I had read that once they do this, they immediately spin a chrysalis. It only takes about 45 minutes for it to go from the "J" to a fully formed chrysalis and we didn't want to miss it!
Well....we watched and waited....all day! Nothing. Not even an antennae twitched. I was beginning to wonder if it was still alive. Late last night, after the kids went to bed, Brian came home from the afternoon shift and peeked. "Oh, it made it's chrysalis tonight- that's nice"
WHAT???? I had just checked on the darn thing about a half hour ago (and was actually googling how long it stays in the J)!
I was sure the kids would be a disappointed as me when they got up to see they had missed the big event. Not at all! Austin checked it, as he does several times a day, and yelled "WOW! It made a chrysalis Mom!"
Now to wait 10-14 days for a butterfly to emerge....
Aunt Patti-Lynn called yesterday with a surprise. She found a new pet for us - a monarch caterpillar! The kids are thrilled. I looked up the details, and we made our new friend a home in a big pickle jar. All we need to do now is replace the milkweed every few days, and we should have a chrysalis soon! And....10-14 days after that, we'll have a butterfly!
I knew the kids would be excited, but they've surprised me with their enthusiasm. They check it several times a day and even took it to Nanny and Pappy's house today to show everyone. Hopefully everything will work out, or I'll have some really disappointed kids on my hands (plus if it dies, I don't think the pet store carries caterpillars!)
Last night I went to my first home school support group meeting with Jenn (probably going to do it) and Aunt Patti-Lynn (been there, done that). I wasn't sure what to expect, but everyone was very welcoming and (duh) supportive. We mostly sat back and listened. I especially liked how, even though everyone does things their own way, no one judges anyone else's methods. It was clear that everyone present was there because we have our kids' best interest in mind.
Our biggest concern (as with most people) has always been the big "S" - Socialization. We don't want our kids to miss out on interacting with other kids, or the extra curricular activities that school provides. I knew that the homeschooling community got together occasionally for field trips, but wasn't convinced that it would be enough. After looking into it further, I was blown away with the amount of socializing that takes place. I'm not kidding- there are "park days" twice a week, skating - twice a week, and swimming. Not to mention the family picnic, track and field day, debate club, music lessons, art lessons, french lessons.....need I go on?
We've decided to take it one year at a time, and not commit for life. I plan to try to keep Austin (and B&C eventually) at least one semester ahead of the public school curriculum. That way, the transition would be easier on them if we decide that homeschooling is no longer the best solution for our family.
This year, I'm taking a really relaxed approach. Austin would be going to JK this September, and I'm still working on a curriculum - I will update once I decide on one. I've reviewed the Board of Education's kindergarten curriculum and am basing my choice on that. I know he'll be going to see Aunt Patti-Lynn regularly for crafts and other activities, and I plan to continue teaching him to read (he already knows his sounds). We also need to work on fine motor skills (neatly writing letters) and self discipline/organization - I think Bryanna would benefit from this too! That being said, I don't plan to spend more that about 30 minutes a day doing seat work (workbooks etc).
I want to harness his interest in letters and numbers, but I don't want to pressure him. Kids are only kids for so long....I want him to be free to play and be a kid for as long as possible.
Until Friday, I had NO IDEA what the theme of Cameron's first birthday party would be. That is, until I found this awesome cake idea online. I realize a bathtub isn't the most common 1st birthday cake, but the more I thought about it, the greater a bath party sounded. Since the party would be outside, I came up with a few toddler friendly party games.
First, we had rubber ducky races
Then we filled the pool with bubble bath and let the kids go nuts!
The big kids blew bubbles while the younger ones chased them, then it was time for cake and presents!
I know it sounds totally cliche but I can't believe Cameron is one already! He still seems like such a baby. Anyway....in light of his special day, today's post will be devoted entirely to Cameron.
He has been my easiest baby by far. From day one he's been incredibly low maintenance, and has always been content to sit back and watch the world around him. (In his defence, Austin and Bryanna are very entertaining!) He rarely cried, and never without good reason. He learned to sleep through anything, though the first day home from the hospital must have been a pretty rude awakening since my house is anything but peaceful.
For a baby, Cameron is pretty...well... intense. He doesn't smile easily - for outsiders, anyway. And he gets a funny wrinkle between his eyebrows when he's not too sure what to think. But he has the most infectious, hardy laugh I've ever heard. He alternates between silence (usually accompanied by the aforementioned wrinkle) and yelling at the top of his lungs (when he's playing with-you guessed it- A&B).
He has always been coddled by the older two. They happily retrieve diapers, bottle and sippy cups, and help him up when he falls down. In fact, they helped him up so much that he was about 7 months old before he could get up from his back. I'm not kidding - if he fell backwards, he was completely helpless - he never learned how to roll over!
Cameron was a late walker (compared to Austin 10 months, and Bryanna barely 9 months), but he was the first to walk after he was able to stand up on his own. (Austin literally ran before he could walk, and had to crawl to furniture to stand back up.) He waited until he was really sure before finally responding to our coaxing him across the living room floor. When he finally took those first steps, it was as if I had wound him up. He took 5 sturdy steps running right to me! Now he walks everywhere with few falls. He kinda looks as though he's walking in taffy and his feet are sticking to the ground - knees bent and lifting each foot straight up before stepping forward. It's hilarious!
He still can't get enough of his older siblings. Anything they do, if he's not right in with them, he's running behind, trying to keep up.