Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Growing Up

Robin isn't a Big Girl anymore. Now she's Growing Up. I don't think she makes the distinction herself, but it's definitely there.

She knows how to read, by the way. She can't just whip off a storybook or anything yet, but she knows what the letters say and how to sound them out. She picked out a book the other day and read me the title: Bombón, el Cachorrito Afortunado. ("Bonbon, the Lucky Puppy" - it's a 101 Dalmatians spinoff). She asked me to read it to her first, then read the first three pages herself before deciding (rightly) that she needed a break. It's just a matter of practice now.

They've been having parent/teacher conferences recently because the school year is ending. One thing the teacher recommended for both girls was that they have some space of their own. It's one of those things that, until someone said it, had never occured to me. Of course they need their own spaces. They share a playroom. They share a bedroom. They have their own beds, but always push them together. They have their own closets, but that's just for shoes and hanging clothes.

I had been kind of shopping around for a shelf for their room, since they don't currently have anywhere to keep toys up there. Following Flor's advice, I decided instead to get a pair of nightstands, so they could each have their own. But the ones I had seen were too expensive.

At the farmer's market (Sunday mornings in San Rafael) there's a guy with some simple pine furniture. A couple of weeks ago I stopped to look - there were a couple of possibilities, with prices more reasonable than in furniture stores. Of course the girls went ga-ga over one that I wasn't prepared to consider: a child-sized vanity table, with a mirror and these drawers on each side that were really too small to hold anything useful. And the thing was so low that they would grow out of it quickly (I asked the guy and he said when that happens, "you give it to someone else and buy a bigger one.")

So, back to Robin. She is going into first grade next year (school year starts the first week of February). Although the Montessori method has all the preschool ages in one group (of 32), they do separate them into smaller groups some (much?) of the time. Robin's "graduating" class consists of 9 children who will move up to the 1st/2nd/3rd grade classroom next year. Each year the teacher (actually two of the teachers, plus a driver) takes the furure first-graders on a special field trip just for them. They go to the beach. Overnight.

They have a list of what they're supposed to bring, and it was emphasized on at least two occasions that the children were to pack their own bags. (I was sick when she did it, so to this day I don't know which clothes she took...) They were each to have their own spending money (1000 colones = $2), and would decide how to spend it. We kind of forgot Robin's (it wasn't on the list, and did I mention I was sick?), but of course the teacher loaned her some and we paid it back when I picked her up.

What did she have to say about the experience? Four things:

  1. There were bunk beds and guess which bunk I got to sleep in?
  2. We had sandwiches for dinner and we got to choose what we wanted on our sandwiches. There were beans, all mashed up, and cheese, and salami, and onions and tomatoes, and, um, I think that's all. I chose cheese and salami. (Followed by individual accounts of each of the other meals...)
  3. We got to stay up as late as we wanted to, and when it was really late, I think it was about 12:00, we went out to a restaurant.
  4. We saw a pez globo (puffer fish) that somebody fished and then later on we saw another pez globo that was dead on the beach. We buried it.

José and Yolanda have been a bit out of control with the presents lately - José is doing well, as he does every year, selling the special-edition Christmas lottery tickets. They bought the girls scooters last weekend. Julia's is a kind of tricycle scooter, with two wheels in back and one up front. Very stable. Robin's is the regular grownup kind that was so popular a couple of years ago - single wheel, front & back, all shiny metal...I know they were the rage for a while. She is very proud of having the grownup kind.

The teacher also suggested a party with only children her own age - not the melange of relatives or parents-and-siblings-of-invited-guests that so often occurs - and which focuses on the actual birthday child. There were two ways to achieve this: pick up the invitees after school and have the parents retrieve them at a given time, know this is what she chose...have a sleepover. Very grown up.

What with all this growing up, this week Robin asked me if, when I got her a birhday present, I could get her a grownup kind of present.

So. We have:
  • A seven year old girl
  • Who is going into first grade
  • Needs her own place to put her stuff, and
  • Wants a grownup gift

I figured I would get her that vanity table, but went around on Monday trying to find a larger one that she wouldn't outgrow in a year. Well, turns out vanity tables are very expensive (from $100 for a really unattractive one to a wide range of very similar ones that were heavy wood in adult styles and ranged from $120 to over $200.)

But. I always asked if they had anything "simpler" (meaning "less expensive") and mentioned that it was for a child. And at this one store, the guy took me to see something that wasn't a vanity table at all. It was a desk. With a hutch built onto it, including a large square space where a mirror could be mounted. With four real desk drawers. And it was not heavy, over-polished, grownup wood. It was formica and, lord help us all, it was pink (and white).

Needless to say, it's locked in Alex's office now, and I'm trying to decide who I should get to help me take it up to her room while she's at school on Friday.

There's probably more that could be said, but it's time for me to go, so bye!


Anita November 30, 2005 12:22 PM  

Robin is going to love, Love, LOVE that pink desk.

mom December 01, 2005 4:03 PM  

Hooray for that teacher! I like her suggestions.

Dad December 01, 2005 6:31 PM  

Me too.

Now, have you thought about placing the thing between the two beds, with the unit facing her bed, which would create a sort of wall? And maybe put something on Julia's side.

The could easily go around it, but at some point they (presumably Robin first) will want more privacy.

It's nice that the room is as large as it is. And of course the thing can be moved from time to time as desired.


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