Friday, June 6, 2014
This year has been phenomenal for Addison. In the words of her teacher, whom I adore, Addison has truly blossomed.
Without a doubt she started the year excited, but anxious. She didn't go to St. James in Kindergarten, and was one of only nine new kids in the three first grade classes. She needn't worry; within days I was being told stories of Lily and Riley and Alyson and Melanie. I heard about Noah and Charlie and Jack and Joseph. Every day I was told about their routine; about morning work and journaling and computer class and whatever other wonderful thing happened.
At our first teacher conference, Andy and I were told what a conscientious student Addison was becoming, almost to a fault, as her teacher said Addie was her own worse critic. At the start of school Addison struggle a bit with reading, particularly her fluency. Now books are a huge part of her day, we give her a few minutes at bedtime to just read to herself, more nights than not, I take her book out of her sleeping hands as I head to bed. Just the other day Andy came inside from the patio and declared Addison was obviously my child - she was curled up in one of our Adirondack chairs reading a book of fairy tales silently to herself.
The worst spelling grade she got this year was a ninety percent - and you would have thought we told her the world was ending. She has maintained solid As in all subjects, including that Spanish class that she hates so much.
Addison's writing has also improved by miles. She loves to write and illustrate stories and works very hard to spell everything correctly. I find scraps of paper daily with notes to Andy, Brenna or me, sometimes telling us she loves us, sometimes a poem or short story. I love her imprecise, yet perfect, first grade scrawl.
She worked very hard this year on several written projects for school. She wrote about Saint Joseph, President John Adams and the Red Panda. With each project she worked hard to find out about her subject and took enormous pride in illustrating her report - those too, were marked Outstanding by her teacher.
First grade had its rougher days too. Turns out girl drama starts early and often occurs at recess or the lunch table. Who you sit with or play with or talk to can really influence your day - or so I learned. I am biased, of course, but it seemed that Addie wasn't often the drama creator, but nonetheless was easily sucked into the drama of her six and seven year old friends.
I know of only three times that Addie had a truly bad day at school. One was in the first few months, when one of the little boys in another first grade class punched her in the stomach as they were on their way to the bus. She had been complaining that he was bothering her and wasn't until then that I realized how serious it was. Her teacher took care of it as soon as I reached out to her and, luckily, I never heard his name mentioned again. Her second tough day was when she was fired from being class messenger. Addie had separated from her partner while running school errands and her teacher, who was strict but fair, took the job away. Addison cried for a day or two; but it was a wonderful lesson learned on listening to directions. Finally, just in the last weeks of school Miss Thang started to become very forgetful on bringing home all her homework assignments - after her second or third time forgetting an assignment she lost five minutes of recess time and had to "stand on the line". When I asked her how that felt, she said it felt like much longer than five minutes. A shining star moment though - Addison never had to move desks and ended the year in the exact same spot she started in, meaning she never got reprimanded for her behavior in the classroom.
In this year, she has grown in so many immeasurable ways. She is compassionate and patient. She is generous and intuitive. She is deeply creative and very spiritual. She has grown in noticeable ways too - she's gone up one and a half shoe sizes. We had to get onto my lap, but she scarcely fits.
Two nights ago, as I tucked her in, she told me, with a few tears, that she was really sad that school was ending. She was going to miss her teacher and the learning that she does each day. I assured that second grade would be just as wonderful and she looked at me with those eyes that know so much and said I just don't see how, Mama.