Kid Things

August 20, 2019

Life just feels really full right now. Primarily in good ways. I have had a lot of dedicated GME time recently (the full 0.5FTE) and feel like I am slowly growing into the role, though I think to be truly adept at it will take years.

I hope to rise to the challenge!

Home life is full, too. G started school. I recognize that she’s super young and that she probably doesn’t ‘need’ school. But I feel like she is ready and will benefit. As I previously mentioned, she’s at a very traditional Montessori program – they are quite strict about a lot of random things and I am very intrigued by the overall philosophy. There is a lot of focus on independence and learning practical activities (cleaning, self-care, etc) even at very young ages.

She did not cry at drop off – or at least I didn’t see her cry, because we have to drop the kids right at the door. I gave her a big kiss and I think she was so surprised to be entering this new world that she didn’t cry . . . but we will see what happens today. Pix from the WhatsApp feed were encouraging . . .

Random G notes: Her current favorite activity is drawing with the big kids’ colored pencils and she is will come up and say “Happy Face?” because I was trying to teach her to draw a smiley face. She also just learned all of her colors and busted out with “orange” and “purple” when I had no idea she knew them. She is literally in this amazing sponge phase and I am seeing everything change so quickly. OH, AND WE FINALLY WEANED. So many, many changes recently!

So there you go. All 3 kids in school. Re: HOMEWORK, I have discussed with Annabel that I would like her to complete her homework independently this year but will remain available for questions and a check over if she would like. I love the idea that Amy (mother of 2 older kids) pointed out: “I will add that I always made a point to mention at parent/teacher conferences that DH/my parenting goals are to raise self-sufficient adults. The point being that I’m more concerned with the long range goal than the short term report card.”

It honestly didn’t occur to me that I could communicate my goals to the teacher (rather than the other way around). I love this.

Cameron is in kindergarten and his HW last night was “learn to tie your shoes.” Woah. I let Annabel demonstrate and he gave it a shot and we left it at that.

I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my Erin Condren white boards; in the meantime, I created this sheet and the kids are (miraculously) following it, for the most part:

It’s currently hanging on the fridge but I brought it down for a photo

Both kids wanted to put checks in the boxes so I think they will LOVE using the white board.

Last year, I had them in almost zero activities because we had just moved. This year I put them in an after school program 3 days/week that has activities incorporated (some sports, art, drama, etc) AND they are signed up for ‘Ninja Kids’ classes at a local gymnastics gym once a week. They also have piano on Sundays and the local basketball league with games on some weekends. Maybe it will be too much, but I don’t think so. None of the activities are super competitive or intense – it’s really all just ‘learning to play’ type stuff.

Anyway. A lot going on. Most of it good. A lot of positive back to school energy in the air. Let’s hope it lasts for a while! Oh, and our Back to School podcast episode just came out: here! It’s a mix of our favorite hacks & listener tips.

Happy Tuesday!


  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 20, 2019 at 8:43 am

    That is awesome that G did not cry at drop off! My husband does day care drop off and he usually doesn’t cry but if I drop him off, he cries and screams and reaches for me. It’s awful! So I am so glad my husband can handle that task! I much prefer doing pick up! It’s so cool to watch toddlers learn new things. Our son is 17m and is transitioning into the toddler room this week. I’ll be curious to see how he does. He’s in a Spanish Immersion daycare so we’ve been told his language will be a bit delayed since he’s learning 2 languages but so far I’ve been impressed with how many English words he knows. And he understands both languages, which is pretty cool!

  • Reply cbs August 20, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Aww, that’s lovely for G! I’m super intrigued by Montessori but there isn’t one convenient to us. My son goes to a froebel nursery and we love it. Basically a big focus on outdoors, independence, and taking considered risks. Dropped him off on Thursday and he toddled off to help make porridge over the fire in the garden. The kids are free to roam throughout the space and aren’t divided by age. He spends most of his days out in the forest with the big kids or out in the garden. It’s not for everyone – no daily report of activities or structured curriculum, but he’s clearly learning so much.

    Not his colours though and I’m slightly nervous he’s colourblind. He’s just two and his language skills are incredibly strong (people on the bus stare because he speaks in paragraphs) but he doesn’t know his colours.

    Such a good call on homework! It’s ridiculous that parents are supposed to be that actively invovled, how will the teachers know where students need more help if the parents are correcting it?

  • Reply NIkki August 20, 2019 at 11:24 am

    “they are quite strict about a lot of random things” ==> perfect description of how I felt about our school in the early days! We absolutely love it, and, at least for my daughters (3.5 and 18 months, both started around 6 months old), they really thrived with the early independence, it gave (and continues to give!) them a lot of pride and confidence. And the school environment is so helpful for fostering those independence and problem solving skills in ways that just aren’t possible all the time at home – the entire environment is set up so intentionally. Anywho, we are constantly learning from our school, hope you have the same positive experience with G!

  • Reply Yevonne August 20, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I can’t say enough good things about Montessori! Some of it does take getting used to as a parent but as I’ve learned more about the philosophy it makes so much sense. My son (almost 5) is in a Montessori school and has been since just before 2. My daughter (15 mo) will be starting at the same school after Labor Day. In addition to the independence factor, they also focus on grace, courtesy and being kind – such good lessons for little people! I hope your family enjoys it!

  • Reply Omdg August 20, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    G looks like she has taken to her school like a fish to water. Such great pics! Is she all day or just part of a day? And most importantly, what are you doing with your nanny??? Btw your comment on my blog worked, so yay!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 21, 2019 at 5:03 am

      She is there ~8-12, so not full day. Nothing is changing w/ our nanny except we may have our cleaner stop coming and have her take those ‘deep cleaning’ responsibilities on again (she did that before when both A&C were in school).

      I’d love to shift her hours later on some days (come later, stay later) but that requires Josh to drop off which he can only do inconsistently. I could also someday imaging having her trade weekday time for some weekend time (date night, or to allow us to do activities w/ just the bigger kids or just G, etc).

  • Reply Amanda August 20, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Great idea on the chore sheet! I tried something similar with my preschooler tonight & it really transformed our evening. I think some of these parenting practices are just hard b/c they are new (like most things we do for the first time). I had simply been letting my child watch a show when we got home each evening, maintaining a survival mode mentality while cooking dinner & attending to my toddler. He was really motivated with the list. Thank you!

  • Reply Tyra August 21, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Ted does both traditional gymnastics and a Free G class, which sounds like it’s similar to the ninja kids that your two are doing. He loves them both, but the Free G is newer to him so more exciting for the moment. Lot’s of running and jumping over things and doing ‘safety rolls’ and climbing up walls etc. I think this sort of physical development is so important!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 21, 2019 at 5:04 am

      I’d love for them to get back in traditional gymnastics too but they are much more interested in the ninja/freerunning/trampoline-heavy style right now!

  • Reply Marci Gilbert August 21, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Really like your chore chart! I copied parts. I want to see how it looks on the EC board. Deciding if we should make our own on poster or dry erase or buy a board. Thinking of also rewarding with allowance which we have not done before.

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly August 21, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I am super curious about the random Montessori rules! (We did Montessori for 5 years so I’m intrigued). Also curious to hear how your board/checklist goes. We are struggling over here with our new kinder so..yeah…I need some help!

  • Reply Lori C August 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    This is great! I love the rainbow colored paper for the to do list.

    On a totally separate note- for your next superficial things podcast I have two recommendations- 1. A robot vacuum and 2. TouchNote app. The robot vacuum is genius. My euphy is programmed to turn on and most around the house vacuuming at 7am. Kids and cats have gotten used to it and it does a decent job. A mom friend suggested it to me when I complained about the need to sweep my kitchen floor pretty much constantly. Haven’t swept or vacuumed in weeks! I also love setting it to the intense one room program and reading while it vacuums my living room. Total game changer. 2. TouchNote was also a mom friend recommendation when I had my second baby. I downloaded the app in the hospital after delivery, and with a couple taps you are able to send personalized photo postcards. Hellooooo thank you cards! I use it every year for my kids birthdays. I take picture of Birthday child plus little friend (or with little friend’s gift) and poof, cute thank you card.

  • Reply Anna August 25, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    cute pics of genevieve 🙂
    i saw this in the NY times and immediately thought of you! you should discuss it in a future post or on the podcast!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.