Thursday, July 8, 2010

Three Wee Camp

Today was Nikko's first day of Three Wee Camp at the Central Community Center. My first mistake was putting Nikko's backpack on as if we were headed to school. I ushered him out the door and went to open the Civic. Nikko was halfway down the driveway, confused when I called him back to get into the car. He started to panic and cry so loudly that I had to drag him into the car and worried that he would start to flail his arms while strapping him into the car seat. The Civic was handy this morning, but I had forgotten that Nikko was probably bigger than the car seat. His head was above the top, and the seat belt straps wouldn't fit without some quick and major adjustments. We were both sweaty by this time but he was teary and mad. I got us rolling and he calmed just a bit, probably out of curiosity. The class is Monday and Wednesday, 9:30-11:30, until the last week of July. It's run by two mothers working for the park district, a Mrs. Vitale and a Mrs. Hartman. They knew about Nikko and my presence and were very helpful and friendly to me. I mostly observed Nikko and tried to steer him away from the sand table when I felt he was hanging onto it for too long. The class had 3-4 year olds, and to my surprise I saw my friend Gail and her daughter Samantha enter the preschool room. We were happy to see each other, and while Nikko was indifferent to them he managed to greet them upon my prompting. There was a fine motor activity at the table, two kids at a time being directed while the others played in the different classroom areas. Today was a butterfly motif using dot markers, gem stickers, water colors and crayons. During the craft was lots of unstructured play time and that's when I redirected Nikko from the sand table to some parking garages, puzzles, and later the kitchen area. There was a puzzle of a place setting, and Nikko took the knife puzzle piece, scooped up pretend food on the plate puzzle piece and ate from the knife. I made him try the spoon, salt/pepper shakers, and drink from the milk puzzle piece. He went along with it well. As long as he spent some time in other areas I was ok if he went back to the sand. I overheard two little boys talking about pictures on the wall, and then their conversation steered onto the topic of time outs. The consensus was that each boy's dad gave them lots of time outs. Lots and lots. I found that amusing. Clean up time concluded the play time, then hand washing and goldfish crackers & water for snack. Nikko was able to request for More Fish Please, but that's because he looked directly at me and then I prompted him to ask the teacher. No guarantees that he'll get seconds next time. There was time left to read a group story, play with music sticks, and then conclude with putting their names into a basket before leaving. In lieu of the story was the option to take the kids to the gym to play, but they ran out of time. Overall, the experience with the camp seemed ok, but there are some opportunities that I'll impress upon Melisa, who will be his aide on Monday onward, where Nikko could play with cars and animals and not just be stuck on the sand table. When Nikko was involved with the sand table, he looked up to see where I was sitting perhaps two times. But he forgot about me not long thereafter. I can see him getting anxious between activity transitions, but I hope Melisa will be cheerful and positive because those will be the times he'll be looking for me. I guess we'll meet Melisa in the foyer of the preschool room on Mondays and Wednesdays. Today Denis was able to stay with the little ones at home, but I'll have to cart them in with me next week. I'll check library hours to see if we can camp out there for storytime. One more thing: there was a cash register by Learning Resources there, along with play credit card, and I think I'll hunt for that for Nikko's birthday.

Later in the afternoon we attempted to go to the pool, but thunderstorm clouds closed the Wheeling pool and a swim meet was at the Meadows pool so we were relegated to the blue plastic pool in our backyard with ice cold hose water, perfect for the hot, humid day we had. Nikko was content to stand in the middle of the pool with me, splashing water with his feet. The other two got tired of the little pool and ran around the backyard until I decided that dinner was in order.

If it doesn't rain tomorrow, I would head to the pool again. However, thunderstorms are predicted so we'll have to go with Plan B. Tianna is coming tomorrow so perhaps we can go to the Kohl Children's Museum since I don't have any more items on the grocery list. After Camp, I took Nikko to the grocery and it was definitely more manageable to have one kid on errands than three.

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