Family life

Our end-of-year wrap-up

June is a landmark month in the lives of Tracy's kids. Here's why.

By Tracy Chappell
Our end-of-year wrap-up Looking forward to some simple, sunny days ahead.

This will be a big month of change in our house — it might be for yours, too. We’re not only marking the end of Anna’s first school year, but many other things we’ve gotten comfy with over the past 10 months.
In the swim: The girls finished up their swimming lessons last week. At six, Anna is now officially swimming on her own, which for some reason makes me get emotional. I guess it’s because she’s wanted to swim for so long, and it came so naturally after I fought to have her moved up to a more challenging class. And Miss Avery, age three, who took many, many months to even get into the pool without tears and tantrums, has now graduated out of the little Bobbers class and moved up to Floaters. I’m so proud of her. Remember how I wasn’t sure if I should push or back off? In this case, the perseverance paid off; she now goes into the pool enthusiastically, dunks her head with a smile and floats with help from her teacher. I almost don’t want to take the summer off, but Anna will be in an aquatics camp for two weeks, which may be a bit much. So we’ll put our YMCA membership on hold and return in the fall.
The Spark that lit up the world: Anna is also wrapping up her first year of Sparks (well, half-year, since we began in January). I’ve written before about how thrilled I’ve been with her experience and I hope Anna will continue to love being part of the Girl Guides organization. Avery is eager to join, and sad that it’s still a full year and a bit away.

Our end-of-year wrap-up  

Kindergarten wrap-up: Much more on this later, I’m sure, as Anna graduates from senior kindergarten at the end of the month.
Farewell to our preschool: Probably the biggest thing going on this month is the closing of our daycare. Anna has been there for the past four years and Avery for one, and it really feels like the end of an era. Sadly, many of the children have already left for new centres and most of our beloved teachers are gone, so it’s not quite the closure I was hoping for. The girls already seem quite ready to move on, which I guess is a good thing. I am grateful for the time they spent here, and think of all they’ve learned and how much they’ve grown and all the fun they’ve had (not to mention the bazillion crafts they’ve made) within those walls. Avery is excited to start at her new daycare later in July and Anna is eagerly anticipating her first taste of summer camps.
We decided against signing Anna up for any summer sports. Her camps — swimming, gymnastics and hockey — will keep her hopping throughout the day and I know she’ll need time to chill out in the evenings. She did make it quite clear that she didn’t want to play soccer (“I hate soccer!” she explained. “You don’t even have a chance to get to know anyone, it’s just exercise, exercise, exercise!” So there.).
I fear Avery’s fallen into the second-child trap because I didn’t even think of signing her up for anything. At three, I didn’t think she’d really be missing out, but maybe I should have attempted something? When I asked her tonight, she told me she’d rather just play soccer in the backyard and didn’t want to try baseball. We do have her in skating lessons for the summer, which I know sounds weird, but she wants to play hockey with Anna in the fall and, well, she’s got some work to do before then.
An idea I am playing with is putting them into a dance class. I know it also sounds like an odd choice for the summer, but Anna often talks about taking a dance class and we never want to overschedule the school year. This might be a good chance to see if either of them like it.
I’m curious how this will all play out for the next two months. I fully believe in summer downtime — the chance for lazy afternoons at the park, day trips and sprinkler fun and popsicles in the backyard — but I also know that Anna in particular is big on routine. She always clamours for a “pajama day,” but it backfires when, partway through, she’s bouncing off the walls or picking fights. Summer 2012 will be an interesting experiment with all of these new experiences.
Do your kids go to a daycare, or do you cobble together other arrangements and activities for the summer? And, most importantly, are my kids the only ones not in soccer? Am I scarring them for life?

This article was originally published on Jun 13, 2012

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