We had a long, glorious autumn, but this week the gray of late fall/early winter began. Gray skies, gray rain, gusty winds, browned trees, even snow flurries today. I'm hoping for a colder winter than last year, when we had one measly snowfall of less than an inch. Because the alternative is four or five more months of gray.
After the excitement of Halloween, we're back into the routine. Or as routine as we can get when germs are stalking us. Katrina is fighting off another ear infection with a 10-day round of nasty antibiotics in large doses. The doctor even apologized for prescribing 10 ml twice a day. But there was no higher concentration in liquid form, and Katrina is still too young for pills but large enough physically to need the higher dose. So far, we've had only minor rebellion, nothing like last time she had this stuff. She has about four more days to go. That means four more days of glorious protection from all of the other little buggies being so generously shared by her classmates. Meanwhile, Jon and I both have been coughing and coughing, oh, and coughing some more. I've gotten somewhat better, and Jon seemed to be on the mend but now the stress of a business trip has worsened it again. So, I'm not really a fan of this time of year.
In other news, we had the first conference of the year at school a few weeks ago. No surprises, really. Katrina is starting to read and knows about 6 sight words, all her letters and sounds, and can count to 39 on her own. She's also working on addition.
The part of the "report card" outlining her social and other nonacademic skills was kind of interesting. Teacher comments on "works independently": "Well, she CAN work independently..." and we finish the sentence in unison, "but she doesn't WANT to."
We were also not surprised that Katrina does not choose challenging work on her own. She's a perfectionist, that one--typical of an only child, and I suppose, of the child of two parents with perfectionistic tendencies. She'd rather do something she knows she can do well/perfectly. Plus, she came home from school one day distressed that the teachers wouldn't let her play with play-dough during work time, but made her choose "serious work."
The only thing that the teacher is a bit concerned about is Katrina's gross motor skills. She can't skip yet, and she has difficulty hopping on one foot. (She also hasn't yet mastered pumping her legs on the swing--she gets the rhythm of the legs but doesn't put her body into it enough to propel the swing higher.) Apparently, having trouble skipping and balancing can be a sign of vision or hearing problems. Both were checked and found normal at her last physical, so I don't think that's the problem. No, I think the poor child just inherited my poor coordination.
She can run like the wind, though. Which is more than I ever did. So maybe there's hope!
It was kind of confidence-building as a parent that what the teacher observed matched up with what we know about Katrina. We know our child, we knew most of her strengths and weaknesses before we walked in. And the nice thing is, after two years and beginning her third at the same school, her teachers know her well, too. I don't know that she'll have that kind of advantage after she moves on to elementary school. Though, not being the shrinking violet type, Katrina will make herself known fairly quickly wherever she is.
We're starting to look into schools for next year. There are a few private schools in the area, in addition to the school on base and the German school. I checked out the British school (set up for members of the British military stationed here, but open to other nationalities, as well), and I was impressed. The teacher/student ratio is much better than the schools on base, which are essentially public schools. As a contractor rather than a military member or government civilian, Jon is not entitled to use the schools on base free of charge. As a part of him working here, however, his company will pay Katrina's tuition. This gives us much more flexibility than we would have otherwise. The base schools--which are average to above-average public schools--actually charge a much higher tuition than the private schools we've looked at so far. And the private schools have 12 to 15 kids per class, rather than 20 to 30. To me, the class size alone is a compelling reason to go private.
Of course, also by virtue of being a contractor, we don't know from year to year whether we'll be staying or not. Uncertainty R Us.
And that's about it for the random news here at Haus Gross. Tune in next time to hear Katrina say, "Mama, when are we going to take a walk where the graves are?! I never get to go there!"