Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Puttin' On My Braggin' Pants

Yeah, I don't know what the hell that means either. It just sounded funny.

I've been remiss lately bragging about my daughter.

Yes, I'm going to brag. I'm a mother and it's my right. Says so in the Constitution (since everybody seems to say everything says so in the Constitution, I thought I'd add to the list).

My kid is awesome.

Truly, truly awesome.

Since Kindergarten, she's made straight A's. She's been on the Principal's Honor Roll every year. Granted, she's only in the third grade, but I feel that she's gotten her education off to a good start.

She actually ENJOYS homework. After she comes in from the school bus and has her snack, she ACTUALLY ASKS my mom if she can do her homework now.

She LOVES to read. Serious, hardcore reading.

Back when we were living in Flowood while our house was being repaired due to Hurricane Katrina, she was in Kindergarten. In the state of Mississippi, they administer a STAR test to test the reading level of each student.

As an aside, I heard this morning on NPR that Mississippi is one of the only states (if not the only state) that reading levels are actually INCREASING. All across the nation, the reading levels in each state are DECREASING while ours is rising. Granted, they're probably not even close to being on an even level field. We've had a lot of work to do to get it to the point where ours is rising. But, it's getting there. This makes me happy.

Anyway, Light of my Life, along with the rest of the Kindergarten class, was tested and she scored in the above average level. At that age, it's not so much a test about how WELL you read but about comprehension and listening and recognizing words.

Of course, being her mom who happens to have a LOVE for reading, I was proud as all get out.

One of my biggest fears when I had a kid was "what if he/she doesn't love to read?" I could not comprehend having a kid that didn't love to read. My whole family is a family of readers. My uncle, both my aunts, my mom, my grandmother....everyone.

I can remember when she was about 3 and I would read her stories at night, she would get so frustrated that she couldn't read. She would actually cry about it. She wanted to read so bad.

Eventually, she learned to read and has been reading ever since.

She got hooked right away on the Junie B Jones series and then graduated to the Magic Tree House books.

In the third grade, the kids take the STAR assessment again to check the reading levels of each kid.

This time, not only was she above average...she's actually reading on a 5th grade level! Technically, she's reading on the same level as a kid that's been in the 5th grade for a month.

I was tickled pink. Not only is she reading above her level, but she's actually reading 2 grades above hers!

We were at a Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago (it has recently been built in a town about an hour away...same place as the nearest mall...yes, I keep trying to tell you people we live in the country...did you think I was making that up?) and as usual, she beelined for the children's section.

This time, instead of me making a beeline for the bargain books, I followed her in and started checking out the older kids' book section. I figured if she's reading and comprehending on that level, we needed to start getting her books more on that level to ensure that she keeps that level of comprehension up.

Wow! I want to read half of those books. There are some incredible books out there for kids ages 8-12. I mean some really incredible books.

Most of them appear to be in the fantasy genre and I think I remember reading about the increase in fantasy books after the Harry Potter boom. But still! All I remember when I was growing up was Judy Blume and Ann M. Martin and Francine Pascal (of which I DEVOURED).

I showed her the section of books that she needed to start looking in for any new books that strike her fancy and left her to her own. I told her I could buy her one book that was $6 or under (I hate putting a restriction on books but what can you do?).

I went on my way and after a while, I heard her calling me. We found each other and the poor thing had found 2 books (my mom had said she would buy her one as well) and it was two books she already had (two of the Ramona books). I explained this to her and she got so frustrated. We went back to the kids section and she said that it was too many books to choose from and she wanted to start crying.

We sat down right in the middle of the floor and talked about what kind of books she was interested in. She said that she likes adventure books but prefers adventures that are semi-based in reality (my words, not hers) as opposed to fantasy (with unicorns and ogres, etc...).

So, we sat there and in about 10 minutes, we had several for her to choose from. She ended up getting a book called Mandy by Julie Andrews (yes, Mary Poppins herself) and one called The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler and Sarah Gibb.

Well, she has utterly fallen in LOVE with the Emily Windsnap series. It's now a request from her to Santa to get the other books in the series.

I'm also gonna brag on her humanitarian skills.

In addition to her helping us out at the Methodist Rummage Sale, she loves, I mean LOVES to help me with the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

She loves picking out what's going in each box. She loves finding things in the stores for me to buy. If she gets some new pencils, she donates half of them to the shoebox bag (the bag where I hold all things to go into the shoe boxes). When she gets a toy from the McDonald's Happy Meal, she donates the toy. She donates about 90% of the toys, beads and stuffed animals she catches at Mardi Gras each year.

I've always been proud of her for these sacrifices, but this weekend, I got the ultimate proof that she has a giving soul.

We went to go get our Christmas tree from the Home Depot (in yet another town an hour away) and there's a Claire's in a nearby shopping center. I had a coupon to get $10 off a purchase of $20 or more (told you I knew how to shop) and I had a few girls to buy presents for.

If you know anything about Claire's, they usually have a buy 2 get 1 free sale on pretty much everything.

I found 4 pairs of earrings that I could get as presents which meant that I could pick out 2 free pair. I told Light of my Life that she could pick out two pairs for herself (she wears clip earrings). She searched and searched and came back with a pair that she wanted. When she brought them to me, I told her "you can pick out another pair" and do you know what she said to me?

"Mama, instead of me getting a second pair, do you think I could get a pair to put in the shoe boxes?"

She floored me with her generosity. Here was her chance to get 2 pairs of earrings RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and she wanted to get one pair for someone she DOESN'T EVEN KNOW!

Of course, I told her it was fine and she picked out a lovely pair of clip on pink butterfly earrings.

Sigh.......I got a good one. I sure did.

Later,

Mama Dawg

24 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Kelly

You have a WONDERFUL daughter and have every right to put on those braggin pants!! Obviously, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I can only hope that when my daughter is her age that she will be half as generous!

Jaymie

Yes you did! Wow, I wish my kids liked to read. There is still hope for Gianna and Isabella though. Ean actually reads at a higher level but he doesn't like it. I wish we lived closer so our kids could be friends. Then LOYL could rub off some of her greatness on them!

Mama Dawg

Jaymie, I wish we lived closer, too. We would have a blast! I'm sure Gianna and Isabella will enjoy reading.

TattooedMinivanMom

You sure did get a good one. I love the good ones.

It's terrific that she likes school and reading.

My kids are the same way. Always eager to learn and they blow my mind more and more every year. My son is in K and is learning how to read. He's doing awesome! I love it!

My daughter is in 2nd and she is so smart and sweet. Blew my mind the other day when we visited B&N and she picked out some books that were quite "older" than I thought she was reading. Boy was I wrong. She's growing too fast.

Mama Dawg

TMM-That's wonderful that they love reading and how proud you must be!

Rhea

You really are raising that girl right, Emily! I know it's got to be really hard being the mother and father, but you seem to be doing a good job. scratch that, a GREAT job!

My boys have gotten into reading big time, and that brings a HUGE smile to my face. Because reading is SO important to me.

I'm glad you bragged. :o) All moms DO have that right.

Rhea

BTW, we don't have a Barnes and Noble in our small town either. We have to drive like 20 minutes down the highway to another town...but an hour away?! I don't know how you survive. lol

We have a good library though. I need to pay some fines though...

Kat

Katie has always been a big reader. But I was a little concerned about Madalyn. Who outright refused to read. And went to her first day of first grade still professing that she couldn't do it. Evidently she didn't wish to compete with her sister. And she actually could read. Little stinker. She has really come into her own this year.

And I agree...the books out there in that 8-12 and teen range are really good. I am quite partial to them myself.

Shannon

She sounds like a keeper... what a sweetheart! So keep on braggin'!

Irish Gumbo

You go ahead and put on them braggin’ pants, and the braggin’ galoshes while you are at it! That is wonderful and amazing (and I feel blessed like you, my Wee Lass enjoys the reading a lot, and she is showing signs of understanding the idea of generosity towards others), and you indeed got a good ‘un.

Very cool, and you have a lot of reasons to be proud. Boo-yahh!

(On another topic, thought you might like this quote, I forget where I heard it:
“Naked is when you don’t have any clothes on. Nekkid is when you don’t have any clothes on and you are up to somethin’!” :)

Jaden Paige

Yay for awesome kids :) I've been reading about them all over the place lately, and it makes you so hopeful for our future. Issa at Issa's Crazy World had a post recently(found here: http://issascrazyworld.blogspot.com/2008/12/small-glimps-of-woman-she-will-become.html ) about HER awesome daughter which almost made me cry... Kids have the biggest hearts, and they will surprise you with them when you least expect. Awesome.

I'm so glad she loves to read! I hope mine does... Me and her Daddy are both readers, too, so I can't imagine she won't be!

goodfather

Them are some nice braggin' pants ya got there... ;)

So totally cool that your daughter loves to read already! That is a true gift. AND a generous heart!

Mariah

My kids LOVE to read also, it's so nice to see kids reading. Generosity is rare these days. She is a good one...

Cocotte

Your daughter is sooooo sweet! My kids loved the Santa Paws books when they were her age. Adventure series featuring a dog who rescues people. I'll bet she'd like those. That is SO CUTE that she wears clip on earrings - tell her she's just like me!

scargosun

I am not surprised you have a wonderful child. :) You are a wonderful person and you happen to be her Mom too. :)

If you can find them, I bet she'd like the Nancy Drew books, the old ones although I am not sure what reading level they are.

Mama Dawg

Yeah, we're already starting the Nancy Drew collection.

However, my grandmother has a ton of them, so instead of buying them, we'll just borrow.

Captain Dumbass

Nice work, MD. I hope my boys are readers too. They are trapped in a house filled with books and we read to them all the time but I guess it's up to them.

Krystal

Oh she is a great kid!!! I hope my Princess and Tiny Dancer are readers too!!! I loved reading!! I was more of the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys series reading kid.

Judy Moody books? Princess loves these!!! She attempts to read them and tries really hard and thinks these stories are very funny.

You are doing a great job with her and should brag all you want!

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures

Thats great! I love to read and definitly have a kid that loves to read too which is just awesome! Hope the other 3 follow in her footsteps. Oh I absolutly love the Emily Windsnap series!!! Great choice!

sassy stephanie

What a sweet girl. You doin' sumpin' right out thare in da Kuntry.

My 8 next monther just got into the Magic Treehouse series on Friday. Friday. She is on the sixth one now.

I found a CUTE new & used bookstore by us. Run by a local couple. I'm in about every week. I was talking with the owner today about how we grew up reading "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" and the Beverly Cleary books. It is so cool to see those cycle through the house now.

Heather

She's not even mine and I'm so proud of her!!! Reading is so important and you did a great job instilling that in her. Way to go, Mama Dawg!

starrlife

She sounds so wonderful! Go ahead and be proud and brag! She must have a wonderful Mama!

Lump

wow how wonderful is she!! You know you did something right. ;) I would so be bragging too.

and I admit I like the Junie B Jones series. I even have some of them on CD that I listen to in my car. WOO! ;)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher

I wish she could be in my class when she's in high school.

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