New with Calder

I have been delaying writing the posts about the boys because I don't want people to think I am bragging. I know. . . "Don't worry about what others think." So here I am writing about what they are up to. It wasn't as hard to write about Boone, since basically all of his triumphs have nothing to do with us. Calder is a whole didn't story. . . He is learning so much right now. It is incredible. I am so proud of how hard he is working. It may sound like bragging, but honestly, this is all Calder and I want a permanent record of his triumphs in my blog.

The last couple of months Calder has been soaking up knowledge. It is amazing. I will start this post back at the end of August. The summer was over. Hugh was back to work, so Calder and I started doing "school" work together. I had a list of things for him to work on and he would get a sticker every time he did one. Five stickers meant he could play on the iPad (This was virtually the only time he was allowed on it, so it was a very appealing reward). Calder didn't have to do school work. It was always his choice. I never made him sit down and do any of it. I offered it as an activity and sometimes he took me up on it and other times he didn't. At first I didn't want to use external motivation to get Calder to learn (the iPad reward), but as Hugh said, "We are working toward intrinsic motivation" and 3 months later we don't even use the chart anymore. Calder does a lot of the stuff from the chart on his own, because he likes to do it. Yay, Calder!

All of the items on the chart took about 10 minutes or less to do. One of the biggest things I wanted Calder to work on was doing quiet activities, so listed on the chart were things like, color, write your name, read alone, read with mom, do a puzzle, do a craft, etc. There was also an activity called "Parking Lot Party". Calder loves the song and after being inspired by something on Pinterest I created a parking lot for his cars and each stall has a member of a word family. We started with the "at" family. Calder and I each would pick 7 cars and alternate driving them into a stall. Calder had to say each word as the car was driven in. By the long weekend in September he could read all the words in the "at" family. We made a new parking lot with a new family (the "an" family) and I transferred all the words he knew to index cards so that he could practice them with the different families mixed together.  After we had finished a couple of parking lots, Calder requested a monster truck parking lot, so I got a piece of bristol board and set to work. I also started adding in some sight words (the, and, it, is, etc.) and some names (mom, dad, Tripp) as well as some seasonal words (Halloween, costume, etc.). About a month ago we counted and Calder knew over 50 words.

A week ago yesterday I introduced him to a book. It is called "Dan's Plan". It was the perfect place to start since he knew the "an" family. By the next morning, he could read it without any assistance. By lunch that day, he could read the second book. Today we are starting the 6th book. It is crazy how he is picking it up. We have always tried to read a book to Calder before bed. We have now started a new routine where Calder reads a couple of books on his own, we read one together, like the phonics Hot Wheels book you see in the picture or a Dr. Seuss, (Calder has to follow along because we only read the words he doesn't know), and then we finish off by reading one to him.

He is so motivated to learn. Yesterday I told him that it would probably only take a couple more times reading book #5 before he got to #6 and he immediately told me he wanted to practice.

It has been so incredible watching him soak in all this content. I am so lucky to have been the one to teach him. I can't imagine where he'll be with his reading by the time my maternity leave is over!

Calder is also a big math guy. Mrs. Hamilton is quite pumped about this! Calder loves numbers. He likes to play adding games where we alternate asking each other adding questions. He already has a number of sums less than 5 memorized. Calder also continues to love counting. I am confident he could count to 999  - he hasn't learned about the thousands yet! Calder has only counted to 200, but when I ask him what comes after any number, like 399 he quickly tells me it is 400. We like to play counting games while we are driving, so I am sure the next long trip we might be tackling the road to 1000! Calder can also count by 10's to 100 and probably by 2's as well. He has memorized counting by 2's to 30 and after that you can see him counting to himself to get to the next number! Today he did up to 58 before declaring, "I'm done counting by twos." Calder has also started counting by 5's and can do this to 20.

Memorizing things is something we do a lot in the van. Calder knows the days of the week, our phone number and address and is currently working on the months of the year. I know this is the longest post ever, but the kid is a sponge!

In other news Calder is continuing to like gymnastics, but is ALL over skating. Last week we went 4 times. He has class on Tuesdays and I have been trying to take him one other time to the Warman Legends Center. They have a gorgeous facility with a small piece of ice behind the boards that is strictly for kids 5 and under to learn to skate. It is open 7 days a week, 9 am to 9 pm, so it hasn't been hard fitting an extra skate into our schedule. It was also nice on the weekend when my parents were here because they could take Calder over to Warman to see him in action. We also try to go once on the weekend as a family to a public skate time.  My dad and Hugh got a great start to our backyard rink on the weekend, so it won't be long before Calder and I will be having shiny games while Boone naps!

Calder and Hugh went to Olympian Sports on the weekend while I stayed in the van to feed Boone. They went in to get skates sharpened, but when Hugh opened the door to the van he slipped in a new composite stick. It was left handed, but way too short for him. HE BOUGHT ONE FOR CALDER! It seemed like a complete waste of money to me, as Calder has a perfectly fine stick at home. I started going off on Hugh about it being needless and he informed me it was on sale for $40 Hugh's composite sticks are always over $100. This made me feel a bit better at the time, but it turns out Hugh was playing it down to calm my nerves, because it was really $49.99 Nice rounding Mr. Hamilton. Just as I was getting over the new stick, Hugh gets a sheepish look on his face and raises a giant bag from behind the van. He outfitted Calder with all new hockey gear. Sigh. Hugh told me that I win on everything (which isn't completely true, but I gave it to him), but that I couldn't win on hockey. Ha! It might has well have been Christmas at our house. Calder tried his gear on 4 times on Saturday and 3 times on Sunday. He went skating in it both days and on Sunday when he went down to the basement to wake Grandpa Fritshaw up, he put on his equipment before he crawled into bed with him!

Two weeks ago, Calder was going to be a NASCAR driver when he grew up. This week he has been telling me he is going to be a hockey player!

We are so proud of how hard Calder is working at his reading, numbers, and skating. Calder is a loud, energetic boy who does a great job of cleaning up his toys and completing his chores. Calder is funny and thoughtful and gives fantastic hugs.

We can't stop admiring the boy he is growing up to be.


  1. WHOOT!!! HOCKEY GEAR!!! It is pretty fun to try on.. and even more fun to skate in!

    Oh man, I love everything about this post!! :)


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