This week began much as the last ended, with warm and sunny days.  We’ve been taking advantage of the transition from summer sun to fall showers and shorter days by spending as much time as possible outside.  On Monday, we headed to Carkeek Park for a hike and beach adventure with friends.  Of course, there were so many sea creatures to explore, but even better, lots of solo and with-other-kid pretend play, setting up houses in the rocks and making roads and tracks in the tide pools and sand.

Tuesday was a zoo day, with Weds. storytime at the  Ballard Library.  We spent a great deal of time with Pamela, the children’s librarian, figuring out some new titles for read-alouds.  I know that we read A LOT in this family, but was surprised when we stumped her.  In fact, Z’s become a new project for her to seek out interesting books that are theme-appropriate for a gifted preschooler.  In the meantime, we left with Coral Reefs, Leaf Man, I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean, The Puddle, and Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers, with a passel of chapter books on hold.  We’re also re-reading the My Father’s Dragon series.

Thursday brought clouds and chills and saw us doing a long hike at Carkeek – Z’s request.  We started out searching for bugs and birds, but instead saw all kinds of mushrooms starting to flourish as the weather turns cooler.  Z touched lots of them – from creamy white to slimy, to one that left bright orange goo on his fingers.  At bedtime, Z whispered how much fun he had mushrooming and talked about the ones he had seen.

We also stopped by Top Ten Toys for a new puzzle.  Z has been spending much of his inside time doing puzzles and has moved into 24 – 35 piece floor puzzles and 35 piece jigsaws in the last couple of days. He also has become enamored of spelling words and figuring out what letters go with what words as he sounds them out. Cool.

On Friday, we hosted playtime here.  Z started his day in a sour mood and wanted to read in his book nook with me.  After reading Cat in the Hat, he grabbed his compass and decided that it would be the Cat.  The vast majority of the morning was spent with him having the Cat “go cuckoo” all over the house.  The creativity and imaginative play is pretty amazing to observe, but it’s difficult to deal with when it crosses the line into having the “real pretend” people/creatures/characters do things that Z knows are out of line with the house rules.

I recently re-read Losing Our Minds:  Gifted Children Left Behind, and it struck a deeper chord in me this go around.  Some of the very things that make Z so special and that are behind our decision to go the homeschooling route can seem like an overwhelming challenge one day and a gift the next.  It’s trying to keep the gift in mind on the tough days (like today) that is so very important to parenting and nurturing him.

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