Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toucan of the Week!

Each week, Mrs. Hinkle sends home a newsletter telling the parents about what the class is doing in school. How happy and proud we were with this week's letter! The newsletter is at the top; I enlarged the "Superstars" image on the bottom.....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out of the Mouthes of Babes (# I've lost count)

Leo wanted a(nother) cereal milk straw after having already had one that morning.
L: Um, another milk straw for me?
M: No, honey, they're not very good for you.
L: Why not?
M: Well, they're mostly made of sugar.
(Leo, pondering this idea....)
L: Want to know what I mostly made of?
M: What?!
C: (dramatic pause, meaningful Look--) COFFEE!
I was helping Aidan get into his pajamas and ready for bed. Exhausted myself, I'd already changed my clothes into my own pajamas....

A: Why do you keep wearing Daddy's shirts? Yours look better.... and they SMELL better, too!
As I was cooking dinner one evening, Leo looks at me and says,
"Mommy, why you in my house?"

I stared at him, puzzled and perplexed. I repeated,
"Why am I in your house? Is that what you said?"

L: Yeah. Why you in my house?

I was left speechless.
Kindergarten update: He loves it! He completely, absolutely, positively loves it. I've been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop (or foot to fall, or whatever happens to one's lower appendages) but so far, it has not. However. While I am thrilled thrilled
thrilled that Aidan never needs so much as a warning about changing his behavior during school hours, I'm starting to think that perhaps a warning here or there might not be so bad if it prevents the struggles and battles that ensue after he gets home! I knew from my experience as a teacher that students often save their "worst" behavior for when they get home, but now I'm witnessing it from the flip side - the parent perspective. (This notion always made me wonder, though, about those monstrous seventh graders I occasionally had... HOW did their mothers survive them at home??) Still, I'm trying to take it all in stride, as proof that I've done a good job preparing him for his school career when he comes home to poke, step on, and wrestle his brother, make high pitched"pow! pow! pow!" sounds at his mother, and even - gasp - pretend to pee on the cat. Yeah, I'm pretty sure those are all behaviors I'd rather he save for a more.... appreciative audience.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Day!

Top to bottom: wearing Fluco colors and ready!; Leo had to have a backpack, too; on the way to the bus stop; boarding the bus.

idan's first day of Kindergarten was, by all measures, a complete success. Both kids were up well before the alarm went off - the upside is that they got to see Jeff before he left for work; the downside is I had no chance at my morning coffee before their excited shouts and general bounciness demanded my attention. The 45 minutes before we left for the bus stop went by in a blur. I had to coax Aidan to get ready a lot more than I usually do, because he was so excited and therefore so distracted. (If this isn't Jeff reincarnate, I don't know what is.)

We left for the looooong (.7 mile) walk to the bus stop and enjoyed holding hands and looking for birds en route. Leo was content in the stroller, and we arrived in plenty of time. The walking, the waiting for the bus to arrive was very surreal; we'd practiced walking to the bus stop before, pretending to see the bus pull in around the bend, but I always had Aidan's small hand grasped in my own on the return trip. My feet felt heavier with each approaching step.

I don't think it really hit Aidan that he had to board the bus all by himself until he was standing in line, and then a look of real fear overtook his face. That was very hard for me. He was so brave, hopped right on that bus and introduced himself to the driver, then sat down with his buddy Logan. They sat on the far side of the bus, however, so I didn't have a chance to wave as the bus pulled away. It's probably best, though, because by that point I was really struggling to stay composed. As the bus finally made its way to the next stop, both Leo and I burst into tears and sobs. I held him, and neighbors said kind words to me, all knowing what it was like to be in my shoes. I walked home, empty handed.

The hands on the clock creeped by all day long, until finally, finally it was time to pick him up. He hopped off that bus looking taller, prouder, older - and scurried right into my waiting arms for a big hug. When we asked him for the "best and worst" parts of the day, he could only come up with "bests." "I really like it!" he proclaimed.

I'm so grateful to all of the people who helped to make Aidan's first day such a complete success, including our neighbors, my parents, our supportive friends (especially Clancy!) and of course, his teacher, Mrs. Hinkle.

"When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece." John Ruskin

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Heart

Kindergarten readiness - the first scanned image is from May 29, 2009; the second, August 7, 2009.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone

My heart is about to step onto the school bus and make its way to Mrs. Hinkle's kindergarten class, on Wednesday morning. Never has this quote resonated more with me than in these final days leading up to the much-anticipated start of Aidan's official school career. My heart is full of conflict and emotion. I vacillate between periods of elation, seeing how excited Aidan is to begin school, and terror, when I think of the fact that I am essentially leaving him in the care of strangers, all day long, every day, for 180 days. I have complete confidence that Aidan is 100% ready, and that he will soar. And yet, I see his anxiety and nervousness hidden beneath his excitement. I hug that little body close as he sobs over the littlest nothing, exactly the way I act when I am preparing for a huge change. He is my smart, articulate, polite, smiling kindergartner; he is my sensitive, emotional, sometimes fragile little boy. With rare exception (Leo's birth; an overnight church event for youth), he has never spent more than a few hours away from my care; above all, what is hardest for me is how much I will miss him, how I will miss our days together. I am grateful beyond belief for all those days we've shared together - all 1,896 of them.

At the beginning of the summer, I was determined not to let Aidan's preschool progress lapse as the lazy days of summer took over our structured preschool routine. I've included a "before" and "after" sample of his work, and his "kindergarten readiness" speaks for itself. It is my greatest comfort - in those moments I find myself fantasizing about keeping him home, delaying kindergarten and school, pressing the pause button of Time, I simply think of the evidence, of this proof that he is more than ready for his Career as Student. To hold him back would be nothing short of cruel, for his wings are primed and he is ready. To my loyal readers: "She pushed him... and he flew."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pineapple Head

Every time we see a pineapple at the grocery store, Aidan asks about it. Finally, remembering the time when I was his age and begged my mom for a coconut, I bought a "real" pineapple for investigation and enjoyment. Aidan attentively watched each step as I began to cut apart the fruit. When I cut the green top off, it was so cute I couldn't throw it away. Aidan asked why I was saving it, and I said, "Don't you think it's so cute?" He replied, "Yes. It looks just like Grandma's pokey hair!"