Sunday, September 9, 2012

Is that sunshine?

It IS sunshine. Seems most mornings bring clouds, but today it's sunny and bright and cool. And still humid of course. Maryland seems to be one of those places where you can be both cold and sweaty at the same time.

It's Sunday, and I'm trying to decide whether to go running or wait until tomorrow. Probably I should wait. I'm at a point where exercising more than two days in a row puts my body at risk for total break down. But it's still tempting to go when I see the sunshine out there. On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to have pancakes for breakfast?

Another week of school has come and gone, and I think we're finding a rhythm for those weekdays. I wasn't sure how I'd like the daily grind of drop off and pick up, but I think it suits us just fine. It gets Isaac and me out the door and either to the gym or the grocery store or whatever errand needs our attention. And in the afternoon we try to arrive early so Isaac can run around in the playground a bit and dissipate some of that energy. I also like seeing the teacher each day, if only to say hello or goodbye. I'm hoping to get the chance to help out in the classroom a bit. It's hard to get the "news" from Anna at the end of the day, since of course she's only five, so helping out is the next best thing. I also considered joining the PTA, but I'm foregoing that for now. I have a tendency to put too much on my plate, which makes me overly busy and crabby with the kids. So I'm trying to keep things mellow.

As for the weekends, they continue to be a challenge. It's not just the reduced structure, since we actually have a bit of a weekend routine going. Our kids just can't play alone for any significant period, and it continues to drive Jon nuts (because he gets the brunt of it on weekends). I sound like a broken record, so I'll stop complaining about that now.
And to be fair, yesterday seemed to turn out well for everyone. After a visit to the gym, we trekked out to a museum with lots of tanks and huge artillery guns. As we walked around you could see Isaac's thoughts written on his face: "Every event in my life has led up to this moment. I am now a boy fulfilled." Particular favorites were a vehicle made up entirely of wheels and a giant gun, as well as big... missile launcher? His thoughts on the latter, spoken in quiet awe: "That is the longest gun in the world. That gun can touch the sky."
For Anna, the highlight was likely a small beach we found. She collected some shells and saw the water. And we came across a dead crab which obviously needed some investigation. I was impressed that she offered up some information about the tides. Knowledge gleaned from "Busytown" apparently. Isaac just wanted to continue man's quest to throw all the rocks back into the water. He made some headway.

Later that afternoon, during a rainstorm, Jon took the kids outside where they frolicked in the down pour and got wonderfully soaked. The rain isn't cold here, which is always surprising.
And after all of THAT, the kiddos actually played by themselves for about 40 minutes. This was Mommy's highlight of the day. I took the time to work on a photo book detailing our move - places and people we said goodbye to, the drive here, and a bit about our new home.

Never mind that none of this was sufficient to use up their energy, and never mind that this led to a 9 p.m. rave/NASCAR-style race around the upstairs. Never mind that no one got to bed until way too late, and as a result mommy got up too late to go running. Because pancakes are yummy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Here we go

Anna has a few days of kindergarten under her belt, and with the long weekend here I have some time to reflect on it. Honestly, I hadn't given this new beginning much thought until the night before she started. Then the magnitude hit me and I felt a combination of ... trepidation? angst? annoyance? fear? Something negative and nebulous, anyway.

Her meltdowns after the first day didn't calm my fears. I envisioned a future where the fuss wasn't lessened by a day at school, but rather compacted and unwrapped upon the return home. The biggest trigger was that Isaac had watched a TV show while she was gone. Oh, the horror! The unfairness! In fact, the next morning Anna reminded me that Isaac should not watch any TV while she was gone. As it happens, she has watched "shows" each day while at school so Isaac's media habits have not concerned her. [Aside: I'm a little surprised at the quality of some of the programs Anna tells me about. Of course, I'm getting this second hand. And I remind myself that if I were stuck in a room with that many 5 year olds for a whole day, they'd be probably be consuming a lot more media.]

So why my trepidation? Jon couldn't understand why I wasn't jumping for joy. He had a point. It's obvious Anna need a challenge. She's bored and lonely. She wants to learn, but refuses to be taught by her parents.
Yes, but....
First, this is not a school I researched and chose. Primarily, it is not the Colorado school I so lovingly researched and applied for and that she was accepted to. Admittedly, some sour grapes there. But also, this school district didn't hit my radar when we were looking at houses. I didn't consider it an option until the day before we chose the house. It's a relative unknown.
The other negative is that the program is full day. That's a big change for someone accustomed to 2.5 hours of preschool 3 days a week. It also means that we have less flexible time. Honestly, that's probably the crux of it. I'm not ready to hand my daughter over to the school system in such a big way. I still want her with me so we can go out or stay home, bake cookies or take a class, swim or find an orchard. There's so much to do outside the classroom.

The good news is that Anna seems to be enjoying kindergarten. Or at least, not disliking it. It's hard to get a read on things from a 5 year old, but she doesn't complain when we leave the house in the morning. In fact, she gets a kick out of having the same "work" schedule as Daddy. She's also getting some exercise during recess (provided it isn't oppressively hot) and can focus on eating her lunch in the busy cafeteria. I haven't heard about much drama with classmates, and I continue my prayer that she finds a close friend. We also like her teacher, the classroom itself, and the fact that they have specials like gym, art, and music.
What does surprise me is that Anna is not tired after school. I was going to hold off on extra-curriculars until later in the semester, but it seems she needs something sooner than later. She still struggles with going to sleep, so we're going to do something active like swim lessons. Maybe we can dabble in some local exploration, after all.