Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tell me about your day.

We are a week into Kindergarten, and were fortunate enough to find a preschool (finally!) that is lovely, clean, kind, convenient, and available!  The brunette was so very very very happy to hear that she really truly was going to school - it had been up in the air until the very last minute, and it made my heart ache to watch her sad little face while big sister prepared for school and she did not.  But here we are, praise the Lord, she got to start her first day of preschool this Monday.  She was bright and cheerful and didn't let on if she was feeling any jitters, while I, on the other hand, was throwing up in my mouth.  The first day of Kindergarten didn't rattle me nearly as much as this did.  I think I knew that the blonde had been to school before and wouldn't have a problem being away from home or anything, and while Kindergarten would be much different, we had had plenty of time to prepare for it - but preschool is kind of optional, and I had almost resigned myself to the brunette not being able to go, so changing gears threw me for a loop!  Preschool drop off went very smoothly, no tears, only smiles, and she even remembered the name of the teacher we had met on our tour, and aside from the fact that my husband was upset that she went to school in clunky rain boots (which we got a lot of good feedback on - "what cute boots!", by the way...), it went off without a hitch!  It was odd, and yet quite enjoyable, to scoot around town with just one little smiley two year old.  We ran all sorts of errands, and the baby was just a chatting, charming little thing!  She nibbled goldfish crackers and made small talk with old folks, and was just generally pleasant company.  It was so great, any time I get to spend with just one child at a time is so precious, they are completely different little people when they don't have to compete for attention, space, input, the rights to the Jasmine figurine that rolls around the floor of the car - it was just great.  It was equally thrilling to pick up the brunette from school and see a happy, cheeky face going on and on about Shirley in her class (really?  Shirley?), learning about the letter F, sharing princess books, making chicken Marsala (say what?), and a myriad of other way cool preschool things, many of which she later retracted and confessed to being made up, so I guess I really have no idea what she did at preschool all day.  Whether the events of the day were true or not, her attitude was one of genuine happiness, and I'll take that any day of the week.  Later, after moving through the surprisingly efficient pick up loop at the elementary school, a sad faced blondie climbed into the car with a heavy sigh.  Not a good day at Kindergarten.  I know not every day will be awesome, but it doesn't make it any easier when one of my babies has a bad one.  Kisses and hugs and reassurance and an under the table chocolate from my secret stash were all in order, and thankfully, she perked up, and was still looking forward to trying again tomorrow.  The best part of the whole day was listening at dinner to all of the girls asking and telling each other about their day - it was, now that I think about it, the first time in a long time that all three of them had been doing different things for the day.  It was so amazing to hear them take a real interest in each other's day, asking questions, giving praise to each other, comforting each other, just talking and caring about what is happening in their sisters' lives.  My husband and I said very little, and just listened - how could we interrupt such a beautiful little exchange?  It was just so... hard to put into words, just a good moment to be a parent.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A change.

My baby starts Kindergarten next week.  So far, her behavior has made it easy for me to not be an emotional wreck.  ("Is time for you to go to school yet?")  And yet...she's my baby.  My very first little precious tiny, wispy haired, round eyed baby girl.  The first person in the whole world to call me "Mama".  I tell her that all the time, that she got to call me Mama before any one else ever did, and I think, that even though she acts crazy and burps in my face, that is a special thing to her.  She is such an interesting person to love - she has an odd and witty and surprising sense of humor, and is so smart and clever, and charming and weird all at the same time.  She is so different from her sisters.  The world is her plaything; everything is a prop or a character or an inspiration for some complex and wonderful imaginary scene she participates in, and while it takes convincing to get her to participate in the daily grind, she does it with flair and attitude, which can be both frustrating, and delightfully entertaining.  I briefly considered homeschooling, but this child cannot be contained, and this Mama does not have enough water in the world to quench the thirst she has for learning and doing and trying and making and meeting and growing.  So, I send her out.  She'll be fine.  She's ready.  She's capable.  She's excited.  Although, I think school supply shopping was a bit of a let down for her.  Four boxes of crayons, some glue sticks, and a box of tissues just doesn't really let her express her "style".  But she's excited anyways.  And she reminds me.  That school is starting, that she is big now, that she can do things herself, that she might save her green blanket for watching movies and not keep it in her bed anymore.  She is so lovely and goofy and everything she should be, and I will miss her while she's at school, but that just means it will be exciting to pick her up.  My mom told me once that she always remembered my brothers and I as different sets of children - the kids as babies, the kids in school, the kids as teenagers - and it is a perfect way to explain how I am feeling about Kindergarten.  I am realizing my little baby blondie is gone, but here in her place is this new child that I already know so affectionately, but have so much to get to know and learn about.  My sweet girl.  My first big kid. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bon appetit.

My children are not great sleepers.  The blonde was the fussiest sleeper in the history of the world (look it up), and the other two girls were not a whole lot easier, except for the fact that they were able to sleep in their beds and not in my arms in a recliner at three in the morning.  Finally.  Anyways, my point is that in exchange for poor naps and almost never making it through the night without someone getting up, I have been wonderfully blessed with excellent eaters.  From the very beginning, all three girls have at least been willing to try, and often enjoyed, many different types of food.  I think part of it is that I was either too absentminded to buy enough baby food, or too lazy to make some, so more often than not, I just smashed up whatever we were eating and gave it to the kids.  Of course I made sure it was something they could actually eat (I'm not going to give a baby hot wings, but don't ask my husband the same question - have you ever seen a baby eat wasabi?  They don't like it.  And neither do their mothers.), but I wasn't one to deny anything if they seemed interested in it.  As a result, the girls are both hearty, and enthusiastic eaters, and often, they are best behaved at restaurants because, well, they are eating.  (The shoe store is another story, but I'm not ready to talk about that yet.)  The blonde is perhaps the most adventurous.  While the other girls will try what is offered, the blonde is forever seeking the "alternate menu".  On many occasions, she has ordered for herself from the appetizers because "she's in the mood for frog's legs".  Um, ew, I don't even eat frog's legs - they still look like frog's legs!  Her obsession with food has even moved into her leisure time - Bizarre Foods trumps My Little Pony's for air time, and has inspired her to hope to try fried iguana if she ever makes it to Barbados.  She even reads cook books on the side.  We have one called "500 Cupcakes", and you can bet she doesn't miss a page.  This book stays in the back of our car and gets read aloud anytime we go anywhere.  "This one is an oatmeal raisin cupcake, with vanilla frosting and cinnamon sprinkled on top.  This one is a key lime cupcake with whipped cream and a slice of lime on top.  This one..."  As interesting as it is to hear about 500 cupcakes every time we go anywhere, it is not nearly as interesting as when the three of them begin to improvise recipes.  "This one is a chocolate cupcake, but I think it would be better if you cut it in half and filled it with jello and sprinkles, and then put it back together and covered it with cream cheese frosting and put jello cut in the shape of a star on top, and then sprinkled some cinnamon on top, and then brought it to the pool for a pool party."  And the brunette adds, "Or, what if, you made a majana cupcake, and put some cherries inside, and then took the majana, majana is like bread, and then covered it with cherry flavored whipped cream, and them dipped it in gombooli, and then ate it at school."  Hmm, sounds exotic.  The baby, not to be left out, contributes her own recipe, "What if, you make, and then, and banilla, and top, and eat at school!"  A mysterious treat.  These little conversations start innocently enough, but the longer the car ride, the weirder the ingredients - I'm talking grass and wolf meat.  Where can you even get wolf meat?  Aren't they endangered?  Would these be black market cupcakes?  Their cooking creativity is, well, very creative, and while I'll never take for granted that they all share both an interest and enthusiasm for trying new foods, we might put off cooking school...for now.  Maybe wolf meat will be more readily available in twenty years.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vacation's all I ever wanted...

We have been very busy lately.  We moved (to a house! hooray!), took a trip out to Colorado, and brought some cousins back with us for a visit here in Florida.  Needless to say, there has been a lot going on.  Our moving timeline was not as smooth as we had hoped for (we literally closed on the house the night before our Colorado trip!), so by the time it was all wrapping up, I was ready for the trip out to visit family, which translates to me reading magazines on my mom's couch while the girls coerce my parents into feeding them cookies and blowing bubbles.  (There is just something about being around another responsible adult who loves your children that gives you permission to check out and ignore the commotion for a while - thanks ma.)  We had lots of fun, saw lots of family, had a bridal shower for my sister in law, played with some old friends, drank home made root beer and had an all around lovely visit.  After a week and a half, it was time for us to go back to Florida (my husband was here all alone, probably just drinking beer and eating pizza every night...lucky), but we had a nice little treat for the trip back - my cousins, who are 17 and 9, got to come with us!  Hooray!  Free help!  I mean, how exciting for them to have a nice relaxing trip ahead!  It was a pretty big deal, the big girls don't get to travel much, and my little girls were super excited to entertain them in our new house.  My Aunt, although equally excited, was also perhaps a bit apprehensive about sending her babies 2000 miles away.  I reassured her that we have traveling down to a science (we have gained some good experience over the last year of going between Florida and Colorado, and the girls know the routine - there is no funny business at the airport), but, understandably, she wanted to go through the airport with us to send the big girls off.  Now, we don't mess around at the airport.  There is a system, and the system works very well.  Baby in the stroller, the blonde and the brunette each get a small backpack and hold on to one side of the stroller, I have my back pack, and we walk quickly, and we don't talk.  This is the system.  Unfortunately, probably because I had failed to make sure our new travelling companions were aware of it, my Aunt did not know about the system.  In line to check bags, she lovingly asked the girls about their visit, tried to hold their hands, offered to help, but to no avail.  The girls were in airport mode, and both ignored and resisted her advances of affection and disruption.  It was awesome for me - the system is chink proof! - but, I feel bad for my Aunt (they really do love you and want to hold your hand, just not at the airport).  When we made it to the gate, they did finally give her a hug and say goodbye, so hopefully the good squeezes made up for the cold shoulders.  The flight was lovely (as lovely as a flight could be), and everyone had a really great week showing off toys, swimming in our new pool (oh, I didn't mention it before?  Yeah, we have a pool now, no big deal), taking a day out at the beach, and generally smothering the visiting big girls.  It was great, and I think my Aunt will be pleased with her choice to let the big girls come out for a visit, because I am pretty sure all the hollering and pants peeing and crying and needing of attention that my little girls shared with her big girls was like a giant gift of free birth control.  Abstinence!  We were sad to see them go (my girls are already asking when they get to come back), but it is nice to take a breath now and do some normal stuff before school starts (kindergarten!).  Lazy summers?  A thing of fiction.