September 14, 2014

The medal

Last spring, A announced that she wanted to "run a running race," and she wanted me to do it with her. I found a local 3K race, and run we did (minus a brief pit stop that involved a good deal of shouting). But what we didn't do that day was win a medal, and it turned out that had been an important part of A's running race vision. I've been on the hunt for a kid-friendly race with medals at the finish line, and not long ago I found one in downtown DC.

On Saturday morning, A and I left the boys at home and took the Metro downtown on a gloomy, gray day. Originally the plan was for me to run a 5K before A's kids' run, but plans changed for a variety of reasons, and I'm glad they did, because the focus was completely on A and that was so good for her.

The starting line was more chaotic than I'd expected, and nothing makes me anxious like the thought of losing one of my kids in a crowd. I waited with A until her group was called to the starting line, and then I ran - down the sidewalk in the hopes of beating her to the finish line. I stopped just once, hoping to catch a glimpse of my girl, and I did.

The entrance to the finish line was blocked with strollers and runners and parents, and I didn't make it through the crowd until just after A crossed the finish line. I was sad to miss her finishing the race, but I was so glad to see her finally get her medal.

The last three weeks have been a race of a different sort for A - mastering the kindergarten routine, navigating a full day with more structure than preschool, everything new and different in one go. And though she's far from the end of school year finish line, she's off and running, making new friends, reading new words every day, counting higher than ever before.

And while there's no medal for those things, they're worth celebrating too. So proud of our fast, determined girl...who's already ready to win her next medal.

September 11, 2014

Catch the Moment 365: Week 37

Another week of firsts here...this time it was D's turn for school. We are slowly settling into the new normal for everyone, and it's taking longer than I'd expected. I assumed the start of elementary school would mean D would be on his own schedule, and he's not...wake ups and the end of naps are dictated by his sister's bus, and that's not been easy. A is in her third week of kindergarten, and while she likes it it's still new and very much an adjustment for her (and us).

247/365: D checked out his classroom for the first time on Friday!

248/365: A was delighted to find a Girl Scouts table at the farmers market

249/365: It's the end of an era here - our baby gate is gone for good now. 
Wonder how long it will take for that line in the carpet to disappear?

250/365: What do you do when you get new rain boots on a sunny day? 
Put a doll in your boot and pose your arms to match hers.

251/365: D's first day of preschool! 

252/365: We went to a local children's play space and he couldn't get enough of the grocery store. 

253/365: D's first day of preschool on his own was a big success! I used my first solitary morning to exercise, and it was a great distraction to keep me from missing my littlest buddy.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and 

September 10, 2014

One more first day

Two weeks ago, A started kindergarten. And every morning for two weeks, D has asked if he could go to kindergarten and ride the bus too.

Yesterday, our boy finally got his turn for school. There's no bus, but he was happy to head off to school just the same.

D is at the same preschool he went to last year - but unlike last year, this isn't a parent-child class, so most days he'll be on his own in the classroom. Because it's a co-op preschool I'll be in class with him every few weeks (and as the maker of his class' co-op schedule I may have scheduled myself to co-op on the very first day), but most weeks he'll be on his own two mornings a week. And just as it's still feeling strange to drop off at the bus stop each morning instead of at the door of her classroom, it's hard for me to picture dropping my little boy off and not pulling up a tiny chair next to him. The last time I dropped him off somewhere during the day, he was a six month old baby in daycare with his sister.

At the end of last year, D's teacher encouraged each of us parents to take turns leaving the classroom...first for just a minute or two, then for longer stretches to help get our children ready for school on their own this year. D was always fine, and he hardly seemed to notice I was gone. He's a sweet, chatty boy who very much enjoyed spending Tuesday morning with his new little classmates, and I'm certain he will have fun. But selfishly, I know I'll miss my funny little buddy when I drive off without him tomorrow morning.

Here's to your new adventure, little boy - can't wait to hear all about it! 

September 4, 2014

Catch the Moment 365: Week 36

A is in her second week of kindergarten and D is in his last week of summer vacation before preschool starts...we are slowly inching towards this fall's version of normal. The long weekend was a fantastic break after A's first week of elementary school. She needed the rest and we needed time with our girl!

 240/365: One last batch of jam before the summer berries are gone...this time, raspberry. 

241/365: This is our girl pretty much every Saturday morning, baguettes from her favorite bakery stand at the farmers market in hand. 

242/365: I picked you a pepper!

243/365: On Monday I took A out to lunch and a movie...she talked so much at lunch she barely ate. I've missed this chatty girl's voice around the house!

244/365: Homework is definitely not A's favorite part of kindergarten. She doesn't have much but...getting used to having it at all is going to take some time.

245/365: Time to paint!

246/365: Making his own ride on toy.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and 

September 3, 2014


We're in a funny not-quite-new-normal-but-almost period here with A on her second week of kindergarten and D still waiting for preschool to begin next week.

My husband leaves the house before the kids are awake, and we say a sleepy goodbye over coffee before the sun is fully up. I revel in a bit of quiet before the kids are awake, and on a good day I convince everyone to eat something for breakfast before we put on our shoes and walk across the street to the bus stop. Every morning D and I wave goodbye until the bus drives away with our girl inside, nose pressed to the window when it's her turn for the window seat.

And then...we're on our own, my boy and I, until the bus comes back in the afternoon. The last time we were on our own during the day was during my maternity leave, and we spent many glorious hours napping in different parts of the house. But my boy is no longer a sleepy newborn, so this time around we're filling our hours with fun designed to take his mind off big sister going to school without him. Last week we did something fun every single day: a trip to the library, lunch out with daddy, berry picking, fancy breakfast. We poured all of the Duplos out across the living room floor and D shared none of them. It's been fun to see what our chatty boy wants to do on his own, and we both look forward to meeting A's bus every afternoon.

This morning D asked to take the Metro downtown to the Building Museum, a favorite place for both kids. I said yes...and then A heard, and suddenly I felt bad. She hadn't asked to go, but it's a place she likes, and I felt bad leaving her out. I talked D into a trip to the craft store for painting supplies, which he liked very much...but I felt guilty for talking him out of his original request.

On the one hand, A had two and a half years of solo adventures, so it's only fair for D to have some fun on his own now. On the other hand, it seems so odd to head out with just one child, and it's so different to be with D alone in places we usually visit with A.

Balancing what's fair is tough when brother and sister are on such separate paths these days. I'm hoping it will feel less like I'm sneaking off without my big girl as the months go on, but for now I'll make it up to my boy with a ride on the Metro tomorrow.

August 28, 2014

The opposite of preschool

A has been in kindergarten for four days now, and though we get a bit more information from her each day it still feels funny to know so little about her day.

Strange as it may seem, we knew the most about her time out of the house when she was a baby in daycare. The daycare workers kept meticulous notes on each child's day, and little A came home with a sheet detailing every nap, bottle and diaper, with extra notes on her mood and the activities they'd done that day. In preschool, we got weekly notes on classroom activities, and because both preschools were co-ops, we got to be in the classroom by A's side a few times a month.

On the first day of kindergarten, A came home with a red laminated folder. Tucked in the pocket was a schedule for the week, a bullet point or two for each day of the week that we've used to prompt A when details about her day have been slow to come.

A runs for the bus every morning with a smile on her race, and she bounds off each afternoon with a happy face. We hear a lot about the bus, and about the special events of the day. A's class has been to PF (or PE as the schedule calls it), art class, music class and the library. They went on a tour of the school and saw the nurse's office. There is play time at the very end of the day. What we don't hear much about is he time in the classroom...what is she doing for all those hours away from home?

This afternoon A came home and lay down on the couch, head hanging off the seat and legs sticking up over the back. "There are too many rules in kindergarten," she said with a frown. I followed her up to her room, where she put me to work setting up a very fancy tea party in her dollhouse. "Kindergarten is lots of work and a little bit of playing," she told me as we dressed dolls and arranged furniture. "It's the opposite of preschool."

I think that might be the most accurate description of her days we've gotten so far.

Catch the Moment 365: Week 35

This week was a very, very big week in our house - A started kindergarten! It's a new beginning and a huge adventure for our girl, and it's been so good to have her come home smiling every day this week. Smiling and exhausted, to be accurate. The house is quiet without her, and I've been working hard to keep D's days filled so he doesn't miss his sister too much.

233/365: A spent her last week of summer at theatre camp, and on the last day friends and family were invited for a little performance. Not only did the kids help "write" their own show, they drew their own backdrop - A made the princess at the top!

234/365: It poured while we were at the farmers market and the kids wanted to jump in puddles after we ate breakfast...I really need to buy them rain boots!

235/365: A quiet morning on the last day before the school year started.

236/365: Kindergarten, here she comes!

237/365: Though he misses his sister very much (and is VERY angry that he doesn't get to ride the school bus with her), D is quickly discovering one advantage to being the only kid in the house during the day: all the toys are his to enjoy!

238/365: A used to do this as a toddler, and I loved seeing D get into her old "hiding" place.

239/365: Another day, another sea of bricks.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and