Thursday, September 07, 2017

Second Day of School

Much less drama today. We haven't settled into a rhythm yet, but we put the kids on the bus, Andrew went to the train, and I went home--which is basically how our routine will be going forward. Greta was excited about going back to kindergarten. Both girls brought mermaids in Altoids tins to play with on the bus.

They came home happy and talkative. When Greta got off the bus, the first thing she said, in a loud voice, was, "I DREW A PICTURE OF DADDY WITH LONG HAIR AND WEARING A DRESS!!!" Indeed, she did.

They were tired tonight. One more day then they can recuperate a bit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

First Day of School

There's a very specific feeling to the first day of school. Both girls clearly felt it last night; Greta was up a few times during the night, restless, upset. But they were both pretty excited this morning, and they put on their chosen first-day outfits and ate the first-day muffins I baked last night and gamely took first-day pictures on the porch, since it was raining. We went to the bus stop, and Greta followed Lucia onto the bus with nary a backward glance. Andrew cried, as he did when Lucia went to kindergarten.

Then we hustled to school, where things were EVEN MORE INSANE than I'd expected. Some kids and parents were outside, since the rain had stopped; some were inside; and my kids? Nowhere to be found. I left Andrew outside to wait, and I went inside, where the kindergartners were supposed to be lining up in the gym. No Greta. I waited and waited. The room kept filling up with kids, not mine. I tried to look for Lucia; no Lucia. I finally found a volunteer, who happened to be a dad I knew, and I immediately began crying (sobbing) that I couldn't find my kids. It was very dramatic, and unnecessary, and I was ushered to a teacher in charge, who told me that parents crying was exactly what WASN'T needed today, and she had me go into the school office until I calmed down. Yes, I was That Mom, making everything worse. I did pull myself together, and when I walked out of the office, there was Greta, walking into the school, Lucia in front of her. I gave Lucia a fast hug--trusting she knew what to do, which she did--and took Greta and her little kindergarten friend (on the same bus) by the wrists to lead them to their area. Sigh.

Greta was fine.

We lined up finally, and then went to Greta's classroom. Greta had a worried look, and she was quiet, but she drew a picture when asked, and didn't cry when it was time for me to leave.

The rest of the day felt odd and provisionary, as I just wondered and wondered how they were doing at school. I had lunch with some friends. I puttered around at home. Then Andrew and I went to the bus stop to pick them up, and they came off the bus happy and excited, talking over each other about all the fun they'd had that day. Greta made a new friend (but couldn't remember her name). Lucia got a sparkly keychain from the prize box. They loved their egg-salad sandwiches (their choice for first-day lunch, strangely).

Back home, I gave them each an Able Baker cookie shaped/frosted like a pencil, and a pack of Splashlings, with a purple-haired mermaid they'd been wanting. They couldn't have been happier. They played with Splashlings the rest of the afternoon, until bedtime.

Greta faded during dinner--I made macaroni and cheese, one of her favorites, but she barely ate anything. We read some books afterward. She was tired, though. What a big day.

Before dinner, Greta's pre-K teacher called--for Greta. She wanted to talk to her and see how her first day went. I heard Greta saying she'd made a new friend, and colored a picture with lots of different colors. What an amazing teacher. We were so lucky both girls got to have her. She also sent Greta a postcard last week, wishing her luck on her first day and assuring her she'd do great.

And onward! Now we can begin settling into a routine. I feel wiped out by all the build-up to today, and my dramatic meltdown. I don't often cause a public scene...but when I do, it's one to remember.

Greta drew a family picture at school. Notice that she gave herself a cat.

At the bus stop

Worried Greta face, right before I left her classroom. Not upset...but not too thrilled.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Last Day of Summer: Tues., 9/5

So, we're here. The last day of summer vacation. It seems like we've been here forever--today, especially, it just felt like the kids had been home for years instead of months. We had a good day of not doing too much. L&G played outside a little, played with Beanie Boos and Splashlings a little, read with me a little. I made them mermaid homes from Altoid tins. We started a new book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. They wanted to go to a playground, so we did, and I was reminded of how much I hate going to playgrounds. After dinner (tacos), we went out for ice cream.

Lucia is excited for school to start, though she says she'll miss me. Greta, today, has begun saying she's scared, but I get the feeling she's saying it because I keep asking her if she is. I myself am mired in an unholy mix of anxiety and melancholy, feelings that I'm channeling by continuing to organize every last cranny of my house and getting a jump on the girls' birthday shopping.

We started the day with Greta snuggling with us in bed. Then she brought up a stuffed animal we'd seen last week at H&M, which of course I'd said she couldn't buy and assumed she'd just forget about. Being Greta, she hadn't forgotten about it, and instead had become fixated on how it was going to be Wee's daughter-bunny, and how sad Wee was that we didn't have it, and how she was sure someone was going to buy it and it'd be gone forever. She worked herself up into such a state that she was sobbing on the couch. Not sobbing because she was begging--sobbing because she was genuinely mourning the loss of this animal, because she already saw it as part of her beloved stuffed-animal family of Pot Belly, Wee, and Ginger. Of course I also have a soft spot for stuffed animals, and started figuring out how I could get to the mall today to find it, but I couldn't go anywhere because Andrew had taken our smashed-up car to the insurance adjuster. THANK GOODNESS for the internet because I found it at H&M online and ordered two. Done and done. I told Greta it'll be here for her birthday, but I'm sure I'll find a reason to give it to her earlier because, you know, Wee was so sad.

I suppose you could say I also channeled some of my back-to-school anxiety by engaging in that little exchange above.

Tomorrow will be a big day. The weather's supposed to be terrible, which means the already chaotic first day will be even more chaotic, with kids lining up all over the school. I'd counted on Lucia escorting Greta to where she needed to be, but now they'll be separated when they get off the bus. My five-year-old, who wants to be a deer's mommy and live in the woods, is going to be swept into a sea of people the likes of which you can imagine only if you've been to our annual elementary school Art & Music Show.

It's been a lovely summer. I'm sorry to see it end.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Summer: Sat., 9/2 - Mon., 9/4

Sat., 9/2

It was one of those perfect NH days. The weather was beautiful and fall-like--we had the heat on in the house, and we needed jeans and sweaters outside. We played outside for the morning, tramping through the wet grass and hanging out by the pond. It was too cold for swimming or using our boats, sadly. Lucia gamely went out in a boat for a minute, but her hands got too cold as she tried to paddle around. We saw lots of frogs, fish, and salamanders.

After lunch, we went to Riverview Farm with the intention of picking apples--and were so excited to see that they still had an abundant crop of blueberries. L&G were thrilled; we hadn't managed to pick blueberries all summer. We got our buckets and rode in a horse-drawn cart to the blueberry area. The driver of the horsecart turned out to be a farmer who grew hay on our land for many years--he's Andrew's farmer-idol, so Andrew was particularly happy when the farmer shook his hand and introduced us to his wife.

L&G love picking all kinds of fruit, but they especially love picking blueberries, and by letting them each pick almost a full bucket we ended up with 19 pounds of blueberries. No matter. We always freeze them, and then I can use them for muffins and other baking throughout the year.

After that, we also picked a big bag of apples. Then the kids ate an apple, Andrew had some cider, and we headed home.

L&G played outside the rest of the day, and for dinner we had steak (L&G had pasta). What a great day. We relished every moment of it, knowing the next day would be rainy from start to finish.

Sun., 9/3

It rained from morning till night. No stop. Andrew and the kids took a rainy hike in the morning, thrilling because they found a red salamander and some weird dried mushrooms that emitted some kind of 'smoke' when they stepped on them. We read books on the couch, and then I channeled Ma Ingalls and did some mending while Andrew and the girls played Chutes and Ladders. What was I mending, you ask? Pot Belly, to start with. The gash on his face had gotten more and more gruesome, and his stuffing was everywhere. I also mended holes in a couple of sweaters, and holes in the girls' fleece mermaid tales. I fixed a button loop on a dress for Greta.

After lunch, we went shopping at Walmart for some final school supplies. L&G were excited to buy new PJs as well as stretchy hairbands like Molly had at the beach. That was about it. We had leftovers for dinner. William and Nelly came over for a visit after the kids went to bed.

Mon., 9/4

The final day of our last summer trip. We went outside for a while in the morning, much to Lucia's dismay; she just wanted to keep playing with her Splashlings on the stairs, which she did. Greta and I found two dead frogs and a dead snake on the road, as well as a cute tree frog by the pond, and lots of other regular frogs swimming around in the water. Greta picked a few final wildflowers. We packed up the car. After a late lunch at Pizza Chef, we headed home.

On the way, Greta exclaimed, "I just saw a meadow I want to be in!" My little meadow girl. We also saw some deer by the highway, and Greta declared she wants to live in the woods and take care of deer. Everything seems so cute and heartbreaking today because she goes to kindergarten the day after tomorrow. *sob*

It was our last summer visit to NH, but we'll be back a few more times before we close the house. No one wanted to leave. It's a place of happiness and peace.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Summer: Fri., 9/1

Today started off dramatically, when we were rear-ended on the Saw Mill Parkway, where we then sat for an hour after calling 911 while the cops filled out an accident report. The car that hit us was totally at fault, and the driver was unlicensed, and they were possibly not even documented citizens, and the whole thing was upsetting not just because our year-old Volvo had the bumper smashed up but because after some friendly chit-chat with the cops we eventually just continued driving on to NH while the others had to have their car towed and face who knows what further punishments. It was all very very unfortunate. Facing our privilege and all that. No one was physically hurt, at least.

We did finally make it to NH, and it's true fall up here--it was in the low sixties when we arrived. We ate dinner outside, but we were all pretty chilly. The heat is on in the house. Summer disappeared overnight.

A funny Greta-ism to turn conteract the unhappy car-accident news: Now, before bed each night, we have an elaborate goodnight-saying ritual with Pot Belly, Wee (her lamb), and Ginger (her gingerbread man). Each of them hugs and kisses me in turn, and each announces that they love me "From the moon to the dirt." It's so utterly unpoetic but so adorable. And I, of course, have to declare my love for the animals and then for Greta, from the moon to the dirt.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer: Thurs., 8/31

These summer posts are winding down. But it makes me happy to have this record of our days--I should challenge myself to do daily fall blog-journalings as well.

Today was fine, but I'm on edge--the big transition to school is overwhelming, with so many details to get in place, and I begin to fixate on less-than-urgent things that have sent me to Target about four times this week. I'm done. I can't shop anymore. Target and I need a break. I feel this way two times a year: after back-to-school shopping, and after Christmas shopping. Like if I have to go back into that store I'm going to have some kind of suburban meltdown. I'm not sure what that would involve (maybe some overturned bins of unreasonably early Halloween decorations?), but I know it'd be epic.

Lucia had a birthday pool party to go to this afternoon, and she had lots of fun seeing some of her friends. Greta and I went to Target (blech!!!) and then ate cookies and read books. L&G had a calm day at home after the party, just playing and reading books with me. We played Uno. I had them pack their backpacks for our NH trip tomorrow.

And I grew increasingly tired and frustrated as they discovered new and creative ways to make giant messes. That's the downside to the days at home: the messes are just...indescribable. It's not the volume of stuff that comes out--that's alright. It's when L&G begin packing bags with things, resulting in a deranged soup of stones, Shopkins, plastic gems, necklaces, headbands, Num Noms, Splashlings, socks, dress-up clothes, and on and on. Last week, they put all of their socks and tights in their Hello Kitty suitcases, often walking around the house in two or more pairs of socks, or putting socks on their hands or stuffed animals. We still haven't sorted that all out. Today, they put things INTO their socks--stuffed their socks with scraps of material, or scarves, or what have you. It truly pushed me over the edge, and at that point--unstuffing stuff from socks when my energy level had plateaued for the day--I was ready for school to start. It's time.

I took a big step with my photo book project tonight--I ordered four volumes of Snapfish photo books, encompassing 2009 through 2013. I've been working on these for months, slowly, and was able to take advantage of a huge Snapfish sale. Progress. I have three Chatbooks I made for 2014, 2015, and 2016, so my efforts have brought me more or less in line with where I'd hoped to be when I made this resolution.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer: Wed., 8/30

We're leaving Friday morning for NH for the weekend, and school starts next Wednesday, so we did lots of last summer things today. First, we went to the zoo. We ran into friends there, which was fun. Zoo train, hyenas, butterflies, carousel, prairie dogs, sting rays. After lunch, we went to the library for a final round of summer books; I need to find something new to get excited about, now that the Doll People books are finished. Then it was on to the pool for one final swim. We didn't stay long--the water was too cold--but it was really just to have a chance to say goodbye. Next year they'll be even better swimmers, and it will be even more fun. This was the best year yet for sure.

Then I dragged them to Stop N Shop and was suddenly less mournful about summer being over, because I realized that--come next week--I won't have two silly appendages with me as I try to run necessary errands. I can just...hop out to the store. Easy, breezy. Just me and my shopping list. No one to herd and manage. That will be mighty, mighty nice.

We read lots of books together on the couch--I'd pulled out all the picture books about going to school, or that are set in a school. Rediscovering some old favorites.

I let them watch three Elenas tonight while I made Trader Joe's pot stickers and egg roll bowls for dinner--basically the insides of an egg roll, in a bowl. Pretty delicious. But it involved lots of vegetable chopping, hence the extra shows. Greta, contrary to last night's showdown, ate it without complaint. Lucia gave it a more tepid response.