Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Seven years ago today when I first met this guy, I could not have imagined the yellow-belt-wearing, pokemon-card-loving, chapter-book-reading, song-and-story-writing, Minecraft-and-Sims-addicted little Renaissance man that he would become at age 7. I am so proud to be his mother and I cherish this age when he still wants me to crawl under a blanket and snuggle him on the couch or sit at the dining room table and play endless rounds of Old Maid with him or listen from the front seat as he tells me about the Lego robot he built or the spelling test he aced today in school. He surprises me every day, but the thing that surprises me more than anything is that I could love another human this much. Happy Birthday Sam! I love you beyond space!
A look back:
Friday, December 12, 2014
As we race across the black asphalt to the school doors, Eva turns around and looks up at me. "I'm so excited, Mommy," she says. "You're coming to my show today." In the car she told me that some kids would be wearing stars but she'd be wearing a hat and Harmony would have bells. Eva's little purple shoes slide on the ice and she makes a happy "Whoooooooaaaa" sound as she catches her balance and then begins skipping. Bubbly and excited and full of energy. Climbing the stairs towards her classroom she doesn't seem to notice that every girl in the hallway is decked out in some bright red taffeta skirt and white tights and patent leather shoes. A threesome I don't recognize twirls for each other in front of the office door, but Eva just skips past them in her red reindeer shirt that is probably already a size too small and the jeans she got from Aunt Judy over Thanksgiving. Earlier I tried to talk her in to dressier black pants with white polka dots, but she insisted that she loved these pants from Aunt Judy the best. What Eva wears when we leave the house is not one of the battles I've decided to tackle.
At Mrs. Norton's classroom we are greeted by Stella and "the dad." Most mornings we guess who will be there with Stella, "the mom or the dad," and even though Becky and Ryan are our friends, at pre-school drop off we call them "the mom" and "the dad." Eva turns for her "kiss-and-a-hug" and then I walk away as she says hi to Mrs. Murray. In the halls are more girls in frilly silvery holiday dresses, and I pass Harmony on her way up the stairs.
"I'm in so much trouble," I say to Jamie. "Every girl here is in a frilly dress. I didn't know." Harmony's very proud of her full dark red skirt with black lace. Her big sister dressed up for a choir concert a few nights ago and Harmony could not wait to be girly too.
"I might have one at home if you need something," Jamie says, and I tell her I think Eva will be fine. I'll think about it.
But as I get in the car I start to cry, and I'm not sure why. Is it because even at 4 my little girl is already going to start getting the message that looks are important, that what she wears will be studied and scrutinized and compared? Is it because my little girl is growing up and entering the world where other mean girls might hurt her? Is it because I feel like an epic failure of a mother because I didn't think that a pre-school singalong warranted purchasing an ensemble that included patent leather shoes that will never be worn anywhere else?
At the office I do the thing I do now when I'm troubled and torn... reach out to my community of facebookers, friends who will give it to me straight and tell me what I should do, whether or not I will actually listen to them. Most people seem to say Eva will be fine. She's strong and independent and she has a mind of her own. But put a dress in your bag just in case when you go back for the singalong.
So I have the dress (minus the patent leather shoes) in my bag and my camera in my hand as the show starts. But the dress is not needed. My brilliant little angel with a white hat that is supposed to turn her into a dove walks in to the church and points her reindeer-covered belly at me and smiles while she sings from the front row. And when we go to the basement for cookie decorating, she slurps up frosting and Mike & Ikes and runs circles around me as she seeks out all her friends. And only then do I notice how many other little girls are in leggings and long-sleeved t-shirts and how many other mothers look exhausted but happy to spend a little extra time with their little girls who will be growing up way too fast.
Monday, November 3, 2014
A week ago I started texting my new neighbors to find out how things work in our neighborhood. Our old neighborhood was mostly flat terrain with homes spread wide apart on large lots, and many of the families loaded their kids into minivans or SUVs and chauffeured their children from house to house while our family walked the streets (mostly alone) with a wagon, experiencing just enough of the spooky dark and the chill in the air to make me feel like we were doing Halloween the way it was supposed to be done. We would head out just as the designated hours started and watch for porch lights and hit almost every house. But after searching the local papers and coming up empty handed on any sort of designated trick-or-treat hours for our new neighborhood, I checked with the neighbors and decided we didn't need to go anywhere else, there would be plenty of candy and Halloween spook within walking distance of our house.
In the car on the way home from the Y Sam was dressed in his skeleton from last year, and he talked about wanting to wear it under his Minecraft costume when we got home. Eva whined that she wanted HER costume and when did she get to put on her costume I want to have my costume it's not fair that Sammy has his costume and where is mine. I reminded them both that we were going to have dinner first, that trick-or-treating didn't generally start until dark.
"That's forever," Sammy said and Eva immediately repeated.
I told them it was only an hour. Six o'clock. We would go out at 6. "That's forever," they both whined again.
They inhaled their midtown broasted chicken and pineapple and raspberries, asking with every bite if they could have some of the candy they'd brought home from school and whether or not it was six o'clock yet.
We bundled up in warm clothes with costumes layered over the top, and I threw a medium-sized tantrum over the fact that I bought Sam 4 pairs (4 pairs!) of black fleece gloves this fall so it wouldn't matter if he lost one here or there and here it was only October 31st and we could only locate one glove. One glove. Not even a full pair.
We stumbled out on to the back porch where Sam complained that he couldn't see because his cardboard enderman head kept falling forward and he couldn't carry his skeleton trick-or-treat candy bag because it was too heavy and he needed both hands for other things like his enderman head and his Minecraft diamond sword. And Eva stopped in her tracks and crossed her arms across her chest and pouted because her witch's hat would not stop blowing off in the wind. And I put away my gloves and my camera and started carrying everything except the kids themselves and we made our away down the yard and over the creek and up the cul-de-sac. They argued over who got to ring doorbells and whether or not to go to the house with the scary dog and whether they were called "torch lights" or "porch lights." And Eva refused to say trick or treat or thank you and sam mostly worried about where were all his friends from the neighborhood. But in between all the parental challenge moments, we had the delight of being greeted by witches and skeleton pirates, the pure joy of running through bright yellow crunching leaves, and the laughter of children enjoying another spooky chilly Halloween night with their Mom, who by the way, wore a costume herself this year.
My own little Minecraft Enderman
Eva's little witch tutu costume was cuter before she insisted that she wear one of Mommy's black jackets because her big brother was wearing one and it was only fair that she be allowed to also.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
It's a pretty brave coaching staff that agrees to bring a bunch of six-and-seven-year-olds to a soccer jamboree just a week in to the fall soccer season, but with perfect, cool, sunny weather and a bunch of boys who had worked hard during their two practices during the week, their first tournament was successful and fun.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
During the pseudo first day of school, the parents tag along and the kids meet their teachers and find their desks and get their school pictures taken. It's mostly for the parents to check in and complete any last minute paperwork and understand the best ways to communicate with the teachers. Sam and I found our way to room 203 and Sarah Fellman greeted us with a big smile and a packet of paperwork. We checked out the new room and found his desk and waited for her quick overview presentation. She talked about site words and sounding out letters while Sam sat next to me reading the forms and showing me which ones needed my signature. After the teacher presentation we had a quick chat about my concern that he's already reading above grade level and I don't want him to get lost in the shuffle, and Sam's teacher reassured me that after their reading assessments in a few weeks the children would be placed in appropriate reading groups. The rest of the orientation day was about finding the lunch room and standing in line for school pictures and checking out the status of the big fish aquarium that Sam remembered from when we visited in the spring.
On Sam's real first day, we took pictures out front before being greeted by the principal and walking inside and climbing the east stairs to Mrs. Fellman's room. Most kids were out on the playground, but we took a few pictures and put his stuff in his locker and I gave him a kiss goodbye before turning to walk down the stairs and out to the car. As I pulled up to the 4-way stop at 5th and Hilbert my eyes teared up just a little and my chest tightened. How is it possible that my little baby is going off to a new school with all new people that I don't know all by himself every day?
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
She woke up an hour early and headed immediately for the laundry room to find her purple polka dot dress and her pink flower pants "because that's special, right, Mama?" She said she didn't want to eat anything. "I just want to go. Let's goooooo!" When I told her that Sammy was still sleeping and we had to wait for him to get up and get ready she ran in and grabbed his feet. "Sammy wake up! You need to get up. NOW!"
To kill time I tried to take a few pictures in front of the house but she threw her backpack at me and made crabby faces and repeated how she just wanted to goooooooooooo! 45 minutes before we needed to leave the house.
After just a little drama with Sam and his pants that have a button that he insists is simply too big for the size of the slot that it's supposed to fit in to, Eva ate half a banana and a homemade blueberry smoothie without spilling a single drop on her polka dot dress, and we climbed into the Mazda and raced to school just in time. Before we'd even reached the parking lot Eva spied Stella's car and she wanted me to park by her friend, but Stella and her daddy didn't look ready to part, so we took a few pictures in front of the school and walked around the side entrance to find our way to Mrs. Norton's classroom. I could hardly keep up with Eva as she bee-lined through the crowd of preschoolers and parents, and even the arrival of Stella couldn't slow Eva down. Only when she discovered the classroom door closed did she pause and stand by me, chewing on her tongue and shuffling nervously against the wall.
The classroom door opened and she shot in between all the parents and it took a while for Sam and I to finally reach her long enough to give her a kiss and a hug and say I love you. And off she went to play with princesses and zoo animals and magnetic dress up dolls in wooden boxes.