Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hummina, hummina, hummina

We're all a bit tired here at the Fieryboots ranch. Last week was one of the craziest ever in my life. Not only did R start kindergarten and afterschool and soccer and swimming (all of that with new work schedules for A and me), but my company also moved to a new location. And, since I'm in charge of IT, it meant that I worked really late on Friday (as in, almost until Saturday), all day Saturday, and then I had to go back to our old office on Sunday to pick up some furniture that we we throwing away (and I'm keeping at my house). And, then we were back at the new office at 8am on Monday. And, it wasn't just the hours - during that time, we packed boxes, lifted things, walked the office floors with the movers over and over and over and over again. I am beyond exhausted - even days later.

But things are settling now. R is doing well with kindergarten. He absolutely LOVED it the first two days, but then he wasn't as thrilled with the afterschool program that he goes to three days a week. That clouded his view of school in general, although overall he really likes his teacher, he's making friends, and he told me that he's learning more than he ever learned at his preschool/pre-K class. The details about what he's learning aren't very forthcoming, however. His favorite parts of school are recess (what a surprise) and gym class. :-) This week he's more at peace with the afterschool program. At first he said that some of the older kids were mean, then he said he didn't like the inside/classroom part of the program, then he said that he didn't like it because he didn't know all the kids. But I think he's making more friends there now, and this morning he told A and me that afterschool was his favorite part of school. So I'm very pleased.

R's teacher is wonderful. She sends home notes every day, keeps us all informed with TONS of flyers and letters about what's going on at the school, the classroom, the PTO, etc. Apparently, the other two kindergarten teachers don't really do this. I'm so happy that R has the communicative teacher! Last night, R and I worked on a sheet of "Things to Write About" so that his teacher can use the sheet to suggest topics that R might like to write about at school. She had different categories - family, favorite vacation, pets, things to do, etc. It was fun hearing R's suggestions. (For one of his favorite things to do, he said, "Jump on Daddy!")

I'm already noticing that R is reading more. He notices words and tells me the ones he recognizes. Cool!

And, he's been exhausted. We're making bedtime a little earlier these days (lights out at 8:30), and he's asleep within minutes, if not instantly. I heard about this phenomenon beforehand, but I was skeptical because R had already been going to preschool/pre-K from 8ish to 6 three days a week, so I didn't see what the big difference would be. But I think the exhaustion is more mental than physical, although he does get outside for two recesses during school, has gym class twice a week, and then his afterschool program lets the kids outside for at least an hour each day. Thank goodness because my boy needs to run, climb, etc. (He was so proud when he came home from school the second day because he figured out during recess how to do the monkey bars hand over hand. And, he climbed up on top of them and got himself down without help. He's been trying to do both of those for a long time.)

I'm beginning to see how, if I'm not super organized and careful, I might forget things or miss stuff. For example, tonight is the kindergarten potluck dinner, then R has to go for his flu shot, then tomorrow night is our town's Town Night (complete with rides and fireworks), then Saturday morning is soccer, then Town Day (booths and food and rides and library book sale), then swimming lessons. Plus, I think I have a few more things to fill out for school - book sale form, gift wrap fundraiser, RSVP for Curriculum Night next week, etc., etc. It's a good thing I have only one kiddo! I'm not sure how I could keep it all straight otherwise between all of this and my job.

So that's the scoop for now. Life is still good, just crazy. And I'm fantasizing about taking a really long nap.

Friday, September 11, 2009

He's growing up

In my mind, the last couple of weeks have been about all these little moments of noticing how life is changing and how R is growing up.

On the way to and from the mall on Wednesday, R and I were listening to a radio station that was playing Beatles songs all day long (to celebrate the release of the remastered albums, plus Beatles Rock Band coming out). When Yellow Submarine came on, we sang the whole song together with the music cranked up and the car windows open. But I had to choke back tears because I kept remembering how A and I used to sing Yellow Submarine for R when he was a tiny baby. It was one of the ways we would keep R from crying in the car.

Yesterday, we went to the Brimfield Antiques Fair, where we met up with a friend and spent a great afternoon in the sunny, taste-of-fall weather browsing the wares and chatting with the vendors. At one tent, we found an old tin toy of a tiny wind-up train that goes around and around a little platform. The seller called out that he could "let it go" for $125. We just smiled and poked around at his other offerings. Meanwhile, R hung back at the tin train with the seller. I overheard this conversation and tried to stifle my laughter:

R: How much is it again?
Seller: I could do $90.
R: $90?!?!?! [long pause] Do you have any that are in a box?
Seller: No, but I have this horse toy in a box.
R: Well, I really like the train.
Seller: I could do $75.

My little boy was haggling!

Yesterday was also R's visiting "day" at kindergarten. It was half an hour for him to drop off his school supplies, meet his teacher, and tour the classroom while A and I toured the school. Even though R has seemed excited about starting school, I was pretty nervous because he's had a hard time separating from me recently. So, I explained to him ahead of time that he'd be with his teacher while A and I did something else for a little while. I showed him his teacher's picture that she sent and read him her letter. When we got to the school, he grabbed my hand and starting literally dragging his feet. But his teacher was fantastic - she remembered him from June (when we had a more general school visit), held out her hand to him, and got him quickly involved with an activity. R never looked back, and when we collected him after our tour, he was bouncing up and down with excitement. He told me all about his classroom (with way more detail than he ever gave me about his old school), what he did (decorated his name tag), and how nice his teacher is. Yay! What a relief. God definitely heard my prayers. (Which I had offered up at 5 am when I couldn't sleep from jitters and a racing heart.) It was also really nice to see some familiar faces - parents and kids - from the playdates I arranged over the summer. I think that helped all of us.

Today was our last pre-kindergarten "Mommy-R Day." We had a wonderful time just hanging out, watching Spongebob, going to the Museum of Science, baking cookies, drinking cocoa, and building a fort in the living room. But my favorite part of the day was early on when we we were snuggling on the couch, tickling each other, and giggling. R was giving me kisses and telling me how much he loves me. That will never get old! He's been super affectionate recently, but sometimes in a slightly more grown-up way - like when he throws him arm around me. This picture is from my sister's wedding last weekend:

R's independent spirit has been flourishing, and he's becoming quite outgoing. He's not afraid to ask questions or assert his opinion with other adults. Not in a rude way, but in a way that shows he wants to learn. I can't describe how happy that makes me, especially as someone who has issues with confidence and shyness herself! When we were in Pittsburgh for my sister's wedding, we took a river cruise that was sponsored by the science museum there. During the cruise, you could look at water samples under a microscope and use binoculars to look for ducks and other birds. R spent a long time talking to the museum staff about plankton, and then he spotted a girl about his age and plopped himself down next to her for the last part of the cruise. They chatted away happily while A and I watched from the other side of the boat. (I felt like I was fast-forwarding to the summer when R is 13.)

That's what I've been working on recently, though: forcing myself to watch from the sidelines. Letting R venture out a bit on his own, entertain himself a little more. He doesn't need me to be constantly an arm's length away anymore to catch him when he falls, to correct his behavior, or to speak for him. He's his own person, and a pretty nice one at that. Not to mention funny, silly, and smart. And sometimes a real pain in the butt and incredibly annoying. Oh yeah, and still in love with his mommy. :-)