Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 2010 Round Up

Click mosaic to biggify. Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
I've read two full sets of Bob Books, does that count?

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: I've started watching Chasing Mummies on the History Channel. It follows Dr. Zawi Hawass as he visits all of the various Egyptian archaeological digs. (If you've seen a program about Egypt in the last 15 years, I promise they interviewed him.) It's about as close to reality television as I get. I think at least some of it is contrived, but it's hard to say. Still very interesting. Still watching The Closer, and Rizzoli and Isles is getting better. Regular network shows start next month!
* New Films: Inception (good, but not sure what the big deal is), The Sorcerer's Apprentice (okay, could have been better, good for older kids not ready for PG-13 yet, but "over" kiddie stuff), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (not as bad as I was expecting), Moon (Sam Rockwell was excellent; quite a good movie), Tap (Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr, and a young teen Savion Glover, plus a director who believes in filming dancers with uncut full body shots; just fast forward through the non-dancing parts)
* Old Favorites: Cinderella, The Secret of NIMH, The Rocketeer, An American Tail, Brother Bear, Mona Lisa Smile, Pleasantville, Jumanji, Shakespeare In Love, Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias, Bolt, Jurassic Park III, Cars, Kung Fu Panda, Annie

What special days did I celebrate and how?
We celebrated DH's birthday a day early by going to see Inception and The Sorcerer's Apprentice in the theater. And my baby brother turned 30!!! Who said he was allowed to do that? I know *I* certainly did not, and I'm pretty sure my mom didn't either. LOL!

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

The birthday gifts that I ordered with my gift certificates arrived. This is my personal favorite, a bamboo "turner" (I call it a spatula). I might need to go ahead and buy a second one. I love it so much I might wear it out!

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Allergies seem to be starting up again. Seems a little early this year for fall allergies. I wonder if the dry weather is related somehow. DH had a *terrible* cold for over a week, to the point that he stayed home from work for 3 days (which is unheard of!), but both Luke and I seem to have avoided catching it (knock wood). And Luke came home from school three days in a row sporting bandaids in new places. ::sigh:: Such is life with an accident prone active 5-year-old.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
We met my parents, grandmother, uncle and his wife for pizza out in Covington. Got to tell all kinds of back to school war stories (two sets of parents of school-agers and three teachers; lots to tell! LOL).

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?

I made my first ever biscuits from scratch (not using baking mix) from this recipe: Cream Biscuits by The Smitten Kitchen. I think they would be good for sopping up gravy and such, but they are not the kind I like to just eat straight up, like with breakfast. Yes, I like different types of biscuits for different things. What can I say, I'm a Southerner! LOL

I have also become addicted to raspberry lemonade. I blame my coworker Jason for that one. I've tried it at three places so far: Olive Garden (just okay), Applebee's (very good), and Cracker Barrel (excellent, and served in a frozen mug). Also tried the new stuffed meatballs at Applebee's. They were just okay; not worth the calories, IMO, and the red sauce was *way* too spicy.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Oh, all sorts of things. A new capacitor for the air conditioner so it would, you know, work in the 90-degree weather. Luke's first soccer jersey and ball while registering him for the local rec league, plus shin guards and socks. An astronaut helmet. And of course, there's this:

What were this month's disappointments?
Work has been terribly frustrating, mostly with issues that should never have been issues to start with. I can't complain; it keeps me employed, but it is wearing after a while. But that particular project is done now!

What were my accomplishments this month?
Surviving Kindergarten! Definitely an accomplishment, for all of us. The getting up earlier, the schedule shift in general, the homework, all of it. Quite an adjustment! I also managed to get his bus stop moved closer to the house.

I've been cooking quite a bit more than usual. Luke is just so tired when we pick him up from his after care program that he usually has a meltdown at the restaurant, even if we go straight to eat from there to eat (at 4:30 PM!). He seems to have fewer meltdowns if he comes home instead, so I've been making dinner more. Who knew all we needed to cure ourselves of eating out so much was a cranky kid!

I finally decided to implement the picture grocery list. It's an idea I had years ago, but I never got around to actually doing it for some reason. It has cut down on the grocery store meltdowns dramatically. I also got caught up on my blog after being nearly a month behind. I was typing 2-3 posts a night for about 10 days, but it got done. Thank goodness I jot down notes for posts as they come to me, even if it takes me a while to flesh them out into something readable. I may not have done anything on my 101 Things list this month, but I sure did a lot.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Surviving Kindergarten
! I know, I said that already, but it's true. He has done really well with all of it. He has always been a pretty laid back kid, and I am so grateful. Now, if he could just learn that he would finish his homework a whole lot faster if he keeps his rear end in the chair, we'll be doing good.

He's actually been a little more willing to try new foods lately. I don't know if that is a result of growing up some, or of being so hungry, but I'll take it. He is much better about taking a bite of something without fussing, and he loved the biscuits I made. We have also added grilled cheese to his home menu. Yay for new foods!

He taught himself to whistle by watching Handy Manny. I was quite impressed! It was really breathy the first day, but he has gotten much better, and it's only been a week. He's still working on how to control the tune, but it is a very strong clear sound.

He had an excellent dentist visit. Teeth look very clean, well spaced. His 6-year molars are in, which I knew, but insurance won't pay to seal them until he turns 6. Um, why? They're already in! Waiting just gives them time to get cavities. It's not like you're not going to pay for it, so why the wait? I don't get it!

Anything else noteworthy to record?
I think that pretty much covers it!

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: well rounded

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot Wheels!

Three weeks after graduating from college in 1998, DH and I got married. He was already employed, but it took me 4 months to find a job. Less than a month after I started working, my car died. We had no choice but to run out that weekend and get a car. We couldn't afford to buy at the time, so we leased a gold 1999 Toyota Camry (in November of 1998; weren't we special! LOL). Seven months later, in June of 1999, DH's car died. Once again, we had to go out that very weekend and get something. We wanted to buy this time instead of leasing a second vehicle, but we needed something cheap. There was this new car brand on the market, so we decided to try it. No frills, not even power windows or locks (though it did have a CD player vs my Camry's tape deck), but for the price, we really couldn't do better. We drove off the lot with a white 1999 Kia Sephia. Out of college and married less than a year, and we were already driving two brand new cars! Our friends were stunned. (BTW, those same friends were again stunned when they visited our new house in June 2010 and saw those SAME two "brand new cars" sitting in the carport 12 years later. They simply could not believe we still had them! LOL) By the end of 1999, we were totally in love with my Camry, and we were already threatening to get rid of the Kia and replace it with another Camry!

It may have taken 11 years, but we finally did it. The Kia is so old and poorly made, they don't even produce them any more. It has been driven to and from downtown Atlanta most every work day for over 11 years and was getting crankier and crankier by the day. It's had a hard life, including having a window broken out by a thief and being side swiped in the parking deck. We can't really complain, though. The dealer said that 12 years was about 7 years longer than the average for a 1999 Kia Sephia, and it did get us to and from where we needed to be most of the time, even if it was a loud rough ride. But it was time for a change. Check out our new hot wheels:

Introducing our brand new silver 2011 Toyota Camry! Okay, so maybe not "hot." In fact, it is pretty much the world's most boring car in the world's most popular color. (Hey, what do you expect from two engineers with a 5-year-old?) But it's brand new and we like it! It barely fits in the carport, but that's okay. It is smooth and quiet, and it has tons more leg room (than the Kia or my 1999 Camry) in the back for Luke. No more feet in my back on long trips! (Well, at least for a while, until he grows some more.) Since my Camry is still running quite well for her age with a fresh oil change, tire rotation, and new battery, we kept it and sent the Kia packing. We didn't want to be in the position again to have to run out and buy a car because one died (and with two 1999 cars, the odds of catastrophic failure were rising daily). We wanted time to shop and decide what we wanted, but there was no great hurry either. Then we saw that the same Toyota dealer where we bought my 1999 Camry was running a great deal, several thousand less than anyone else around. We simply could not pass it up. (The finance guy also went on and on that in the 10 years he had been financing cars, he has never seen a married couple with identical credit scores.)

Important Aside: I have to brag on Luke for a minute. He got up at 6:15 AM Saturday morning (by choice! oy). We left around 9:30 and headed to the Mall of Georgia (30-40 minutes away), where we test drove some different cars before and after lunch. Once we decided on another Camry for sure, we came home, since no one up there could/would match the deal we'd already found. We got home around 3:30, where Luke rested while watching one episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, had a snack, and played a bit while DH and I crunched numbers and decided to proceed with purchase. By 4:30, we were heading back out, this time to Stone Mountain (20 miles away, different direction than the morning) to make the deal before the special pricing expired on September 1. We did not leave the dealership until 8:30 PM!! No, not even for dinner! I have absolutely no idea what took so long, and it didn't really seem to take that long at the time. (I honestly can't tell you the last time we were out after dark in the summer when we weren't traveling.) And we still had to eat. We didn't tuck Luke in bed until about 10 PM. In all that time, over 12 hours after starting this wild journey, he behaved near perfectly! The only time he even bordered on a meltdown was when we told him we had to leave the house again at 4:30. We dragged him all over this city, and he was a complete angel the entire time. I'm sure the car dealership employees have seen some incredibly badly behaved children in their time, and they all commented on how incredibly well behaved he was. He does have his moments! Here he is nearly asleep in the back seat of the new car, finally on the way home after a *very* long day.

The new Camry is to be DH's car. I've had "the good car" for a long time, and it's his turn. After all, he *does* commute every day, whereas I go days without driving anywhere since all I have to do anymore is walk Luke to the bus stop. We will also use the new Camry on trips due to the extra leg room, the smoother and quieter ride, and to try to make my older Camry last a bit longer. She's put in 160,000 miles already; she's earned a bit of retirement. But don't worry about me, we're already eyeing our next car purchase. Just give us a little time.

BTW, we decided to keep the new car a secret to surprise our families over Labor Day weekend, which meant that I couldn't mention it on my blog, the board, Twitter, or Facebook. I didn't even tell my brother! (Now that is saying something! LOL) I wrote this post the night we bought the car, Sunday, August 29, and I didn't publish it until Sunday, September 5. Sitting on this news for over a week has been torture!

Currently feeling: cruisin'

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Space Junkie

We may have created a monster, but it's an incredibly cute one! We wandered into Party City the other night after dinner, and they are just starting to prepare for Halloween. At the back of the store, they had all of their head gear out, and Luke was having a blast trying on various hats and helmets. He did a cowboy hat, a Roman centurion helmet, a deerstalker, and a few others. And then there was this one.

He looked so adorable in it, and he really wanted it. I was considering coming back for it and holding it for his birthday or Christmas. Then he turned around and started slowly hopping from one foot to the other while moving forward. About the time I figured out what he was doing, he turned around with a huge grin on his face and said "Look, Mommy, I'm on the moon!" How could we not buy it? It ended up being a bit more expensive than we expected, but he already had his heart set on in. He even wore it in the car all the way home. DH was still grumbling about the price a little bit when we arrived at the house, until Luke was getting out of the car, at which point we heard, "this is Rogue 2, come in." (YouTube video link for reference, if needed.) Yep, worth every penny! (And hey, I just learned how to link to the middle of a YouTube video. Cool!)

On a similar note, he has become obsessed with his soccer shin guards, and he hasn't even played his first game yet. We tried them on for the first time the other evening, and the first thing he said was "I'm a clone trooper!" Hee-hee! Just buy him three more sets for his thighs, upper arms, and lower arms, and he'll be all set, right?

For anyone wondering, the reason he is a clone trooper and not a stormtrooper is because clone troopers are good guys and stormtroopers are bad guys. He is very clear on this point, uniform similarities notwithstanding. We keep wondering if he will realize the connection before he is old enough to see Episodes II and III. For now, if he's happy with that distinction, then so are we.

Currently feeling: prepared to launch

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is there a bandaid fee?

Wednesday, I mentioned Luke coming home with a note regarding his first school nurse visit, which resulted in a bandaid on his shin. My assessment at that time was correct. It may have been his first "battle wound" requiring treatment at school, but it was not to be his last. He came home Thursday with a new bandaid on his knee, then Friday with one on his elbow. I didn't think the new scrapes were bad enough to really need a bandaid (I don't think they actually bled), but knowing Luke, he probably cried until he got one. We're starting to wonder when they will begin charging us a bandaid fee!

Currently feeling: bemused

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another First: School Nurse Visit

Living with Mr. Accident Prone, who had both stitches and a broken arm before he was 3 years old, I knew this particular first would likely happen sooner than later. The third week of school, however, is even sooner than I expected. Luke visited the school nurse for the first time today. They were outside for P.E. and he tripped and fell on the concrete. It's mostly grass and sand out there, so that alone took talent. He ended up with a scrape about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 4 inches (10 cm) long running down the front of his left shin. Looks more like someone scratched him with a sharp wire brush or something, just a bunch of very narrow scratches running vertically down his leg. Most are very shallow, just enough to show red on his skin or very lightly scab over. Looks like a few of them got deep enough to really bleed at the bottom.

The teacher's note said the nurse cleaned it and put a bandaid on it. We bathed him and put our own antibiotic ointment bandaid on it, per his request (it would have been fine without one). I'm sure it will be mostly healed by the end of the weekend. I guess it's good that his first incident was minor and we got it out of the way early, but knowing my son, it will not be the last time the nurse sees him this year.

Currently feeling: grateful the owie was minor

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dead Presidents: A Conversation With Luke

It is rare for me to have cash, but I happened to have various bills on me this particular day. (Reference for those unfamiliar with US currency: $5 bill, $10 bill, $20 bill.)

Me: [pointing to the $5] Do you know who this is?
Luke: No.
Me: That is Abraham Lincoln. He was president about 150 years ago.
Luke: President of the United States of America?
Me: That's right. [pointing to the $10] And this is Alexander Hamilton. He was not a president.
Luke: What did he do?
Me: That's difficult to explain, but he was one of the founders of the United States over 200 years ago. [pointing to the $20] And this is President Jackson.
Luke: Michael Jackson was president?

Currently feeling: not quite!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breaking and Entering: A Conversation With Luke

As we pulled into the carport the other evening:

DH: [sigh]
Luke: What's wrong?
DH: We forgot to close the curtains before we left.
Luke: Yeah, we need to close them. People can see the kitties and they might try to get inside to pet them! Kitties don't like strangers.

(So they want to get in to pet the kitties, not to take the 50-inch plasma TV that is in full view. Good to know! For the record, this window faces the back yard.)

Currently feeling: comforted

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Kindergarten Homework

"Yay, homework!" That was Luke's first reaction when we found it in his backpack. I think his first homework assignment is a great one!
What's In Your Bag?

Directions: Attached to this paper is a lunch bag. Please fill this bag with about 5-7 items that say something important about you and bring it back to school on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Here are some suggestions:
* something in your favorite color
* the wrapper from your favorite snack
* the best book you've read
* something you collect
* something that tells about your favorite sport

Use your imagination to come up with 5-7 different items small enough to fit in the bag.
I thought it was a brilliant idea! Of course, just to prove that he is *my* son, Luke was a little concerned about some of the items we were suggesting, like a small Star Wars figure or Transformer. "But Mrs. B said we can't bring toys to school!" I can't exactly be upset with him for wanting to follow the rules. I was confident that toys were allowed for this assignment, as long as they fit in (and stayed in!) the bag, but Luke was adamant he could not bring any toys for the assignment. How do you Star Wars or Transformers when you can't bring a toy or a book, short of printing a photograph?

I finally emailed her my question, and she did respond (as I expected) that toys were okay to bring for this assignment. Here is what we ended up with:

* A pen from Disney World
* A spring training Braves baseball
* A magnetic stick and ball
* A LEGO Star Wars clone trooper
* A small Transformer

The idea was for him to talk about:
* how much he enjoys visiting Disney World
* his favorite sport is baseball and favorite team is the Braves
* he loves magnets and the color blue
* Star Wars LEGOs are his most favorite thing ever!
* how much he likes robots, particularly those that turn into cars

But when we were practicing last night, it didn't quite work out that way. "This is my Mickey Mouse pen, and this is my baseball from Disney, and this is my magnet ball and stick, and this is a clone trooper, and this is a Transformer." ::sigh:: I'm sure it will be fine, as long as he can put all of the toys *back* in the bag and leave them there, both at school and at daycare after.

Update: He did not get to do his bag today. Apparently, they ran out of time, so he left it at school to do tomorrow. When he does get to bring it home again, I will see if I can get video of him telling me about the objects.

Currently feeling: wondering how long "yay, homework!" will last

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reader Questions - August 2010

Hey, cool, questions from my readers! LOL

Fiona wanted to know how Luke was doing at school now that the novelty has worn off. He did pretty well his first week, as I already mentioned on the blog. I think this coming week will be the real test, when he realizes that he really has to do this (more or less) every day through May.

Leah "hinted" that she wanted to see the glass shelves that I discussed in my post about my new antique carnival glass punch cup, so here you go! The top shelf holds my Disney Villain glasses, the gold card ball my grandmother made me (just like the one that hung in her kitchen above her sink for as long as I can remember), and now my little cup. The bottom shelf is my Winnie the Pooh glasses, some Winnie the Pooh jelly jars my mom had for years, and the rainbow ornament Charisse gave me. As I get more things to fill the shelves, I'll start taking the glasses off, but I think they're fine for now.

Kerry asked about how the school bus works here. His bus only picks up and drops off at the elementary school. Some buses do both, but since the elementary school starts earlier than the middle school, the younger kids get dropped off first. Plus, the bus driver knows who is in what grade, so she make sure everyone gets off at the right stop. I would be much more concerned about him getting off at the right place in the afternoon, but #1) he does not ride the bus home (his daycare picks him up at school), and #2) again, the bus driver would make sure he gets off at the correct stop (plus I would meet the bus at the stop every day). And by the way, Kerry, it is so nice to know I'm not the only one having difficulty getting useful info out of kids that age! LOL

Currently feeling: thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's goin' on here?

I know, I've just been posting and posting and posting in the last week or so. I got so far behind in July that it's not even funny. I do try to keep the blog up to date as best I can, but sometimes, it's just not possible. My Twitter followers, in particular, are probably ready for me to stop! LOL So just in case you missed some things (or are thinking to yourself "but I don't see anything new"), here is a list of entries that have been posted since the recap of our Star Wars/Rocket Center trip, along with a quick summary of each, in case you don't want to read them all (believe me, I understand).Whew! That was a lot to type and a lot to read. For those who read it all, you really are troopers! LOL I do believe that I am all caught up now. Hopefully, I can stay that way for a little while. Thanks for reading! Perhaps now I can get caught up on reading all of *your* blogs. I'm not quite as behind on that (sometimes I read them when I should have been typing my own), but close.

Currently feeling: returning to real time (I hope)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Soccer Registration

One of the papers that Luke came home with on Thursday in his school courier was a flyer for the local youth soccer recreational league. I was concerned that it was something new they were trying to get off the ground, but the flyer says they've been around since the 70s. Wow! I don't even think I'd heard of soccer when I was Luke's age. We debated for a couple of days whether or not to do it, but we didn't have long to decide. Saturday was the deadline.

Practice for his age group is only one evening per week, with games on Sunday for 9 weeks starting in mid-September. I don't like having all of my Saturdays tied up, especially when one of them will be his birthday party, but I know it would be good for him. He's never been involved in sports, beyond his one summer of swim lessons. That's mostly our fault. I know we need to start him early, preferably in a team sport. This seemed the perfect opportunity, and it is only 9 weekends, all during school. Where exactly are we going to go during the school year?

So we did it! We went to the field on Saturday and signed him up. Everyone was very nice and helpful, though we did get the usual incredulous "he's only 5; are you sure?" comments. (Pretty sure. I was there. And yes, we brought his birth certificate, just in case.) They debated whether to put him in the group he technically qualifies for (age 4-5) or whether to move him up (ages 6-7) due to his size and the fact that he will be 6 in about 8 weeks (ACK!!). "We want to be sure he has a quality experience. Lots of kids in the next age bracket have never played either." Yes, but I don't want him to be playing with bigger, older, more coordinated kids and get discouraged, as he is prone to do if he is not instantly good at something (gee, I can't imagine who he gets that from ::cough::DH:: ::cough:: ::andme::cough::). By the same token, I don't want him to hurt any other kids because he is just huge!

We decided to go with the 4-5 group so that most of the kids he will be playing with are all at the same level (no experience at all). Normally, whatever group you are in at fall registration is the one you stay in until the following fall. But for him, they put a note on his registration form that if, after the fall season, we think he needs to move up, then he can. I'm not sure if we'll continue in the spring; we might switch to baseball or something, but I appreciate their concern, and the fact that they are willing to bend the rules to do whatever is best for him. Definitely makes us more likely to come back! Don't worry, there will be pictures and video to come, I'm sure! LOL

Currently feeling: ready to play

Friday, August 13, 2010

First Week of Kindergarten Recap

Thanks for asking, Fiona! We all survived the first week of Kindergarten. Luke is dead tired. In fact, he he has been in bed before 7:30 every night without complaint, and we haven't heard a peep after we closed the door. He wanted to be carried to bed Tuesday and Wednesday, and by dinner time on Friday, he told us "my eyes are so tired." I just hope he will actually sleep in Saturday and Sunday. Normally, he gets up early on "Daddy Days" (around 6:30) because those are fun days, but I really hope the tiredness will kick in and keep him in bed longer. I know *I* plan to sleep in!

I have no complaints about his first week, other than trying to get any sort of accurate information out of a 5-year-old, particularly our 5-year-old. Luke, what did you do today? "Played." I've tried asking the question different ways each day, but I keep getting the same answer. Extracting teeth would be easier. I finally had to go with a series of extremely specific questions: Did Mrs. B read a book today? Did Mrs. B talk about anything today? Did you draw or write anything? What did you eat for lunch? What did you play and who did you play with? Did you have fun today? (At least the answer to that question has always been yes, so far.)

Then there is the homework saga. That has been an interesting journey. Day 1: Luke, do you have any homework? "No, he left it at school." Luke, if your teacher gives you homework papers, you need to put them in your backpack so you don't forget to bring it home. "Ok." Day 2: Luke, do you have any homework? "I put it in my backpack, but the teacher took it out." Okay, that doesn't make any sense. "She said I had to do it at school." Oh, goodness. Literal much? Luke, your teacher will give you some papers to be done at school and given back to her right then. Other times, she will give you special papers especially to put in your backpack and do at home. ::sigh:: I figure we'll get it all worked out eventually. Day 4: There is a large packet of papers in a folder in his backpack. They call it a courier. It comes home every Thursday with informational papers from the teacher, info from the school, papers to sign, and behavior reports. We have to sign the behavior report and any other papers that need it each week and return it. One of the papers from the teacher explained that homework will be sent home on Mondays with one sheet to be returned each day Tuesday-Friday. Great! I just wish someone had shared that either at open house or on the first day so parents like me wouldn't fret about it.

One of the other papers was about local rec league soccer. The last day to sign up is Sunday. We're still debating, but we'll probably sign him up. I hate tying up every weekend for 2 months with plans, but I know it will be good for him.

And so it begins....

Currently feeling: happy with our first week

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Specificity: A Conversation With Luke

At dinner tonight, while contemplating tomorrow's lunch situation:

Me: Luke, if you take your lunch to school tomorrow, what would you like to take?
Luke: Kitty!
Me: You can't eat Kitty. What do you want to take for *lunch*?
Luke: My lunch bag.
Me: [sigh] What kind of food do you want to take to eat?
Luke: Wendy's
Me: [facepalm]

I would have used "Literalism" as the title, but I suspect I will need to save it for later....

Currently feeling: trying to remain calm

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you are looking for the new blog entries

If you are actually on my blog (not using a reader) looking for anything new posted to the blog since the first day of Kindergarten entry, scroll down. I got so behind in July that I am publishing things slightly out of order to get caught up. I was making notes all month, I just didn't have time to fluff them into full blown blog entries!

I did want to get the Kindergarten one up in (more or less) real time, because I know so many of you were anxious to find out how his first day was. Hope this isn't too confusing! Once I get caught up on the posts between the space center visit and the first day of school, things will (hopefully) start going in order again. Thank you for your patience.
Currently feeling: busy

Monday, August 09, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

The day is finally here. This is the whole reason we moved. This is the day all parents and children do their best to prepare for, even though neither parent nor child is ever truly prepared. The big day is here: Luke's first day of Kindergarten!

We've been counting down the days ever since the last day of Pre-K. After only 6 days, I was tired of being asked "when do I start Kindergarten?" So we made a chart, which worked really well:

About 2 weeks ago, we started practicing getting up earlier, which made us both grumpy and tired, but I think that was better than trying to go cold turkey from waking at 7:30 to waking at 6 AM. Luke had orange juice and plain bread for his first grade school breakfast while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Then it was time to get changed and take pictures. Just so you know, it is too dark at 6:35 AM to take first day of school photos outside! I had to take them in the foyer.

That first picture is one I hope to repeat each year. Given his height to date, I figured it was best to get the entire door in the shot! And I'm so glad I finally got a real smile out of him for the second picture. Next, the obligatory "mug shots," showing off the backpack Nana and Papa got for him:

Then we walked down to the bus stop, which is quite a way away. Luke wanted to know why we didn't drive (because there is no where to park!), and he was anxious about the bugs. I could tell he was nervous but excited. The next few pictures will make it look like it was darker outside than it really was. This one is more or less accurately exposed in the morning light, perhaps a little on the bright side.

Still, I wouldn't exactly call it full morning, and official sunrise was not until 6:55 AM. I expect it to be full on dark when he gets on the bus come mid to late September. I'll probably end up getting one of those orange visibility vests and carry a flashlight (seriously).

At 6:50 on the dot, just as the schedule said, the bus arrived.

I didn't get him going up the stairs, but the bus driver was kind enough to let me step on the bus and get this quick shot:

I was shocked that there were only 2 other kids on the bus. We are roughly the middle stop, and one of the stops prior to ours is at an apartment complex with an expected 15 kids. Where were they? There is no good place or procedure for dropping kids off at this school (it was built in 1965, IIRC, so it wasn't really designed for that). You cannot park and/or accompany your child into the school, so why not put them on the bus the first day? "Begin as you intend to proceed" is advice we have tried to follow to the letter with him. So far, it has served us well. I can't see how this situation is any different.

So that was it. I stepped off the bus, waved bye to him through the darkly tinted windows, and watched the bus round the corner. Up to this point, I had been doing great! I was afraid I would be a teary mess all morning, but I hadn't. Not a lip quiver in sight. But as soon as the bus was beyond my vision, it was like I suddenly forgot how to breathe. I was literally gasping for air, feeling like my throat was closing in. It was hot and over 90% humidity, and I *was* trying to walk uphill back to the house, but I don't think that accounted for all of it. I just had a ball of emotion caught in my chest, and it was a good 15 minutes later before I felt I was breathing normally again.

I spent the rest of the day obsessively checking the clock and his teacher's posted daily schedule, trying to imagine what he was doing at that moment and how things were going. I realized around 10 why DH had insisted I make *my* favorite meal for dinner last night: so it would comfort me for lunch today (and it worked). I worried about Luke's lunch. It is his first time buying his own lunch. Would he get over his shyness enough to answer the lunch line workers about what he wanted? Would he eat anything? Would he have lost his lunch money by the time lunch time came? Would he lose the change on the way home? Would he still be hungry? Should I have packed his first lunch? Nothing I could do would alter the answers to these questions, but I worried anyway.

At 1:40, my cell phone rang with an unknown number. I answered cautiously. "Is this Ms. Gaston?" Yes. "This is Ms. B___, Luke's teacher." And I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot. He's been out of my sight for 7 hours, and his teacher is already having to call me?! "I wanted to confirm how Luke will be leaving school today. His name is on both the bus list and the daycare list, and I want to make sure he gets on the right bus." Apparently, the bus drivers give a list of all the kids who got on the bus in the morning, assuming they would also be going home on the bus. I hadn't thought to mention he would not be riding the bus home. No harm done, and I appreciate her checking, but it scared the bejeebers out of me.

I spent most of the next 2 hours staring at the clock and waiting for my husband to get home so we could go pick him up from after care (which is at the same facility he has been attending for the last 4 years for daycare and Pre-K). I did manage to answer a couple of work calls and send a couple of emails, but that's about it. I could not *wait* to see him! Here he is, in the car, having his first official post-Kindergarten snack.

He has never been the best at being able to articulate what he did in class on any given day. It is on his "responsibilities" list (don't want to call them chores) that he be able to tell us at least one thing he did at school and what he ate for lunch. Getting "I drew an owl" out of him this afternoon was a bit of a minor victory, honestly. Hearing "grilled cheese and beans and fruit" was like a long-winded speech. "And I don't have my homework." Great. Day 1, and we already cannot remember our homework. Hope it wasn't an important paper or something. I'm really hoping it was more a trial to see who is good at that kind of thing and who is not (no surprise there, honestly).

We then headed to our celebratory dinner at Luke's favorite restaurant: IHOP (formerly the International House of Pancakes). I knew that A) he likely hadn't eaten much for lunch, and B) it had been several hours since lunch, snack notwithstanding, so we got him a stack of 5 adult pancakes (each one 6in/15cm across). Yum!

And this is all that was left! (That *might* total up to one pancake.)

A most excellent dinner, though I have to say, there is just something fundamentally wrong with being *finished* with dinner at 5:05 PM. We headed back to the house, where he played for about an hour. Nothing strenuous, just some coloring and drawing, and a little bit with Super Hero Squad figures. By 6 PM, he was visibly wilting. With him getting up so much earlier, I really wanted to set bedtime at 7 PM, but I was afraid that would be difficult to enforce since he is used to something more like 8 PM (when it's, you know, at least *starting* to get dark!). It wasn't a problem at all tonight. We closed his bedroom door at 7:15, and we haven't heard a peep since. All in all, a good and successful day.

Sleep well, my darling baby boy. We get to do it all again tomorrow!

Currently feeling: off on our brand new adventure!