Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Ennui

I've always wanted to use the word ennui in a piece of writing. Hey look, I've done it twice now!

It happens every year. I know others feel it too: that anxious feeling that starts to take hold in August. The days start getting noticeably shorter. Back to school preparation is in full swing. This year, the feeling set in for me when I saw mums for sale outside of the grocery store. Fall is just around the corner.

Now, I love fall, and am usually relieved for the change in season. I much prefer jeans to shorts. (I don't wear shorts.) Also, though, I feel sad. No more picnics or days at the pool. No more lazy mornings. I have very mixed emotions about Clare going to school five days a week. And, to quote from a popular show on HBO, winter is coming.

I often wonder if I would get this feeling if I lived in a warmer climate. Sure, there'd still be the change in routine that comes with school starting again, but maybe I wouldn't have the same sense of bleakness, of knowing the nice days are numbered.

Still, though, I am going to do my best to enjoy the rest of summer, and fall and winter for that matter.

On a summer-y note, we finished swimming lessons last week, and we made progress! Last year, Clare refused to go into the big pool at all, but this year she did it! Sure, it was just during the last two days of lessons. And one of the days it was 60 degrees and raining, so she realized she'd be much warmer in the pool than out of it, but still! Progress! Christopher passed into the next level, but unfortunately he will not be old enough to participate in that class next year. Which means I will be in the pool with him again. He had fun though, which I guess is the important thing.

At the beginning of summer, I was super strict about screen time and playing outside. If the weather was nice, the kids were not allowed to choose an indoor event. Now, I am tired of being an enforcer. I am tired of sunscreen. Even though I know the nice days won't last much longer, I let them go to the aquarium if they want to. Soon Clare won't be doing much of that kind of thing anyway. As Clare pointed out this morning, we are outside when we walk to and from the car. Can't argue with that kid's logic. Or her fashion sense.

Now, off to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Changes: School Edition

Clare is going to a new school this fall. I've been struggling with the decision, although when I lay out the reasons to send her to the new school it is a pretty easy call.  She is going to a public Montessori school. She'll be going five mornings a week. She'll have the same teacher and classmates for Kindergarten next year. She can take the bus. Oh, and it's free.

Change is always hard, though, and I will miss her preschool. She had a great experience, and part of me would like to keep her there. The school also houses a K-8 school. It's private, though, and we just don't have an extra $5,000 a year (or $10,000 for Christopher, too) to send her there. And then she'd probably want to go to the private high school where all of her friends would go. And I don't even want to think about that school's tuition.

Clare herself seems to be taking the change in stride. I was nervous to tell her, because she loved her school, but when I mentioned the change she said, "Okay Mommy." That was it. When I gave her some more details, like the fact that she could take the bus and that her friends Nora and Henry both go to that school, she was starting to get pretty excited. I told her I'd drive her on the first day, but she refused. She will take the bus. So instead of driving her, I'll be following the bus in my car.

Having her attend this school also allows us to avoid the troubled middle school in our neighborhood - she'll go to a different middle school and then end up at our neighborhood high school. Not to plan too far ahead.

I think the Montessori method will be a good fit for Clare, too. Lots of independent work at your own pace. The teacher is there as more of a guide, not as someone who stands in the front of the room talking. The lessons are all geared towards individual students' interests, too. I just hope it is a good teaching style for Christopher, too. If not, too bad for him, I guess. We should find out her teacher this week. I am sure I won't sleep the night before the first day of school (which is not until September 10! So late!) but I think Clare will be fine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

22 Months

He is no longer interested in cooperating with these pictures.

Okay, expert moms out there. How do you stop the throwing of everything? Christopher is not discerning. Whatever is in his hand is tossed, frequently in the direction of his sister, his mother, or his cousin. I have been taking the object away, holding his hands tightly and telling him NO. This has not stopped the behavior.

Christopher has always been funny, but he seems to be working more on his comedy routine. He has figured out the face that always, always makes me laugh. I can't describe it properly, but he scrunches up his whole face with this ridiculous toothy grin.

Every time someone comes to our door, Christopher thinks it is Baba Ralph. He has an unshakeable belief (or hope?) that Baba and Meema are going to come through that door. Of course, they rarely actually do. For a long time I thought Christopher was saying "Mommy" but it turns out he is saying "ma-mee," Meema in reverse. (He does say Mama for me, though.)

He makes many animal noises to everyone's delight, including moo, baa, quack, woof, and a very strange, low hissing sound that he inexplicably makes when he sees a penguin. He also roars like a dinosaur when he has his dinosaur towel on. He gets upset if someone takes the hood off his head. You can tell he really enjoys being a dinosaur.

His new words this month include wheel, read, book, no, and row, as in "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" his all-time favorite nursery rhyme. He really, really likes nursery rhymes.

He loves playing with Clare and Josie. He is concerned about their whereabouts at all times. He hands Clare her things, concerned that she is missing them. He is very polite, saying thank you when someone gives him something. But he still throws food on the floor.

Christopher is not a water baby. Clare loves the water, as long as she can touch, but Christopher is very hesitant about going in. He likes playing in the water table and splashing in the bathtub, but when it comes to a large body of water he is not interested. We start swimming lessons next week. I'll be in the pool with him, but I have a feeling it will be a struggle.

He's been sick the past few days, with one of those pesky summer colds, so he has been extra cuddly. I don't love wiping noses all day long, but I'll take the hugs.

Only two more months until birthday number two! I hope they go as slowly as possible.