Thursday, September 10, 2015

First Day of Pre-K

There were tears shed. By me. Clare did just fine. She has been looking forward to starting school for weeks. The thing she was most excited about? Taking the bus. I hope the novelty doesn't wear off, because she is going to spend at least half an hour on the bus every morning. She was so eager to get on the bus this morning that I couldn't even get a picture. I do have a lovely shot of the bus driver, though.

I baked banana bread for a special breakfast today. She helped. We also went out to dinner to celebrate her first day, her pick. She chose Snuffy's, of course.

Ben took the day off, so I decided to follow the bus to school. Yes, I am one of those parents. I can't help it. It is scary putting your 4-year-old on the bus and sending her off into the world.  I didn't actually follow it the whole way, I just went to the school to make sure she got there okay. I saw her get off the bus, talking to another little girl. She looked so grown-up.  (Note, and this is important: Clare had no idea I was following the bus and did not see me when I was at the school.)

When she got home, she didn't want to tell me much about her day at first. Later, she was laying on the kitchen floor when she said, "I did okay today, Mom, I didn't even play by myself. I just played with other kids." She paused. "Sometimes I am shy when I first meet people, but I wasn't today." She sounded surprised. I told her she was getting better at meeting new people, because she's had lots of practice. I am so happy she had such a good day.

Waiting for the bus.

 Christopher taking a coffee break while waiting for Clare.

Getting off the bus at the end of the day.

Monday, September 7, 2015

End of Summer

I think I'll start with my favorite Clare-ism of late. My parents babysat for us on Saturday so Ben and I could drink a lot of beer and ride on the light rail wearing matching T-shirts. (Rails and Ales: super fun!) Clare and my mom were playing restaurant.

Clare: "How do you like your ice cream?"

My mom: "It's really good."

Clare: "I stored it in my hunderwear!"

My mom: Slowly spits out her pretend ice cream...

Yes, she says hunder instead of under. Maybe it was all the beer, but I couldn't stop laughing when my mom told me the story.


We tried camping again at the begin of August, despite the mixed results from the first trip. This trip was worse, mainly because everyone but Clare had a bad cold. We stayed for one night and then gave up. Clare had fun, at least. We were at Blue Mounds State Park in southern Wisconsin. It is beautiful, and they have a nice pool, but even that wasn't enough to motivate us to stay longer. Christopher is at a hard age for this type of thing, too, mostly because he doesn't seem to think it's a problem to run into the road or walk through the fire pit while there is a fire blazing. Next year?


We were invited to a friend's cabin for a few days in mid-August. The kids and I went during the week, ditching poor Ben. It was really nice. The best part, though, was that Clare actually went tubing! It was a tube with sides that she could sit down in, and she had a blast. I was really impressed, considering her usual fearful nature. She has definitely become braver this summer.


At the end of the month, we went to Golden Eagle Lodge on the Gunflint Trail for the third year in a row. Being up north is so relaxing. Even with an almost two-year-old, I feel like I can breath better up there.


Clare and Ben are really in to the Fair.

I can take it or leave it, but if I have some beer and some Sweet Martha's Cookies I am usually happy enough.

Christopher hates it.

He did manage to choke down a few cookies, though.

We had one final summer playdate this morning with our neighborhood friends. The best part of a Labor Day playdate? The husband of one of my friends delivered Chipotle to the park.

Another good summer in the books. Now, time to get ready for another new routine.

Friday, September 4, 2015

23 months

Two nights ago I was giving Christopher a bath. I was home alone with the kids, and Clare was having a crisis downstairs. I ran down the stairs, leaving Christopher alone in the tub. (I know.) I quickly grabbed Clare and ran to the stairs. And what do I find? Christopher, halfway down the staircase. There was water everywhere, and a huge grin on his face. This kid.

He has hit the independent twos. Anything he can do himself, he will. And if I don't do things exactly how he wants, he gets very angry. The fact that he can only sometimes express his desires does not help.

He has started speaking in two word sentences. His new words this month include pee, poo, hop, popcorn, up, please, buggy (yeah, for bugs), and da (finally!). For reasons unknown to me, Clare and Christopher spend a lot of time yelling the word juggle at each other. We frequently ask Christopher if he can say certain words. His response: "Yeah." But he won't actually say the word. He is confident he could do it if he wanted to, apparently.

We had swimming lessons a few weeks ago, and Christopher got pretty comfortable in the water. At the end of lessons, his review from his teacher said, "Christopher likes to have fun! But if he doesn't like what we are doing, he won't participate." That certainly describes Christopher, although I think it probably describes most almost two-year-olds.

We were at my parents' house a few weeks ago. Clare took out my old Samantha doll, and set up her birthday party. I have a set of small glasses, plates, a pitcher and tiny cakes and ice cream. It is really adorable. Anyway, she had it painstakingly arranged in the living room. You can see where this is going. Christopher came barreling into the room. His eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning when he saw the doll toys. He ran toward them and immediately began throwing them over the couch. You can imagine Clare's reaction.

We spent the weekend up north a few weeks ago. Christopher and I were on the deck of the cabin when an overly friendly red squirrel came looking for seeds. Christopher panicked a bit, backing up and whining. The squirrel was undeterred. Christopher, seeing the squirrel wasn't leaving, chucked the bottle of bubbles he was holding right at the squirrel. It worked. That squirrel was out of there.

Even though he has become more independent, he is still sweet and affectionate. Whenever I am kneeling down changing Josie's diaper or putting away toys, he'll come up behind me and put his arms around me and lay his head on my back. "Mama," he says.

One more month until two!