A summer’s worth of posts all rolled into one or just pick right up where I find myself tonight? The last time I blogged feels like forever ago. So much living has happened since June, and I’m probably too tired to even remember what happened yesterday, let alone a month ago. So picking up where I am it is. (Summer was busy and hot. There. My re-cap.)
The usual end-of-summer angst is upon me. I probably write at least one post a year about being done with summer and needing the routine back, and this August is no exception. I’m at the cusp of my breaking point with the kids and the renovations. Daily I seem to ask myself, sometimes aloud even, how much more I can handle. The proverbial plate is full and spilling over. And, of course, the kids start school late this year. So that’s where I find myself. Wishing I was a chain-smoker.
Even when the kids are finally carted off to school on the big yellow bus, September proves time and time again to be a monumental test of my mental and physical stamina. As if getting used to waking-up early and having to spring right out of bed and into a schedule wasn’t trying enough there’s still all the ‘Back-to-School’ events and ‘Meet-the-Teacher’ nights and Running Clubs and archery that both kids are doing this year. The school jumps right in to fundraising and doing it’s best to bleed the parents dry of all money and dignity they have leftover from the summer months. Seriously, I think I got the first fundraising package sent home within the first few days last year. And because I’m apparently a complete masochist, I enrolled Eli in a condensed swim class for three days a week for all of September. Someone slap me. Or offer to babysit. At the very least, bring me a Starbucks.
Do I sound like I’m complaining? I am. I need a space to be irritated and overwhelmed once-in-awhile. If you don’t understand then I suggest you should have three kids with a shift-working spouse while doing a stupid amount of renovations on your house…then get back to me.
Back in the spring we bought a new laptop. I love it. It doesn’t take a year to turn the damn thing on. Also, the keyboard is nice to type on…which makes a huge difference. I was super excited to be able to quickly get a blog down and published. I miss using this space. I need to get back to it. I don’t need to actually. I want to. It helps.
One thing that I’ve seen develop as my children have grown over the years, and that I can say with the utmost confidence, is that my children are colourful. They both have a strong penchant for being their own person; not caring so much what other people are doing or saying. This was very apparent to me when they came out of their rooms this morning. Amelia was dressed like Cyndi Lauper (again) and Rhys was dressed like Micheal Jackson (again).
On Friday after school Rhys told me that he needed to do a short biography presentation on Monday morning. I asked him who he’d like to pick and, without missing a beat, he said Micheal Jackson or Elvis. I thought both of those would be good candidates but was curious what kinds of people other kids have done thus far. Apparently, the other students mainly do biographies on each other. But no, Rhys needs to do something different.
So he went about finding some information on MJ and put together a short biography including a website where the kids can listening to his favourite song, Billie Jean, and watch the King of Pop do the moon walk. I figured his presentation would end there, until he came out of his room this morning all dressed-up and dancing around doing the best Micheal Jackson impression he could muster. I guess he figured a visual component would compliment his biography.
I’m very excited to see clear displays of my children choosing to walk their own path, adding in their own flavors to their day to day life. I will always encourage it. I will always be proud of it. My hope and prayer is that they become confident and happy adults capable of great things because of it.
I slept in a little bit this morning since Eli seems happy to flop around in his crib in the mornings until I come and get him. Thank you Eli, it’s much appreciated.
After making him a bottle and setting him on the floor I made myself a delicious pumpkin spice latte (see http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com for the recipe). Rhys and Amelia are off watching cartoons, the sun is shining, I’m wearing a cozy knit sweater…all is well. I love this time of year.
The kids are enjoying school a lot. We attended the annual back-to-school BBQ this past week where we are able to see their classrooms and meet their teachers.
Amelia has made new friends (which isn’t a surprise at all). She excitedly pulled me around her new Grade 1 room and showed me where her backpack, jacket and lunch kit go. She showed us where she sits and where her folders are placed. We saw the reading corner and the whiteboard. She was beaming with pride the entire time. The initial report from her teacher is that she’s a very eager child who seems to be taking learning very seriously. Good. Amelia is happily settled.
Down the hall to Rhys’ room. Waaaaay down the hall. He’s so far away from the Kindergarten rooms! How’d he grow up this quickly!?
He sits right at the front of the room and decorated his desks name tag with a big city construction scene. He also showed us where all of his stuff belongs and…low and behold…he’d forgotten his lunchbox that day! Typical. We met his teacher whose a younger guy and, thus far, he seems like a perfect fit and Rhys is so pumped to have his first male teacher. It turns out that Rhys is in the Grade 3/4 split class which I was unaware of (James said that it stated that on the report card last year but I have baby brain so…). Rhys will be able to work on some Grade 4 level math and reading, among other things, which he and I are quite excited about. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year goes for him in this classroom. He’s also made a new friend who is from France! James and I were able to meet his parents who live close by. They said they’ve already heard a lot about Rhys and I think our boys have quickly bonded over soccer.
We are settling in to a routine quite nicely. The kids are keeping up with their chores and I’m slowly finding a rhythm to my days with just Eli at home. It makes me happy to see all of my kids learning and enjoying themselves.
I apologize for the lull in blogging the past few weeks, life has taken over! The kids are off and settled at school. Rhys continued on to grade 2 this year and Amelia started Kindergarten. I can’t believe that both of my kids are of the age where they are away a school during the week. Where’d all those years go? It seems like just yesterday that Amelia was crawling around chewing on Rhys’ toys and Rhys was obsessed with ‘worker-men’ and tractors. Now they both have their very own big-kid rooms where they hook-up their school bags after they come home, sit and read, build robots out of Lego and play dress-up with dolls (without my help). Gone are the days of sleepy cuddles and board books. Our conversations have begun to take a more ‘mature’ route on topics like school-yard games, friends, math class, careers, hobbies and computer class. Back-to-school was quickly followed by Rhys turning 7, which just compounded my astonishment over how big my children have gotten. Maybe it’s a good thing that there’s another one on the way? Maybe I’m just not ready to be out of the baby/toddler stage quite yet.
Rhys starting grade 2
Ammie starting Kindergarten
Rhys on his 7th birthday
You know your child is growing-up when they start bringing home projects and homework. Grade One isn’t like Kindergarten. Oh no, it’s not just a few home reading books anymore. Within the first few weeks Rhys has brought home work for math, spelling, reading and his very first class presentation! The project is called Star of the Day. Each day one of the kids in his class gets to talk about their family, interests and favorite things. I think it’s a great idea. The project introduces a basic understanding of public speaking with the easiest topic…themselves! What kid doesn’t want to talk about his or her favorite food and movie?
For each of the topics he will be talking about (food, movie, family, pet, sport, colour, etc.) he needs to bring an item or picture to help him explain it to the class. These items need to be packed in a box and the box needs to be decorated with things that he likes. We started working on the box last weekend. I had a kids shoebox lying around which was the perfect size for holding all of these items. originally Rhys wanted to just cover it with paper and plaster it with stickers…but then we remembered his MakeDo set. Why have just a boring old box holding all of the items when the box itself can be an item!??! (your brain just exploded, didn’t it?) For those of you who know Rhys, and now those of you who don’t, will know just how crazy this kid is about building things. Usually it takes the form of hours spent building with Lego at his table, but Rhys also loves building with recyclables. That’s where MakeDo comes in. Haven’t heard of MakeDo? Well, you should have. We bought Rhys a box of it at Toad Hall Toys a while back and he loves it. Makedo is a bunch of reusable connectors which allow you to build things out of recyclable materials. Rhys was doing this sort of thing before he discovered these cool connecters…these just make it easier.
Here’s our supplies:
-two toilet paper rolls
-one KD box
-two fruit cup lids
-1/4 plastic wrap roll
Here’s our finished product:
I think it’s pretty neat. Why settle for an ordinary box when you can turn it into a super-cool robot? Now we have to fill it with his favorite things and work on a clear voice and eye contact (as per teachers instructions).
Standing at the gate all packed-up and ready to go a full twenty minutes ahead of schedule Rhys realized that something was missing. In his anticipation and excitement he’d forgotten his favorite thing and it dawned on him that he might be making this trip alone. He turned around to ask me a question.
Can I bring Povu? (his favorite stuffed monster that goes everywhere with him)
No, Povu can’t go to school with you.
He put his head down. I asked him to come and sit on the front step with me.
Are you nervous?
His eyes welled-up with tears.
Are you a little bit worried?
My mommy-heart broke a little bit. I told him that it was okay to feel nervous. He was going to a whole new school, starting a whole new grade, making all new friends, and taking the bus for the first time ever all while learning a whole new language. I told him that I’d be nervous too. I told him that tomorrow it wouldn’t be a new school or teacher or bus ride because he was doing it all today. Tomorrow he would know what everything looked like so he wouldn’t have to be nervous about it. I told him that I was proud of him.
We had a big hug and I told him that Povu would pick him up at the bus stop when he was done school.
He seemed quiet and a bit more reserved while we waited at the bus stop. Then, before I could wish him luck, he was up and on the bus looking for a free seat and being driven away.
It felt weird to be sending him off for the whole day knowing that he was nervous and worried and wishing he could take his favorite ‘friend’ to keep him company. I wanted to stop by the school to check-up on him. I wanted to call the school to make sure he found his room. But I didn’t. I left him alone. And you know what? He was fine without me…without Povu. Sigh. My little boy is growing-up!
Povu kept his promise and met Rhys at the bus stop but was quickly passed back to me as he and Ammie raced each other down the sidewalk. Rhys was excited and happy and his anxieties of the morning were far behind him.
The first day of grade one was successful. He made a few friends, played soccer twice and only walked into the wrong classroom once. It’s going to be an adjustment having him gone all day but at least I know that first day jitters are dealt with.
It’s been 10 years since James and I were in high school. There are moments when I feel as though the time has flown by at record speeds and it seems like just yesterday that I was rushing off to my next class or stressing about tests and getting papers done. I can still smell the greasy cafeteria chicken strips and fries beckoning my best friend and I, causing us to mooch change off of any lucky passerby. I can still conjure up those sensations of butterflies in my stomach as James and I fell in love while skipping classes and passing notes. It feels like just yesterday I was staring life in the eye and with my idealistic worldviews was off to tackle new frontiers and exciting horizons. What would I do? Who would I be? Was I truly made for greatness?
Then there are moments where it’s as though I’ve lived a lifetime over since walking across that stage and receiving my diploma, so much so that I feel like an entirely different person. I can’t quite remember everyone’s name that I graduated with and I’ve lost so much of the ‘important’ information they taught me, the information that I always swore to retain. I’m pretty sure I said something about wanting to start a theatre company when they paraded us across our graduation stage. Oh yeah, I used to like theatre. Wait…do I still like theatre? Between bills and babies I can’t remember the last time that I did anything with acting. Something, so many things that were once so important to me, things that I felt so convicted about were left on the corner during one of my many relocations in the past 10 years. That little girl with the wide eyes and excitement for life looks kinda, vaguely familiar – I’m sure I know her from somewhere…
I had been stressed about our high school reunion for a long time and for a few reasons. When I look at other people, with their education and degrees and business ventures, it’s hard for me to feel “successful”. I don’t have an education; one year at university and one year at college don’t amount to very much. I don’t have much money; being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t pay all that well in case you hadn’t heard. I don’t have a car. I’m not currently in school and all that I can say that I’m working towards is…well, still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. To be totally honest, it can be hard when the conversation dies because you tell someone you stay at home with your kids or when you get that ‘ohyou’rejustamom’ look (and I know this because it happens fairly regularly). I’ve been worried about what I haven’t yet accomplished.
I also don’t really like small talk because I start to feel awkward and then I don’t stop talking…which just makes it more awkward.
A few months ago I decided to not worry about the reunion and, instead of losing sleep over the thing, I’d help plan it. I thought that if I was in the group planning the event then it wouldn’t be such an unknown to me. I decided to (try to) not care about people’s opinions. I don’t have to be everyone’s friend and I don’t have to live up to their version of success. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful kids and I’m good at what I do. I don’t have to have the perfect body or look exactly the same as I did when I graduated. People change. That’s life.
I don’t know that I’ve fully changed my outlook. I’ve come a long way in the past little while but I still have quite a way to go. For the most part it feels as though time has completely flown by and it leaves me wondering what this next 10 years will be like?
In grade 12 we were asked to write letters to our 28 year-old selves. I have absolutely no recollection of what is in my letter…should be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.