Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
T started Kindergarten today.
It was momentous.
Particularly for Zip.
Yesterday, we attended Lemonade Day, which, as implied, is when the Kindergartners go have lemonade and cookies with their teachers and see their classroom. We stayed the full forty-five minutes and, when I asked Tizzy on the way home what he thought of his classroom, Zip shouted, “It was great! Let’s go there again!!!”
“Umm, I’m sorry to tell you this honey, but tomorrow we’re not going to get to stay.” I sunk a little bit in my seat.
“Well, it’s only for the Kindergartners.”
“Humph! Well when I’m five, can I go to Kindergarten?”
We spent the rest of the day swimming with friends and Zip discovered a squirt gun he couldn’t live without. I told him that after Tizzy went to Kindergarten that perhaps we could find him one just like it as a special gift for the brother who had to stay home.
He went to bed.
“Where’s my gun?!” He shouted in the night.
He woke up the next morning.
“We’re gonna get my gun?!”
Tizzy has afternoon Kindergarten, so, when my mom was lamenting on the phone last night about not being able to see him off on his first day, I suggested that she drive up and join us. She did.
We got Tizzy to school early so he could sit at the picnic table and eat his lunch before class. He was so excited that my master staller sat down and gobbled down a large cheese sandwich in five minutes flat.
All the parents and grandparents and younger brothers and sisters hovered in the back of the room as their kindergartners gathered round the rainbow rug to start their day.
One boy sat down and announced, “I’m ready to go home now.”
Flash bulbs lit the room as the kids settled down for circle, and then their teacher told us that it was time to say goodbye. Half a dozen eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, but the rest twinkled as they waved good-bye to us.
My mom and I turned to Zip and asked him if he wanted to go have lunch.
“No, I wanna go to the toy store and get my gun.”
We got in the car, and as we drove through town, he assaulted us with, “Hey! I said I wanna get my gun!”
(Someone was feeling a bit insecure!!!)
We got to the toy store and he went up to the lady at the counter.
“Umm, excuse me. I wanna get somefing.”
“You’ve got to tell her what it is you want.” I whispered.
“I want somefing.”
“Tell her which something.”
“Umm, excuse me. Do you have squirt guns?”
She led us to a rack of rubber whales that could potentially be used as squirt guns, but they weren’t what he was looking for.
Then he turned around and saw it.
“That’s the one! That’s the gun!”
We handed him the florescent green and orange and yellow assault rifle and he gingerly carried it to the counter, where we paid for it and he got to carry it out in a big white bag.
Finally, he was ready to eat!
After lunch we still had two-and-a-half hours before we needed to be back at the school. We decided to stop by the fire house.
“This little guy’s brother started Kindergarten today,” we explained to them. “And we were wondering if perhaps there is someone who could please give him a tour of the firehouse.”
Fireman Jake gave him the tour of a lifetime.
Zip sat with him in he ambulance, he steered the fire truck, he marched all around in his fire hat, and he showed Fireman Jake his new squirt gun.
As we left, Fireman Jake was headed to the dry cleaners.
Zip looked up at us and said, “When I was a fireman, I kept my shirts real clean.”
We still had another hour.
We went to the park, and for the first time in his life, Zip was unarmed. He looked around at all the boys playing with their friends and brothers, and he held his squirt gun close. Without his brother, he didn’t know what to do with himself. Where he usually tears around the park, chasing kids and shouting orders, he gingerly climbed the play structures, carefully looking over the sides.
“This fire pole is too high. It looks kind of scary.”
“If I climb down this ladder, I prob-we would break my leg.”
He did finally venture down the slide, but then climbed into my lap and said, “I wanna go home. Let’s go get Tizzy.”
At long last it was time to go.
He fell asleep as soon as we got in the car.
Back at the school, the Kindergartners came bounding out of the classroom with “Chicka-Chicka—Boom-Boom” necklaces dangling around their necks.
“Chicka-Chicka—Boom-Boom!!!” Tizzy hollered as he sauntered across the parking lot.
“Hey mom! We sang Chicka-Chicka—Boom-Boom, and You Are my Sunshine, and then we read Mrs. Findergarten goes to Kindergarten, and she didn’t have a rainbow rug, or anything else for her classroom, but then she got some stuff and it started to look like Kindergarten and then we visited room four, but I don’t know the name of those teachers, but I didn’t go by myself, I went with my class because I’m a good boy...”
He climbed into the car and as he said hello to my mom he saw Zip asleep with his gun.
“Hey! What’s this squirt gun doing?” He yelled as he tried to pry it from Zips slumbering grasp.
“It’s Zip’s special squirt gun that he got from the toy store because he didn’t get to go to Kindergarten.”
“Ockh...yeah. He missed me.”
Zip woke up about half way home, and was delighted and surprised to see T sitting in the seat next to him.
Tizzy glanced over at him.
“So Zip. Did you get that squirt gun ‘cuz you missed me?”
“Look! It’s my squirt gun like those big boys!” Zip replied.
“SAAAY YOU MISSED ME!!!” He demanded angrily.
Taken aback, Zip composed himself and then looked at Tizzy earnestly.
“I really missed you when you were in Kindergarten.”
Saturday, August 22, 2009
So, my baby starts Kindergarten on Wednesday, and while I’m not sad about losing my baby, (I’m a much better parent to big kids,) I’m finding myself becoming increasingly more anxious about school starting.
I thought I’d put it behind me, and now I have fourteen more years of this? (Remember, I have two kids — my math’s not that bad!)
I’m a regular ol’ cheerleader as far as T’s concerned.
“Honey, why don’t you tell the grocer, neighbor, postman what starts next week!” (Beaming with clenched smiled encouragement.)
His face lights up as he tells them all about Kindergarten, and that you only go once, and that it’s only for five-and-a-half-year-olds, and that Zip’s not old enough, because he’s only three—at which point Zip chimes in to say that he will be five some day, and that he plans to go then.
I know in my heart that he’ll do just fine, that he’s oh-so-ready for this, and that, hopefully, with steady encouragement and my best attempts at creating a stable childhood, he’ll not only succeed in school, but that he’ll actually like it.
However, it scares the living day lights out of me, because the last time I remember really liking school was sometime around the first day of second grade. It was all down hill from there.
Some years were better than others, but it was always a struggle, and then I only exacerbated the situation by taking ten years to put myself through college, which is another story.
For now, I am doing my best not to let my prejudice get in the way of this momentous occasion. It’s hard, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of boosting his excitement without giving him unrealistic expectations.
I know that he’ll do as well as he can. I already know he’s bright, but I also know from experience that “bright” doesn’t always mean “scholarly.” With computers and the internet, kids have so many alternatives to an actual school room—if he doesn’t thrive in the classroom, I know we have lots of resources to pull from. I do, however, want him to reap the benefits of socializing with his peers, and I know lots of people who LOVE school.
We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Yesterday, we had one last full day at Fairyland with his best friend and cohort, who also starts Kindergarten in just a few days. All of a sudden, Tizzy came bounding up to me, with stars in his eyes.
“I saw one! I saw one!!” He cried.
“One what?” I asked, confused.
He was so excited he couldn’t tell me, but I then saw what he meant: a little girl and boy dressed up as a fairy and an elf. In that instant, I was reminded that, while he is a big boy, magic is still very much alive for him.
I’m hoping it will be for quite some time.
Friday, August 21, 2009
We were driving home, on a lamp-less road, when I came to a sudden stop to let a deer pass.
“What was that?!” Zip cried out.
“It was a deer crossing the street.” Brad told him.
“See honey, that’s why you don’t run out into traffic. If I hadn’t seen him, we would have run him over.”
“Maybe we could just open the door and give him a ride.” Zip replied
“Deer don’t like cars, and ours is already pretty crowded.” I said.
“A deer!?” Tizzy exclaimed, suddenly paying attention. “Was it riding a bike?”
“No!” Brad and I both laughed.
“Was it on a motorcycle!?” he asked, even more surprised.
“Well what was he on?”
We were now laughing loudly.
“Stop laughing!!!” Zip roared, “It’s NOT funny!”
“Well, actually, it is.” We explained. “When Tizzy said that, it made us imagine deer with helmets, and motorcycle jackets.”
There was a pause... “Ah HA-HA-HA!!!” They boomed from the back seat...
...”How about a bear on a motorcycle? Or on a skateboard? Or a dog driving a car? Or a...a...a...”
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Yesterday, the boys waited all afternoon, patiently at first, but, by 6:30, they were climbing out of their skin. We told them they had to eat dinner before we left, but then the oven broke (curses!), and we loaded them into the car and drove to the gym. It was time for “DIVE in MOVIE!”
The gym is also a hotel with a restaurant attached that, while rather bland, was at least convenient. The boys sat trembling in their seats, eating their All American hotel kid’s meal and loving it, but as soon as that last bite was ingested, they flew out of their seats, bolted down the hall and out to the pool.
There was a giant movie screen out on the deck, and all three pools were packed with screaming kids. Sleeping bags lined the ground, towels and inner tubes littered the patio, and there wasn’t an empty lounge chair in sight. Parents in sunglasses and swim wraps lazily barked out orders to their children while sipping frothy Piña Coladas. Brad took one look around and asked for permission to disappear – not his thing. I understood. I, however, found it amusing and plunked myself down by the side of the pool. The boys immediately jumped in and started treading water, weaving in and out among the big kids. The movie, referred to in our house as “Move it - Move it,” (Madagascar) started ten minutes later.
When popcorn was passed around, Zip climbed out of the water and into my lap, but Tizzy remained in the pool the whole ninety minutes. With blue lips trembling—treading, treading, head tipped back for air—he watched the movie, credit to credit, from his watery perch.
As the flick wrapped up, Brad reemerged in time to help me whisk the boys back to the locker rooms, into the showers and into pajama’s. Walking to the parking lot, Zip looked up at us and cried, “That was a great show!”
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
It was my fault, and I knew it, but that didn't keep me from taking it out on the boys. Oh no. Within an hour, I was more than grouchy – I was just plain mean, so I took a deep breath, called my mom and my cousin, packed the boys into the car and headed down to Santa Cruz.
It was escape time!
We met up with our cousins first. They'd secured tickets to see the dolphins at the Long Marine Lab, which delighted all the boys, making them laugh and clap, and afterward we went back inside to study the fish and tide pool stations.
Our cousins had swim lessons, so we said our goodbyes then ran off to meet my mom at the Boardwalk, just in time for a free performance of Cirque Magnifique.
After sitting on the bandstand for an hour in the hot hot sun, we cooled off with a root beer and played a round of Pirate Golf. Canons were raging, rooms were glowing, the woman behind us had no sense of humor – NONE – yet we all had a fabulous time. Best yet, when we were done, it was 75 cent night at the Boardwalk!
After dining on 75 cent franks, we reconnected with our cousins and the boys went wild. They drove boats, and trucks, and flew airplanes high up into the sky, finishing the night off with a gallop 'round the carousel.
We repeated our goodbyes, drove to my mom's and had baths, snacks and stories.
Cozy in there jammies, and in the car once more, I asked them if they'd enjoyed their day.
"Yes mama!" Tizzy answered. "It was a VERRRY FULL day!"
I drove us all home, carried them out under the full moon and into the house and tucked them into their beds.
It had been a full day.
Full and fun and just a teenie bit mean.