Friday, June 10, 2016

The proverbial last day of school entry

First day. Happy.

First day.
Notice that there are no fancy fonted dates, words, or images superimposed on these pictures. This is real life first day of school stuff. There's one kid who is mortified by the very existence of her mother and more mortified that her mother is taking pictures. There's one kid who obliges to make his Mommy happy, is excited to see his friends at school again, and wants desperately for his sister to smile with him, and capitalizes on how mortified she is. There's a mother who just wants to capture the moment before her children head off to school. And it's not even 8:30AM.

Fast forward to the last day, and the last nine months seem a bit of a blur. If I had to summarize things, I'd say that Ethel's moods somewhat evened out, she tells us even less than before about what she's working on in school, and she is adored by the second graders in her charge as a patrol. Fred was pegged as a leader by his teacher, gained a love of cooking in an after school club, and his creative side flourished in art and music.

Yesterday was Ethel's last day in elementary school. Yesterday was Fred's last day as a third grader. They are both very unhappy because yesterday was their first day of summer day camp. Buzz kill.

That said, the changes in both kids were gradual, but, pronounced. Fred came out of his shell quite a bit and started to sort of come into his own. He joined Cub Scouts in the fall for the first time, and he picked up on it all quite quickly. He truly enjoyed his first year of Scouting, and so did we. He is looking forward to next year as a Webelo I. He also started inline hockey classes, starting with a skills and drills class. Let me tell you, this kid is amazing. He's roller skated once or twice, but never inline. At the first class, he spent more time on the floor than he did skating. Within two hours of coming home from that first class, he wanted to get on his skates and practice. He put in lots of time after school to get better at skating, and it's paid off tenfold. He is having a blast and learning a lot. He wants to go on and play in a league!

Ethel continued to read and read and read this year. She became a patrol, keeping watch over the second graders during their lunch and recess. Her biggest complaint was that they little ones liked to steal her snacks from her lunch. When we attended the 2nd and 3rd grade concert for Fred, Ethel watched the 2nd graders with a big smile on her face, and some of the little ones called out to her with real excitement. She also joined chorus this year, which she has chosen to keep going with in junior high next year. The band geek in me was thrilled when she chose to try orchestra! My tiny little peanut picked the cello, of all instruments. Thank goodness for half sizes. She did so well, we are so proud of her. The grand finale was Girls on the Run. The staff site coordinator sucked some major lemons and there was a bully in the group, but, Ethel enjoyed it nonetheless. I was fired as her running buddy for the 5K this year in favour of Daddy. She not only did well, she killed her times from the previous two years and it was awesome.

We uncovered some new challenges with Fred, while some of the issues with Ethel seemed to calm. Overall, I think we ended the year with a win. I could complain, but it's not going to get me any free wine, so to heck with it!

When it comes down to it, we have two healthy kids who have a healthy resentment of parental authority, sharp senses of humour, and who aren't on the radar of the authorities. We are blessed by these little beings who teach us, challenge us, and remind us that the word fart is really pretty funny.

Last day. Happier.
Last day. Cool.
I tried really hard to upload some more pictures but they're all sideways and upside down and I don't have the patience. Argh.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Not a Pintrest mom

Sure, I have a blog. That's about as fancy as this mom gets. I also have ADD, which is a big contributor to my absence from blogging the last couple years. I get easily overwhelmed when life is happening, so trying to capture the flurry of activity in my brain for someone outside that brain to digest is often impossible for me. When you're responsible for two smaller-than-you humans and everything that has to do with their everything, something has to give. Unfortunately, as much as I love being here, blogging is expendable in my daily life. Add that the laptop at home died, and there you have it, folks.

That said, my brain almost literally explodes at the thought of more digital influence in my life. We have cable TV, I have a cell phone, a Facebook account, and I have this little blog. Oh, and a husband, kids, and a full time job outside the home, too. My little brain is pretty full trying to remember my kids' names, where I work, and all the millions of passwords for different web sites, all of which are "unique" and "smart" (most are smarter than I). Every so often I get to read a book (made out of paper) for my book club and try to retain what I've read so I can talk about it when we gather.

I derail somewhat easily when I'm not "in the zone". OK, so I just derail easily. It can take me just a few minutes to pound out a blog entry, or even a lengthy e-mail, when I am inspired. When I'm not inspired or "in the zone" it can take days. I've started blog entries countless times over the last two years, even ones which have a specific topic or purpose. Suddenly, the wind blows, I see dishes in the sink, I have to eat, I have to pee, wait - shiny rock! I rethink sentences, rewrite paragraphs, delete, rewrite, then I decide to try again later. Later becomes next week, next month, you get the idea.

If I had to try to keep track of pins, boards, swipes, taps, whatever - I'd lose my sanity and most likely my job. I have enough time suckers as it is. They're 11 and 9 years old. It's bad enough to try to set Candy Crush aside for 9 hours while I'm at work, but, if I knew that there were cute crafts and life hacks that could help me bond with my kids or save me money and time, I would go insane! Seeing how inept I am when it's tossed at me on Facebook is one thing, but for entire websites to tease and taunt me, my self-esteem would take a huge nose dive. It's hard enough to make sure I am tucking the right kids into bed at night, I can't keep track of the millions of cute ways to use clothes pins.

I have recommitted myself to my health, my fitness, controlling ADD symptoms and improving my focus. Much of this is thanks to putting healthy eating back to the forefront. I find that when I'm focused on eating well, back to my Paleo ways, my mind does much better. When I'm running more, my sanity is much better. My hope is that I can keep eating right, blog when I think of it, and get my body running more miles.

That's all for now. It's time to get more coffee and brace myself for the last day of school. Until the next entry...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Time passes quickly

I was driving to the grocery store on Saturday in the rain. I really don't like grocery shopping, and I like it less in the rain. I didn't have the kids with me, so I guess it could have been worse.

I came to a stop light and noticed something in the car ahead of me. I hadn't noticed that the rain had stopped. From the rear window of the car in front of me, a tiny little hand reached out toward the sky. Curious little fingers reaching out, probably trying to see if they could touch the clouds in the sky, the car in the next lane, or maybe even just to feel the breeze. The little hand had sweet, chubby little fingers with dimpled knuckles. I caught myself with a huge smile on my face.

After the smile, I began to find tears on my cheeks. Where did that shit come from? It's a Saturday afternoon. My son is at a party for three hours, my daughter is at home with my husband, and I AM ALONE TO GROCERY SHOP. What is wrong with me? I waited YEARS to have this kind of implied freedom!

What's wrong with me? Exactly what I said. My son is old enough to be at a party without his parents. My daughter is old enough to be home doing something that doesn't require constant supervision by her parents aside from making sure she doesn't escape or light something on fire. Escape? I digress.

The small child in the car in front of me is a reminder that those days are long gone for me. My kids' hands are almost as big as mine. They're creeping up to nearly as tall as I am. They are finishing fifth and third grades in less than 48 hours. It wasn't that long ago that I was a blubbering mess trying to grasp sending Ethel to kindergarten. Now I'm a blubbering mess watching those cute little matchstick fingers wave in the air from the window of that car. I flashed back to the days of long distance commercials that would reduce me to a small puddle on the floor in a mere 28 seconds.

I finally gathered my blubbering mess together and got my shopping done and drove home. You'd think the whole thing was over at this point, wouldn't you? Think again. As I opened the door and entered our family room, my daughter turned and looked in my direction. There stood this beautiful, gawky, long-limbed tween that has inhabited the being of my first born. She's more praying mantis than child these days with growth spurts forcing her arms and legs to unnatural looking lengths. There is a confidence in her face that I'm envious of. She is so sure of herself as she looks to see what she hears, then rolls her eyes as she realizes it's just me. She is caught between the toothless little girl without a care, and the tall drink of water who thinks she's OK to call her parents by their first names and sling insults at them like it's sport. She is teetering on that fine line between sitting in Daddy's lap and slamming her bedroom door for privacy. She is a skilled eye roller, "NO" yeller, and foot stomper. She is fighting for independence while trying desperately to hang on to the last threads of early childhood.

The hits keep coming. It's now time to collect Fred from the birthday party I deposited him at earlier. Gone are the days when my kids would run to me and cry, "Mommy" and jump into my arms. Today they'd knock me down and I'd be in traction if they did that, so I guess I'm OK with that part being over. Clearly, the hosts were pretty done with the room full of eight and nine year olds, as I heard, "Fred, your mom's here!" before I even got to the door. The collective groan from the kids was not exactly silent, and then I got "the stare". You know, the "why are you here already?" look that's tossed at you from behind innocent little eyes. He just looked at me with such disgust that I would dare come to pick him up and take him home when he was having a perfectly good time with his friends. Sorry, Kid, you're coming home with me. Seeing him in a room of his peers was all I needed to see to know that this boy is no longer my little guy (the size of his shoes should have told me that, duh). He looked older, grown up, more, well, grown up.

All in one day, I had this gross realization that my kids are getting older. Recently, Ethel reminded me that I am, too, by telling me she looks nothing like me because...wait for it...."you have wrinkles". Thanks, girlie.

In a couple days, Ethel will leave the halls of elementary school and enter the big bad world of junior high school. Fred will become a fourth grader and be near the top of the food chain of the grade school. Holy hell, how did that happen?

I am so glad that I had a little money in the budget for a bottle of wine to enjoy that night. I'm more glad that we had the evening free and could nestle ourselves on the couches to try to watch a movie together...until the kids picked something I just couldn't stomach, even with wine, so I left them to watch their movie. Just the two of them. Enjoying a summer night together at home. And I know these nights won't last forever.

June 5, 2013
June 5, 2016