Friday, September 12, 2014

What Teddy and I Do All Day

Cal and Clark going to kindergarten means a lot of things, but one of the most important ones is that Teddy and I get a lot of quality time together. Until last week I had no idea how to function with only one child. Seriously. I've never been at home with only one before. It's different than with two or three. Some might say easier, and so far I agree. I only have to feed lunch to one, change the diapers of one, push a single stroller rather than a double stroller, carry one baby up the 35 stairs of our building, etc. I do find myself wishing Teddy had a little twin pal to play with, though. But he'll have to settle for dance parties with my Pandora stations and me for now.

We are settling into our little routine. After we play and I corral the boys to get them into some sort of presentable state, we walk them to school and then sometimes stay outside and keep walking or sometimes come inside to escape oppressive heat. We wave at all the same people on the way to school-- the neighborhood friends and friends-of-a-friend. Today we spent the lovely, cool morning walking to the library and Trader Joe's after dropping the boys off at school. I let Teddy walk around outside for awhile. Some mornings we've had a play date with some other little babies and their moms.

Then after the early morning fun there is nap time for Teddy, which means dishes, laundry, and maybe the beginning of dinner for me. Any phone calls to be made or writing projects to be hacked away at. The cleaning of the bathrooms and the taking out of the garbage and recycling. I turn Pandora on the TV and maybe I jam out while I Windex the sliding glass door. When Teddy wakes up we typically dance to a song I made up for him and then have lunch. He drinks from his bottle with his pinkie up. So cute. Then we have the afternoon. I love to read books with him. He has his favorites and he'll drag them around and hold them up to me to read, while grunting and smiling. He hides things in the cupboards like his firetruck I found by the almonds and the little watering can I found in the mixing bowls. He often pulls out a bag of rice cakes, and pulls it around like a blanket. He clearly misses the boys though, like I do. I find myself wondering what they're doing and Teddy usually goes over and pulls on the door an hour or so before it's time to go pick them up.

Then we do go and pick them up. We say hello to the same people, and we wait at the same doors for the boys to come through. Today I let Teddy get out of the stroller and so when he saw Cal and Clark coming through the doors, he started giggling and ran over to them. They hugged him and I had a mom moment.

The boys are now very much comfortable at school. They yell goodbye to their friends and teachers. Today Clark held up the whole kiss 'n ride line to stick his head in a classmate's car to remind him about the t-ball game tomorrow. They have to run back to high five another buddy.

And then we all come home and the boys finish their lunches or have a different snack while Teddy snacks also and we talk about the day and usually about some sort of hypothetical fighting situations (Who would win, Mom, a lion or a bear? A fork or a spoon if they were alive?). Other topics covered are usually sports, shark teeth and eating habits, food, and whatever make-believe situation they're involved in. Meanwhile, Teddy just revels in having his brothers home. He squeals while they wrestle and claps while they play catch.

The rest of the day is just normal stuff-- we go outside again if possible, eat dinner and hang out with Brian. Lots of wresting and elbows flying. I try to focus on Cal and Clark since I don't get to see them as much as usual. Some piano-practice on the new keyboard we bought for their piano lessons. Some bath time for Teddy, and the boys now shower. That's right. They shower. All Teddy does in the bathtub is stand up, turn on the faucet and tries to drink the water coming out as he squeals manically.

Then Brian and I send the kids to bed and fall asleep watching the Nationals win, cradling our wine glasses and secretly eating goldfish crackers or string cheese from the boys' school lunch stash.

And that is what Teddy and I do all day.

Just another morning before school- space mission under the table
pinkies up!

Who wants to hang out with this guy? Me!

Is it time to go get the boys yet, Mom?
Are you sure?
Well then let's turn the music up.

After school playing with clay: Clark fashions a flying squirrel

Your typical coming-home-from-school scene: boys with sticks.
Doing "push-ups" on the way to school
We found a giant butterfly!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beginning Kindergarten Series, Day 4

Last day of the first week! Everything went smoothly, minus the small morning meltdown over the stained shark shirt that could not be worn to school due to its huge stains. When I picked them up this afternoon, they were both crooning about how much they love school. They were yelling goodbye to new friends as we walked away from the school and stopping to go high-five them. They brought home coloring and writing they worked on this week and for the first time I didn't pack too much in their lunch boxes.

Clark: "Today was the best day. See, it went like this: The first day was ok, the second day was good, the third day was weird, and today was weird but the greatest ever."

Cal: "I love music the best. Our class sings the best, even me and Clark."

Here they're just bein' weird at the open house before they knew that school was fun.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beginning Kindergarten Series, Day 3

Today the boys were more comfortable with everything school.

My brilliant idea of using the hanging,days-of-the-week shelves for school clothes has so far not worked well. On Monday I told them to help me pick clothes out for the week, but they were way too involved in their pretend underwater shark photography expedition than in clothing. (That needs to be a whole separate blog entry.) So I picked out their clothes myself.

This morning Cal saw the shirt I had picked out for him to wear today had a collar.

Cal: "No, you don't wear shirts with collars except on the first day. We don't want to walk in like a bunch of dummies."

Me: "Oh wow. Okay. So what should you wear instead?"

Cal: "Oh, I don't know...just a shirt with, like, a, I don't know, dinosaur or something on it."

So he wore a random bright yellow souvenir t-shirt with a moose on it from Montreal. Clearly way cooler than a red polo shirt. Clark did wear the blue polo shirt and shorts I had picked out, so maybe I was half way successful.

We walked to school with Margo and the boys navigated their way to their classroom perfectly. They hugged me. They showed me where their cubbies are and I helped them take their lunch boxes out. They hugged me again. They hugged Margo. They hugged Teddy. They went to their seats and as I was waving goodbye, Clark yelled, "Bye, Mom! I love you!" Love that kid. Feeling a little lost and fairly sweaty, I walked home.

At the end of the school day they both agreed that their favorite was P.E. today because they did more than learn how to sit like yesterday. Quotes from after school:

Clark: "The funnest was P.E. but I wanna run more...and when do we play a game? I want to beat another class."

Cal: "Yeah, when do we get to run more? I need to work out."

Clark: "There is this girl in school who speaks another language. She blew her nose and just threw the tissue on the floor. It was so gross. I almost told her, but she wouldn't know what I said anyway."

(NOTE: I'm glad he found that gross and not funny)

Cal: "I think the music teacher's name is Mrs. Jones or something. No. Mrs. Garcia? I don't know but we sang a song about a man in the moon with jellybean eyes. It was really weird. I think it was Mrs. Jones."

I had to tackle a question about divorce tonight, after they told me about one of their classmates' living situation.

After dinner we ran over to the library because all the Olivia books we had put on hold were there. They were so excited that the librarian loved it. (Ok, so did this English teacher) There is a girl in their class named Olivia and they've been discussing between the two of them how to tell Girl Olivia that there are books about a pig named Olivia without calling her a pig because they would never call her a pig. I'm not sure what they decided, but I agreed that calling her a pig was nothing they should ever do.

They carried the books home and we read a few before they were wiped out and fell into bed.

Fourth day coming up! They'll be pros in no time.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beginning Kindergarten Series, Day 2

Cal woke up earlier this morning and came and snuggled in bed with me and Teddy, who woke up WAY TOO early this morning. Cal said he got up early because he didn't want to be late for school and so he could spend more time with me. What a guy.

We walked to school with Gammy and they showed her their classroom. This week parents can walk the kindergartners to their rooms, but next week they have to start walking themselves. This fact caused a bit of anxiety for them this morning, but we talked about finding their way and it really could barely be any easier to get to their classroom, so that's helpful.

Ding! Round two
I told them I had an after school surprise for them. Honorary Aunt Margo came today so she walked with me to dismissal and they were surprised! They are trying to convince her to spend the night. Which she plans on, but they don't know it.


Today they were more talkative on the way home, though I'm not sure I have a clear account about what actually happened today...

"P.E. was boring. All we learned was how to sit down." -Cal

"Our teacher was wrong, we had music, not art today. I don't know why she was wrong." -Clark

"It turns out I do like school." -Cal

"I liked yesterday better because everything was funner then." -Clark

"Guess what Dominick had in his lunch?! OREOS!" -Cal

Me: What did you do in music?

"All we did is just really talk." -Clark

"All we did was just sit. And she played music." -Cal

Me: Did you read a book?

"Yeah, we read a book. I don't know what it was about. I don't know what it was called." -Cal

"I don't remember what it was about it, either." - Clark


Beginning Kindergarten Series, Day 1

The walk to school was fun and the boys' voices only faltered a few times. They asked again what they'd do today and I told them drawing and coloring and reading and playing on the playground and playing games. Clark, the forever competitor, said, "I'll win 10 games for you today, Mom!" Which almost made the dam break behind my eyes, but I held it together. At the front door it was a little harder, they kept wanting to hold my hands and I could feel their palms were sweaty (or maybe it was just mine). 

At the door of the classroom Clark started to break down. I went in with them and helped them sit down at a table. He kept hugging my legs and crying quietly, asking how long it would be until I would come back, asking if I could stay just a few more minutes. When the bell rang I pulled away and walked toward the door. He kept saying, "Bye Mom,"searching for my face around the other parents. Cal on the other hand seemed fine-- checking out the crayons and books. 

I said goodbye as long as I could and that it would be awesome and they'll have so much fun and can't wait to hear about it. These things were difficult to say. As soon as I turned around I started crying so I walked quickly down the blurry hall and out the door.

This day came so quickly, and yet I am so, so thankful to have been able to spend almost each and every day of Cal and Clark's life at home and on adventures with them. I know many mothers don't get the chance to do that and I will always treasure the years I've been able to be at home full time. I'm thankful for a husband who understands and is on the same page that I'm on as far as me staying home. 

But I digress. 

When Teddy and I picked the boys up at school this afternoon they were a little shaken up. The teacher said they did great all day and then got antsy and scared as they were dismissing them. Understandable. I felt a little jostled in the dismissal herd and I'm 5'6". 

The walk home was nice as I tried to get information from them about their day. I found out that they didn't go outside much and play on the playground because it was so hot today. Clearly this affected them. They got home and yelled, "YYAAAAAAHHHH!" while flinging their backpacks across the living room. After a small snack with Teddy they did NOT STOP THE CRAZINESS all night. Bouncing off the walls. It was storming or I would have taken them outside for awhile to run it off. Clark was literally climbing up the dishwasher an onto the counter, which he has never done before. 

They husked corn for me on the balcony and made a "corn machine" with the sliding glass door. Clark held the stem or handle part of the corn into the space where the door slides into the side of the frame. Then Cal smashed the door shut. They were ecstatic that it worked! 

When Brian got home they wrestled for what seemed like two hours straight. Teddy even got in on the wrestling. 

It's a lot of time that I'm not with them and it will take some getting used to, for sure. I'm supposed to find out in a few days what day I can come into the classroom and volunteer as a room mom. Then I'll really get the inside scoop. 

Here are some good quotes from the day:

On the way to school:

"I'm going to win 10 games for you today, Mom." -Clark


Me: "What did you do?"

"I don't really remember. I think we colored the whole time." -Cal

Me: "Did you read stories? Did you work with letters, did you build anything or do anything with numbers?"

"We didn't work with letters. They assumed we already know them." -Cal

"Lunch was boring and loud, like AHHHHHH! I wasn't even hungry." -Cal

"I did not like lunch. But we did see Peter and Andrew there." -Clark

"She said we were going to do math, but we didn't even do any." -Cal

"I told my teachers all about t-ball." -Clark

Me: "What was your favorite part?"

"The drawing." -Cal

"Yeah, the drawing."-Clark

Getting into bed: "School was funner than we thought." -Clark, with a nodding Calvin agreeing. 


Gammy found two of the same old Norman Rockwell
mugs with a first day of school scene. So
the boys had their milk in those this morning.

Leaving home

At school!

I love this picture so much. They look at each other
the way Cal's looking at Clark here so much of the time.
I'm happy that they have each other. 

I'm still holding it together as we near the door...

Found their classroom

I think it's all hitting Clark right here. 

All done! Water before heading home
Brothers missed brothers
After school snack/leftover lunch
Cal just broke the corn in the door. You can see the little chunk
of cob stuck in the frame.

Corn-cuttin' machine!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beginning Kindergarten Series, the Prequel

In order to help me cope with this first week of kindergarten, I'm going to do a few days of questions and comments and stories from the week. To start it off, I asked the boys a few questions about their expectations.

What do you think you will like about kindergarten?

Calvin: "I'll like to play, eat lunch, start off with easy math and then get to hard math."

Clark: "I'll like eating lunch, playing, snack time, and cutting stuff up into mountains of shreds with scissors. Will there be any tape?"

Are you excited?

Clark: "Um. Yeah."

Calvin: "Yeah."

Okay. Not very verbose, but I bet they'll have more to say over the next couple days. I'm going to try to hold myself together and not cry until the walk home. Maybe I'll wear sunglasses and pretend to be aloof and unaffected. Oh, my babies.

Let's do this thing.

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