Friday, August 31, 2007

The First Day(s) (ok, Week) of School!!

Monday- "You mean I even go to school in the night-time?!?". No, honey. Even though this is a ridiculously early hour to is not night-time....
Tuesday- "Did you know that 'barf' is the same as 'throw up'?"
Wednesday- "I had peas, AND beans, AND corn, AND pink milk at lunch. Those are all of my favorite things!"
Thursday- (after school) "Will you sit/lay/cuddle/read/play with me??" and, "I missed you all day. I love you all the way to the sun and the moon and the stars and the Milk Wave."
Friday- Me: Did you have a fun day today?
Emma: No, I just pushed everybody.
Me: WHAT???
Emma: On the swings.
Me: Ooooohh. :)

Yes, recess ranks high, and has almost always been the first thing mentioned when I ask about her day. She has said that they have an awfully small playground, though, for so many kids.

Sigh...where do I begin? The first morning was very much a blur. It all happened so fast! Hurry up and get dressed. Hurry and eat your breakfast. Hurry! Brush your teeth, get your shoes on, grab your lunch box, get in the car!

We arrive at the school with plenty of time to walk in and say good-bye. And that's all there was to do. We know where her class is, which is her locker, her supplies have already been turned in....there was no reason to linger. Hmmmm....very sneaky, teachers...!

I tried though. I had so much to tell her!
"Remember to eat quickly at lunch, you don't have much time!"
"Don't forget to drink your water at snack time. The juice is for lunch."
"Your rest-time towel is in your backpack."
"Pay attention and stay with your class when you leave the room."
And on and on....
I took a couple of pictures in the room. Several show signs of the slightest apprehension. But not for long. Emma found a seat at a table with two other girls and began coloring on some butcher paper. I want to watch to see what she would draw. I want to see who else would sit at her table. What will they talk about? What will they do next?
Realizing that the whiny child I hear amidst the shuffle is mine, I look back and see Jason, struggling to contain Miss A. We should go. I tear up before I reach the door. The walk to the car seems to take much longer than the walk just minutes ago to the room. It's normal to feel this way, right? She'll be ok? Will I?

As we inch through the incredibly long line at the only intersection that leads to the school, I'm struggling.

I just left my sweet, sheltered child in a room full of people I don't know. I know nothing about their values, beliefs, experiences, or what kind of things they are exposed to on a daily basis. How can this be right? In a matter of 60 seconds, our whole world is turned around. And there's no turning back.

After dropping Jason off, I somehow make my way to meet some fellow Kinder-Mom friends for a quick shoulder-to-cry-on-breakfast, before heading off to my new job at the preschool. The whole day is a fog. I have no idea what kind of conversations I held, how I accomplished anything, if anything....until the moment I was far enough into the car rider pick up lane to see her. Sitting in a straight line with the other Kinder pick ups. I watched her as I moved up in line. Sitting quietly. Taking it all in. Looking for me??
Then she spots us. A huge smile spreads across her freckled face. Arms waving a wild greeting. Looking around for her teacher, to announce, "My mom is here!"
Another teacher with a bullhorn sees our sign and calls, "Emma Keas!Kinder! Red cone!"
Emma stands and confidently walks directly to the red cone. Watches me pull up to a stop. And before the car door is even shut, asks, "What took you so long??"

So we survived. The first day. The first week. There have been converstations already about hearing things, repeating things, and making good choices. And I know there will be more.
Already she's come home talking about fund raisers, Marathon Kids competitions, and Five-A-Day healthy eating incentives.
I've seen a paint and sand art "palm" tree (made with palm prints!), a self portrait of Emma at the table with a plate of something she "would NEVER eat" (a tomato), and a gluey noodle AB pattern strip.
She's decided that she doesn't want to wear her $8 school t-shirt "because it's not really a pretty color", and that she wishes she could have "a chocolate chip granola bar for snack time, like my friend does".

And I'm ok. She's ok. And we will be. We will enjoy every exciting part of her school career, and we will weather every hurdle. We will keep our faith, and trust that we're raising a strong, smart, self-confident little girl.
I will be at PTA meetings, volunteer meetings, parent reading days, lunches and field trips, and I will enjoy every. single. minute. as long as I can.
And Baby, when you're reading this...(you know who you are) Thank you. I could not do this without you, and all that you do. Thank you.

Pics from day one....

And day two....

And THIS.... how we walk in the hall. It's called "duck tail and bubble"!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Days 2 and 1...Winding Down

We took it really easy this weekend. Stayed in...relaxed....cleaned house... wait a minute. That last part was only in my dreams! We did have an easy weekend, but it was still full. Emma kept us busy with assigned character roles, elaborate story lines, and several play/performances. She was definitely in a role playing mood....
Emma got the costumes together all by herself! First we dressed as clowns...

Then came the performance, which consisted mainly of running around in circles for Ally, and falling down and acting goofy for Emma. I guess this is what clowns do?? :)

Emma continued during Ally's nap. Here is another clown face-gotta love that nice attic find-my old "Exclamation" brand face powder from about 20 years ago. This stuff is non-toxic, right?

And then this lovely character, who was appropriately named, "Pure White"...

Oh Yes, even a day at home is full of adventure in this house-always exciting!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Day 3-Pancakes and a Surprise Swim

We're up and out early this day-off to Lago Vista to meet our playgroup for a potluck pancake spread. We arrive to piles of pancakes, and loads of toppings. I SO wish I had pictures to share....Emma topped her pancakes with 4 different colors of "princess" sprinkles. Ally opted for chocolate chips. At least Emma at her pancake-Ally ate her topping and left the rest for me to finish off. Which I happily did...after adding blueberries and raspberries and cool whip. Yum!
After filling our tummies and having some play time with friends, we had planned on visiting the city pool. Unfortunately, the summer hours had just changed, and the pool was closed! Fortunately....we were just minutes from a nice park and a beach entry to Lake Travis.
The girls had so much fun! They are not hesitant at all about getting in the water. Ally kept busy finding rocks toss, I kept busy keeping her face above water...and Emma was all over the place. Floating, splashing, collecting rocks, in and out, up and down, just as happy as could be. Hey, for Plan B, it was quite a treat!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day 4-We 'heart' the Sprinkler Park!

Back again! Looking for something Fun and Free....this was an easy call. The girls never tire of this place! It's somewhat smaller even, than the Sprinkler Park we've used in years past, but it doesn't seem to matter. Ally has lost any apprehension that she may have had in the early summer, and is right behind Emma as soon as we enter, splashing, running, and filling buckets just as fast as she can.

After a quick lunch with friends, and a good nap for Ally, we got ready for Emma's open house. I had great plans for this night. It was scheduled as a "come and go" event, so I imagined a leisurely visit with Emma's teacher-who we are to meet for the first time, some exploring and familiarizing ourselves with the room and school, and maybe some paperwork to fill out for volunteering, transportation plans, etc.
WE arrive a little early. This is very unusual for us...maybe that's what threw everything off. We're waiting out front with a handful of others for the doors to open...and Ally promptly vomits all over herself! Sorry, guess I could have warned for content here...
Now Ally does this periodically. Or used to. The last time she had a problem was almost 3 months ago. I can't explain it. Something just sets wrong or triggers her super-sensitive gag reflex, and she vomits. That's it. No bug, no virus. Just one episode, and she's done.
I take her to the teacher's lounge to try and clean her up. I wash her hands and arms, her face, her shirt as best I can. I spray some generic room air freshener on her shirt, trying to mask the smell.
There's no masking the smell.
We breeze through the line to get our teacher assignment, find the room, and thankfully, there's only one other student at this time. Emma unloads her backpack full of supplies to her locker. She's very excited about the locker. Asking the teacher if she was going to move her locker or her supplies at any time, or change her name tag (I think she had cherries on it). Emma continues checking out the room, discovers a huge mailbox and asks the teacher what this is for. (for the students to send her letters, if I understand correctly) I start filling out paperwork. Sign up to volunteer, for the PTA, detail how Emma will be getting home, getting to school, will she bring lunch? buy lunch? will any of this info change after the first week?
As I'm feverishly trying to complete each important form, I'm very aware of an unpleasant, beyond the vomit. I'm pretty sure Ally has a dirty diaper. I try to nonchalantly check. Oh good, it's just gas. Niiiice. Now that the room is filling up, I can't get out of there fast enough.
And after a few hurried questions to the teacher, we make our exit. Emma is upset that she didn't get to stay longer, and that she forgot the letter she had already written to give to her teacher. I'm upset that I didn't have the reassuring visit that I so needed.
Oh, and needless to pictures. :(

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 5-"M is for Muffin"!

Today was another scheduled "M" playdate. Our lovely hostess made lots of yummy muffins....and the kiddos made the butter! We filled lots of baby food jars with heavy cream, and we shook! shook! shook! until we had butter! Lots of fun for the little crew. After the muffin snack, the girls hung out and played with friends. Emma enjoyed a game of "freeze dance" and playing princess. Ally, of course, was all about the playscape and swing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Day 6-A Day of Rest

For Emma, anyway...this was a much needed day of rest. Poor Ally was drug to the Dr. twice-for one well check! Long story...but she pretty well checked out. Saw a new Dr. that we really like, so it was worth the fuss.
I had a nice dinner with my soon-to-be coworkers. I guess our countdown is for me too-my work week starts soon after we leave Emma at Kinder! Then Miss A's school year begins the following week. A big change for all of the Keas crew!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Day 7-Jump, Eat, Play, and Jump Again!

WOW! What a Big day for the Keas girls. We started off meeting some friends at Ready, Set, Play! , a "15,000 square feet of fun!" indoor inflatable play place. We jumped, ran, climbed and slid for over 2 hours, and wouldn't have had a chance of getting the girls out of there if we hadn't been heading over to Gattiland! We aren't often in the area for all these neat treats, and seeing how today was the last chance before school to the hit the "Moms Eat Free" Monday deal....we couldn't pass it up. we're rounding up kids and shoes to leave for lunch....the playhouse employee kindly asks if we'll be needing our wristbands cut off, or if we will be returning later---turns out the admission is good for all day, come and go! After a quick shared "what the heck" glance, M and I agree to forget about naps, keep the bands, and make this a full day affair.

We make a quick jump across the interstate and pig out on pizza and the like, hit the game room till our key cards are empty, pick out a few cheapo, soon-to-be-lost-or-forgotten token trinkets....

....and head BACK to jump!

We open the doors, kids run in, and ....have the EnTIRE place to themselves! The six of us were really the only ones there! We went up and down the super-slide, piled on laps, on backs, head first, feet first, kids and moms alike, we slid and jumped and slid, and SLID some more!

At about 5 o'clock, we decided we should head home.

I don't know how Emma made it home awake. Ally passed out about 3 seconds into the drive. And was still ready for bed around 8. What a day!