I think the daycare transition is going really well. Henry has come home SHINING both days. His teachers, he thinks, are so wonderful. I like them a lot so far — the class is very quiet and calm, but the kids seem busy on all their own things, in happy four year old fashion. (I’m coming to LOVE age 4. So industrious!) I asked Henry yesterday what he thought about Ms. Sarah and Ms. Teresa, and he got all puffed up and said, “My teachers are SO GREAT.” He loves lunch, wonders what they will eat tomorrow. Naptime (one hour, 12:30 to 1:30) is “not so fun for me, all there is to look at is the back of a shelf and the kids and the blinds and the lights and the ceiling and the rug and the beams on the ceiling and one plant.” I suggested if it wasn’t interesting, he could try closing his eyes, but he thought not. “I don’t like closing my eyes.” Indeed. I got there at pickup today during afternoon circle while Ms. Sarah was reading books, and the room was pin-drop quiet, except for her voice. Ms. Theresa was near the door, planning the lessons for next week. A glitter hand print, and the kids will tell her what to write on the label for why they wash their hands (pretty, functional), and she was in the process of ordering a black light that will help them talk about germs. 🙂
Yesterday, I said and squeezed him, “I am so proud of you — you are so great.” And he was so earnest, and said, “I know, I did all the Right Things today.” And then I had to not fall apart with pride and sympathy and being so impressed at how difficult being four can be.
Henry’s only criticisms so far (aside from nap being dull) seem legit. First, there’s only one girl (two, really, but one is out right now, compared to 16 boys), and “I love girls the best.” Luckily, Vivien likes him too, and was happy to teach Henry how to play her “mice” game outside, and her “cupcake house” topic for art. 🙂 It’s so fun this time around, this is the first time I’ve been able to ask him about his day and get real, comprehensive, mostly factual answers. (I’m pretty sure the sundried tomato sauce at lunch yesterday wasn’t BLUE, for example…) Yesterday, I asked what they did after he ate his Cheerios, and got twenty sequential steps. (“And THEN, we…”)
And second, he feels like he doesn’t get enough writing and cutting and art time. I suspect this will improve. His preschool was so ahead on teaching the letters and pre-reading skills and number patterns, that this seems like a smidge of a letdown. On the flip side, I know that they will be practicing handwriting, and they have a lot of the same finger-strength works. And you probably couldn’t make a day with enough hours in it for cutting and markers, per Henry right now.
Claire is definitely struggling more, but I think it could be worse. I left instructions that they should call when she seemed like she was starting to fall apart – better to ease her in since I have that flexibility. Tuesday, she made it until 2:45, today until 4:10. Drop off was easy yesterday, but terrible today, she was wise to the whole system. Same with other things – nap was easy yesterday (apparently they “said it was time for nap and she lay down on her mat and they patted her back” – I tell you, these toddler room teachers!! Katrina had the grace to say, “everything’s different at school!”. 🙂 I’ll say!), but nap was a lot harder today, and she only slept for a bit. But in between being sad and half-crazed, she’s apparently busy and blowing kisses and trying to engage people in games (and two of the little boys are already imitating her little “happy, food!” wiggle dance). She likes the green bouncy llama thing on the outdoor playground, and is happiest while sitting at the table in her chair, eating and watching. I love that she’s on a menu now, I think she’s exactly the sort to enjoy the variety. She thought her hard-boiled egg this morning was a trip, she kept cackling at it, in between sucking her fingers to get every bit of the yolk off. She just couldn’t get over the smooth white.
And I am doing well. It’s a very odd thing, being at home (or at liberty to NOT be at home), wondering how Claire and Henry are navigating their days. My list is a help – it’s nice to have things to cross off because it makes me feel very productive – it’s wild what you can accomplish when you’re not trying to be quiet during naptime or sneaking 3 minutes while children eat snack. I’m working on some of the job stuff in spurts, but this week, while I’m still mostly “on call” to daycare, I’m burning down some projects to clear up mental space.
The big one today was finally clearing the last of my stuff out of Claire’s closet, and completely cleaning mine. My shelves and that cabinet were the dumping ground. Perhaps I should have taken a picture, but picture five different stacks a foot high on the dresser, plus a dozen small piles of misc stuff on the dressers. Now, this:
It is so deliciously empty. There were random photos and movie stubs and what not that have been floating around for years – some I took photos of, others I filed. I had a little pile out that was my transcript from Brown, AP and GRE results, my acceptance letter to the Brown CS Masters program (I didn’t go) and the UW Masters tech writer program (also didn’t go) that’s been stashed one place or another since 2005 and that stack is now finally in its proper spot in my files in the garage. Taxes are filed, the reams of paperwork from quitting Microsoft are sorted and recycled or filed, a million small sewing projects are thrown out or put in good places. I threw out 24 matchbooks and two candle holders. The basket that used to hold assorted mismatched things on my shelf four years ago is now the perfect fake-food holder, and the bargain haul basket that was loved to death (or rather, to crumbling shards of wicker) is in the trash.
I’d bought an IKEA shelf last fall, and its little 4×2 self holds everything that used to be in that part of the closet, plus all of my sewing, yarn and craft things that used to be in Claire’s closet. Such an efficient, pretty use of space. I have all of the bits and pieces sorted into containers by category and labelled, and it feels very well-managed, especially now that the surrounding detritus is gone.
Kevin completely weeded out his side of the closet in July, and it still looks gorgeous. It’s nice to not have the “messy, disaster zone” side anymore. 🙂 I think it was bothering me more than him, especially since I’d been the instigator on cleaning out his side. But still, oooh, pretty closet.
And I cleared out the utility closet – I’d done this last right before Claire was born, but between the wrapping paper and the vacuum accessories, things take on a life of their own in there. I was really pleased to not only find a place for my checks and binders, but also for the Roomba, which has been floating room to room for the last two years.
I spent two full uninterrupted hours on this – I feel like I’m finally relearning how to have an attention span. Part of my brain feels guilty – two whole days of partial day childcare and no job yet!!! – but I’m mostly reveling in the time to tackle long-ignored projects. And then Kevin got home and was so enthusiastic about the closets and dinner (kiddos liked dinner, too: CSA squash, CSA basil, chicken, rotini, and parmesan. One of those simple amazing dishes). So, two days in and we’re good.