Thursday, May 17, 2012

May You Have Room to Grow

In a recent moment of high concentration over yet another project, our Mason said, "I love days when I don't have school. Then I can make crafts like this." At the time he was refashioning a styrofoam box into a ship or pontoon or some other nonsense. I had a moment of heart warming affirmation that going to school every other day was a great choice for him and mentally populated a list in my mind of all the awesome things we could do together in his last year at home.

But the best laid plans are often the first to change and the subsequent changes are the hardest to accept. We attended kindergarten open house about a week ago and discovered that our elementary school had plans of their own. They had decided to move the part-time class that Mason had been assigned, in to a "learning lab". That's a fancy word for closet. 
Honestly, the learning lab/closet is adequate for learning. But in my estimation it is too small a space for fully effective, imaginative progress. There are no windows and the shape of the room is similar to that of a bowling lane. Knowing what I know about our district and our school, I know that by the time school starts in August they will have crammed 30 kids into a room designed to accommodate about 10.
That is why our family made the agonizing decision to come up with $4000 and request our Mason be placed in full-time kindergarten. Remember that mental list of all the fun things I would facilitate next year? Vaporized. (I'm also not very happy about the price tag of public school.)
All politics aside, the place where your children spend 60% of their time should make them happy. We're not talking about the difference between Harvard and Yale, here. We're talking about the difference between, "I can't wait to go to school today." and "Don't make me go to school today."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Move Over Michael

The athlete whose 2008 performance in China is the sole reason my Cooper swims has announced his plans to retire. Boo. I wish he could swim forever. Big M.P., the playboy with the biggest celebrity ears, gets a bad rap in some circles. But I can't help myself, I like him. Watching him that record-setting year was a thrill. It was on one such night that I watched my 2-year-old jump off our ottoman to the sound of the starter's beep onto the carpet and then make motions to swim through the carpet in a clumsy half breastroke-half army crawl. That, it turns out, is how a swimmer is born. Also, The Coop is pretty popular with the ladies, too.

The look tells all.

Again, with the ladies.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Never a Dull Moment

Life with my oldest son is busy. He is happiest when we have a plan. A plan to bake cookies. A plan to go to the museum. A plan to have a playdate every single night of the week. A plan for karate twice a week. A plan for swim team. A plan to play LEGOs before school. A plan to audition for the talent show.

While the rest of us, in a quiet moment or 7 minutes, between activities might take a deep breath and prepare ourselves for the next rush of classes/lessons/homework/fun he will say, "I'm bored. What can I do." I don't know where he gets it. Our future with Cooper is really exciting. I can just imagine the accomplishments and the trouble he'll get involved in. The prospect is breathtaking. Sometimes I worry I'm not the right mother for him.

I recently went to a luncheon with lots of older ladies -- golfers -- and I was talking to one particular woman about her daughters. One of the daughters I knew of and knew to be a responsible, studious, and an outstanding star in sports. And this woman, we'll call her Patsy, is remarkable in her own right. A fairly great golfer, pretty as the day is long and just as peaceful and serene as you can imagine.

In the course of our group's conversation someone who has known Patsy longer than I asked after her oldest daughter. Patsy's face grew to one of content reflection and she smiled and said, "Oh she's great. Just great." Then she proceeded to recount all the interesting things her daughter was in to.

Somehow this conversation lighted upon the daughter's high school years. And Patsy -- with literally no judgement in her voice -- recounted the trouble her daughter had found. Though temporary, her daughter was one they never really had tabs on. No matter what she did or was involved in, her friends knew to always get her home to her family. Unfortunately that often meant, dumped drunk and unconscious in the lawn.

In all of this recounting of what sounded like a world of trouble I kept expecting Patsy to sigh or show some level of disappointment. She. Did. Not. And then she said, "Yes, there is never a dull moment."

Extraordinary perspective for a parent to have. The day to day experience of having kids never really goes as planned. And that is not an opportunity for frustration, it turns out. With a pinch of wisdom from Patsy it can be a great adventure. I have zero expectations that Cooper or Mason will be rebellious beyond the norm. They are generally rule followers who make great choice beyond their years. But when The Coop runs us into the ground with his endless energy I need to just sit back with peace shining on my face and say, "Ahhhhh, never a dull moment."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Like Mother, Like Son

I'm a reader. I read and read and read, until I fall asleep over the pages of my favorite books. Our little Mason has the same interest. Learning to read has been great for him. No more fear of the dark. Instead he sits in the incandescence spilling from his table lamp (which he calls a lantern) and reads until his breathing slows, his eyelids close and he drifts off to dreams.

 He's a sweet, quiet boy who I can spend hours and hours with. We have many a shared if dull moment in our days. So for these I will forgive him for this:

On my birthday he looked down at my bare feet and said with great disgust, "Ewwwwww. Look at your feet."

I looked down and said, "What's wrong with them?"

He then regarded them with further distaste and said, "They're old."

It had been a rough week of reconciling my age against my health so I said, "They are old! They are 37 years old. But they're clean."

His voice softened ever so slightly and he said with an air of dawning understanding, "Oooohhhhh, is that why you're so floppy?" Then he slapped my thigh.