bentangle

Tag: school

Dawn of a New Day

by on Sep.08, 2010, under family, parenthood

This week my wife received a rare gift – freedom.  For the first time in at least 4 years my wife had the benefit of time in a day without a kid in tow or a phone-call away from needing to be picked up.   You see when we discovered we were having a second child, it quickly became evident that daycare costs strongly outweighed the benefits of a second income (at least at the level of income we were accustomed to earning).  So my wife drew the short straw of being the stay-at-home parent and has subsisted at some level of harried-ness ever since (I could often gauge that level by how early in the day I’d get the IM asking when I’d be coming home – 5:00=relatively good day, 2:30=pick up gin on the way home).  But this week that all changed.  This week both children started a new school year – Cricket in first grade and Grasshopper in pre-school.

Tuesday was Cricket’s first day.  The night before seemed to require a number of pep talks due to nerves and fears over the changes to her routine (new teacher, new room, some new classmates).  After my wife’s pep talk seemed to leave her more skittish, I gave her a relate-able story from my own youth that got her not only out of her funk, but looking forward to school.  She was all set in the morning in her pink flowery outfit and sporting her new princess backpack (the pink fedora got nixed in favor of pigtails despite her pleading).  As a family we all walked to her school (it is only a few blocks away within our neighborhood), got her in the right line into the school, and made the trek back home where I hopped in the car and headed to work and my wife and Grasshopper got to some fun mommy-son time (probably involving sword-fighting).

Wednesday was Grasshopper’s first day.  Though his was somewhat abbreviated as it was an orientation day and he insisted that I be the one to go with him to it (good thing my office is fairly flexible about when I get in).  So he and I got to play in his new classroom with all his classmates and their moms.  Since it is the same pre-school that Cricket went to, several of the teachers and administrators came and fawned over him as the young male version of his sister (it won’t take them long to figure out how different they are from each other).  He played at almost every station in the room with the possible exception of the dress-up station (which I took with relief as I knew he would likely have put on a cape and possibly started to refer to himself as Captain Cockwarts – I have no explanation for this one, he seemed to just make up this persona this weekend).  At the end of the day, mommy came to pick him up so I could jet on to work from there.

So going forward, my wife will have Tuesdays and Thursdays with just Grasshopper, and the rest of the weekdays to herself until after lunch.  I’m sure she is already planning how these slots of time will be filled.  I’m also sure she is bittersweet about it as it is time she will miss spending with her babies (I almost said angels, but that would be grossly inaccurate).  I’m fairly certain that I won’t get nearly as many 2:30 pleas as to when I’ll be coming home, but I’d also be willing to bet I’ll get a lot more IMs from her before lunch (if I worked closer to home, maybe I’d go home for … lunch).  The point is that she will finally have a share of personal freedom in her life to do with as she pleases.  My calendar, however, already seems to be filling up with more items (e.g., back-to-school nights, parent events, taking the kids to YMCA classes).  Ah well.

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Lord of the Flies

by on Aug.16, 2010, under family

Fruit flies, that is.  I somehow gained them last weekend while my wife was away and by mid-week despite our best efforts to thwart them, they became a plague upon our kitchen (still not sure what they were drawn to).  I began to think that I may have to share residence with them long-term and considered whether they could somehow pull their weight around the place.  But after a couple of strokes of ingenuity, I managed to reclaim my keep.  My remastery was a three-pronged attack involving (a) ‘humane’ traps (not that I really cared for their welfare) of old veggies and vinegar in bowls covered in perforated plastic wrap, (b) inhumane traps (fly strips) and (c) a vacuum with a long hose – the latter proved to be the game-changer.  There are a few survivors, but they won’t last in the long game.  I’ve got their number.

In other news, we are doing our best to squeeze what juice we can out of what remains of the summer.  Yesterday we treated ourselves to a dessert of evening pool time.  We bought a membership in for the summer and I think that it was only the third time I’ve personally made it there.  I did get the chance to see the fruits of my daughter’s swimming lessons.  Her general swimming and treading water has improved a lot (still room for growth, but she has more confidence at it) and I got the treat of seeing her jump off of the diving board about a dozen times (the last two of which she actually attempted to dive and succeeded in belly-flopping).  My son, who chickened out of his lessons 3/4 of the way through the first session, still sticks to hit comfort zone.  I guess I should look on the bright side – he has never seemed overly concerned about how he compares to anyone including his sister, so perhaps peer pressure won’t be all that heavy a factor with him later in life (one can hope).

In continuing our summer fun and not to be daunted by the stormy weather, today (I guess yesterday by the time this is posted) we spent the day at Giggleberry Fair (an indoor play place in Peddler’s Village).  The kids had hours of fun, my wife got tons of pictures, and I got pelted a lot by foam balls and dragged through many spaces not meant for upright, full-height adults.  Granted it was a blast, but by the end my neck and knees ached, my hair was slicked and my shirt semi-saturated with sweat, and my thirst nigh unquenchable.

But now the temperatures seem to be going back into the miserable range (and there is that pesky thing called work), so our summertime adventures will be dwindling as the start of first grade looms on the horizon for Cricket (and Grasshopper will too be returning to preschool, though details as to where have yet to be worked out).  So I return to the grind, mindful that there will be storms to be weathered and some share of pests, but fully prepared to dive in and slough off what missiles life shoots my way.

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Temporarily Single Dad

by on Sep.29, 2009, under family, home & stuff, Internet, movies, parenthood, video games

For the past 5 days, I’ve been Mr. Mom.  My wife went away to a blogging conference in Asheville, NC and left me in charge of managing our 2 kids.  Being actively involved with my kids on a regular basis, this was not a daunting task, per se.  The hard part was not paying attention to work for that period of time – especially since my shine, new iPhone would chirp every few minutes telling me I have some new email to read.  But eventually I turned off that notification and got to the serious business of responsibly entertaining my posse.

First priority – getting them to school on time.  Grasshopper only just started going to daycare (2 days a week) and already being without his Mommy, he was very reluctant to go (though apparently his tears ended within minutes of Cricket and I leaving him there).  Cricket just started Kindergarten this year and has been loving every minute of it, but with the possibility of being able to stay home and play Lego Star Wars with Daddy she suddenly was on the fence about going as well.  But I got them there, they did there time, and got them safely home (all perfectly according to schedule).  But outside of that, it was play time – we went to the park almost every day, we went to a play place for the better part of one cloudy afternoon, and we spent a fair share of time watching a couple of movies and playing Lego Star Wars.

By the end of the long weekend, I was ready for reinforcements.  I love my kids, but I can only be jumped on so many times before needing to tag out.  I only took advantage of the in-laws once for a break (which I spent cleaning).  And I actually made semi-nutritious meals for them for all but 2 meals (pancakes are good for you, right?).  So all in all I think I did okay.  And today it was back to work … to deal with my other batch of kids.  Maybe I should go to a conference.

P.S. – Mywife (who now has 2 blogs) went to a blogging conference, but didn’t post anything the entire time.  Ironic.

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Big Man, Tiny Desk

by on Sep.18, 2009, under family, parenthood

Last night was Back to School night – my first of presumably many to come.  My Cricket started kindergarten last week, so last night my wife and I went to sit in hobbit-sized chairs at low tables to hear all about her school days.  It is still a little surreal that she has made this step – that she has grown from the squealing, crawling little thing that she used to be into this walking, talking little person that is now learning things away from home and developing her own experiences and opinions of the world.  Congrats, Cricket – oh the places you’ll go.

P.S. – I’ve decided that while I avoid using my kids real names here, I’m getting tired of always referring to them as my son and my daughter.  So from now on, my 5-year-old daughter will be referred to as Cricket and my 2-year-old son will be referred to as Grasshopper.  There are stories to go with those names, but I’ll save those for another day.

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