Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's Easier to Leave Than to be Left Behind

I knew that Sprout would miss The Bean when he started kindergarten. I didn't really realize how much she would miss him.

I've tried to have some fun activities planned with her. I've taken her to SkyZone (an indoor trampoline park), the Brickworks (an awesome nature preserve), the library and some really great parks around the city. Still, nearly everyday I get some variation of "Where's [The Bean]?", "I miss [The Bean]" and one time when we were driving home I heard the saddest little voice from the backseat of the car saying, "I'm ready to pick up [The Bean] from school now." Poor bug.

She's told me she doesn't have any friends, and when I list her friends she often asks me to call them so they can meet up with us. Sometimes it works out, but I do think she would rather have her brother around.

She actually cried when we dropped him off on the first day of school, sad that she wasn't going with him. I'm not sure why she had it in her head that she'd be going to kindergarten too, but she did. While she now understands that she won't be going to kindergarten until next fall, she often says, "But I can go to daycare." I think it's fair to say she doesn't like that she's been left behind.

At home she plays school. She asks me to write her notes for her lunchbox like I've been doing for her brother. I have to be the teacher and read her stories or direct her to different activities.

We're starting some programs in the next few weeks and I'm hoping that the routine and structure helps her out a bit. I'm also hoping that we make a few new friends for her. I think she'd like that.

It's been a bit bumpy, but The Bean seems to be adjusting well, overall. Day 2 was tougher than day one, and many mornings he will say that he doesn't want to go to school. However, he has made at least three new friends that he talks about often. The one friend even gave him a huge hug when I dropped him off one day last week. I liked seeing that. He won't give us a full run down of his days, but he is starting to sing some new songs and will give us little snippets of what's been going on over the course of the evening. He's usually pretty tired in the evenings and often a bit grumpy, I suspect because most days he hasn't been eating much of what I've packed. He can be impatient and snippy with Sprout, which makes me sad, because I know how much she misses him. Things seem to be getting better though. Hopefully by October we'll all have settled into a new routine and not be finding things quite so difficult.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day of Junior Kindergarten

Today The Bean started Junior Kindergarten.

I'm still a little bit in shock that our baby has started school. We've been saying for a while now that he is ready. And really, he is. Still, we were all a little bit nervous about his first day. 

The Bean is very social; for that reason alone I think he will enjoy JK. He's ready to interact with people outside of our family and close friends. He is also so ready to have the educational experiences he will receive at school. He is curious and learns so much naturally. The student-directed, play-based experiences he will have this year will fulfill a lot of his natural curiosity. He is also ready for some independence. 

Except that's hard too. Our kid is a homebody. He's likes getting hugs and snuggles. He loves his sister fiercely. He knows his boundaries here. He knows even if he pushes those boundaries that he is loved without exception. Being away from this space, his home and family, for 6.5 hours a day will be a big transition. 

I think that's just a bit of what we saw today. Excited yes, but also not so sure. He put on a brave face this morning and marched into the playground with hardly a backwards glance. As we waved goodbye he shouted to us, "I already made a new best friend!"  Oh sweet child.  

At pick up, he reported that he had a "great" day. He made a new best friend. He was the only kid in the class who called his teacher by her full name, and not just "Miss". But someone pulled on his shirt on the playground. Fortunately a neighbour a grade ahead comforted him and told the teacher what had happened, which made him feel better. He fell asleep on the carpet during quiet time when there was quiet music playing. Tomorrow he wants us to send a blanket so he can be cozier. The family photo we tucked in his backpack "helped a lot," but he missed us when he went out for recess and forgot the photo inside. (My heart broke a little when he told me that.) They had an assembly, but he wasn't sure what it was about. The only classroom activity he reported was listening to music on headphones ("for a very long time"). He barely ate any of the lunch I packed, didn't see the note I had tucked in there, and was pretty much sobbing from exhaustion at 4:45pm. He fell asleep before 6:30pm, approximately 3 minutes after his head hit the pillow.   

We talked about changes being hard. About how being away from your family is hard, but how things would get easier as he made new friends and got used to being at school. I know he will be fine. Better than that, even. (At least I hope he will.) Still, I'm going to feel a bit guilty sending him back tomorrow knowing that it's not going to be that much easier for him right away. My baby. Growing up.

Not so sure.

Putting on a brave face.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Not on the List

I had a hard time coming up with things for the Summer Bucket List. I knew we would be busy, but most of our business came in the day-to-day form of a parent keeping their little ones happy. That hardly seemed list worthy. (Though maybe it is!) As our days came and went there were a lot of list items that got crossed off, and a lot of things that we did that were never on the list, but could have been.

With school starting on Tuesday, it feels like the summer is coming to a close. I think it's been a pretty great one. We've been a lot of places. We've spent a lot of time with friends. Many mornings started with the kids asking, "Where are we going today?" There were so many possibilities.

Here are some of  the things we've done that weren't on "the list" but that are noteworthy nonetheless...

The Bean got a skateboard just before we left for Paris.  He was so admiring the "big kids" at the skate parks and on our street that it seemed like a perfect gift to give him to enjoy on Grandma and Grandpa's super-long driveway. Some of the novelty has worn off, but he certainly loves it. I think he would love it even more if I were more willing to take him to the skate park to practice.  Sprout uses the ramps as slides (and RUINS her clothes), so I don't jump at the opportunity....

These two have become best buds. I mean, they were before, but they so clearly just adore each other. There is nothing that could make me happier.

Buskerfest. So exhausting, but SO much fun. We met up with Ashleigh and the girls for the first bit. The kids get along well and so do Ashleigh and I, so it's a winning situation all around. They left earlier than we did, so they missed out on the acrobats (which I was keen to see) and The Bean's "performance" with the trampolineists. He was called up to volunteer and one of the guys did a flip over his head, and then the other guy flipped him. He was even paid for it! He used his earnings to buy himself and his sister each a tub of cotton candy.

MudHero Kids' Mud Run. Ashleigh told us about this one, unfortunately we weren't free the same day her girls were running. Still, The Bean had a great time. He ran the course, minus the mud pit (which he hated) three times! Sprout wanted to participate but was too young. The kind ladies at the end of the race let her have a medal regardless. That seemed to make up for having to sit at the sidelines.



Niagara Falls. My friend, who lives in Boston, unexpectedly messaged me to ask if we'd want to meet up with her and her girlfriend in Niagara Falls this weekend. We love to see them every opportunity we can get, and we had a day with no plans, so it was an easy decision to make. The kids had never seen the falls, so it was a special experience for them in that regard... though the funicular trolley was Sprout's favourite part and The Bean's was the arcade. (Kids!)

I'm sure that there were other things we did that are noteworthy, but it's late and there's only two days until school starts for our biggest little one, so I should go to bed so I am rested enough to enjoy those days to their fullest.