That. That is why the thought of him putting on his backpack with his little label on it, in his labelled shoes, with his labelled lunch bag, and labelled litterless lunch accoutrements (as I now know, a big part of getting ready for school involves spending an enormous amount of time and money on labeling things), and looking back at me when I drop him off tomorrow for his first full day of JK, when the door closes and he's in a class with about 20 other kids all confused and overwhelmed - that is why when I think about it I start to cry.
I can tell him to get back up when he scrapes a knee and convince him he's fine and brush it off, but I won't be able to convince him he's fine when he realizes that the world is very, very big and can be very, very cruel, and that part of growing up in the world means losing your innocence. And what is innocence if it's not the blissful ignorance of your own tenuousness?
Part of the deal with being hitched to a teacher is that as a consequence, your life is constantly given form by concrete beginnings and endings. Starts and stops. Fall and the firsts and summer and lasts. Now I'm being thrown into it twofold. The Big Yam had his last day with J his daycare provider two Fridays ago and she and I looked at each other and gave stern instructions that neither of us was to cry and then she handed me two thick binders of the "homework" she's been doing with him this entire time - his wobbly attempts at drawing faces, cutting straight lines, matching numbers and she started telling us how special and talented he is and I lost it (am losing it as I write this and remember).
Last week there was a 15 minute "interview" with the teacher which went really well. There was all this DRAMA with his teacher assignment (to be detailed in a later post) and I was nervous but I met her and she is lovely. She's no the most popular of the kindergarten teachers, but she emphasizes a lot of outdoor time (which I like) and her class size is only 15 kids, which is amazing. The Dotytron always says that you can throw as much money at the education system as you want, but ultimately, it comes down to teacher student ratio (which is a money issue, at the end of the day), and the lower the ratio, the better your kid will do. Then on Friday there was a one-hour "orientation" which means that we dropped him off at 9 and he stayed at school for an hour. He looked so lost standing out there, with his giant backpack on and mayhem around him. I kept it together for his sake and mine and then got our nanny settled with the babies at the drop-in centre and then walked home and bawled the whole way. I anticipate more of that on Monday.
I read something on a mommy blog (I know, just shoot me now) that resonated though. It was something someone's mom told them, to the effect of: "You just make sure that when your kids walk through the door at the end of the day, home is the most comforting place to be." I know there is so much that I can't control, but that, I can do. I will make sure that my kids feel supported and loved and safe within these walls and hopefully, that sense of security will allow them to carry "home" with them, throughout the day, as armor against the world's many, many indignities.
The point is: he's not just ours any more. For the past 4 years we've been working on making him a person that will go out into the world and be kind, and moral, and productive, and now is the time for us to see how we did. We've been getting him ready to be shared with the world and slowly broadening his circle bit by bit and now's the first big test. I hope we get an A. I am nothing if not the grade-grubber of all grade grubbers.
They set the bar kind of low in JK. I went in to the interview with the teacher wondering if we should be working harder on sight words, and she came back at me with, "his only homework is to read a book each day," and she kept stressing the importance of reading and I was like, Lady, MAMA KNOWS. We've recently started into chapter books. I took him with me and we picked out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which he was into for a day, but lately he's been more into Little House in the Big Woods. He likes the pictures (so do I) and seems to be quietly absorbing some of it. Sometimes we supplement the reading by looking up clips of panther screams so it can be a little more concrete for him. I asked him to assign characters and he was like, "I'm Mary, you're Pa, Baba's Ma," and I asked, "Who would Lenny be?" and he said, "Lenny would be the big black cat" (the panther). LOL!
People keep asking me how I feel about going back. Fine, I guess? I think it will be hard, but our nanny is wonderful and amazing and the kids love her and we've worked out a comfortable routine so knowing that is all squared away makes me feel good about going back. Also: they opened a J. Crew near my work, so, um yeah, I'm stoked. I've decided that my style icons are Jenna Lyons and Lucy Chadwick, with still some hippie boho Coachella vibes at home and weekends in the summer.
This layering game is so TIGHT.
One of the things I mastered this year while on maternity leave is the J Crew sleeve roll, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. I'm on an extreme fitness regimen in the interest of losing weight so I don't have to buy a whole new work wardrobe. I don't know if it's working or not...maybe a little? It is making me feel very hungry every night when I go to bed and it is inspiring me to go for a 30 minute run so I can earn more calories so I can eat more sweets.
Here are some pics from my life, lately:
Dr. Rei had her baby and he is an original nuttah and basically the best and he is making me want to have a million more babies so I can cuddle them and then largely ignore them while I use my phone and/or practice the J Crew sleeve roll.
We took the whole family to the Ex with our neighbours and their daughter and were there for 6 hours and I almost died from exhaustion but it was so worth it.
These two at Lowe's.
Probably the last time they'll wear their South Beach onesies
Being a joker, as usual.
My goon squad.
The Wonder Twins have been going buck and seem to be doing some catch up. The other day we had penne and meatballs for dinner and they ate 3 plates of pasta and 4 meatballs each and only stopped because the Dotytron wanted to save some for me. They both have lots of words now, the cutest thing being that Lenny defaults to pointing at something and saying, "What's this" and the Quincess points at stuff and says, "That." They are basically the embodiment of this jungle tune:
They also say "ball", "woof" (for dog), do the sign for "more", say "po-po" (Cantonese for "pick me up") and Poh Poh, as well as Mama and Baba. The Quincess can say the Cantonese word for "light" and can also mimic you when you say "turtle." They both love stories and reading, and the Quincess will often quietly sit and pretend to read Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and sometimes sits and points to the pictures and "reads" out loud by saying, "Dut duh duh. Duh duh," with this regular cadence. It's so cute. Lenny is a wild man with no sense of caution. At the wading pool he will crawl into water with his mouth open until it's over his head and not notice a thing.
They are extraordinary beings and I love them the mostest.
Okay, gotta go decide which tree I'm going to hide and sob behind tomorrow morning!