Saturday, September 16, 2006

Last Days of Summer

Today was one of those fall days that is a sweet reminder of all that is great about summer - warm (not blistering hot), sunny, breezy and filled with boundless play and uninterrupted time.

We spent the afternoon with friends at their new home. They recently moved out of Madison, to a small community where you can get a lot more house and land for a reasonable cost - much more reasonaable than in the city. Their new digs include an inground pool!!

Rowan and Willow invented a game, using the little yellow boat, they named "Old Bessy" (where they got the name, is anybody's guess), lining it up with the water slide, sliding down the slide and into the boat.

Gemma did spurts of time in the pool. With no body fat to speak of, she chills down pretty quickly. The water slide was quite a hit for her.

All four kids are incredibly good friends who instantly bond, even after weeks of not playing together. Gemma and Sage have promised to marry one another when they grow up. Unless of course one gets mad at the other, at which time the angry one says in a definitive tone of voice "That's it! I am NOT marrying YOU!"

A good time was had by the grown-ups too. We talked non-stop, whle watching the kids have a ball, eating corn chips and guac and enjoying a couple of ice cold wheat beers.

By Tuesday, we will be looking at a high temperature of 55 degrees, a far cry from today's 80 and a true taste of fall.

Friday, September 08, 2006

First Week of School

Wow, how did it get to be September already??!!

Both Rowan and Gemma started school this week. It's been a big week for our entire family!!

Gemma is in KINDERGARTEN! The little gal just turned five on August 24 with a party extraordinaire - high tea served on china we acquired at St. Vincent de Paul for 25 cents a piece and a visit from a fairy (a wonderful children's entertainer) and now she's off to the Big K! We pondered waiting another year, given the lateness of her birthday. Our pondering time was short though, given that she seemed very ready emotionally, physically and cognitively for this next step.

It's been a big week for her. Overall she is liking school a lot. She loves the stimulation of her classroom. Her teacher, while new to the school, is a veteran kindergarten teacher. The classroom design and layout is lovely - lots to do, very kid-centric and very literacy rich and still lots of toys and games and blocks!!

As anyone who knows Gemma is likely to guess, she has her opinions about her expeirnece thus far. When we asked her after day one how things went, here was her reply -

"Well, I checked it out and I won't be going back."

When we asked her more about this, here were her complaints -

First, rest time (mandated by state law) is a "waste of time" because she wants to be up doing things in the room and not laying there on her blanket. The room is too cool to be doing stuff in it.

Second, she thought her teacher had "tricked" the kids when she told them they could look at books during rest time if they didn't want to sleep. But when Gemma forgot to get a book before going to her blanket and then wanted to get up and get one later in the rest time and was told she needed to stay put, she was sure she'd been duped.

She's displeased with the fact that she can't keep her magnetic mirror on the front outside of her locker. Her plan was to have it at eye level, so she could look at herself and check her hair whenever she walked by. Having to keep it on the inside of her locker door just messes up her whole routine.

Lastly, she was peeved that not every center in the room was open on the first day. When we explained some of the possible reasons for this, her reply was "Mom "I" can handle lots of choices. All of the centers could have been open and I would have no problem making a choice."

Luckily, more centers opened on days 2 and 3 and she has figured out to get herself books before going to her rest blanket. The mirror/locker issue sitll remains a bone of contention (-:

She is making friends and enjoying her time more each day. Today was teary - probably a "Friday" issue of just being maxed out.

The girls are not in the same school, as we have a K-2 school and a 3-5 one. So Gemma rides the bus in (as her school is across a major street. Rowan walks to school. Her school is physically further away, but no major six lane streets to cross.

Rowan has entered third grade with a lot of grace. She seems to have made just another huge leap in emotional development this summer. I also think the independence she got to experience within the loving and watchful suppport of Rainbow Family Camp also bolstered her confidence greatly. She's looking forward to many of the things that an "older kid" school can offer, like the opportunity to run for student council, help running the school store or serving on the spirit committee. The school will run/walk a mile together sometime early this fall as a community-building activity which seems really fun. Given that she needs to run an hour minimum a week for soccer training, the mile doesn't seem too cumbersome to her. She's loving the opportunity to walk to and from school. A parent walks with her - either me or our backyard neighbor and her daughter or she gets dropped off on rush-around mornings. I think she likes the opportunity to walk and talk and process her day. It's really nice for me to get this time with her too - I can tell it will be treasured time for us both.