Thursday, September 11, 2014

Avalee: Starting a new chapter...

Well, the day finally arrived.  The first day of kindergarten.  Three years ago I took pictures of little itty bitty you with your brother on his first day.  I remember very clearly thinking; “I still have three more years” yet somehow I blinked and my time was up.

Unlike your brother, you hold your emotions closer to the vest.  You are hard to read, although Mama knows when you are worried, nervous, unsure.  When I would ask you if your were excited or even ready for school, you would change the subject or run off to play. 

Deep down I knew you would be ok (nobody drops out of kindergarten, do they?) but I found myself more and more nervous as the months, weeks and inevitable days grew closer.  Would you talk to your teacher?  Talking to adults is a big one for you (we’ve been ‘practicing’ by having you ask for your own cookie in the bakery at the grocery store, ordering your own food at a restaurant…).  Would you make friends or just keep your head down all day?

You have always been reserved and slow to warm up to people.  Mommy has tried to get you to open up a bit and you have, but it’s obvious that you are a bit more introverted (ok a lot) than your big brother. 

But where you hold back socially is where you come alive physically.  You would much rather blaze across the monkey bars, jump off, climb, kick and run than chit chat with your peers.  In that sense you are fearless.  Such an interesting combination!

And, for the last three years, it’s been just the two if us (during school hours anyway) and I have had the pleasure watching you grow and change and progress.  But, still at one point in the days leading up to your first day, I found myself panicking…

“Did I do enough?”  I didn’t teach you a letter a week like I was going to.  We didn’t have daily themed crafts.  I’m sure I let you watch too much TV when I should have been teaching you what a homonym was.  I found myself starting to tear up at how I failed you and how your childhood was so different than your brothers.

After Z started school, I started volunteering in the classroom which kept me away from you during part of the day once a week.  Then I joined the PTC committee which meant being at the school even more and more time away.  And, did we need to go on all those playdates or should I have just stayed home with you?  Then, there was you going off to play with your bestie who lives a couple houses away.  You loved it, but should I have been spending that time with you?

Then, it all came back to me...our adventure walks around the neighborhood, picnics on the carpet in front of the fireplace, endless games of Dora Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, dominoes and puzzles, baking goodies, wrapping Christmas presents, berry picking with Grandma, canning tomatoes. 

And, those playdates?  Well, that always meant special time with you testing out the crafts we were presenting and pre-reading the books we would be reading.  We even had our little pre-playdate routine: I would be prepping crafts and you would set out the plates, cups and napkins then wash off your table and move it into the other room.  Something I took for granted then, but thinking back, it was some of my favorite time with you. 


And, playing with your bestie was even something I wouldn’t have traded, once I thought about it.  Watching you two giggle while painting each other’s nails, the absolute joy on the first day your brother’s (who are best friends as well) went off to kindergarten and you got to have a tea party with no interruptions, watching you ride your bikes down the sidewalk and color up the entire driveway and sidewalk with your chalk creations.  I realize I wasn’t sacrificing time with you, but rather enjoying you in a different way.

And, maybe you did watch more TV then your brother, but snuggling with you on the couch and laughing at how silly Boots could be or singing along to Yo Gabba Gabba is always something I’ll treasure.

Even the mundane things like trips to Target where we would share popcorn and even naptime together which almost always started with snuggles, Eskimo and butterfly kisses and our favorite game of “I love you more than ___” are things I will miss.

You are my baby and I can hardly believe that you are already off to school.  That someone else gets all of you for even part of the day.  That I can’t see your face, watch you color hear you answer questions and see your special smile that you reserve when you are totally happy.

But, you will be okay.  I know you will.  I think about how you practically grew up in that school.  You helped Mama use the die cut machine and stack papers for Z’s teachers,  make posters for the jog-a-thon, stuffed envelopes, helped bag up books for the book fair, put out bingo cards and helped give away prizes.  You’ve already gone to assemblies and been to classroom parties.  You have even had the decent advantage of being a sibling at fun events like field day (which means not only do you have your  run of the place while Mom works, but there’s no limit on sno cones for you or a time limit on the bouncy slide… and, when it’s all over and the kids have to go back to their classrooms, you’re there gathering up the extra water balloons!).
In fact, you already know most of the teachers and staff.  You know every inch of that school and I know for you, that will be a comfort.

I also know you will be ready to get down to business and learn all you can every day.  You are my rule-follower, my responsible and helpful girl.  You listen and do not only what’s needed but even more.  You help unload the dishwasher without me asking, clean up and set the dining room table (again without asking) and put the laundry in the dryer.  You are also our resident caregiver; you make sure that Z doesn’t eat anything with red dye, gets Mommy bandages when I cut myself making dinner and makes sure Daddy gets enough to eat.

You are a lover of all types of creatures from potato bugs (just tonight you were appalled that Daddy was going to squish a spider and instead convinced him to take it outside) to your beloved kitty and go to great measure to love and care for all.  Watching you with animals, bugs and even snakes (I did have to stop you from kissing that garden snake this summer!) makes me proud.  I can see you combining your love of animals with your fearless adventurer spirit and do something just amazing with your life.

Sometimes I look at you and am just overwhelmed with how much I admire you.  You are so strong and independent (even with your reservations interacting with people) and just so fun to be with.  You are fire and ice, but your spunk keeps things interesting!  I think about how much you are like your great-grandma (even looking just like her!) even though you never met her.  Your sometimes stubborn, ornery attitude just makes me chuckle and think about how you must be channeling her sometimes.  You are so smart and quick and I am often amazed at how sharp your wit is.  Your sarcastic quips just keep me grinning!  Mostly, I find myself thinking how lucky I am to get to be your mama!

And, finally the day arrived and you were ready.

You had breakfast (blueberry oatmeal, at your request) then got dressed right away.  You obliged us taking bunches of pictures (your brother got in their first taking pics with his DSi) even though you tried acting like you were above it all.


I could see you were nervous and your mask of bravado didn’t fool me.  But, you walked right in and even marched a couple steps ahead to your classroom.  When we got into your classroom, it was a bit chaotic but you didn’t seem to notice.  You found your desk (next to one of your good friends!) and sat down to color. 

Again you tried to act above it all but I knew you needed some kisses and you didn’t stop me.  I wanted to stay longer, to make a bigger deal but your demeanor said “I’m ok Mom; you can let go.” so I gave you a little hug, a wave and left you there.

Daddy and I walked that ever-familiar path back home and it seemed so surreal that for the first time you weren’t with.  Thinking about how I will now be walking that path back home every day by myself started up some tears.  Who will chase the birds, ask what the gophers under our feet are doing right now (“Are they watching gopher TV, Mama?”  “Are they playing gopher Candyland?”  “Maybe they’re taking gopher bath with LOTS of bubbles!”) or hold my hand when we cross the street?

Two and a half hours went by faster than I thought (maybe because I’ve done it before?) but still I found myself walking a little faster back to the school.

We arrived early for pick up.  In fact, many parents were there early.  I chatted with my friends (your friend’s mamas) but as soon as we saw you guys marching out, all conversation stopped and we all “oohed and aahed” over all of you.   You were toward the end of a very long line and I felt my heart beat a little faster when I didn’t see you right away.  Then, you came strolling out, head up high and lined right up against the wall.  You raised your hand and pointed to Daddy and your teacher sent you off.  You let us hug and kiss you but again acted like it was all no big deal.  I asked you some questions about your day and was happy that you seemed to have a good day but having lunch was much more important (you got to pick and had both Mom and Dad)!

It wasn’t until sometime during lunch that you really opened up.  You told us all kinds of fun details about your day: your teacher gave you each…”you know those little doughnut things Grandma used to get us…ohhh, doughnut holes!” and yours had the MOST sprinkles, you finally learned what this ‘crisscross apple sauce business your brother has been talking about and you got both music AND library (you got to bang a drum in music class and made sure to look through your book about silly gooses to make sure it was right for you before you checked it out) and went down the slide “a lot” on recess.  You played with your friends, helped another friend hang up her backpack (being tall is an advantage sometimes), and even learned some new names.  But, most of all you had FUN.

“So, do you think you’ll go back again tomorrow?”  I teased.

You gave me that look (the look) and came back with “Yea, I think so.” ;o)



1 comment:

  1. I love reading all your blogs. I laughed and cried my way through this one. I too miss having Avalee whenever I want. The sleepovers now can only be on non school days. I still get you on Thursday afternoons after you get out of school. We can still spend rainy days at Micky D's play area and go window shopping. I get to hear about your whole day. You talk the whole time we are gone. Lol.


I love hearing from you...thanks for taking the time to stop by! :)

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