Saturday, June 4, 2016

Pumpkins and Carriages

So it was quite a return to reality when we got back from our trip Monday afternoon. We had one car with a flat tire, James had to get to the pool he manages because it was their opening weekend, we needed food, and our AC wasn't working in the main part of the house. But it was wonderful to see the kids who had had a marvelous time with their Tara and Papa and Gigi while we were gone. Cora was napping when we got home and when I went in to get her when she woke up she lost her mind in screamy happy joy. Truly no one will ever love you the way your toddler loves you. It overwhelms their whole body.

We dove right back into the grind with James in all day lifeguard training Tuesday and me in calls and meetings. I had to leave work early to meet our AC repair guy ($200 fix!) and then the kids and I played Life until James brought Cora home and she "helped" us decide to end our game early.

I did have a brief shining moment where I realized in 3-4 years I could have THREE people to play Life with me! Just like I always dreamed! The only time I got to play board games as much as my heart truly desired was when I went to upstate New York with my aunt and uncle in 7th grade and we played Scrabble until like 3 a.m. It was wonderful, even though I'm quite bad at Scrabble. I read a ton, but somehow my paranormal vampire romance vocabulary just doesn't help me in Scrabble.

On Wednesday we had the kids' end of school award ceremonies. Claire was first- she marched up on that stage with all the joy and confidence she's had every day of Kindergarten and that I know she'll carry with her into first grade. She got the Hard Worker Award, Super Reader Award, Reader Leader every 6 weeks, Perfect Attendance certificate, and a certificate noting she has read 2,212 words- the second highest in her class! She's adorable in her love of school (and basically all other things) and we're so proud of her, especially given that she's nearly a full year younger than Landon was when he started Kindergarten. It's been a great year.

Landon's ceremony was a few hours later. He never made eye contact with the camera, though he did look tickled when he saw James and I in the audience and even gave us a wave when he was sitting down with his class. He was clearly pleased we were there, but was also clearly not going to wave at me from the stage.

Landon got High Honor Roll (I think his lowest grade this year was a 94), the Presidential Gold Seal Award (absolutely no idea what that means or how you earn it), Outstanding Citizenship (all E's for behavior), Reader Leader every six weeks, and a certificate stating he's read 267,356 words for the year which seems like a lot. He continues to love school, love his friends, and be utterly unimpressed by his academic successes. He's happy about them, they just don't define him in any way. I am still working on this.

He also got to celebrate his summer birthday after the ceremony, so we brought a few dozen donuts along to pass out to the class. You're totally king for a day when you're the one passing out the sugar.

That afternoon James had to go to the pool for a chlorine issue, so I decided to pick up Cora early and head to the zoo 45 minutes before closing because an empty zoo is the best zoo. It had been raining all day, but was blue and beautiful for those 40 minutes spent with some animals who seemed as excited to be outside as we were.

Cora in particular was THRILLED to be there. She roared at lions (and they roared back!), exclaimed over monkeys, and screamed over DUBRAS! Wearing her zebra romper, obviously. That wasn't planned, she's just always wearing it.

And then yesterday was THE LAST DAY! Obligatory morning picture:

To be compared with day 1:

I feel like Claire really does look way older than she did a year ago, but just not in that picture. Maybe she was so thrilled about going to Kindergarten she aged herself just for that photo? I now have a 1st and 3rd grader and it is crazy. Even crazier, I won't have another Kindergartner until I also have a 6th grader. Whaaat?!

Since we have a different birthday party to go to the night of Claire's real birthday (tomorrow!) we thought we'd do her official birthday dinner on Thursday night. I met James and the kids after work at Claire's selection- East Hampton Sandwich Company- chosen solely because they have a grilled Fluffernutter sandwich with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. It's in the "sweets" section of the menu, but what else are birthdays for?

Today I went to work (after Orangetheory, which I am still LOVING you guys- my running has improved so much!) and James and the big kids played all day. They start summer camps on Monday (I have a spreadsheet and schedules taped on the fridge), but today was just for daddy and that always means fun.

I even got text updates! No words, but sending pics is a pretty big deal. 95% of our chat history is me texting something and then later asking James if he got my text. He prefers smoke signals and carrier pigeons.

Claire also had her 6 year check up this morning- she's still 75th percentile for weight and height and overall healthy and strong. She was also officially diagnosed with a nickel allergy. We've had quite a saga with her pierced ears- the piercing essentially never healed after she got it last August. Every time we'd change her earrings or check them they'd be scabby and crusty and terrible and we'd chastise ourselves for not taking better care of them but then I'd remember that it had been 8 months and we change her earrings every few days and this really shouldn't be a problem. Combine that with the time her ears ate her earring backs requiring us to use tweezers to extricate them (parenting highlight for sure) and her constant various scabby itchy red rashes all over random parts of her body and I feel TERRIBLE that it took us so long to figure out. It's only luck we noticed that her latest rash was right in the same spot she had a safety pin inside her school uniform because a button had broken that morning and I wanted to hold the shirt/vest together. All her stomach rashes are from the button of her pants (unnoticed for so long only because she wears dresses 90% of the time). The rash she had on her back the day after wearing a dress with an exposed zipper. It goes on. Honestly we feel like unobservant idiots, but we're glad we can get on top of things now and hopefully give her her first few days without an angry rash in months and possibly years.

Our return to reality has also brought us back to the reality of James not having a pool in September. Someone was asking me about school year swim lessons and right in the middle of my enthusiastic recommendation I shut down, remembering that the business I was recommending might not exist in the fall. He's so good and he's built something so successful it kills me anew each time I think about life post-August. He's so busy right now with the summer pool I can forget for periods of time, but when I remember my heart rate speeds up and my stomach hurts. It sucks on a lot of levels. I'm trying not to withdraw too far into myself over it yet because right now he's still running a busy thriving company and he's working hard on pool options but it's a struggle every time I remember. The near-constant rain is not helping. So I'm doing a lot of reading (I'm like the last person to discover Cassandra Clare and her Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series; on book 4 and enjoying it so much!) and forcing myself to be social even when I don't feel like it because I'm extroverted^10 and always feel better when I get around other people. But I'm struggling a bit right now.

6 years ago tonight!

Tomorrow our sweet Clairebear will be 6 and we have a lot to celebrate. Her party is Sunday and then swim team and summer camp starts Monday. Our first swim meet is next weekend and we have an outdoor concert with the kids and lots of other fun stuff planned, including a trip to the lake house for July 4th to meet our beautiful new niece and cousin. Summer is crazy and my favorite and I just discovered a frozen to-go daiquiri place, so it's going to be great.


  1. I had to smile because I'm the one who is going to have a 6th grader, 3rd grader, and Kindergartener in the Fall (plus a 10th grader and an 8th grader). It goes so fast, which is so cliche but unfortunately true. Before you know it you'll have Cora, Claire, and Landon in those grades!

  2. Every time your kids have a birthday milestone it strikes me it's been years (YEARS!) that I've been tuning in - and it has been such a genuine joy to see their smiling faces, and hear the stories (also your writing - like today's about James prefers smoke signals or carrier pigeons made me laugh out loud. Twice.)

    For some reason I feel I want to share that I really believe that that things will work out on the pool front - in some form or other - and to hugely hugely encourage you to get the swim school community to help: if you haven't already, don't be afraid to tell people - voices can help - you may find that parents persuade the Boys and Girls club of the value of changing their minds, or that something comes up because someone who values what James' brings knows someone who knows someone who has an idea. Sometimes it takes a community to bring about change.

    Or even that someone has something that uses James' diverse talents in winter - leaving a Summer-only swim school - I guess what I'm saying is that I'm cheering you on from afar!

  3. I have a nickel sensitivity too - my pieced ears have also been drama. Even now, I can only wear earrings that are gold or sterling silver - else I have serious problems. Can you get little hoops or posts of sterling for Claire?