Thursday, August 25, 2011

18 months old

This little guy

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turned 18 months old yesterday. I'm fixing to take him to the pediatrician for his 18-month well baby visit, in fact.

You can't turn your back on him. I have learned this the hard way. When we come home from wherever, I tend to put him down just inside the kitchen. He immediately makes a mad dash for the stairs, and before I know it, I can hear the gate at the top of the stars clanging. That's how fast he is. You can practically feel time warping around you.

Of course now that he has learned how to climb down the stairs, he usually races up the stairs and then begins climbing backwards back down. He's pretty careful, but it's still new enough to be somewhat terrifying for his old mom.

I jokingly asked David what all we needed to do to prepare Andrew for his 18-month check up, and he mentioned that most babies should know somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 20 words. We began counting up all the words that we know Andrew can say, and of course, what kind of a parent would I be if I didn't document them here for posterity, given how meticulously we documented William's growing vocabulary?

He regularly says: Okay. Yeah. Uh oh. Ball. Thank you (although it sounds more like gang goo). Mama. Dada. Eye. Ear. Cracker. Apple. All done. Bye bye. Hi. Shoes.

There are a few others that we've heard him say a couple of times, but I never know whether to count them or not. For example, he started saying Upstairs a few days ago. David was standing at the bottom of the stairs when Andrew (allegedly) said it, and he called out to me that Andrew had just said Upstairs. I, of course, was skeptical, but sure enough, he said it again when he neared the top of the stairs. He hasn't said it much since then, so does it count, or not?

I can't believe he's 18 months old, y'all. He's a toddler. I mean, he's been a toddler for awhile now, but I'm just now really coming to terms with that.

Vital stats to come.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scarface plays soccer

Check him out: William in his new soccer uniform!

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What you cannot see, however, in this picture is the big gash right above his right eye. At some ungodly hour of the night on Friday, William either fell out of bed (which he has done maybe one other time in his entire life), or he stumbled over something when he got up to go use the bathroom. He managed to cut a gash out of his upper eyelid, near the bottom of the brow bone.

Luckily for William, he has a personal physician who lives in his house and does middle-of-the-night consultations. David determined that it could wait 'til morning, so we cleaned him up and sent him back to bed. They went in to David's office on Saturday morning so one of the other docs could take a look at the cut. The other doctor decided that William didn't really need stitches, so they came home and prepared for William's first soccer game with his new team.

To keep William from getting too upset over the cut, David and I talked up the cool factor of having a scar. "Indiana Jones has a scar," I told him. "You're just like Indiana Jones." And David showed him the scar that he acquired under his chin 30-odd years ago. William somehow juxtaposed those two things and announced that his daddy was just like Indiana Jones. Sure he is, kiddo. We'll start putting some Mederma on the cut as soon as it's healed up a bit more.

In the meantime, he wore a hat for soccer practice. And then he shed the hat for the actual game, which went quite well. William even scored! a! goal! On purpose, no less! As someone with virtually no athletic ability whatsoever, I was especially excited that someone with my genes was able to achieve something like that. I mean, my dad's nickname is Tanglefoot, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, if you'll recall my little dishwasher incident last summer. Maybe David's genes are the dominant ones in this instance.

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But the best part of the whole experience was that the new coach singled William out in front of his whole team and praise him for not retaliating or responding when a child on the opposing team was rude to him. I thanked her afterward for that.

Incidentally, William did not acquire any injuries at all on the soccer field. But he managed to wipe out on the sidewalk in front of our neighbor's house last night and cut both knees open and skinned both palms. So this morning, he went off to kindergarten with a big old cut above one eye and Star Wars bandages on both knees. And none of those wounds were acquired from an activity that you might expect would result in cuts or bruises. David remarked ruefully that he hoped no one would call Child Protective Services on us.

William was much more upset, somehow, about the cut on his knee than he was about the cut on his eyelid. Indiana Jones, you know. Anyone know any famous people with scars on their knees?

Friday, August 12, 2011

William's first day of school

When I was six years old and preparing to enter the first grade, I made a sign that said, "My first day of school is today." I drew a picture of myself, with two brown pigtails and a blue dress. On my first day of school, my dad took a picture of me standing in our driveway holding that sign. My mom stood next to me, holding my blue Pluto bookbag and looking a little stunned.

More than 30 years later (yes, it was that long ago....that was August of, gulp, 1980), that sign--and the dress and the Pluto bookbag--are what I most remember about my first day of school at the little elementary school near my childhood home. I remember sitting next to a little girl who wore pants and had an unusual first name and wondering if she was a boy or a girl, and I remember my sweet little teacher, a new teacher who was barely taller than her students. But that's about all.

(Mom remembers crying after she thought I could no longer see her. I don't remember that at all, of course. She told me about that years later.)

This picture may be what William remembers most about his first day of elementary school:

That is the picture that William colored as his very first assignment on his very first day of school. Granted, William's first day of school, which was yesterday, Aug. 11, 2011, was actually his first day of kindergarten, but I think it should still count. He's still at a big school with big kids. It counts in my mind, anyway.

And y'all, I could not be any prouder of him if I tried.

He woke up early, dressed himself in his uniform (including tucking in the shirt and fastening the belt), and made his bed. He was calm and agreeable and cheerful throughout breakfast and the inevitable rushing-around that we always seem to do before school. He didn't even object to having his picture made. And oh, he was so pleased to be such a big kid at last!

Somewhere, my parents have a picture of me on my first day of school that is very similar to this one:

In my photo, I'm wearing my sweet little blue dress, holding that Pluto bookbag that I inexplicably adored so much, just as William adores that gaudy Justice League backpack that's nearly as big as he is. I'm standing on the sidewalk in front of my new school, and I look...hopeful.

William looks a little more nervous in the picture above than he does in any of the other pictures I took of him yesterday morning, perhaps because he is actually standing in front of the school in this one, preparing to walk through the front doors. I think it's perfectly okay that he was likely feeling a few nerves at that point. I know I sure was.

He behaved so beautifully once we got into the school too. Even though his classroom was a sea of strangers, some of whom were having a few transition issues, he didn't freak out or hang back. He found his seat, and he immediately began to check out the school supplies on his table.

He didn't even seem to notice the leak in the ceiling or the trash can that was still sitting on the end of his table. He began to work on his drawing, as I snapped photos and looked around to see if I recognized anyone. (You will notice if you go back to look at his artwork that he found a crayon that exactly matched the color of the shirt that he was wearing. He's very proud of that shirt. He picked it out himself.) We stayed for the Pledge of Allegiance and showed him how to hold his hand over his heart. Like some of the other parents whose kids seemed to be doing just fine, David and I stood there awkwardly, not sure what exactly we were supposed to be doing.

Turns out, we were supposed to be leaving, so as not to drag out the process for the kids who weren't adjusting as well as William was. One boy kept making a break for the hallway, and his parents kept having to drag him back into the classroom. Another child was sobbing and thrashing around, prompting the teacher to shoo all the remaining parents out the door to the parents' breakfast in the cafeteria.

So I kissed William goodbye, told him I'd see him in a few hours, and...walked out. He didn't cry or cling to me or anything. He smiled and turned his attention to the teacher. He was...ready.

I know what you might be wondering. No, I didn't cry either. I didn't even feel the slightest prickling of tears. It was anticlimactic, actually. I'm relieved and delighted and surprised and happy and did I mention relieved?

There was no school today, but Monday is a half-day. Andrew and I will deliver William to his classroom for a few hours and then return to pick him up at lunchtime. We're already discussing the possibility of William riding the bus home from school soon; a handful of other kids in his class are doing it, and heck, if they can do it, he certainly can. I'm going to let him adjust to the new school, the new hours, and the new morning routine, and then we'll see about arranging for him to ride the bus home in the afternoon.

So we survived. It turned out just fine. Oh my God, what a relief that it's over. Onward to the rest of the year.

The Big Kindergartener says hello!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Twas the night before school starts...

I am not going to throw up.

I am not going to throw up.


But I'm still going to fill anxious and queasy.

No, I'm not pregnant again. (Thank God.) It's just the night before the first day of school. William starts kindergarten at the Big Massive Elementary School tomorrow morning, and I am having the 11th-hour freak-out about it.

Actually, I started feeling the little butterfly wings of anxiety over the weekend. I've known that the first day of school was coming, but after I surveyed the mounds of school supplies piled up in my dining room, it hit me just how very close that day was.

Then I attended the orientation meeting for parents of kindergarten students this afternoon. Laden with the bags of those school supplies and classroom supplies, I stumbled through the door and realized that, holy mother of God, this is really happening. I took my seat at the little table that will be William's seat and tried to ignore my dismay at the leaking ceiling* above my head and listen to the teacher.

With the yellow No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil that was thoughtfully provided by the teacher, I took notes on dismissal times and lunch ticket prices and snack time and the best way to communicate with the teacher. I glanced around at the other parents to see if they appeared to be handling this better than I was (that would be an affirmative for the most part). I asked a few questions, since I can never truly shut off the reporter in me, and I snapped a few quick pictures of the classroom with my phone so I could show them to William.

Tonight, I got his backpack ready, and we laid out his clothes for tomorrow morning. I read a few more pages of his Harry Potter book to him, and then we talked a little bit about tomorrow. He's nervous. I've been doing my best to 1) validate his feelings while still reassuring him that it's going to be fine, and 2) hide the fact that I'm so nervous. William knows that I was a little nervous about the orientation today, but I tried to convey that I was also excited about it. Was that entirely true? I think so.

So tomorrow really is the big day. My elder child starts kindergarten. He starts school. Not preschool. Real school. He'll store his stuff in a small locker, and he'll eat lunch in a cafeteria. He'll wear a uniform (of sorts), and he'll get report cards. He'll have the option of riding the bus home from school someday if he wants to do that, and he'll be able to say he attends an elementary school. School.

I am not entirely sure that I will sleep tonight. Like all parents, I just want what's best for my child. I want him to be happy, safe, secure and all those good things. I want him to have fun, and I want him to be challenged. Rationally I know that kindergarten is going to probably be a very good experience for him. He makes friends easily, and he loves to learn. Just because I am nervous doesn't mean that there's anything he really needs to worry about. But he's my child, so it doesn't surprise me that he's fretting a little bit. I will continue to do my best to stay calm and enthusiastic, yet reassuring, with him because that's what good parents do for their child.

Even if, inside, they feel like throwing up.

(*The teacher claimed that a work order has been filed. Let's hope it gets addressed quickly.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My little athletes

William is playing t-ball this summer. Technically, he is playing t-ball on a team full of other kids who are playing baseball. We're not sure how that happened exactly. But it doesn't seem to bother him.

Look how hard he's concentrating on hitting here. He's trying to get his swing to be level:
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Sometimes he succeeds. Sometimes he doesn't. rains.

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Also, sometimes--often--he knocks the tee over.

Here's my other little athlete.

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Andrew is talking up a storm these days--oh, my God, you should her him say "Mama" because it is To.Die.For--but his favorite word still seems to be "ball." He says it with a very drawling Southern accent, so it comes out sounding like "baawwwwwww-www." Why he was crying in this picture is sort of a mystery to me, and I took the picture. He had been toddling contentedly around the yard, clutching the soccer ball. Who knows. There is no crying in baseball, but apparently there is crying in soccer.

Editorial note: And actually, there is also crying in t-ball. William forgot his glove last night, and he bawled until another mom offered him a spare glove. Problem solved. Crisis averted. Play resumed.