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    20 posts categorized "Kindergarten"

    February 25, 2014

    Playground social dilemmas

    I am having some difficulty navigating some First Grade Social Situations. 

    The first one... well, I'm not sure what I can do about this. I think I mostly just want to whine about it. SO. There are these 2 and sometimes 3 moms (but usually just the 2) who I feel should be friends with me. BE FRIENDS WITH ME, DARNIT! Not BEST friends or anything, but our kids are in the same class, we are the Moms Who Are Always At Pick Up, we are the moms who hang out at the playground with our kids after school on sunny days, AND OUR KIDS ARE FRIENDS. I feel like I should be standing off to the side with them chit chatting while we wait for the bell to ring, right? They seem cool!

    But I don't hang out with them. Wah. The story is: the two moms were parents of a girl and a boy in Molly's class. After the first month a bunch of those kindergartners were transferred to JACK'S class which became a K/1 split. I could have sent Molly along with those kindergartners and bumped Jack to the newly formed 1/2 split when this happened, but I was given a choice and I elected to have them stay with their teachers. I sometimes wonder if this was best, but WHATEVER, it's been FINE. Anyway, that girl and boy who were originally kindergartners in Molly's class are now kindergartners in Jack's class. He plays basketball at recess with the boy and is reading partners with the girl. We've run into the girl's family out to dinner once and I've initiated small talk with both moms at various points in the year. But neither mom seemed all that interested in anything further and they've never once made eye contact with me when we are all just standing around watching our kids play together. 

    I think the reason probably is: they already know each other. And maybe I missed my chance for having someone to stand around with at the beginning of the year when everyone is forming their What Do I Do While I'm Waiting For My Kid situations. I'm also told that people in Seattle are often This Way. I don't think they're Not Nice, it's not a cultural/not fitting in sort of thing, I think... yeah, that things are just sort of Established. If I just waltzed over to their group after school on the playground one afternoon and invited myself into the conversation I don't THINK they'd shoot lasers with their eyes, but I'M STILL INTIMIDATED. I've kind of given up hoping they'll introduce themselves to me. GOD I AM SO PATHETIC RIGHT NOW. 

    The SECOND THING... I need advice for this one. While on the playground this afternoon a little girl walked by the kids my kids were playing with, on her way home I think, and Jack turned around and said, "Bye Sierra!" Very friendly like and all, and then turned back around to play. But then the Sassy Blond, his bff from kindergarten, said all matter-of-factly, "Sierra has a crush on you." And Jack kicked the ground and said, "I know, but I don't have a crush on HER" and I think there was more talking after this but I'm not sure because my brain exploded. 

    I had to restrain myself from shouting, "WE DO NOT HAVE CRUSHES IN FIRST GRADE" right that second and again on the way to the car and then again on the ride home and RIGHT NOW I AM TRYING NOT TO SAY IT RIGHT NOW. 

    But should I say SOMETHING? I don't want it to become a THING by acknowledging it, at the same time I want to give the Sassy Blond the what for and start making plans for military school. 

    Except. I still remember the name of the boy I had a crush on in kindergarten. Don't tell my mom. (He was the best colorer in our class. My teacher showed his paper to our whole class. I remember this. And I distinctly remember planning to color better than him next time and TAKE HIM DOWN. Maybe it wasn't a crush?)

    BUT NOOOOOOO THIS IS NOT ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. ACK.

    Then again, another thing I learned this afternoon is that both of my children have classmates who live in hotels. Because Jack said, "If you live in a hotel do you take the bus to school?" and I said "Huh?" and then I realized that my problems are very small indeed. 

    September 03, 2013

    Maybe I can get them on the black market

    I didn't refill my brain meds until the last minute. As you do. Turns out I have no refills left. The pharmacist called the doctor, the doctor called me and said, "I'll refill your prescription if you make an appointment." This is the doctor with no skill in speaking to neurotic ladies on brain meds via email and HECK NO am I going to make an appointment with him again. So I called my new hippie doctor to see if she could prescribe it for me and the receptionist said I should just have the pharmacy call them to get the prescription. So I call the pharmacy. Except I can't get through. So I GO to the pharmacy and they think this is the weirdest thing they've ever heard and they'll TRY and then they'll let me KNOW but they don't sound real sure about it and THIS IS WHY I have one dose left and no certainty if I can get more. 

    Notes: 

    1. I know. 
    2. It's not the doctor, it's me. 
    3. It's not their phone, it's mine. 
    4. I *think* my hippie doctor can prescribe brain meds? 
    5. If nothing else I will make an "appointment" with the first doctor and then figure out how to get my prescription from somewhere else. 
    6. My best friend is a pharmacist within the first doctor's hospital group. I CAN MESS WITH YOU, SYSTEM.
    7. Oh God, why is this such a pain. 
    8. Both of my kids are sitting in corners right now. Not germane to the conversation, but I thought you'd like to know. 

    The hippie doctor, on the other hand, is great. I'm still not sure if the multiple things I'm trying with her are WORKING working, but I'm doing well. She has me on Vitamin B, a lower dose of the brain meds, weekly acupuncture, and within the next few weeks she wants to see me to discuss "The Darkness". Also known as FALL. At some point I may go farther down on the braid med dosage and do some herbal supplement stuff. I don't really know. What I do know is that I feel like she understands what I need, that she respects my experience, that figuring this out is a collaborative effort. Also, that third acupuncture appointment actually did something. I can't say WHAT or WHY or HOW, but I felt different. Brighter? Happier? I honestly don't know. I just felt noticeably different after I left. "Gooder" is not a word, but I feel like it's the right one for this situation.

    I also finally ordered the right kind of iron she wanted me to get (I don't regularly go to hippie stores where they sell this stuff) and then I finally started taking them. I've finally decided I need them. I fell asleep for an hour and a half today and woke up to fighting. This is... probably not the best parenting out there. And there's no reason for me to be napping. My life is not that strenuous. And it wasn't a little pampering taking-care-of-myself nap it was a "I'm going to lay down and shut my eyes lest I not be able to function at dinnertime" nap. Not good. 

    And here I am, at dinnertime, with children in corners. Functioning, ahoy!

    We went to kindergarten orientation today and I have fallen in love all over again with our busted up beat down little neighborhood school and the wonderful people within. I wish I had known everything would be This Okay back when I was being neurotic about what I was going to do about school. I still think Catholic school would be nice, I still wish my kids were getting art and music and in a building that wasn't visibly crumbling. But the important parts of school are so great at our school and we got the teachers I requested and the principal asked me again if I want to be a sub and everyone remembered Jack (he's Jackson at school - I should work on this) and Molly fit right in... It's relief and confidence and happiness. 

    I have more to say about all of this, but did I mention the delinquents sitting in corners? I've had it with them. And I have fix them dinner. They should fix their OWN dinner. 

    June 12, 2013

    What we learned this year

    The last week of school is going annoyingly. By which I mean it's not Friday yet. It's the regular feeling of "isn't it Friday yet" coupled with "let's get this school stuff over with already" and BLARGH. Today was my last true day of The Schedule and while I did get a bit sniffly at the coffee shop, the rest of the day I traded sentiment for impatient irritation. 

    Tomorrow is my last day with just Molly and Emma at home and THAT might be hard. Where it was questionable if Jack would survive the months before kindergarten, Molly is happy at home. She entertains herself, she's happy to fold clothes with me or help empty the dishwasher, she works on projects without needing attention. Not that I have any interest whatsoever in homeschooling, but I can PICTURE doing it with Molly. If I were doing it with Jack one of us would be dead. ANYWAY. All that to say I'd like to do something fun with Molly tomorrow. I don't know what, though. My girl is always game for shopping...

    Friday is a silly little day of early releases and I'm going to cap off my year of not hanging out with the preschool moms by blowing off the end of the year picnic in the park. It's at a bad time! Whatever. I actually did make friends, you know. This morning one of the moms said she was going to email me over the summer to do this thing at the library with our babies and while it sounded totally boring, I was all, "HEY. THE PRESCHOOL MOMS LIKE ME!" 

    Maybe this whole time they've been seeing me drive up in my minivan, watching my kid hop out on her own, and feeling jealous as I drive away. Maybe this whole time they've been wishing THEY could blow everyone off. 

    I really hope I remember to take a picture of Molly and Jack in front of the house on the last day of school, to juxtapose with the first day of school picture. Things are SO DIFFERENT. Molly is just - I don't know the right words. She has grown up SO MUCH. I was so worried about my little preschool drop out and then this year she was all, "I don't need no brother to do all my socializing for me" and had a blast. Jack grew up too, but in a different way. Like he's been exposed to life outside his family and he's trying out all these voices and mannerisms and I have to keep saying, "I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ACT LIKE [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND]." Also he reads and does math and makes books and his handwriting is terrible and he has blisters on his palms from the monkey bars and every single pair of jeans is holey. His hair is always a mess. He's going to be a first grader. I have a first grader

    And Emma? Emma learned to walk. I spent the first half of the year reminding myself to put the Ergo in the car so I could carry her into the school for pick up. She was always bound up next to me, no one saw her face. And then the second half of the year, when I was still carrying her, but on my hip and putting her down once we got inside. And then holding her hand while she walked. And then trying to get her to hold my hand before she gets run over by the hordes of elementary school students running to the bus. Babies change so fast, I know, but the school year really quantifies things, doesn't it. 

    It's going to be crazy with Molly in school. I mean the time flying by thing. It wasn't so long ago that I was writing about my two babies. SO CRAZY. Although it's still not entirely certain she'll GO to school - next week we meet with a school psychologist, the second of the two kindergarten early entrance assessments. Her teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal collection of teachers all say she's ready and I think she is too and I'm not really worried about it, but it'll be nice to make it official. 

    And NO, Teachers From Molly's Preschool, I am NOT putting my baby in the Twos program. No no no. 

    But first: summer. Lots of summer. Swim lessons, VBS, YMCA camp, Grandma and Grandpa's house, Vancouver, the beach, the spray park, cousins, birthdays, a deck with a SLIDE. It's going to be awesome.

     

    April 10, 2013

    All right I feel better. Which means this post is pretty boring.

    In the morning after kindergarten drop off I'm taking the girls to Children's Hospital for EJ's x-ray. They have a walk in x-ray clinic. You just show up! And get an x-ray! Crazypants! Then we have an appointment at 4pm to... actually, I'm not entirely sure what it's for. My understanding of what the referrals are for and what the appointments actually ARE are not the same. So. Some people would, you know, find out. Me, I'm pretty SURE I know what's going on and that is overriding my general dislike of dealing with all of these things. Mom of the year! 

    But I think it's going to be okay. Even if it's not okay, things will be okay. She's walking now - I had her perform for the preschool parents AND the kindergarten teacher. Everywhere we go people comment on what a happy baby. And as of the last week or so the kid does not shut up. Ever. She's either happy bubbling or indignant barking or demandy whining. I just feel like things will be okay. 

    Perhaps I can say this because my in-laws want to take the big kids to the Seattle Center (the big park and various museums and playhouses and concert halls by the Space Needle) for this giant bounce house festival thing? I don't know. Sounds like the ninth circle of hell to me. But this means I don't have to think about having two other kids with me at the consultation appointment, and Phillip is going to meet me there, and afterwards we'll have a Parents And Youngest Child date at the fancy outdoor shopping center. I am thinking sushi and retail therapy at Crate & Barrel. 

    Besides, I feel like everything is GOOD. Sometimes it's going too fast, but it all feels like good stuff right now. Shoot you guys, I made DINNER. Honey mustard pork chops, asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and zucchini, and leftover mac and cheese for the boy who subsists on preservatives. I used my treadmill today (while watching Veronica Mars. I'm reviewing.) I have a plane ticket to Sacramento. I've joined the Y. Pretty much the only thing bugging me right now is how behind I am on laundry and the fact that my stylist is not available for a haircut on Saturday. OH WAIT. I just checked and there was a cancellation for the precise time I would have requested. OMG. STARS=ALIGNED.

    I shall now wait for the laundry fairy to appear. 

    In the meantime, I'll show you what I made today:

    Photo (41)

    I do not know what is up with all those weird LINES! They don't exist in real life. Do I blame the camera? ANYWAY. This is the present for Jack's teacher, about to have her first baby in May. I could have just bound up the pages and made a cover out of cardstock or whatever, but just buying a scrapbook sounded SO much easier. I bought letter stickers and baby stickers and then gluesticked the whole thing together. Each piece of "advice" is on its own page with a picture of the advice giver.The only things I'm missing are a class photo, which I totally didn't bother to buy and therefore do not have a picture to copy and put in the book, and a picture of one kid and I don't know how that happened because he's the one I worked with FOREVER.  The student teacher is going to get back to me about whether we're giving it to her this Friday or next and I'm thinking I'll make Orangette's pink cookies, except they'll be light blue and green (it's a BOY.) So yeah, part of me feels like a total teacher suck up (perhaps I have a history), but I also think it's really cute and she'll love it. 

    Okay people, think good x-ray thoughts! I'm fairly certain I'll be stresstweeting from the appointment. Doesn't that sound super fun?! You are SO EXCITED!

    March 21, 2013

    In which I pretend I know what to do with 20ish kindergartners (I so do not)

    I am volunteering in Jack's class tomorrow. For the first time. Worse: I am not volunteering so much as GIVING THE LESSON. This particular lesson is called Make A Present For Your Teacher Who's Having A Baby In Two Months!

    I made the mistake of asking my mother for baby present suggestions. I was thinking she'd give me appropriate parent-teacher gift ideas: a nice blanket maybe, an outfit, a card from Jack, I DON'T KNOW. Instead, my mother, who is nothing if not ambitious, creative, and full of Can Do Spirit! said, "YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE REALLY COOL?" And proceeded to tell me that I should get all the kids to think about "what makes a good mom?" and then write down what they think and draw a picture and MAKE A BOOK.

    Me! Who has no contacts within the school OR the parent community! WHO HAS ABSOLUTELY NO GUIDING SMALL CHILDREN IN SCHOOL EXPERIENCE. 

    I am, however, nothing if not wanting to get an A+ in everything, especially gift giving and mom approval, SO. After approximately nine bazillion emails with my partner in crime (aka the teacher across the hall I unceremoniously roped into arranging things for me) we found a time for me to come in and attempt book pages. As I type I am printing out card stock with a big box and lines underneath for the pages. Draw your picture in the box! I will help you write your Good Mom Advice! And then I will somehow (??????) fix these pages into a nice keepsakey book that the teacher can pull out years from now and say to her husband, "Oh yeah, I remember that Jackson kid, he was in my class that year I had [BABY NAME], remember? He's the one who nearly died of mortification when I had to tell him to be nice that one time?"

    (DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THAT? I think that was one of those things that I decided were Not Blog Appropriate. On my kid's behalf. Good story, though.)

    Anyway. I'm not exactly NERVOUS, but I guess I am a little APPREHENSIVE. I can barely get my own children to follow directions let alone another 25 kids belonging to OTHER people. So we'll see how this goes. If all else fails I can go purchase a nice blanket. 

    In other news: Phillip's cousin's kid is flying out here tonight and staying with us so he can attend some College Weekend thing for prospective freshmen. Then his dad is flying in tomorrow? And maybe staying with us? And maybe I am making dinner for all these people, but maybe I'm not? I'm repeating the Cheung Family Motto to myself - "We'll just play it by ear!" - but it's not really working this time. In case you haven't figured it out, I am terrified of AND bad at making dinner. Anyone got any Easy No Fail Dinners? We'll probably go with our standard salmon/rice/broccoli it being a Friday during Lent and all, but if you have suggestions I'm sure I can make use of them in the future. Like the week AFTERWARDS when Phillip's brother and his family comes to visit. GAK.

     

    February 12, 2013

    Kindergarten homework

    IS STUPID. Seriously! Who knows what that picture is! WE HAVE NO IDEA. Today we were trying to figure out the begnning and ending sound of a word, three letters, middle letter E, with a picture of... a paint brush? In a puddle of paint?  Ten minutes later Phillip shouted, "RED! It's a black and white copy! RED! RED!"

    Then there was a picture of a diamond. Blank E BLANK. Gem, right? It's gem. What kindergartner knows the word gem? GEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS IS NOT ON ANYMORE.

    Jack said, "I think it's JEWEL," and then Phillip says, "no, I think it's GEM. JEWEL has too many letters."

    So then Jack asks, "How do you spell JEWEL?" 

    Phillip says, "J - E - W - L." 

    And I say, from the kitchen where I am bent over a sink full of dirty dishes, wiping the sweat from my brow, realizing that not only must I cook the meals and do the dishes I must also be responsible for ALL THE SPELLING: "OH. MY. GAWD. PHILLIP CHEUNG. J-E-W-E-L."

    "Oh right," Phillip says. 

    "How come you don't know how to spell JEWEL," Jack asks. "You must not be a grown up." 

    I KNOW, JACK. I KNOW. 

    Oh, as I'm typing this, Jack, who is still doing his homework, comes over to me shouting, "THIS DOESN'T MAKE SEEEEEEENSE!!!"

    I look over it and say, "I don't understand. Everything's right. You did a good job."

    He goes, "But WHY do I have to do six plus one so many TIMES when I already KNOW IT?"

    #snotbrat

    December 19, 2012

    The best Christmas pageant ever

    I'm trying not to be horribly disappointed that Jack's school does not do a Christmas program. Or a Holiday program. Or a Winter or Snowflake or Solstice or New Year program. As far as I know they do NOTHING, at least I think I would have heard about it by now. HUGE. BUMMER.

    My THEORY is that the school is respecting its fairly large population of Muslim students and their families. With maybe a bit of liberal West Coast overcompensation in the Avoidance Of All Things Remotely Smacking Of Religion (though I should note, with a bit of honest shock, that Jack's school DOES do the Pledge of Allegiance.) 

    My other, more worrisome theory is that they just don't have TIME to put on a holiday program. SIGH. 

    Kindergarten has been a bunch of surprises for me. Surprise at how well Jack and I both took to this full day separation (ok, maybe not a TON of surprise about that). Surprise at how ACADEMIC kindergarten is. Weren't there TOYS in your kindergarten classroom? Maybe a kitchen and dolls? And plenty of arts and crafts? I thought kindergarten was one big poster paint session. But no, everyone says kindergarten is "the new first grade" and dude, it totally is. I can't believe some of the schooly stuff Jack is learning. I mean, I think it's GREAT and he likes doing it and handles it well and Phillip and I are BOTH so pleased and amazed by how much he's learned so far.

    But there are no toys or "centers" and very little art. Jack's school does not have a music program or an art teacher. He's done a few art projects within the context of the curriculum, within his own class, but only a few. I know his teacher sings songs with him and there are heaps of intstruments for older kids to borrow for an after-school band, but there is no music otherwise. 

    And once a month I go to the meeting at church where I hear everything about everything, which always includes a lot about the parish school, and every month I wonder: what would THAT be like? An amazing art teacher. And OBVS a Christmas program, with singing, featuring the Baby Jesus. I LOVED the idea of Jack learning that stuff right along with how to read and add and subtract. There's a curriculum and there is OTHER STUFF. 

    At Jack's school they barely have time for science. 

    So. This is NOT a "I regret public school" post. I don't. At all. There are various little ways that I see how this was an excellent decision for Jack, for our family, and Life In General. I think it's awesome that there is a large percentage of Muslim students. I LOVE his teacher. She's fantastic. I would know this even without my mother, teacher extraordinaire, saying, "She sounds fantastic!" every time I talk about her. We've had a handful of email interactions over the last week or two that have resulted in more friendly and personal communication at school. The school has a focus on character that I really like, emphasizing kindness along with reading. I think their writing program is so great. Jack is really happy there and loves everything about school. 

    Still, I am sad - for HIM - that there is no holiday songfest, with freshly scrubbed and dressed up little kids, with parents holding camcorders, with the excitement of going on a stage. He did it last year, at the Catholic preschool. Maybe it was just such a big part of MY school experiences, and my parents always putting on shows with their classes, that I'm irrationally mopey about it. 

    I don't know. Maybe they do something in the spring. Maybe his own class will do a little something some day. Maybe he'll play the lead in the high school play and, vicariously, all my dreams will come true. Heh. 

    IS there a perfect school situation? I think mine would be a diverse Catholic school, within walking distance, with Jack's current teacher, with his current class, free, unhindered by a budget, with active yet laid back and friendly parents. Dream on, right?

    When I was little my mom would put brown towels on my brothers' heads (the big one was Joseph, the little one was a shepherd) and blue one on mine, hand me a baby doll, and make us sing Christmas carols in front of our family on Christmas Eve. I have a boy, a girl, and an ACTUAL baby. We can put on our own Christmas program this year. 

    September 27, 2012

    God threw me a bone

    You guys, I'm not sure I can accurately describe how much I love kindergarten. How thankful I am for kindergarten. How happy and grateful and relieved I feel to pull up alongside the curb - because that is how we do it now - and watch my five-year-old run onto the playground, and how I don't pick him up until three o'clock in the afternoon. It is amazing. God bless kindergarten. 

    That sounds horrible, doesn't it? IT REALLY DOES. What a mean and lazy mother! BUT YOU GUYS. Oh my gosh. I'm not sure I can accurately describe how READY this kid has been for kindergarten for the past, oh, YEAR. 

    It's not that he's reading already or doing quadratic equations or incredibly sociable or speaking three languages or in any way unusually Advanced and/or Gifted or ANYTHING LIKE THAT. It's the fact that Jackson Cheung thrives on - no, practically REQUIRES - a project or an activity or a task or a plan or SOMETHING STRUCTURED TO DO all day, every day. Who knows how much money I've dropped at the dollar store on art supplies and workbooks and how many games and toys I've purchased simply to get an hour or two of quiet time. And I'm not GOOD at that. I run out of ideas super quick. Plus I'm impatient, lazy, and taking care of a baby. I do not have the time, inclination, or capability to come up with a Fun! Preschool! Project! morning, noon, and night. 

    What did his teacher say at our home visit? OH YES. He is 1) always on task and 2) always ready to move onto the next activity, and also 3) sort of stymied by all the kids who are NOT ready. OMG. 

    All summer long I was trying to figure out what to do with that kid. Thank God I found those two weeks of Vacation Bible School (which he STILL talks about, by the way. Score one for Mom!) But otherwise he was stuck at home with me and his sister who is content to play with her magnetic paper dolls for houuurrrsss and his baby sister who doesn't even MOVE and do you know how antsy and twerpy and out of control that kid got? I had to start a behavior chart! GAH!

    But kindergarten? Oh blessed blessed kindergarten. Projects and activities and recess and snacks and more projects from nine to three every day of the week. I keep telling myself it's okay to be thrilled about school. Kids are SUPPOSED to go to school. It's not like I couldn't handle him at home anymore and found a full day week-long daycare situation for my five-year-old. It's SCHOOL. It's REQUIRED. He's LEARNING STUFF. With the grand and fabulous bonus that OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING IT. 

    Phillip has been out of town all week and as far as business trip weeks go, this one's been pretty average. No one is sleeping well and everything's a mess, but we've had friends and visitors and junk food and we've been fine. But you know what the biggest factor in being fine is? KINDERGARTEN. Kindergarten has drastically cut the amount of time I spend refereeing arguments and yelling and ordering people around. Molly likes projects too (more and more, unfortunately, gak) but she also loves to just help me do whatever I'm doing or quietly play on her own while I write email or even play nicely with her sister. When Jack is here there's fighting and noise and craziness and I don't trust him with Emma. He's not even being BAD, really, he just NEEDS STUFF TO DO! A business trip week with no kindergarten? I WILL find that full day week-long daycare.

    Oh I'm so not even kidding you, I am so deliriously happy about having this kid in school. It is EXACTLY what he wants, nay, NEEDS to be doing. 

    On the other hand... it's only Thursday. I am so tired. EJ is doing this new thing where she screams for a good half hour before she falls asleep at night. I don't get it. She's not eating either - maybe because she has a cold? They all have colds (thank you, kindergarten) (I don't care, I'll take the colds) and I've gone through nineteen boxes of Kleenex this week. I've changed wet sheets and bloody nose sheets. I've eaten terrible food and spent an entire day hating myself because I stepped on the scale. I've spent more money online this week than I have in months (it will almost all be returned, I'm sure.) (Well, except for Blathering Dress #3.) (Shut up.) This work travel thing is not so awesome. We're doing it and we're fine, but it's definitely not awesome. 

    Still, there is kindergarten, and it is good. So good. You know, I've been indecisive about what to do with Molly next year, with her birthday being the cut off date and all, but she is GOING. HA.

    September 16, 2012

    Your depressing non-fiction reading list!

    Here's your reading list: 

    The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

    Berlin Diary by William Shirer (WAY INTERESTING, especially if you want to know what it was like being a foreign radio correspondent in Nazi Germany. Hint: CRAZY.)

    Hitler: A Study In Tyrrany by Alan Bullock 

    War Brides by Helen Bryan (cheap on the Kindle, historical fiction, kind of Potatoe Peel Pie-ish? With a big dash of old time New Orleans? Fun, quick read. Almost Luxe-ish, with all the intertwined romances.)

    Double Cross by Ben Macintryre (this got much better, though it was still confusing, but I think maybe the story of double agents totally screwing with German intelligence IS confusing, also AMAZING.)

    Inferno by Max Hastings (reading this now, more general overview-ish, but I know it gets into places like Burma and Kenya and I have NO IDEA what was going on THERE during the war)

    World War II London Blitz Diary by Ruby Alice Side-Thompson (this was also cheap on the Kindle. SUPER depressing, but mostly because this woman was married to a creep, not because she was getting bombed every night)

    Recommended by commenters, also my dad who sent me a big You Finally Wrote About Something *I* Am Interested In On Your Weirdo Website email:

    The Guns Of August (my dad says I should start here with WWI)

    Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner (recommended by a blog reader's husband! yay!)

    Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre (who also wrote Double Cross up there, recommended by @antiangie, which obvs I must read because spies! WWII! SICILY!)

     

    In other news, the Cheungs had a lovely weekend, thank you very much. Jack's kindergarten teacher visited Saturday morning for about half an hour - kindergarten home visits are a new thing this year, and I think maybe only at disadvantaged schools like ours? I'm not entirely sure. I was anxious about it, but it was great. I like her even more, she was super forthcoming about absolutely everything, and talked a lot about what she notices about Jack. Namely that he's a VERY focused, studious, patient, people-pleasing sort of kid at school (HE IS NOT THAT WAY AT HOME, LET ME TELL YOU). And I sort of knew this? I mean, she didn't say people-pleasing, I added that in. Just that he's always on task and making sure he's doing what he's supposed to be doing and quietly waiting for the other kids to finish or transition to the next thing when they might be going crazy... anyway, I only say this because I heard her say it and when sort of nuts. Well, not VISIBLY nuts. But inside I was thinking: OH NO OH NO THIS IS ME THIS IS ME THIS IS MY ENTIRE ACADEMIC CAREER MY POOR KID I HAVE SCREWED HIM ALL UP! Because being Perfect at school is actually sort of HARD. 

    I was talking to Phillip about it later and he was all, "Well no, this is good! Because you'll be able to talk to Jack about it!" Which I think is a nice spin on "you've passed on your Need To Appear Perfect to your innocent child". But clearly I was projecting. I mean, he has been in kindergarten for all of a week and a half. He has PLENTY of time to loosen up. And he probably will. He certainly screwed around last year in his Pre-K class. I mean, not that I WANT him to screw around, obvs, but the way his kindergarten teacher was talking, all I could see was his future in high school, ie: ME in high school, trying not to disappoint all the adults with high expectations PROJECTING PROJECTING PROJECTING!!!

    Blargh. This school stuff isn't going to just be all sunshine and roses and lots of free time is it. (In summary: I HAVE ISSUES.)

    September 12, 2012

    Will you be my carpool friend?

    Okay, so days with kindergarten AND preschool? Might kill me. 

    8:40-8:45: take Jack to school, hang out on the playground until the bell rings, he goes inside for school 

    8:45 - 9:25: drive to preschool neighborhood, find a coffee shop, drink decaf drip while Molly devours a chocolate croissant, keep Emma from dumping my purse on the floor

    9:30: drop Molly at preschool 

    9:45 - 11:25: Emma naps (maybe I shouldn't let her nap THAT long, gah)

    11:30 - 12:15: retail therapy at the mall

    12:30: pick up Molly, throw her a snack because she's starving

    12:45 - 2:45: feed girls, entertain girls, keep girls awake because at 

    3:00: we pick up Jack

    AND THEN

    3:15 - 3:45: try to get Emma to nap

    3:45 - 5: Emma naps, Jack and Molly play the computer and do homework and draw pictures and miraculously do not fight

    5 - 6: make dinner

    6: Phillip comes home, dinner, I say, "DUDE, TODAY WAS ROUGH."

    The answer, clearly, is Make A Carpool Friend. But I just don't know. I connected with a kindergarten mom and she was super nice and friendly and Jack talked about her daughter more than any other kid in his class, but she left! Gone! Poof! The oldest child was attending a different school and the mom finally managed to get the daughter into that school. Which: yes. That would be crazy. I am doing two different schools! I GET IT. But I am still sad. I haven't pinpointed another Kindergarten Parent Friend yet. 

    And the preschool moms are actually super nice and everyone introduced themselves on the first day, but I'm pretty sure none of them live anywhere near me. And I don't have any friends nearby who I can talk into sending their kid to that preschool (for the explicit purpose of carpooling. I AM SUCH A GOOD FRIEND.) 

    Soooo. I mean, I think it will be just Be. You know? It is what it is and all that. Yes, it's definitely hard for me to feel like the routine is all messed up, or that the routine is THIS routine, and I feel like I'm shortchanging Emma all over the place. But! She was fine. She did get a little cranky towards bedtime, but she MADE it to bedtime, which was great. And keeping the girls up instead of having a quiet time in the afternoon was lame, but it wasn't ANYWHERE near as lame as skipping quiet time with JACK around. 

    Maybe if I only let Emma nap a short time in the morning she's likely to fall asleep right when we get home from picking up Molly? Maybe that's how I will handle this?

    It will be okay. Eventually. Or even right now. It will be fine. 

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