Wiliam - First day of school 2012

There is no way to really catch up sufficiently since my last post. No way to really update all that has happened since then so that when I look back years from now I say “Oooh right – I remember that summer!”

So I suppose I will skip summer completely (it was fine, a five day power outage, time spent at the beach and on the eastern shore and many hours logged at the pool) and move right along to fall, since I can mostly remember what has happened this fall so far.

Emma began kindergarten and William returned to pre-school.

Emma has fared pretty well at kindergarten. She is in a French immersion program, which means she learns the regular curriculum, only in French. All French, all the time. When we got into the program (via lottery, pure luck) I was concerned that Emma’s sweet little head would explode when she went to school the first day and didn’t understand a single. word. they. were. saying. Friends with kids in the program reassured me – “At that age everything is like a puzzle to figure out, so this is just one more puzzle.” And I felt more at ease.

Emma - First day of Kindergarten 2012

Emma came home the first day and… her head exploded. If nothing else, at least I can say that I know my kid. She was exhausted and looked like she was in total shock. Eventually the shock wore off and she begged to be put into an english speaking program, but we persisted, sending her back the next day. When she came home that second night, in between crying spells, she proudly announced to me that I am a “fille” and she is a “fille” but William is not. It took me a moment, but then I said (much too enthusiastically I am sure) “YES!! YES YES YES YES! WE ARE FILLES!”

There have been many more tears since then, as much about the transition to kindergarten I think as the language spoken there. But the tears have gradually lessened and they are being replaced by French songs and phrases she is starting to learn. And as she learns she gains confidence and enjoyment and so on and so on.

She is still mostly exhausted at the end of each day, so we are holding off on playdates or any after school activities for now, but overall she is much happier. She loves letters and numbers and can count to 15 in French and is close to learning the alphabet in French. She comes home and wants to write on EVERYTHING – pads of paper, receipts, wrapping paper, tables, placemats, books, herself – anything is fare game for her writing. She can write her name, William, Mommy and Daddy now without asking for guidance and is slowly adding words to the list. We aren’t supposed to be teaching her to read in English since they are working on teaching her to read in French at school, and we aren’t, but I also don’t think we are supposed to be discouraging her desire to write and learn letters, so we let her go.

William returned to pre-school without any incident or problem at all, except that he doesn’t attend five days a week. Just like last year, he asks every day (including weekends) if he is going to school today. When the answer is “No”, he wails “But I want to go to schooooool!” Sorry buddy – next year!
William - First day of school 2012

He has been having a hard time with temper tantrums lately, and when I say “he” I guess I mean “we”. He does them just fine – quite well really in comparison to other children’s pathetic attempts at true temper tantrums. He has it down to a science really – scream, pick up the nearest thing, fling it across the room, charge your sister and hit her on the head with both hands and watch the chaos around you. Good times. When he is not trying to deal with his anger, he is truly one of the sweetest, snuggliest children I know. Which makes the tantrums all the more difficult to bear. We are still experimenting with the best ways to deal with his anger, and the best ways to help him deal with his anger.

I will let you know how it all works out.

My son, of late, reminds me of a Chinese fortune cookie. Or at least what we used to do to a fortune cookie in college (of COURSE we don’t still do this now, we are GROWN ups now…)

So in case you don’t know it, here is the game: add “in bed” behind your fortune. So “You will have great success and make many friends” becomes “You will have great success and make many friends…IN BED”. See? Hysterical!! At least when you are 19 and maybe a little tipsy.

William has taken this to a new level. He has an addition to almost everything we say to him these days and thinks it is even funnier than we used to think our fortunes were.

Here is a little sample – a conversation I had with him yesterday:

Me: William, I need to get you dressed so we can go to the pool.

William: Go to the pool in a poopy diaper!!! HA HA HA HA HA

Me: William, no potty talk.

William: No potty talk in a poopy diaper. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

Me: *$#*&^&$*(

There really is nothing quite like life with a three-year old boy.

Massanutten 2012

William turned three this past Monday. I have been terrible at keeping up with updates, which I know doesn’t matter to a lot of you, but part of my reason for doing the updates is that I don’t have a baby book or other way of looking back at what he was like as a baby. My big plan was to show these to the kids when they got a bit older so they could learn about what they were like as kids.

Best laid plans. Hopefully he will forgive me.

So anyway – our sweet William is three. He goes to pre-school two days a week for two hours each day with Ms. Debbie and nine other kids. He absolutely loves it and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when he doesn’t have school he always asks “Do I go to ‘chool today?” When the answer is an apologetic “no” he gets very grumpy and quiet.

He is talking up a storm, has great motor skills and balance – although he hasn’t learned how to pedal his bike yet. He is great on his scooter, but the bike, not so much. Maybe this summer. At today’s annual check-up he weighed in at 32 pounds and 37 inches tall. 50th percentile all the way around.

He loves sports. All sports – soccer, football, hockey, basketball. Which is funny, because if you know Mike and me, you know that while we like watching sports (some of them anyway) we are not the most athletically inclined and certainly have not been introducing William to any sports on our own. I enrolled him in a “Coach Doug Sports” class where the little ones “play” a different sport every week and he loooooved it. Now he is able to identify what kind of sport a ball belongs to and spends countless hours kicking or throwing balls around the house. Which is lovely really. The throwing of balls. In the house. So far there has been no damage, but now that the weather is getting nicer we are hopeful that we can redirect his sports hijinks outside.

He is not a picky eater, although he plays with his food constantly. I know this is somewhat developmentally appropriate, but it still makes me nuts, which he knows and loves. His table manners are getting better though; at least now he can say excuse me and clears his own place after a meal.

His sleeping habits have gotten better – he goes to bed with no fuss at all, as long as I promise to come check on him “in a few minutes”. But most nights he wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into bed with us. Usually we are too asleep to get him back to bed, which has only reinforced the habit. The worst part of it is that he tends to kick us in the face or the belly, depending on which way he gets himself turned, which is not the nicest way to wake up. Something to work on with him I suppose.

He generally loves his big sister almost more than he loves the rest of us. In the mornings when he first wakes up (in our bed) and sees her, his first words are “EMMA! I love you!” to which she responds “I love you too William.” I mean it just doesn’t get much better than that right?

William is a amazingly happy, easygoing, lovable boy with a great sense of humor who flashes a smile at us multiple times a day. He likes being a big boy, except when I remind him that big boys sleep in their own beds, then he looks at me and says “I’m not SO big mommy, I’m still little.”

Touché sweet boy. Touché.

The weather was amazing this past weekend, so we decided to take the training wheels off Emma’s bike and add the new Gyrowheel we bought (on sale, figuring we could at least get two kids worth of use out of it.)

The first two tries she needed us to hold on to her and run with her for a few seconds before we could let go. By the third ride she only needed us to hold her up as she got started.

It was an afternoon filled with emotion for me. (Ok, ok, when is anything NOT filled with emotion for me…I know…) It was so amazing to watch Emma learn this skill which is really kind of basic but seems like such an important rite of passage. Where has the time gone? When did my baby get so big? How can she not need me to run with her anymore? I feel like I am asking myself that question so much with Emma these days.

I distinctly remember learning to ride a bike. My dad taught me while my mom was at the store buying a pacifier for my baby sister. I know this because I wrote a story about it in first grade and that is what I wrote. So it must be true right? Anyway, I remember really enjoying having the focus be on me for an hour or two, and I remember the exhilaration I felt when I finally got the hang of it. It also sticks out in my mind as one of my first solid memories of my childhood.

Now that my daughter is doing things that I remember doing as a child, things that feel like they just happened yesterday, I feel like my life has started to come full circle old. This has caused an odd rift in my own space-time continuum and I find myself uttering those horrific words: “I remember when I was your age.” AAAAAAGHHHHH.

Anyway, before this blog post comes full circle I will quit while I am ahead and just say – ride on Emma! Hopefully you won’t mind if I run with you for just a few years more…

Massanutten 2012Let’s be honest here Moms and Dads: a vacation with kids can be…well…hit or miss. I know we all love our kidlets to pieces and can’t WAIT until those few weeks out of the year that we get to hang out with them and eat, drink and be merry. But still, one of the first things I learned as a new mom was that vacationing with kids is a hella lotta work. There’s the preparation, the packing of bags, the packing of the car, the DRIVE there (how did we survive car trips over 90 minutes without DVD players back in the day? Seriously. How.) And once you arrive it has been my experience that quite often the expectations for the time together are so high that there is no where to go but down. Still, we take lots of pictures and hope we forget parts that were less than perfect.

My family went on vacation last week. And we had FUN. Serious fun. The kind of fun that makes you love being a parent.Massanutten 2012

I don’t know if it is because the kids are a little older, or if it is because I didn’t think too much about the trip before we left, but it was awesome. As vacations go, this one was right up at the top of the list.

We spent the week at the Massanutten Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Emma took ski class three of the days and I think can now qualify as a full-fledged SKIER. By the end of the week she was dragging me around the mountain telling me which runs she wanted to do. Massanutten 2012

William took one short ski class, mostly because he was tired of being left out of all the skiing fun, and did really well for his first time plus got to practice his flirting techniques.

We spent a couple of nights at the Massanutten Water Park, which I was leery of at first, but which turned out to be some of the most fun I have had in a long time. On one of the rainy days we went to Luray Caverns, a spot Mike and I hadn’t visited in a few decades. William was non-plussed but Emma was amazed and both did a great job during the mile trek through the underworld.

Massanutten 2012

The weather was warm enough that we got in a hike and a few walks and the kids had some fun digging in a stream near the house we stayed in. The kids discovered the movie Bambi right before we left and watched it at least six times during the course of the week, no exaggeration, and we let them.

It helped that every morning and every evening Bambi’s real-life cousins gathered in the woods outside the house, lingering until they were scared away by the delighted shrieks of the resident pre-schoolers. Massanutten 2012

We had friends join us for the first few days of the trip, which could be part of why it all went so well. Having friends around made it more fun for everyone and allowed us to enjoy each other without feeling like we had to. In the end, this was the kind of vacation you are extra-sad to come home from. It was packed with laughter and new adventures without being exhausting or overly scheduled.

We got unpacked and cleaned up yesterday, and I am already looking forward to our next trip!Massanutten 2012

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