lmgtfy.*

One of the things I love most about The Who is his inquisitiveness. He asks questions all the time and although there is sometimes a string of mindless whys, usually his questions are probing, thoughtful, and complex. And now that he is older, at least half the time, I don’t have the answers.

I have never shied away from the “I don’t know; let’s look it up” response, but it has then always been on me to follow through. Several times, even pulling over to the side of the road while driving in order to google something on my phone. But now — with the addition of the laptop at his work/art table — he can start to find some of his own answers. Which is exactly what he did tonight. Baby’s First Google. Perhaps among the Gen X-er parent’s proudest moments.

He asked me, at dinner, which was taller: the Eiffel Tower or the Space Needle. I, needless to say, had no idea. Not even a hunch, frankly. And as soon as he was done eating, he strode right over to his desk, armed with the proper spelling of the search terms and set about finding out. I have http://www.safesearchkids.com bookmarked on his browser, which returns only kid-appropriate Google results (and uses a sister site — http://www.kidzsearch.com — for images) and within seconds, he had the information he was looking for.

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With some guidance, he brought up the calculator then, to figure out the difference in height and was ultimately so proud of his process that it was the first thing he told m* about when she walked in the door.

Say what you will about screens and kids, but I’m pretty satisfied with the way The Who is using this one these days. Technology for the win.

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*www.lmgtfy.com is one of my favorite sarcastic websites. It stands for “Let Me Google That For You” and it’s used for, well… you can see for yourself by clicking here.

Four.

1. The bathroom, she is juuuuust nearly done. Waiting on the delivery and then installation of a cabinet and the procurement of some yellow towels and then I will exhale. In the meantime, we have a squeegee and yellow hand soap; things could be worse. Also, rainbows continue to stream in through the window. It’s one of my favorite things about the whole house: morning bathroom rainbows.

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2. Fall weather is in and out. I love the way the seasons fold into one another. It’s sort of like coloring a rainbow with crayons, overlapping the red into yellow and orange and then blending the wax on the page with a warm fingertip. Hard to see where one ends and the other begins. Yesterday was actually chilly. Today, warmer. Tomorrow, rain. It’s non-linear and it reminds me of New England with its April snowstorms.

3. We repurposed a piece of bathroom furniture (which was already a repurposed piece of The Who’s nursery furniture) and turned his art desk into more of a hybrid art/homework space. A MacBook (my old one) now lives there. Because it’s almost 2015 (what? How did it get to be the future?) and don’t all 6-year-olds have personal computers in their homework spots? That said, he is mostly using it for [child-safe] image searching so he can draw pictures of things. That’s my boy.
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4. The past month, though full of good things, has really been cramping my style. I understand that all things ebb and flow. I’m ready for some flow, please.

Golden.

Three things happened in sort of succession today. First, there was a little verbal tussle at the playground with a very good friend whom The Who really loves. But often, they miss the mark with each other and end up hurt and angry. In this case, I felt strongly that The Who had not been kind and empathetic–pretty much the two most important things. I believe that being kind to others and being kind to yourself are the keys to an entire life of contentment and success. And he wasn’t kind today. He was selfish. And then unforgiving. And, I get it. He’s five. But it doesn’t mean I don’t address it and encourage him to think about it and make it right.

So. Yeah. That happened. And we had a long talk about it in the car. And I explained the kind of response I expect from him and we talked about The Golden Rule and ultimately, I think he understood and took it to heart. And later, before bed, with some encouragement from me, but in entirely his own words, he wrote a letter of apology to his buddy.

Then, despite what should have been, by all accounts, an exhausting day, he had a very hard time falling asleep. He didn’t seem troubled or upset, but he was just — well — awake. He tried doing the Gratitude Alphabet (thinking of something for which he is grateful for every letter of the alphabet) and then he tried thinking of something in our house for every letter, but had no luck sleeping. In the end, I climbed into bed with him and swept my fingers across his temples the same way I did when he was an infant until his eyelids became too heavy to keep open, the same way they did when he was an infant and he drifted into sleep.

The third thing that happened was that I learned, during one of his insomniac visits downstairs, that he had misunderstood something a friend told him today. He has a play date with this new friend tomorrow and the friend is apparently going to the Monster Truck Jam with his dad tomorrow night. So, when the kid said, “we are going to the Monster Truck Jam tomorrow!” The Who naturally thought he meant during the play date. And he told me that he expected to be doing that at the play date since the kid told him so. I set him straight as gently as I could and although he admitted he was a little disappointed, he didn’t seem to be catastrophically so. I think maybe I am sadder at my own memories of disappointment and embarrassment due to misunderstandings than he actually is.

And now I’m down here in the quiet living room, wading through this sort of unidentifiable blue feeling. A combination of my disappointment with his behavior this afternoon, his misunderstanding of the play date events, and my empathy (or maybe projection) of his feelings about that. It’s complicated and simple all at the same time, but none of it is insurmountable.

Still, there it is: this general sense of hovering ennui on a Thursday night in early October. I think it’s time I put myself to bed.

Ten.

Ten things I learned this week:

  1. When I say I want a short haircut, I probably mean I want a short haircut. Not a shortish haircut, which is what I got.
  2. Although I felt certain that I had a kid that didn’t fall asleep watching TV, if the week has been long and so has the show, the kid might just drop off during the closing credits.
  3. 44lbs is probably my limit for carrying as dead weight up a flight of stairs.
  4. When making buttercream icing, use less sugar.
  5. Finding one-piece, cotton,  summer-weight (i.e. not fleece) zip up, footless pajamas in a size greater than 4T is next to impossible — even on the almighty internet. (Unless you are willing to get one that has a butt-flap with a punny saying on it like “Tail End” or, alternatively, a classic solid red with a butt-flap.
  6. Using the search term “union suit” might get you, finally, what you’re looking for.
  7. However, using the search term “union suit” might also get you this. And this.
  8. Baking a cake, walking my kid to school, doing the dishes, and coordinating homeroom mom responsibilities will indeed make me feel a little like Donna Reed.
  9. Picking out tile for the new bathroom is truly my idea of a good time.
  10. I prefer my ginger ale slightly frozen.

 

 

Moon.

This morning, it was overcast and cool. Kind of awesome, actually. The sky was doing that thing where there are big swaths of gray, punctuated by irrational inlets of light. It was amazing and disconcerting. The threat of rain never made good and so by sunset, there was this beautiful scraping of purple and pink across the horizon that felt oddly unsettling. And then the moon. My God, the moon. You know the one that people have been posting about on Facebook for the last 24 hours? When I came home tonight at 9pm, it was brighter than I’d ever seen it — a perfect, mottled sphere behind a spray of clouds. It was mesmerizing, but I came inside overwhelmed by the strangest sense of loneliness. I had to put on an episode of Friends to keep me company.

Ten years ago, when I first moved here, I put on this new pair of car seat covers that I had just gotten as a birthday gift. I had wanted them for a long time, but after about a week driving with them, I had to take them off. Everything here was so new and unfamiliar — the town, the roads, the house, the co-habitating, the grocery store, the local news, the radio stations — that having car seats that I didn’t recognize tipped the scale.  I never did replace the seat covers, but I did, of course, get more comfortable here. The anxiety that accompanied change and newness subsided, as I knew it would.

It feels like that now. Of course, it’s not quite the same. I am in a place I know very well now. There are lots of familiar people and I know more than one way to get most places. But there’s also a lot of new. New daily routines, new school, new teachers, new responsibilities. It feels almost like it did when I first moved here. I didn’t know which door to go in, where the school cafeteria was, even what to call the teacher. It must be doing more of a number on me than I realized. Because when the sky was a little bit different this morning, it turned the whole day on its head. Just like the seat covers.

I’m sure this will subside as the routine becomes more familiar. And I’m glad that I recognize it in myself it because, if I am feeling anxiety about all the change and newness, imagine what The Who is feeling. I think I’ve been pretty understanding and patient with him as he is settling in, but probably not enough. Maybe I’ll tell him the story of the seat covers and see if we can’t find some common ground to get us through these weeks.

One.

Week One is in the books and it was both easier and harder than I anticipated. The good news is that after my night-before little meltdown, I didn’t have any others. The bad news is that The Who had one two days in a row.

In retrospect — and to my credit, also in the midst of them — I realized that they were a result of the transition from the school and kids he’s known his whole life to a brand new place. I hadn’t anticipated it, given how excited he was to go to kindergarten and how short the day is, comparatively. But I also hadn’t really thought through just how different public kindergarten in a room with 15 other kids is from Pre-K in a room with 7 other kids. The expectations are high, there are new rules, and a lot of unfamiliarity. Of course as soon as he comes home (at “the witching hour” no less) he’s going to fall apart in the safety of what he knows. The meltdowns were unrelated to school or anything that happened there; he seems to really be loving it and is excited to go every day. It just seemed like asking him to handle anything was too much to ask this week. Sharing toys, being patient, waiting for turns — all of it was too much. (An added challenge was that his anxiety was curbing his appetite and he wasn’t taking very much in for the first couple of days. And if there’s anything I know about my boy, it’s that he gets hangry and it comes on fast.)

By the third day, he was better. He was eating regular meals again and I had caught on to the learning curve well enough to know that the best afterschool activity is to come home and have a snack and watch a show or listen to stories. Nothing that requires much of anything from him. By today (the fourth day) he was handling plan changes like a boss and was pretty much back to his usual self. It was good to see — especially given the weekend we have coming up.

Tomorrow, he starts dance class and we have spent the week at various dance supply stores procuring black ballet shoes, tap shoes, tights, bike shorts, and a dance shirt. He is ready. I was wary of adding yet another new thing to his routine so soon, but I didn’t want him to miss the first class and he is excited. Sunday starts Hebrew school — another new thing. This one’s at least in the synagogue where his old school is and he will be in class with two of his Pre-K friends.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that he now goes to school every day. That we are now fully entrenched in our community in a way we never have been before. Each day when I amble up the street at dismissal and sit among all the other parents picking up, discussing PTG meetings and picture day and Fall Harvest fairs it becomes more real. I’m kind of loving it.

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K.

The Who’s been going to “school” since he was a year old. He started with just two short days a week and by the end of last year, was up to three very full ones. Seven and eight-hour days by the time he was 5. Kindergarten, by comparison, will be a cakewalk. Two and a half hours a day. It’ll barely register, I bet.

Yesterday I asked him, “What are your feelings about kindergarten?” And he said, “A tiiiiny, tiiiiiny bit worried and mostly really excited,” which I completely got. I felt the same way. Actually, I barely felt worried at all — mostly just really eager for him to start exploring the things he loves learning, getting to know his new teacher, making new friends, and having fun. Every single time I checked in with myself about it, this is how I felt. This is how I felt buying school supplies. This is how I felt at orientation. This is how I felt picking out new jeans and long-sleeved shirts for fall. Easy breezy lemon squeezy. Kindergarten. No big whoop.

Except, as it turns out, it is a big whoop. It starts tomorrow and all day today, I’ve been edgy and aggravated. Frustrated and a little bit blue. When m* asked me what was the matter, I snapped at her about all I have to do and all that’s on my mind to get ready for tomorrow (which is really not much, to be honest.) But then even when it was all done — the backpack packed, the supplies labeled, the clothes laid out —  I didn’t feel any better. So, instead of finding myself some real food for dinner, I sat down with a carbonated drink and a package of Pop Tarts and all of a sudden, it hit me. As I sat there eating what was pretty much my steady diet for the first 5 weeks of his life, I realized that this — this kindergarten thing — is bigger than I thought.

This is my baby. This is my only baby. These two and a half hours a day are the start of his entire school career, which will last until he is a man. He is a boy now — a sweet, little, handsome, inventive, creative, funny, sassy, brilliant boy and when he is finished with public school, he will be a man. Tomorrow, he will run ahead of me on the sidewalk toward his new school and I will follow behind him, anxious about the routine, worried that I am bringing him to the incorrect door, wondering what it will feel like for him to be handed off into a classroom of new kids and new rules. This is not dropping my toddler off at the same day care in his class of 8  for the fourth year in a row.

We (mostly me, I think) agonized over where to send him to school. And although in the end, I believe we made a fine choice, I still feel a pang every time I am reminded about the standardized tests he will be subjected to, the common core curriculum that will be foisted upon him, the complete lack of art and music and outdoor play (at least in kindergarten.) I hope we made the right choice. I hope he is successful and nourished there. I hope no one picks on him and if they do, that he has the wherewithal to stand up for himself and to continue to feel confident in who he is. And, most of all, I hope that when I blink my eyes and find that my preschooler has become a high schooler, I have done him right.