Yesterday, Julia’s school put on its annual "track and field day" for the fourth and fifth grades. I enjoyed volunteering (the kids ego did the 4×100 relay were intense!), but I also loved seeing Julia run! She did the 100 meter dash and then -despite saying she was exhausted – also did the 400, after seeing her friends do it. I was so proud of her for gutting it out!
Recovering from Saturday’s race. Dealing with more bizarro situations at work than usual. Eating everything in sight but losing weight. Accidentally returning an LL Bean shirt to Eddie Bauer. Hanging out with the guys (and a gal) at the pub, talking about the races. Troubleshooting the home computer network. Setting PRs at the gym. Trying to figure out exchange rates. Watching the girls at tae kwon do. Installing a new router. Buying a new computer. Hiring a student worker. Having a bird shit on me. Hanging out with different guys at the pub, talking about kids. Disposing of a dead shrew. Getting through an evening with an overtired, crying kid.
Vivi started learning about idioms in school the other day. Being Vivi, she decided not only to use every idiom she learned, but to coin a few of her own. The best one, by far, was "a sloth doing a good job," which she used when literally crawling to her bed. Not bad.
My streak of good music finds continued on Thursday at the elementary school choir concert, in which Julia sang. The whole performance was good, but the highlight was the last song: Stevie Wonder’s amazing “Heaven Help Us.” A ’70s protest song sung by innocent fourth and fifth graders?
Last week, just a day or two after the first day of school, Julia said that she’d decided to run for her elementary school’s student council, which gets to work on some of the fun all-school events throughout the year. Her class (and, I’m guessing, the other fourth grade classes as well as the fifth-grade classes) could elect one boy and one girl to the council. Each candidate had to give a short speech, which Julia read and practiced this week. The election was held today, and Julia was elected! She was very happy, and – I hope – proud of her accomplishment. I know I am proud of her!
True to her personality, she started musing about what she’d get to do on the council. "I wish we could meet more often than just once a month. And it would be fun to be talk about more important stuff!"
It’s the character of our family that my life burbles along pretty much the same, week in and week out, month in and month out, while Shannon’s and the girls’ lives change markedly at least a couple times of year, according to the school year, and vary quite a bit daily, as they do run errands, do fun stuff, have playdates, and so on.
Today was one of those days where the daily routine reflected a big seasonal change: the start of the new school year in just about a month. Shannon took the girls to Target this morning to buy every last item on their school-supply lists – plus some new shoes and backpacks. It is quite a haul, and the girls are hilariously excited about pretty much all of it.
Before doing her homework tonight, Vivi paused and looked up at me. “Sometimes, I wonder about things. Like, why are the only eye colors blue, green, brown, and black? Or why is hair always black, brown, yellow or red?”
I told her those were good questions, and that she could become a scientist to study them.
“No thanks. I’m going to be a zoologist. I want to study animals.”
Last night, in the throes of a meltdown, Vivi yelled at me, “I wish that children could pick their parents! I wish they could, because then I would never have picked you to be my dad! Never, never, never!”
I took it as a sign of my maturation as a parent that this didn’t make me either cry or laugh. It’s a pretty well presented concept, when you get down to it.
Last night, the family went to the girls’ elementary school for the annual open house, where we met their teachers, explored their new rooms, distributed the required school supplies, ran into friends everywhere, and generally soaked up that wonderfully expectant “fall is coming!” vibe. A few pictures:
Shockingly, Genevieve graduated from kindergarten today. Parental surprise at the passage of time is cliche, of course, but there you go. I remember – “like it was yesterday” – carrying her from the delivery room to the maternity ward. And here she was in her dress and mortarboard, reading her poem about the cat. I’m so proud of her. She’s gonna do great things!
(Bonus: all the kids read poems they had written and typed out on a computer. The phonetic spellings were hilarious, like in the second line of this one.
“Branes” = “brownies.” Whew.)
In what must be her weirdest obsession yet, Julia is fascinated right now by being cross-eyed. Several times a day, I’ll catch her staring at the tip of her index finger as she slowly draws it to her nose. She tells us about spending recess practicing going cross-eyed, about how one of her friends can go cross-eyed without even looking at her finger, about whether people can be born cross-eyed, about their shared concern that they might go cross-eyed permanently. And yet there she is again: staring at her fingertip.
Today, I served as a chaperone on Julia’s second-grade field trip, an outing to River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. She went there during both years of preschool, so it’s a familiar place to go with classmates. This field trip was notable in that Julia was joined by two of her best friends, A & S, in our little group.
All three girls were great the whole time: curious, energetic, polite, et cetera. The best thing about the trip for me was listening to their discussions, which centered on questions like these:
Is that poison ivy? What’s the science teacher’s name? Where is Mrs. Seeberg? Which direction is north? Is it lunch time? Are ferns sharp? Why did we only see one frog? Where are all the turtles? Why do those trees have tags on them? How deep is this pond? Is that a poison dart frog? What does Julia’s dad have in his ears? How many surgeries have you had in your life? When do we have to get back on the bus? How can he hear better, if the hearing aids fill up his ears? How long have we been here? Do you know what our initials spell? How do you know that your last name is pronounced that way? Why isn’t Northfield on the map of the nature center?
Julia was lucky (and, I say, talented) enough to be chosen to read her “color poem” at her elementary school’s annual “Beyond Words” literacy fair tonight. We’ve been to the fair for three straight years now, and while the event never fails to be anything less than amazing, the poetry reading is the highlight: the chosen poems are wonderful in myriad ways, and the poets are cute and nervous and thrilled. Julia did very well. Click through to watch the video.
Genevieve is not happy standing still. Even “waiting” for the kindergarten bus to arrive entails chalking on the sidewalk, singing and dancing, and racing up and down on her scooter. She even invented a new game for us. She would start at the bottom of the driveway and try to scooter all the way up to the garage while I tried to catch her. The catch was that I couldn’t catch her if she had stopped. The catch to the catch was that when I did catch her, she was stopped, and so I couldn’t catch her and had to let her go again. Needless to say, she won.