Monday, August 26, 2013

Coming of Age

My deepest sympathies go out to all of those parents whose children started kindergarten this morning. That must be very difficult to see your young one, possibly a daughter, reach a milestone where she begins to spend more time away from home, out of your direct supervision. I can only imagine the ache you must feel when you watch that daughter sit down in her classroom with a big smile beaming on her face as she shoots you a thumbs up, as if she were just fine with this whole thing - as if she were somehow excited to leave the house and explore what the world has to offer without clutching to your hand the whole time. It must make your stomach churn to realize that she is no longer, and never again will be, that little toddler who would run to you to kiss her "owies", needed to eat with a bib, and fit comfortably in your arms as she nuzzled her tired little head into your shoulder as you rocked her to sleep. That's gotta be rough... for you. That's gotta be really, really rough for you. I think if I were in a situation like that - where I were mercilessly forced to witness my own flesh and blood spreading her wings and venturing out farther from the nest than ever before - I would probably be in complete and total denial. I think, for me, the thought of my dear, sweet, first born child getting increasingly more influence from peers and teachers while simultaneously getting less from me would be terrifying. Somehow, letting go of the near-monopoly you have on her access to the world would need to become bearable to you. But you know what I bet is the absolute worst part - for you? I bet it's the thought that she might realize you are not Superman. You are not the coolest person on the planet.
This would be Hard to Handle
Or maybe what's even worse, but far too painful to face, is the cruel indifference of time - the momentum of aging - that ensures you can never again revisit the joys of her youth. Like trying to hold back the rushing waters of a massive river with a soup spoon, you desperately try to retain some sense of constancy. As covertly as a virus lays in wait to overtake the body, she will somehow lose interest in her dolls and princess dresses, opting instead to work out math problems or sit and read a book without your help.

What is it like, you poor, pitiful parent, to know that your importance in her life is slowly but surely fading away? It is inevitable that she will someday be repulsed at the thought of doing things with you that she used to beg you to do. She will laugh when you suggest going to the park together, cringe at the idea of browsing a pet store with you near, roll her eyes when you mention playing "Go Fish". And you will sit there and wonder to yourself, "Where did the time go?" How could you possibly cope with that?

Yes, having a daughter begin school must be a sad and difficult position to be in. For you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

End of Summer Daze

We are swiftly approaching the end of our summer "break". I use the term loosely because there has been very little rest in our house for the past several months. We've been very busy with this and that, so the time has flown by yet again. This week I will head back to Colorado to spend a few days with my soon-to-be-out-of-the-country-for-two-years younger brother, while simultaneously trying to deny the feelings of guilt I will experience for not working on school things. It should be a nice trip.
video
We had planned to attend our favorite swimming hole yesterday with my cousins who live in town, sort of as a desperate attempt to squeeze some fun out of our diminishing flexible time. We hopped into the pool and had a grand 15 minutes or so before my cousin approached me with a disturbing observation; He noticed what appeared to be a few human droppings at the bottom of the pool a fair distance from where we had been playing. I investigated and concurred with his findings, and suggested he inform a lifeguard. They evacuated the pool, and we waited for 15-20 minutes before they said they would need to close down the pool for the rest of the day to sanitize. Fortunately, they refunded our money, and I confirmed that our children were not the culprits. 
video
As if to make sure I did not feel clean after the following shower, Carver hosed me while I was changing his diaper that afternoon. He had not done that in quite some time, so forgive me if I suspected a conspiracy from all children to keep me covered in some amount of human waste. Such is the life of a parent, I suppose. I must remind myself again that this is the life I chose.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Learning to Swim

Avey recently began swimming lessons. She has loved the water for as long as we can recall, but has always been very cautious about it as well. We figured it was high time that she learn to master the pool, and swimming is an excellent way to pass the time in the summer heat, so we hired a private instructor (a high school student) to tutor her. 
video
She has done amazing! Each day after a lesson, Kira tells me about how brave Avey was, how many new and scary things she tried and mastered, and how her instructor praises her as "a natural". She's quickly learned skills with the instructor that she would never dream of trying with Kira or me. Maybe she's driven by her compulsion to be a good student in this case.
video
Carver continues his escapades in art and speaking. We did invest in washable markers after all, and he loves them! We need to be close by to help take off caps and attempt damage control as he waves them to and fro, but he seems thrilled to express himself through art. 
video

He has picked up new words every day. One of his latest is "thank you!", which sounds like "sayshoo" in a very high-pitched, sing-song voice. He loves to help us throw trash away! More than once have we found items we use daily in the trash can, and any time he helps us with some real garbage, he insists that there is more to be dealt with somewhere. "Trash? Trash?", he repeats again and again until we manage to find something he can throw away. Something tells me this trend won't last once he has a room of his own to keep clean. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Artistry

Carver admires and reveres his big sister, and with good reason. She is bright, thoughtful, imaginative, and very creative. She exercises her talents in several ways, while Carver observes, awaiting the day he can do what she does. 
video
Carver recently observed Avey's most favorite pastime - coloring. He was intrigued beyond words (at least he didn't say much). He began swiping writing utensils from wherever he could find them. He first worked out their mechanics, finding the best method to remove lids, etc., then began the search for a medium. His attentive parents first encouraged him to try paper, the most popular medium for artists his age. He worked wonders with a few crayons and a sheet of white paper, but soon found that his talent could not be contained on a mere 8½" by 11" segment of the universe. Thus, it was only natural that he expand into new media, such as table tops, carpet surfaces, and sofa covers. Following the example of the great muralists, Carver has sought out places where his artistic expression could become part of the architecture - immortalized for generations to come. He has even gone so far as to beautify his father's clothes as a mobile tribute to his skill.
video
Luckily, half the time Carver can't figure out which end of the marker to use, and due to his sister's great difficulty throwing anything away, half of her markers are dried out anyway. In fact, he's not really left any noticeable marks around, aside from one masterpiece with which he blessed the inside of a kitchen cupboard. We may need to invest in some washable markers soon.