Newsletter, Olivia

Month 59

Dear Olivia,

You have just completed your first week at your new preschool and as much as I was worried about transitioning you to a new school, you once again proved that I was being a ball of anxiety for nothing. You were fine – no tear-filled goodbyes or requests to stay home from school. In fact, I would drop you off and because I have your very curious brother in tow, we have to check out everything both inside and outside the classroom. You would look over at Miles with clear disappointment and instruct me that you think it’s time for us to go. Point taken. The one moment you showed disappointment with your situation was the first day of school when you awoke with so much excitement that I thought you might explode. You asked me with great pride and happiness whether today would be your first day of kindergarten. Sorry to bust that bubble. I tried my best to talk up your new junior kindergarten class. Somehow, you saw right through me and rolled your eyes at my hype. Ok, another year of preschool, what ever you say. Your sass tells me you would have been fine going to kindergarten this year but given the overcrowding of the local schools, the demands placed on kids nowadays, and a general feeling of uneasiness, we thought it best just to wait a little longer.

You seem to enjoy your new school. I will be honest, I miss your last school quite a bit. The teachers were wonderful and they definitely put your mind at ease when you dropped off your child there. I don’t miss the heaping doses of drama but I miss what the school once was. Even if we stayed, it wouldn’t have been the same school. You’ve never been one to divulge information so finding out what you did at school is like trying to get details from a criminal. I get lots of yeahs, sure, fine, good so I guess this is indicative of a good time. The one thing I will take away from this is you have had a solid nap every day this week.  Not sure if this is because you’re waking up earlier for school or you’re working your noggin but I consider this the true test of success. Did you learn anything? No. Are you tired? Wonderful.

Now that you’re back in school, Miles suddenly finds himself with a lot of time. I thought he would enjoy having this time to himself without you bullying your way around but apparently hanging out with your Mom isn’t what it once was. Now I get asked every half hour whether it’s time to pick you up yet. Despite all the arguing you two did all summer, I have to admit that it does seem awfully quiet with you back in school. I already miss the freedom to just get up and go somewhere fun. Perhaps the real fun for me will begin when I drop both you and Miles off at school and Momma can get up and go somewhere fun sans children. To walk around Target by myself with a cup of hot coffee – those are the dreams of mothers.

You’re at that age now where interests are becoming a little bit more pronounced and your skill level is maturing quite a bit. Your imagination is complete awe-inspiring. I would kill for even a fraction of your imagination. Your drawing in particular is something that has been incredible to watch over the years. I remember your first scribbles as you laid, sprawled on the floor with Madeline to now, when you bust out birds and knife-wielding lions. You put a lot of thought in to your drawings and it’s really incredible to sneak a glimpse in to what is on a child’s mind. You walk around making up songs. Your latest and greatest is you walking around, belting out, take a swim in my heart! I’m no longer hip to what’s cool in the adolescent world – perhaps this is a song trending on Disney Junior right now? I wouldn’t put it past you to sing back a song that you only heard once. I have to be real careful with choice words now given that you’re a life-size recorder.

 

Given that you’re growing up a little bit each day, I feel like my parenting has to evolve as well. When you have babies, I feel like parenting becomes more of a life and death situation – how do I just get through this moment without killing this new life and how do I keep myself sane while treading through this unfamiliar territory. Yes, those concerns are still relevant but I also need to make sure that I’m actually living in the moment with you. I read a great article lately that reconfirmed my fear that I somehow got stuck in this tunnel vision – always thinking about the next thing on our to-do list. I stopped allowing you to observe the world around you. In other words, I was putting you on the fast track to a boring mundane task-filled life. Basically your run of-the-mill American adult. The article really hit hard with me when she mentioned she knew there was a problem when every phrase either started or ended with hurry up.  It’s almost as if the author was directly talking to me. I am really really working on my ability to allow us enough time to get to our destination so that you can take the time to be a kid.

I really do admire watching you be enamoured by the littlest of things like a pile of dirt or a few sticks left in the middle of the sidewalk.  Watching you stop mid-step, throw your scooter down and play with this simple pile of dirt for upwards of twenty minutes is not something typical of adult behavior so it’s a very interesting thing to observe. It takes a great deal of patience on my end because I’m a boring old unimaginative adult – I don’t see the potential in dirt and pebbles so being on standby as you do your exploring is less than exhilarating for me and I’m indeed calculating in my head the time lost versus the time needed to achieve the to-do items on my list. However, there is something rather delightful in watching kids be kids. What’s the point in having children when you don’t allow them to do the one thing they’re really good at. Obviously we can’t dawdle all the time because you do need to learn some punctuality – I’m not in the business of raising flighty humans. As enjoyable as those people are, I don’t wish to be their Mother. I’m a work in progress though – I can’t promise you will never hear me utter hurry up but I’m more aware of it now. So, go ahead, be free, get your hands dirty and try not to contract tetanus or hepatitis.

Your birthday is just a few weeks away and I can hardly believe that you’re turning 5! 5 YEARS OLD!! How did this happen? As I mentioned, along with your imagination maturing and becoming a little more detailed, so have your demands. You envisioned quite the birthday party for yourself and sadly, I will not be following through on your grand plans. I am cheating and taking an easy way out. I’ll give more details next month but I think you will be happy nonetheless. Our short cut may not necessarily be cheaper but it saves me from throwing a huge extravagant bash. I will most definitely pay for convenience and ease.

Whether you’re actually pleased at your new school is anyone’s guess. Perhaps you really don’t care since it’s not actual kindergarten but I promised you that you only had one year left of preschool and then you would be a full on kindergartener. The sparkle and joy quickly returned to your face. That was until six hours later when you asked if it had been a year yet. Looks like it may be a long year. . .

Love,
Momma

 

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