When this school year began and you started attending school five days a week, I was really excited to have all this free time to myself. I was radiating over the sheer thought of having five whole mornings all to my lonesome. Friends inquired with utmost admiration how I would spend these golden hours. I was at a loss for words because for the past seven years, such a thing didn’t exist. Even when you were in preschool, I was left with only an hour or two to get errands completed because I did so much driving between yours and Olivia’s school. This year would be different. With you and Olivia at the same school and you now having a complete school schedule, I was elated that I was finally going to get a slice of my freedom back. I was excited until it didn’t happen. You see, if school catches wind that you are a parent with time, people make it their mission to make sure it doesn’t happen. Ok, I can’t blame everyone. I made a very rookie mistake in letting people know that I was available if help was needed. I’ve since learned that this is a dangerous phrase to say in a school setting. Unlike the school days I remember, these days, schools rely very heavily on parent volunteers. I mean really really depend on them. Suddenly my vision of cleaning the house on a regular basis and tackling my extracurricular activities are again just out of reach. I suppose I should be fortunate that I can volunteer at your school but I was really looking forward to solo coffee trips with a book, writing more, and cleaning a bathroom just before it looks like a fraternity bathroom. I guess I’ll just have to wait a little longer.
We are a busy family and I think it’s due in large part to me being an anxious person. I can’t sit still nor can I simply say that we’re going to do nothing when we have a spare day. I’m aware that I’m given a brief period of time when you and Olivia will want to be with us or at least are forced to be with us due to being too young to stay at home by yourself. This awareness makes me anxious and makes me want to experience a lot of moments with you and your sister. The holidays usually magnify this feeling for me and is partly why I started doing the advent calendar. I typically cram everything and then some into our schedule, I have a couple psychotic breaks and then I’m back to my ol’ self. If you aren’t having an emotional and physical breakdown during the holidays, you aren’t doing the holidays right.
As part of our holiday extravaganza, we went to Homeroom for the most amazing mac n’ cheese ever followed by a viewing of Peter Pan at the Berkeley Playhouse. I really feel it’s important to expose you and your sister to the arts at an early age in the hope that you’ll learn to really appreciate it. That or really hate me for dragging you along. I wanted to take you and Olivia to a big production play in San Francisco but the prices are still out of reach for this family. I really can’t see spending $100 on a ticket for you when you may or may not pass gas loudly in the middle of the performance without an appropriate apology. The Berkeley Playhouse is a perfect introduction–it’s small and the tickets are reasonably priced. I must say, between the snacks that were offered in the theater and the lively props used during the performance, you were quite captivated. No apologies for flatulence required.
We usually attend the tree lighting in Oakland but after attending the last couple years, I decided to change things up this year by going to the holiday parade in Livermore. I haven’t been in years and you and Liv typically like parades so I thought it was a wise choice. The parade was cute and definitely had a small hometown feel but it was busy and you decided to have bowel issues at the same time so you spent most of the evening waiting for a bathroom to become vacant or you were hunched over in your seat complaining that your stomach hurt. You really excel at complicating situations or you really fight to go against the mundane. Either way you look at it, I’m tired.
You have become quite the little artist lately. You never were in to art the way Olivia nose-dived into it. You would color for a few minutes and quickly found something else to entertain yourself. Now, I’m not sure if Olivia has finally broken you down or if it’s a general maturity but you are always at the kitchen table with a crayon or marker in your hand. You typically focus on a specific thing and draw the hell out of it. Once I’ve been gifted forty plus drawings of the same bat, you deem yourself ready for the next subject. So far, drawing subjects have been, self-portraits, bats, dinosaurs, the Batmobile and various ladies with big pink lips. Lately, you’ve been heavily inspired by the holidays, drawing everything from snowmen to gingerbread houses to holiday bats(?) to reindeer. When we visited Santa recently, you even took the time to draw Santa a Miles original that you insisted needed to be given to him before you started discussing your wish list. You love to give drawings as gifts and usually I allow it but I thought the picture you drew for our BJ’s waiter was a little excessive so we held back that one. Discovering this new creative side of you, I introduced a couple creative holiday projects that required you to stitch a small stocking together which you deemed “way too hard” and the option to decorate your own gingerbread house without my help which you took as an opportunity to sneakily eat all the fixings. We’ll stick to drawing for now.
It’s not surprising that you like sports. You love it all and are finally getting over your fear of swimming–thank you, Jesus! You’re actually swimming now without the assistance of a teacher. You swim with armstrokes and flip on to your back when you need to take a breath. As of last week, you’ve started swimming across the pool! I’m so excited that it takes everything I have not to jump up and down in the parent’s viewing area at your swim classes. I’m for once hopeful that perhaps next summer will be easier when we’re at the pool because I can’t begin to tell you how many times I wanted to throw you in the deep end out of frustration.
Since baseball has ended and with the Warriors performing so well, you have started to take an interest in basketball. I find this hilarious because you are the most vertically-challenged five year old I know. You love Stephen Curry and tell me often how you want to play basketball just like him. Our city has a recreation league, the Junior Warriors, which you are now a participant of. You are on the Eagles kindergarten team and are beyond excited. I’ve put a stop to indoor dribbling out of the sheer annoyance of the ball hitting the ground over and over. You were not too pleased about this new rule so you spend a lot of free time outside or on our walks with a basketball in hand. We’ve spent some time at the park practicing but the hoops are too high up for you to make a basket so we practice a lot of dribbling and chasing opponents which translates to chasing after me and grabbing on to my leg, refusing to let go. You know, just like the professional basketball players do.
Watching you grow up right now is an amazing thing to witness. You are so sociable and so extremely liked by everyone you meet. Seriously, people run up to you yelling your name and patting you on the back and you don’t even know who they are. I’m not at all worried about you in any social setting because you can work a room. You bring people together in the best way possible. Unlike your sister who is claiming that she doesn’t like people because they don’t get her, you’re the complete opposite. Watching you interact with your peers at school, it’s clear that you make people happy. Kids like being around you because you’re fun. Last weekend, we went on a dinner cruise for a holiday party that was held by one of dad’s clients. On the boat, there was a DJ and a dance floor. You were slow to warm up but when you felt you were ready, you marched right on out there without the assistance of anyone and danced your little heart out. At one point, I felt bad you were dancing by yourself so I started dancing with you. You pushed me away gently and said, “I don’t need your help.” No worries, I needed to be reminded by my child what a total loser I am. If you don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here crying that my five year old is and will always be cooler than me. Just remember, someone had to give you those awesome genes and by someone, I mean me. Ok, maybe your dad contributed a little too. What I’m trying to say is we’re pretty awesome therefore you’re a byproduct of our awesomeness. Glad we cleared that up.