Monday, September 1, 2014

Settling in

During the first week of school, we were blessed by a welcome dip in temperature. That cool morning air offered us a sweet, albeit early, taste of Autumn. Since then, the force of summer has returned; reminding us that she's not ready to disappear entirely.

Each morning as I escort my children through the school yard and over to their respective doors, I take in the happy, busy sight. Having been constructed at the end of last year, the playground is still a prized novelty. It is grand! I notice that additional features, namely monkey bars, have been added over the summer. The playground is covered in children who seem eager to bask in the freedom of playtime before being summoned by the school bell. My children prefer to skip over the mass of kids and wait with their friends by their doors.With Forrest in his stroller, Lottie and I take a step back and observe.

Usually, by now, Eliza has hugged me goodbye and walked over to wait with the third grade students. I pine for her as I vividly remember standing diligently at her side as she waited for school to begin. Time has passed and my place is now with Henry. I look at my sweet Lottie and silently beg her to take her time growing up!

Their school is nestled in the shadows of a majestic mountain. Having been built years ago, the trees that line the paths are mature and beautiful. The massive green field is where my children attend soccer practice in the Fall and Spring. Beginning my fourth school year here, I welcome the familiarity of my surroundings. I once felt like a total, overly emotional newbie. Supposing that the passage of time isn't entirely rotten, I'm glad that experience has promoted me to an overly emotional school yard regular. I recognize many faces of the school children and enjoy interacting with them. Likewise, I enjoy visiting with the other parents. We pat each other on the back and offer empathy when we notice each others teary expressions when it's time to watch our precious little ones march into the school.

The bell rings. Children rush into their lines. You hear a collective sigh as a nearly tardy parent and child make it just in time. The teachers, whom you have grown to love in what feels like an instant, open the door and brightly greet the children. Even on the craziest, most rushed of days, this whole morning ritual lifts my spirit.

I'm searching my brain for a smooth segue to the batch of miscellaneous photos I have on hand for today's post....


 ....... I've got nothing. Forgive me. Here we go anyway.

In the few days that he's been in first grade, Henry has matured immensely.
What a sophisticated little devil!
Last week, he came home from school with a goatee and mustache! Puberty came early for this boy! His reading ability continues to grow and thankfully (knock on wood), he's a willing participant when it comes time to do homework. He adores his two teachers! His Chinese teacher, Ms. Chen, updates her class blog frequently with videos and photos of what they're doing. I can't fully express my great delight that she diligently does this! Visit her blog here:

If I could describe Eliza's personality in two words it would be:
Hermione Granger. However, if Eliza was to sort herself into a Hogwarts house, it would be Ravenclaw. She remains terribly afraid of trying new food, so she doesn't identify with the brave and fearless components of the Griffindor house (although, as her mother, I would argue she has proven to be brave on many occasions). The child loves to learn. She is a sponge. She is thriving in the Chinese language. In fact, she informed me recently, that because her new teacher Mr. Ma refuses to speak a word of English to his class, he has designated Eliza as his mouth piece when necessary. If he needs to get a message to the class and isn't reaching them in Chinese, he will pull Eliza into the hall (so he doesn't break his no English in the classroom policy) and whisper the message to her. Eliza then returns to the classroom to relay his message in English for him. As for her English teacher, Eliza worships her. Evident by the amount of dum dum suckers she has already earned this year, it is fair to say that Eliza is doing well in there too.

In the car the other day, Eliza shares with me her school related success. Praising her, I say:

"Eliza, I don't know what is going on but it sounds to me like you are a super star in class!" Henry, cute as can be, chimes in.

"I know what's going on, Mom."

"You do?" I say.

"Uh-huh." He replies. "Mrs. Longfellow says that the key to being super smart is reading a lot. And Eliza reads ALL.THE.TIME!" This is true. Henry nailed it. Eliza loves to read. And she is setting a great example for her younger siblings.

We are happy to be back in the swing of things... even when that includes one of the children bringing home the first, "caught at school" head cold. Eliza, sadly, was the first one to come down with it only to pass it on to me! And on that note, we can officially welcome in the new school year!

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