Azul has officially finished his first full week of all-day Kindergarten and experienced a lot of firsts.
The first of the “firsts” was getting worked. The first day of school, when I picked up my exhausted, smiley-faced big boy, the first thing he said to me was, “Man, they really work you there.”
Of course this is after months of being on Summer Break and a year of a pre-school, where their moto was “learning through play,” which actually meant, “we just play.” Azul has three years of experience in pre-school and knows the difference between working and not. And now he is getting worked! He has no idea.
Second, eating in the cafeteria. He is very excited about this and I am very excited not to have to make lunch for him anymore. The day he was talking about his cafeteria ritual with euphoria in his eyes, I knew he was in love. He had his very first Sloppy Joe. I know, he is almost six years old and never had a Sloppy Joe, but I just don’t cook like that. I guess the Red Rice and Organic Beans with Roasted Beets and Broccoli is no Sloppy Joe.
“What did you guys have for lunch?” I asked
“Sloppy Joes!” he excitedly answered.
I repeated, “Sloppy Joes?” more as a question than a statement.
“I loved that sweet meat!” he said with his eyes slightly closed and his head tilted back.
I can’t compete with “sweet meat.”
Third, how to behave on the playground. He’s familiar with playing at the playground and already experienced lots of playground time, but now he is a big Kindergartener.
“Guess what I did today?” he asked me, and I had visions of him counting to one hundred, forward and backward in front of the class, or reciting the Preamble to the Constitution when no one else could (he doesn’t really know the Preamble, it was just my parental fantasy).
“What?” I responded.
“I had a wicked fall!” He continued, “I felt like I was punched in the stomach, but I didn’t tell the teacher or anything, it wasn’t an emergency like bleeding or like that. I didn’t cry, I just played through the pain.” He was talking non-stop with some sense of pride.
“Oh, my!” was all I could think to say without bursting his bubble or ruining his story.
“Yeah, like you know that, like rock climbing wall? I slipped.”
I guess we all, like, have a wicked fall in school.
Finally for the week, bribery. Making friends is a hard thing to do, and some of us go to great lengths for friendship, but this is one had to be stopped before it got out of control and too expensive.
Azul talked about his new friends, although he couldn’t remember anyone’s name, and one boy in particular (again, the boy has a name he just doesn’t remember it) who is his best friend. As the conversation continued, I began to feel uncomfortable as it took a turn for the worse. Apparently, Azul asked this boy if he wanted to play and the boy said no, so Azul promised him twenty bucks to be his friend. Well, the monetary offer worked and they played and had the time of their lives.
I didn’t pay out the “gentleman’s agreement!”
“Firsts” are awesome, they are the moments you always remember, or at least the things others remember when all you want to do is forget.
I can’t wait for next week…
“Choose your battles” is advice every parent hears and practices at one time or another, and then there are the arguments you don’t even want to have to choose what to do, so you just give up.
Tonight my five year-old is sleeping in the hall in his newly constructed fort right outside our bedroom. He did a good job with three dining room chairs for walls, a blanket roof and sheets and pillows for the floor.
Azul presented his argument for sleeping in the hall by assuming it was already going to happen, saying “Since I’m obviously sleeping here tonight, I set up my turtle light.” His turtle light is his stuffed nightlight which is shaped like, well, a turtle. I appreciated his approach and thought that alone deserved some reward; besides, I had already come to the conclusion that I didn’t care where he slept tonight.
When it was eight, zero, zero and time for bed he settled into his fort and I turned off all the lights and laid down in my own bed. Again — I just gave up!
At this point you can decide to be the parent who paces around nervously, followed by a walk in the hall, a toe stubbing, an expletive and finally a conversation with your child on why they would be more comfortable in their own bed (actually meaning that YOU will be more comfortable if they are in their own bed), or you can be the parent who giggles in bed while listening to it all.
The choice is yours, good night and good luck!
I never set out to be a stay-at-home mom, it just kind of happened. Most of my son’s life I have worked. I worked while I was pregnant, I worked through his infancy, and I was working on his first day of Pre-school (way back in 2011). Things are now different and I am not reporting to a job in the traditional sense. This summer Azul, my five year-old, was my job, and like many of my other jobs, I took it very seriously.
Azul was on Summer Break from school and now a stay-at-home kid, and I was not working and therefore a stay-at-home mom. Our circumstances and titles brought us together, but the last thing we were going to do was stay at home!
This is when “Mommy Mania” began. I set out from the beginning to do as much as possible and expose him to as many learning experiences as I could. The learning was actually the easy part because at this age any experience is a learning one, the doing was harder. We tried to get out of the house at least five times a week, some weeks were better than others, and then there were the lazy, all day in our pajamas days too. But overall we got dressed, ready and were out and about!
Ready, set, go…Let the madness begin!
The first day of Summer Break, the first thing we did, first thing in the morning was play putt-putt. We were the first ones there, just before 10 a.m. when they opened. We golfed two games of 18 holes, had pizza and soda, because Azul was starving at 10:30 in the morning and ready for lunch, and acted as if we hadn’t eaten breakfast just two hours earlier. This was the first time Azul had putt-putted, a nice way to kick off Mommy Mania.
There were some activities we really took advantage of and did a lot, like play dates, going out to lunch, feeding the ducks at various duck ponds around town, catching the first matinée showings at the movie theater, lots of baseball games at the Albuquerque Isotopes Stadium, eating gallons of ice cream, and Azul’s favorite, pool time.
We attended weekly activities at the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library where Azul’s Daddy works. And discovered he now wants to be a Librarian just like his Daddy.
He participated in gymnastics classes, swimming classes, and one of the coolest Summer Programs around. He was involved in a production of the Sound of Music performed solely by children in grades k-8.
We were lucky enough to be able to go out-of-town a few times this summer. Azul and I visited my Aunt Jeannette’s pecan farm in southern New Mexico, where we lived the farm life for a couple of days and went to a Rodeo in El Paso one night. Our family camped at Cochiti Lake in New Mexico and spent a week at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Azul was surprised how quick our red-eye flight was coming back compared to the trip over, saying, “They didn’t even have the movie or serve us any drinks it was so fast!” Of course, although he adamantly denies it, he slept for the entire flight home.
Azul did earn some money this summer at a yard sale we held with our neighbors. He picked some old toys he didn’t play with anymore, set them out in the morning and worked the sale when people came by to peer at our goods. He was quite the salesman and able to keep all the money he made.
Because of the warm and sometimes really hot weather in Albuquerque it is easy to enjoy the outdoors by walking and biking the Bosque Trail. At other times we visited the Albuquerque Botanic Garden, Albuquerque Aquarium and Tingley Aquatic Park. While at Tingley we rented a pedal boat and were able to pedal around while followed by a flock of ducks! And we loved seeing all the baby animals at the Rio Grande Zoo.
When it was too hot, we spent hours at The Natural History Museum and Explora Science Center, the hands-on children’s museum. My favorite indoor activity was going roller skating! I don’t think I had been skating in over twenty years and I know that was Azul’s first skating experience. Every time we knocked each other down, off our skates, it took us a while to get up because we were laughing so hard. One day, courtesy of PBS, we even met The Cat In The Hat.
Then there was our trip to Cliff’s Amusement Park, where after riding every ride his height allowed, we rode the roller coaster eight more times — IN A ROW! We also went to an indoor playground called Monkey Mania. I preferred it when we took a friend with us, then I didn’t have to slouch through the spongy maze made for little people who actually wanted to do this.
One of the last things on the list was to visit a Fire Station. I got ahold of an old friend from high school (so, yes, old) who was a firefighter and he set up a tour for Azul. He got to sit in the truck, pull the horn, turn on the lights and even got to talk on the PA system at the station. All he kept saying was, “cool,” over and over. When we left, I asked him if he wanted to be a Fireman when he grew up and he replied, “No I still want to be a Librarian and work at the Library.”
I will never be able to repeat this summer, but it was fun while it lasted, and although it is still August, sunny and 90 degrees outside, with our last trip to get mani-pedis together, my summer solstice has set. Mommy Mania has come to an end and my constant companion is now going to All-day Kindergarten. Whew, I’m tired!
The weeks leading up the start of school were bittersweet for me. Tears rolled down my cheeks more than once while I reflected on how fortunate I was to spend so much time with Azul and looked to the future where there is less time for us to be together. In his beautiful attempt to comfort me he said, “You might get lucky and when I get sick you will have some bonus days with me!”
My little friend will soon be six years old, in his new school, with his summer experiences under his belt and new titles to claim, he is moving on. And I am returning to my old title of stay-at-home mom and get to look forward to sick days?! Ugh…