I know, I know, I’m so lame for not writing an update on Annika’s first week of preschool. Life has been busy. Good busy. But busy and I have a gazillion blogs posts roiling around in my brain that will in all likelihood, never get written. But I will try.
Let me start by telling you this story, Pre-the-start-of-preschool-day, Toyin and I went to a session at our new school, with a local parenting coach. She gave us advice on how to prepare our kids for school, what kinds of things to expect and then close to the end of the session, she asked us to raise our hands if we thought our kids would cry and/or cling on the first day of school. My hand shot up. I was so sure that Annika would cry and beg me to stay.
Annika is not an overly shy kid. She makes friends with relative ease, compared to lots of kids. I’d say she’s middle of the road. She takes a while to warm up.
Well, I should say, up until last week, she took a while to warm up to new kids.
Her first day of school, she ran on to the playground and barely raised an eyebrow when I left.
I felt rejected and proud, all at the same time. A combination that I think must be unique to mothers.
I worried for about five minutes as I drove off that I had done something wrong. Did she feel rejected? Was she rejecting me?
Then I told myself that I had done such a good job of preparing her for this that she was fine with it.
It also helped, I think, that the week before school started, she had a one-on-one session with her teacher, where she did great. And the next day, we met some of her classmates on the playground for an introduction.
And now, she never wants to leave when I get there. She also announced to me on Monday, her fourth day of school, that she is a princess. Well, that didn’t take long.
Oh, and even lamer. I did not take any pictures. But here’s one of her in our favorite wading pool on one of the last days it was open for the summer:
So, I don’t normally write posts advocating any business, but when I got a message from one of the marketing peeps from Chuck E. Cheese asking me to write a post in exchange for free pizza and games, how could I resist? I mean, every kid should experience gorging cheesy goodness, along with an overstimulating experience of the action-packed game room at a pizza place, at least once a year, right?
I asked one of Annika’s friends’ along for the ride to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday, and they had a blast!
At first they didn’t get it.
Annika, who doesn’t know that the rides at the grocery store actually move if you put money in them, was unsure about a few things initially.
But it didn’t take long.
They rocked out.
We ate pizza.
Overall, a fun time was had by all. Thanks Chuck E. Cheeeeeeeese!
I wrote this in exchange for pizza, and gold coins, which were eventually turned into two rubber bugs, a temporary tattoo, and two packages of Sweethearts.
To know me very well is to scoff at the idea of me being crafty. Well, that is, pre-motherhood. And scoff is a harsh term because most of my friends don’t scoff, because they’re much nicer than I am. But since I scoff, I use the word scoff.
But lately, I haven’t been scoffing so much at the idea of being crafty because when you have a 3-year-old, not being crafty is just dumb. One must find ways to be creative otherwise you get to know all the characters of Busytown Mysteries and Dora the Explorer on an intimate level. An uncomfortably intimate level. (Not like that. Don’t be a perv.)
So I have become crafty. Now, I don’t for one minute believe that I will ever attain the levels of crafty women who have been doing it all their lives. I have a sewing machine that I do not know how to thread. (I’m sure I could figure it out, but that would require buying thread and material and a good pair of scissors.) I do not, nor do I believe that I will EVER own a hot glue gun. I will probably never make anything that anyone would not suspect that my daughter did for me. I just don’t think my craftiness will ever take off in the direction of being a seller on Etsy.
However, digging down and embracing the craft just for the sake of being able to share some moments with my daughter and find enjoy spending time making something, no matter how it turns out. Well, that shit’s just priceless.
I’m finding that my inner craft geek likes stuff that has value in some way, not just for prettiness sake, because, let’s face it, my stuff is just not that pretty. So it must be practical. Like food. Or glue. Or construction paper art using homemade glue and watercolors.
A couple of weeks ago, Annika announced she wanted pasta for dinner. I had used up the spaghetti the day before and had not been to the store. So, instead of telling her that she would have to settle for something else, we got out the ingredients and made some. I used to work at an Olive Garden back in the days when they actually made stuff there instead of having frozen entrees shipped in from China (joking, I don’t know where they ship it in from these days). But we actually made our pasta and I knew that it was pretty simple. You don’t need a fancy machine to mix the shit up. A noodle maker would be helpful, but it’s not completely necessary.
So, we mixed up the ingredients in a bowl, rolled it out with a rolling pin, and cut it into strips. It was good. Not the best thing, I’ve ever eaten in the sense that it didn’t taste any different than any other pasta I’ve ever eaten. But damn, it was one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever eaten. I couldn’t stop grinning at Annika and going, “Hey, we made pasta!”
We’ve been making cookies, bread, muffins, and pizza dough for months and it’s strange to me. It’s not a daily occurrence, but before I had a kid, I NEVER EVER thought about doing this shit. Seriously. I don’t even think that I thought I could.
I’m good at a lot of things. Drinking beer. Watching TV. Writing. Reading. Thrift store shopping. Saying things that nobody else would dare say because they have manners and social skills. Asking people questions that most people wouldn’t. People watching. Boarding airplanes. Chewing gum. Boiling water. Making coffee. I could go on and on folks. My skills are endless. But making stuff has never been my forte.
Then last week, one afternoon, Annika wanted to help make something and was disappointed when she couldn’t use the rolling pin. So, I quickly tossed some ingredients in a bowl from a recipe for homemade glue, thinking it would keep her occupied for a while. Homemade glue folks! I didn’t even plan it out. It just HAPPENED! I am a crafting expert. The end.
Oh, and one more skill. Using the word scoff at least five times in one blog post. That takes skill, but really, not as much skill as making homemade glue.
I’ve been reading about how it’s becoming more popular to have kid-free restaurants and kid-free flights. Is the old adage, “children should be seen and not heard” becoming popular again? Since they can’t literally silence them, they are now choosing to force them out. And with them, their parents.
Let me back up. Before I had Annika, I was one of those people, complaining about the loud children running rampant in the restaurants and avoiding them in airports. I was not a fan of children. I totally get it.
When I was married and living in Japan, one our favorite restaurants was the officer’s club where they had a kid-free section. We’d wait an extra hour to sit in there, if necessary. Military bases are rampant with children, so it was a haven from the noisiness of the few restaurants to choose from.
I never considered it a form of discrimination. But I was recently on the other end of that kind of attitude. And I see just how wrong it is.
A playgroup, that Annika and I attend, was lambasted by the manager of a coffee house that advertises itself as kid-friendly. One morning, one of our members walked in the door and was met with a laundry list of complaints about how our children were too noisy, and disruptive to the other customers. She made it very clear that we were not welcome anymore.
This playgroup has been meeting at this coffee shop for about four years on a regular basis. Not every week, but during the summer months and too-cold winter months, it’s been our regular hangout. We’ve always been received warmly by the staff, until this particular manager came on board. We are paying customers and we buy food and drinks. The barista who is typically on duty during our usual playgroup said he enjoys the children, since he was one of nine children.
But since that morning a couple of weeks ago, we’ve stopped going. Several of us left nasty reviews on Yelp about the place. They have a kids’ section, and hold kid-friendly musical acts on Sunday mornings. This place is supposedly, kid-friendly. But one manager has derailed all that because she doesn’t like children being children.
But here’s the thing, we live in a society. Children are part of that society. We teach our kids that we don’t always get what we want. We teach our kids that sometimes we have to get along with people even when we don’t like them. We try to teach our kids compassion for other people, even when they are behaving in a manner that we don’t like.
Is the rule of society that when you’re a child you have to put up with other people you don’t like, but when you’re an adult, if you complain loudly enough and toss money at the problem, they will go away? Seems pretty backwards to me. Kids are the ones who aren’t mature. They shouldn’t have to be the ones who have to follow all the rules. We were all kids once.
If you want to look at it another way, I can remember a time in history when there were laws in this country that said certain people couldn’t eat in certain restaurants (and many other things).
Okay, that might be going a tad too far. But seriously, if restaurants and airlines start giving people the option to pay enough to avoid a certain group of people, then really, what is that? It’s discrimination.
Parents are isolated enough as it is. If all the airlines start forcing families to sit in their own sections, then does that mean we will have fewer flights to choose from? I’ve never been on a flight where there were more than three or four families with kids (and that’s being generous). Annika is typically well-behaved on flights. She cries when her ears pop, but overall, she’s a good passenger. Why should she be denigrated, along with her parents down to a second class level?
If this trend continues, will we be forced to the back of the planes?