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Category Archives: school

Pancakes, fries, and cupcakes

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Tea’s 4K class welcomed their families to join them for a “feast of favorites” this morning.  Each child brought in whatever they wanted to share.  There was a lot of awesome sugar in that room.

At Tea’s request, we brought sticky rice with bananas in coconut sauce.  The adults polished off a triple batch.  The kids?  Well, lets just say the fries and pancakes were a big hit.

I feel like I now need to gnaw on some lettuce and brocolli.  I’m twitching.


art class

Arts and crafts enjoy a high level of importance in our house. Really, our family rules sign should have included “be crafty”. Not a day goes by when we aren’t painting or sewing or cutting or gluing or sawing or folding or the like. So, naturally, we were very excited about Pia’s first day of school art, exciting for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that art at her school had been cut a few years back and had finally re-emerged. Thursday is the day she has art at school and in anticipation of this event Pia wore her “I love art” socks, a gift from her grandparents (her grandpa is an art education professor). Now, trying to find out from Pia what actually happens at school is a bit like art itself… you have to be creative, use different tools, if something doesn’t work at first you try a different method. I asked her what she did in art class and the response was completely indecipherable. But she was able to show me her first bit of artwork from the class. Are you ready?

Apparently it is a tower. I am crossing my fingers that this was part of a larger project. Otherwise we have problems.

the invisible thread

Oh, the school woes around here. My poor, sweet little girl is having the toughest time with the transition to school. I am the mom on the playground after drop-off who everyone looks at sympathetically. People I don’t know come up and hug me. Everyone knows Pia’s name and over-enthusiastically greet her. Kids come up and stare at us. Some ask “what’s wrong with her?”. Her friends come up and try to take her hand, try to hug her, but nothing seems to get through her veil of tears. This morning she woke up at 6:00 and essentially just wanted to cuddle for the 2 and a half hours before school. We managed to get her dressed, coax two bites of scrambled egg into her mouth, and brush her teeth between outbursts of tears. She went into school still sobbing and choking out “I need more cuddle time!” My heart is beyond being broken into two.

We have done ‘the kissing hand’ for quite some time, but the potency of that seems to have worn off. I needed a new trick, something more tangible. I often tell Pia that our hearts are connected by an invisible thread, so that even when we are apart we are still together in our hearts. So this morning I gave us matching “invisible thread” bracelets to wear, each with a little clear stone attached. I told her that if she misses me at school or is worried or sad, she can rub the little stone and I will feel it and send her more love or take away her worries through our invisible thread. I have no idea if this will help one bit, but I’m at a loss for how to help her infinite school sadness.

I know going off to kindergarten is hard on a lot of kids and that our situation is hardly unique. But Pia has gone through such enormous transitions in her life, and handled them with such grace, it makes me feel so inadequate that I can’t seem to ease her pain this time. Any advice for easing school woes? Or is this one of those things you just need to muddle through, let the sadness be, and hope everyone comes out stronger on the other side?



Obligatory First Day of Kindergarten Picture (a week late)

It is funny how you can be so ready for something to start and then when it does it makes you immediately long for what you had before. As summer came to a close I thought it was more than time for the school year to start. Our blissful three months of having no obligations, no classes, nowhere to be, no agenda had begun to morph from happy-follow-our-whims to lots-and-lots-of-whining. So on Wednesday, when Pia had her first day of kindergarten, I thought the transition would be smooth and welcome for both of us. I wasn’t prepared for the tears or how empty the house would feel. As most of you know, Pia and I spend 98% of our time glued at the hip. We are a package deal. So while we were beginning to get on each other’s nerves, I guess we weren’t quite prepared to go from ALL of our time together to 7 hours apart each day.

To make the separation even worse, on the second day of school I helped out in the classroom and decided to peek into the cafeteria while Pia had lunch. And I saw her sitting all by herself. A room full of chatting, giggling, squirming 5-year-olds and there was my daughter, off to the end of one table, all alone. It made no sense. A teacher in the cafeteria saw me and asked me a question which alerted Pia to my presence. When she turned to look at me she broke down into tears. I went over to sit by her and for the next 20 minutes I sat with her sobbing in my lap. In between sobs she would choke out things like “I just need mommy and Pia time” and “I want to go home and play dolls with you”. It broke my heart in two. My little girl, all alone and sad at school. I had to mentally glue my feet to the floor to prevent myself from picking her up, carrying her home and promising to home school her all the way through medical school.

Thanks to her “favorite boy”, Jackson* who escorted my teary daughter out to the playground after lunch, I was able to go home without a child on my hip. And when I picked her up at the end of the day she seemed happy, especially when I said we would go right home and play with goop (sand mixed with water in the playhouse). The next day on the walk to school she asked “why did you sign me up for school? I just want to stay home with you.” Heart. Breaking.

This weekend I have been trying to fill her up with mommy love… playing dolls, climbing trees, making goop, cutting paper dolls, whatever she wants. I’m hoping if I fill her to the brim with love and attention then she will be better equipped to handle these first few weeks of school. Though maybe I am just making things worse and actually need to ignore her so that she sees school as wicked awesome in comparison. I know she will come around to loving school very soon, just like she loved 4-year-old kindergarten, but it might just take a few buckets of tears to get there.

*Note to Tea: I am certain that when Pia says “favorite boy” she means “favorite boy at her school” and not “favorite boy in the whole world”. That title is, of course, held by you, her betrothed.

Obligatory 1st day of 4k picture

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He told me he’d been awake since “before the sun”.  He beamed as he was served french toast on the bright red “You Are Special Today” plate.  He received a crisp new chapter book during breakfast – a much-loved tradition for the first day of school in my family.  He couldn’t have been more proud posing for a picture before walking down the street to school.

His back pack, bursting with supplies, got too heavy for him to carry the whole way.   The crossing guard helped us across the street.   He held my hand.  Once there, he was a little nervous, but he gave me a hug and a wave.

“What do you want to learn in school this year, Tea?”

“About fire trucks and doctors.”