Thursday, January 16, 2003

First Day of School and Other Signs of Maturity

Today was Max's first day of preschool. We enrolled him at the community center, and he'll go Thursday and Friday mornings. I wanted him to be comfortable about going, but I was a little pleased when just before entering he squeezed my hand and asked me to come too. "This is for you and the other children," I assured him. He let go and stepped forward.

I walked away, but I didn't let go. I hung out at the community center and caught up on paper work for William and Alex's curriculum, and I made 2 sneak visits to watch Max. He played outside and looked delighted. Later, he was on the area rug, stringing beads and still happy. So good. All around him were caring adults and creative outlets and small tables and bright colors. Good.

Meanwhile, Alex and William were home with Grandma. I left each of them with a list of chores and school assignments. "Get busy. I'll be home soon and I expect you to be ready to help me take Grandma to her doctor." William called me on my cell phone and asked for help with his math. "Alex is reading," he informed me. "And we finished our chores." By the time Max and I returned home, the boys were dressed and ready to do the day's errands. They did more school work in the doctor's waiting room, and driving home too. Very, very good.

Max liked his day and told his great grandpa all about it, or the highlights at least. Apparently there was some singing, and he also stamped a snowflake on his wrist. He said some children were his size and some were smaller. Alex pulled his list out of his pocket and beamed, "I did it all." William 'did it all too.' Max said sympathetically, "Mom, it's too bad you missed it all."

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Old Car, New Car :: Debate

Odyssey. Pilot. Odyssey. Pilot. Odyssey. Pilot. Odyssey. Pilot.

Odyssey says: "We like safety and comfort. We travel with children and may be getting a dog. There is room for groceries, soccer balls and car pooling. Asphalt is necessary and desirable. Oh, dear, are those ruts?"

Pilot says: "We like safety and comfort. We travel to remote places and the kids may be a bit snug, if we bring friends. There is room for groceries or car pooling, but we aren't concerned about driving on a rural road. Ruts?: Okay, I can handle this"

I know from experience, if I ask for opinions I will get "opinions," and everyone has an opinion. Opinions are not the same as good advice. And good advice is not the same as a decision. Argghhh!! The curse of the blessed; too many options!!!

Old car. New car. Old car. New car. Old car. New car. Old car. New car.

Old car says: "Don't forget a shovel for prying open the hood, and two more tools, in case the door jams again. Hey, I'm paid for. 1995 was a bad year for Chevy and brakes, but you've got vehicle mass on your side. What is that smell? Sonoran desert? Sure. I've got nothing to lose."

New car says: "You can park me in 2 steps or less, and the movements of my steering wheel correspond with the direction I am turning. Please remove your shoes, and I don't do drive-thru, Mexico or Waipio Valley. The outside temperature is 72 degrees, and you have sufficient fuel to drive 236 miles. Carry tissue, because the first door ding is gonna make you cry like a baby."

Monday, January 13, 2003

New Ventures

William wishes he had a special machine. It would tell him what to do, so that when he is grown he won't regret his choices. This is what he shared with me today over lunch. He says his hands are sweating, from nerves. Why all the anxiety? My bad. I enrolled him in a singing class. This is my first act of arbitrary, blatant dictatorship parenting and I am standing my ground, but I do feel for him.

Many mornings, before school and chores and errands, William can be heard from behind his bedroom door, singing. He sings without inhibition. Full throttle and joyous. It is made up comedic opera and it actually sounds good. Sometimes I find myself wishing there were subtitles, so as I fold laundry or write emails, I can follow the story line. Geoff has a nice voice. I have a stunted, introverted, and tone deaf voice. I want William to explore the possibility that he can carry a tune, go Christmas caroling and lead off at birthday parties. Because I lack confidence I understand that he feels shy, and that he feels that he wouldn't be good. But I think I can detect a faint hope; I think he might slightly suspect that this could be worthwhile, and that he simply wants huge amounts of encouragement and a bit of a persuasive kick.

"Think of me as your special machine," I suggested to William. "I can tell you when something is worth trying, and I think you will find, when you are grown, you will not regret trying to learn new things. You may find that not everything is to your liking, but experiences that enrich your life and nurture your growth, will always be worth a try."

He didn't 100% resist, so we may be on to something. Please, please, please, please let this be good.