Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maternal guilt and other certainties

Big doings at the Cibula household. Well, not really, but we did set up the kiddie pool and the slip 'n' slide in the backyard. Everyone had a grand old time, although Sammy's still perfecting the art of slip and sliding--he goes down the track on his knees.

Yesterday we bought Sammy a brand-new bike for his birthday. This was especially exciting because Sam is only now learning to ride a bike. He'd hate me for printing this for all the world to see. But he takes after his athletically challenged mother's side of the family. We never really saw the point in all of this "exercise" and "locomotion." Until recently, Sammy has had no interest in learning to ride. But out of the blue last week, he announced that his goal this summer is to learn to ride a bike. So it's a really big deal for him. We got him a beautiful new blue Trek bike as an early birthday present (after mean mommy rejected the yellow and gold "Low-rider" that Sam and his dad found :-( ) and I'm happy to say that Sam's doing just great, thank you.

Last weekend, Sam lit up the stage as the Third Knight in the Children's Theater of Madison production of "Once Upon a Mattress." He was bitterly disappointed at not getting a bigger role, til he learned he had a line. Such a diva. He also got to write and perform an original monologue in one of the shows where he explained his character's back story (he informed us all that he was "Sir Juan the Disgruntled O'Mayhem" and the rightful heir to the Irish throne). He had a totally fantastic time, and much to his chagrin he apparently became the mascot/pet of all the middle and high school girls in the show. They liked to "hoist" him and carry him around. Unfortunately, if he wants to continue in theater he'll have to get used to that. Emma's doing a class at the Four Seasons Theatre and she's performing a musical dance/singing dealy this week. As part of her class, they brought in professionals from different aspects of theater so she not only learned how to slam someone's head into a chair, but she also got made up like a geisha. Take a look.

Emma as a geisha. She had a wig on, too, but they took that off before the picture was taken.

In other major news, Molly started her new daycare this week, which has led to much guilt, angst, and consternation for, well, me. As I've said before, I believe that the entire daycare/preschool process is fraught with peril. The preschool Molly attended last year was fabulous, but I knew that because both Em and Sam went there, and the teachers haven't changed since they were there, which is rare enough in itself. But last year, when I was searching for a spot for Molly, I visited some places that were pretty damn depressing. Last year, Molly did a daycare hybrid. She spent 3 days a week at the old preschool and 2 days first with her dad and then with our friends and their little boy. Which worked out really well. But our friends just brought home their second little boy from Ethiopia and needless to say, they're a little busy. And we wanted to send Molly to the same place every day. The old preschool didn't have a 5 day spot, so we had to find something new. Originally, my plan was that we wouldn't have to start a new daycare til the fall. After all, what's the point of being a teacher if you can't spend the summer with your own kids? But best laid plans, blah blah. The daycare that we chose had a guaranteed opening in July or not at all, so last week I loaded her up and sent her off.

There are some really nice things about this new place. They feed the kids lunch, which means we don't have to pack it, and the food is actually really nice; homemade scones and pasta and ratatouille and lots of fresh fruit. An astonishing amount of meat, but they have a vegetarian option every day, so Molly's taken care of. They sell fair trade coffee to the parents, which is a bonus. They have music and Spanish classes for the kids every week. It's cheaper than the old school and drop-off time is earlier, which is a bonus since Matt and I both work on the other side of town and I have to be at work at 7:30 :-(. That's a.m. I think if we get ourselves organized Matt and I can actually carpool to work this year (which we couldn't last year because the preschool opened too late) and save a buttload on gas.

And to be very honest about it, although I love hanging out with Molly, I think she was getting pretty bored with her mama. Don't get me wrong, I think she likes me fine, but 6 hours a day going up and down the stairs gets old. The park is fun, but my tolerance for swinging isn't nearly as large as hers. And my tried-and-true strategy of getting her to nap by setting her on my tummy and putting on a Lifetime movie to bore her to sleep may be effective, but probably isn't in Dr. Brazleton's book of childrearing tips. When we visited the school, I kept my eagle-eyes peeled for signs that they beat the children or subcontracted them out to soccer ball factories, but so far no evidence of any wrongdoing. And Molly, who spent so many of her early months surrounded by peers (not to mention the last year while I was working) loves all the stimulation, different things to do, and the little toddler-size sink where she can wash her hands 150 times a day. Drop-off time is still hairy. After about Day 2, she figured out that I might leave, so although she trots happily into her classroom, once we get there she tries to make sure that I stay there with her. Good news is that, since it's summer, I have more time to spend detangling myself from her, and hopefully by Sept. it won't be an issue anymore. I have to sneak out while she's washing her hands for the sixth time in order to avoid major problems, which makes me sad, but the day I tried to make a big production about saying goodbye it was way worse. When we pick her up at the end of the day, she's showing no signs of PTS or trauma. Usually she's just riding a Big Wheel. So I think all will be well. Her Lifetime network viewing has dropped substantially. On the other hand, Emma's seen the light and the joys of the Lifetime "Moment of Truth" movie. When one door closes, another opens.

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