Wednesday, August 23, 2006

About my children, on the occasion of the first day of school.

My baby girl started second grade today. This is the child for whom separation has always come easily. At six months, I hired a nanny to watch her for 3 hours in my apartment while I worked. Z. had no problem with her from the first day.

When Z. was a year old, we moved from Israel to the U.S., and I found a woman who could watch Z. in her apartment, just a few doors down from ours. She had two children of her own, a boy and a girl, right around Z's age. the first day, I planned to sit with Z. to get her used to the space, the concept, the change.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by the mother. Behind her, the room full of toys glimmered brightly. Z. dropped my hand, stepped inside, and shut the door behind her -- with me on the outside. When I returned three hours later to retrieve her, she burst into tears as soon as she realized that I intended to make her leave the House of Fun.

She went to school with her carpool this morning. I asked her if she wanted me to take her to school and walk in with her for the first day. She looked at me like I was nuts. "I go into school alone every morning, Mom," she said, rolling her eyes. Once in a while she still calls me Mommy, but mostly I'm Mom.

In the second grade, it turns out, princesses are passé. She requested a plain pink backpack, a plain pink lunchbox, and new sheets. I bought the backpack and lunchbox and cut a deal of one month's worth of chores in exchange for the sheets.

S. began the first grade today. She is the youngest in the class by far -- she's actually too young, according to the cut-off dates. Tough. She reads and does math and belongs in the first grade. Anyway, she was fine at drop-off time. She came home with carpool and announced that she hates the first grade. Also, why did I buy her a Dora backpack? Now they'll all think she's a baby.

"But you picked your own backpack."

"Well, I didn't know it was for the first grade!"

Ask a silly question.... S. did not enjoy her homework AT ALL, which is amusing, since she spent all of last year complaining that she didn't have any homework to do and her sister did.

D. did as well as expected, which is to say, not so well. He was screaming when we left, and we pretty much ran out the door. Mr. WG called the school at 10 and was told that D. was "not crying, but not really playing." When Mr. WG went to pick him up at noon, he said D. took one look at him and burst into tears. As if to say, "How could you do this to me?" How, indeed.

He came home and ate his lunch (he's supposed to eat at school, but once Mr. WG walked into the room, wasn't no way D. was sitting to eat) and went for his nap. This afternoon, he was super clingy, and when he saw his teacher, Lili, when she dropped off S. after school, he hightailed it over to Mr. WG and hid.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

When we came home from dropping the big ones off at school, I nursed Baby J. to sleep and headed upstairs to the playroom, where I hauled out about 7 or 8 large bags of trash. I got rid of a lot of toys that were past their prime, or just plain annoying. The sad part is that I really did get rid of a LOT of stuff -- and they didn't even notice.

Now it's mostly quiet in the house -- the girls and Baby J. are sleeping, and D. is moving around a bit upstairs. He'll fall asleep eventually, and someone will move him to his bed later on.

Can't someone find a way for me to freeze these moments and preserve them forever?