Posts Tagged: Anna


28
Aug 14

Anna, 2nd grader

I have a secret. Please don’t think poorly of me. This is the first year that, as Anna heads off to a new school year, I have not heaved a gigantic sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong: I love and adore that kid but every other summer has been summer enough. This summer, the summer of absolutely no summer camp and absolutely no big huge long vacation, was over entirely too soon. It was a long, slow summer of lazy days doing nothing more than playing in pajamas and swimming in our pool. Afternoons at the beach and homemade play dough and staying up too late to read “just one more” story. Sleeping in and slacking on housework. It was good. And I kind of didn’t want it to end.

Kindergarten and first grade? I had a newborn baby/little toddler to contend with. It was hard work. Summer just upped the ante because then it felt like I had to take care of TWO little ones’ needs and it just all felt like too much, much of the time. It’s not always easy breezy days around here now, but we did start to fall into more of a rhythm. Life is a tad more predictable. I’m not up all night and stumbling around like a zombie during the day. Lily is old enough now that she and Anna played–like really, really played!–all summer long: dolls and dress up and restaurant and princesses and school and train. They made forts and Anna did Lily’s hair. Sure, they fought. More times than I’d like I had to jump into a biting/hitting/scratching scenario or straighten out whose turn it was for whatever was the favorite and most desirable toy of the day.

But yesterday I came home, relieved that we got to school on time, that the PTA welcome coffee had gone off without a hitch, and realized that I wholeheartedly missed my Anna girl. For the first time, I saw the appeal of having kids home all the time (not planning on starting to homeschool or anything, but I have to say that I just get it for the first time). All day long, Lily asked, “Where Anna?” and “go get Anna now?” So sweet and sad. Our days are both easier and harder, but they are decidedly missing one kid.

This is going to be a great year–Anna came home all smiles yesterday, thrilled with her first day of second grade. She likes her peers, she likes her teacher, she loves her school. All good things.

But I miss her.


20
Jul 13

Singing

Today Anna took the stage for a recital with the Young Singer’s CLub, as the wrap up for a week-long singing/performing camp that she had attended. She sang in two group songs and performed one solo.

She didn’t remember every single word. She didn’t hit every single note. She didn’t do the choreography perfectly. But she stood up there, proud and serious (smiling only a little), and she tried her best, and she says that she had fun doing it (despite the serious face). And while she sang, I could hardly quell my own lips from singing along with her (hey–it’s Disney songs, how can I *not* want to sing?) because my heart was absolutely singing to see my girl up there, doing her best and having fun.

It’s that thing about having kids, that thing where you know, intellectually, at least, that they are their own person, full of their own thoughts and feelings and abilities and all of that and yet…seeing her up on the stage, she was me and I was her and I could see the entirety of her life, the past from babyhood on up to what is yet to come. My beautiful, amazing girl.

My heart sings.


3
Jul 13

Swim meets, Summer 2013

Here are a few pictures from Anna’s first summer swim meet.

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She was nervous the night before. Nervous enough that she dramatically declared, “I WON’T swim tomorrow” but quickly rescinded her statement when she remembered the ribbons….the awesome, super-cool ribbons. She was stoked to have a brand-new Speedo bathing suit in blue (her current favorite color), with new matching goggles and a matching blue towel. She loved seeing friends. She loved being in the water. She shyly smiled after each heat, warming with our high fives and congratulations as she rocked each and every heat she swam in. This girl is a fish and she loves it. We just love watching her enjoy what she does so very well.


5
Jun 13

Bye, Bye, Kinder

I went to Anna’s final sing-along for kindergarten today and had some silent tears slip out when the kids sang this song (“Kindergarten Wall”):

When I was a little kid not so long ago
I had to learn a lot of stuff I didn’t even know
How to dress myself, tie my shoes, how to jump a rope
How to smile for a picture without looking like a dope
But of all the things I learned my favorite of them all
Was a little poem hanging on the kindergarten wall

CHORUS:

Of all you learn here remember this the best:
Don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess
Take a nap everyday, wash before you eat
Hold hands, stick together, look before you cross the street
And remember the seed in the little paper cup:
First the root goes down and then the plant grows up!

**********
I’ve been thinking more about what I want Anna to remember and learn the most during these years, and that chorus says so many important things in such a simple way. Watching her earnest face singing those words with great enthusiasm put such an ache in my heart to capture that moment. And even though I am, in some ways, a real social networking junkie (Facebook addiction, anyone????), I didn’t even think of jumping to get this performance recorded because the real heart of it was sitting there and living that moment, just watching her and letting her know that I am her biggest fan. It’s one of those moments that burns into your heart. I had no clue before I became a mother that love could be like this.


15
May 13

Homework

Anna’s teacher started sending homework home just after spring break. She has two assignments every night: a journal (teacher gives a prompt and students write one sentence and draw a picture if they want to–of course Anna always wants to, my little artist) and reading out loud.

I’ll be honest: I am hating doing homework with Anna. I hate to say that, but it is true. I feel all rage-y when we sit down to work on it together. I am trying to remain neutral/positive because the last thing I want to do is for her to start hating it, too. Right now, sometimes she doesn’t want to do it, sometimes she doesn’t want to do it Right Now (LATER!!!) but usually she is ok about doing it. The problem is that I feel like I am constantly CONSTANTLY having to pull it out of her and then we end up disagreeing about something. I know we are both stubborn but, really, I’m pretty sure I know the difference between a “b” and a “d” and she fights me constantly about stuff like this, or tells me that I’m wrong because her teacher told her it was HER way (umm, no, these things are universal). Part of it is my (and her) perfectionistic tendencies and OHGOD the frustration of seeing her write it sloppy when I know she can write it neatly! Do I just let this part go (instructions from teacher say to encourage proper letter formation and encourage staying within the lines and encourage correct spelling etcetera)? I want to be there to guide and help her because I believe that school education needs to be supported at home. I believe it is parental slacking to trust that the school/teachers can be the one and only, that parents need to roll the sleeves up and do some of the “dirty work,” too, but GAH!

And the reading out loud. LORDAMERCY. I have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue. This sounds terrible. She is just learning to read and at first every single word she read was like unicorns and rainbows and butterflies erupting from her tiny little mouth, I was just so proud. But now I sit there thinking “just get ON with it!” as she re-sounds out the same word that she has just sounded out on the same page, literally the sentence before, over and over again. I don’t want to jump in and rescue her and do it for her–I think she needs to learn how to do it herself, but it is SO hard for me. I realize that this is all about me. I realize that I am the least patient person in the universe. I feel horrible about this. It also makes me realize how very very very very very patient my own mother was (and is). Mom! I never EVER felt rushed or like you were annoyed when helping with school work. Well, except for maybe that one time when I had to memorize the state capitols. I do remember the horror of those study sessions (so sorry). Maybe it is because reading came more naturally to me? Math was hard for me.

I could never be a teacher. I am not patient enough.

For the record, I don’t think that Anna is particularly struggling with reading or that she is behind or any of that. I just think that she is a normal kid who needs a normal amount of support while she learns. I am thrilled that she is learning to read and write. I DO want to help her. I am just struggling with my own feelings about this. I’m nervous about the years to come. I can foresee the homework future and it is daunting. More work. Much, much more work. More frustration, more difficulty, more opportunity for Anna to tell me that I’m wrong and she is right. It’s a continual lesson in humility and patience. I’m working on it. I love my kid, my stubborn and perfectionistic little one. She’s just like me.


28
Feb 13

The book of Us

I find these papers all over the house, drawings of herself and her family. She draws what she knows, and I love it.
“Here is Lilith. Here is Anna. Here is Mom. Here is Dad. Here is Porky.”

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5
Dec 12

Give it some time

Once upon a time, two people met, fell in love, got married, had a baby. These two people loved to go on long, long hikes, in dirt and mud and up hills and down. They could happily hike for hours. They still did this when their baby was young (with baby in a backpack) but then…..the baby became not-such-a-baby anymore and, suddenly, was too big to be carried. And that baby-turned-big-kid did NOT like to hike. That baby-turned-big-kid HATED hiking. Would scream and wail and complain and cry big, melodramatic tears. The two people were sad because they still liked to hike. And it was really a bummer when they visited family who lived in the beautiful, gorgeous woods, right by miles and miles of gorgeous hiking trails.

Well, I’m happy to tell you that this Thanksgiving, our Big Kid decided that hiking was ok. As long as it wasn’t too long. And as long as it was called a Walk, not a Hike.

Checking out the map (“Where are we?”)

Mama and Lily came along, too

Pausing for a picture (look! She’s actually smiling! On a hike–ahem–I mean, WALK!)

Silly grins with Daddy

Pausing to survey the land

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Running in circles the rest of the way

Isn’t this life? Just when you are about to give up on something, there is a shift. Something changes. What once was truth is no longer. And maybe this won’t stick–maybe she’ll go back to her hike-hating days or maybe New Baby will hate hikes when she turns a certain age, but, for now, I’m enjoying the hell out of it.


4
Dec 12

Oh Christmas Tree, 2012 Edition (*Now with siblings!*)

Christmas 2012

Cute, right?

This is the behind the scenes: Anna, hold onto your sister. No, not like that, tighter so she doesn’t slip down. Oh, no no no no! Not so tight! Loosen it up a little bit! Not that loose, look her head is falling. But don’t grab her head. No no no no.

Also: LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY!!!!! (Plus other assorted silly noises to try and make the baby smile).

Click. Good enough.

Merry Christmas, y’all. We done got us a tree.


19
Sep 12

Nearly 8 weeks

Some days I feel like “I’ve got this.” Some days, I feel like “I don’t know how the hell to do this.” Mostly the latter, but, still, the good outshines the bad. I’m enjoying this time with my baby so much, knowing how quickly it goes (I’m already sad to be packing up Lilith’s newborn and 0-3 month sized clothing as this girl is BIG! Where did my tiny newborn go?!?!?). Lily is just such a joy: smiling and laughing and cooing and drifting peacefully to sleep. We are at the sweet spot for nursing, too: it is just so effortless and easy and no problem.

Anna is challenging some days, sheer joy others. She pets and fawns over her sister while also verbalizing feeling a bit left out sometimes (doesn’t like me to say that Lily is “my baby” because she still wants to be “MY baby!” too, even if she is a big almost-6-year-old!). I get it. I know that this has been such a huge transition for her and I’m actually rather proud of how well she is holding up.

I don’t want to forget these times. I know that these days will blur together and I’ll remember them fondly later on. Indeed, there are days that I remember fondly already. But I don’t want to forget all the specific things: watching Anna running ahead of me, arms outstretched, to school and from school, yelling at me to hurry up, hurry up! The feeling of Lily growing heavy in my arms as she drifts to sleep, nuzzling her head into my neck just-so, in that special cozy way. Anna’s sweaty after-school smell, her whole body abuzz with excitement as she tells me about who she played with and who got the Clue Can today and what silly thing her teacher said and what game they played at P.E. Lily’s sweet smile as she looks at me, then looks away coyly, then looks back at me with an even wider grin: our own little game.

Will the other stuff fade away? Most likely. Maybe I’ll forget entirely about Anna yelling at me “I don’t love you anymore!” Maybe I’ll forget that desperate feeling of a mis-timed shopping trip that ends with a red-faced, sweating baby crying so hard that I cry, too, until I can reach home or pull over and nurse her into calmness. Maybe I’ll forget missing Adam like crazy when he is on his business trips, the lonely evening, the big bed without him. Maybe I will, or maybe it will all come back to me when Anna and Lilith are Mommies themselves.

2012 and I am the Mommy to two little, amazing, precious, wonderful beings. I am in awe. I am eternally grateful to the universe for allowing me this privilege.

My two sweet girls


3
Sep 12

Kindergarten, Week One

Success. It has been a total success, I am happy to report!

The really good stuff: Anna loves her teacher, she has made friends, she happily walks to school, and she is just overall enjoying school.

The not-so-great-stuff (that we are still working on): getting ready in the morning is so difficult and I feel like I am always nagging and rushing; walking home from school and late afternoon, Anna has some, umm, behavioral issues (in other words, she gets tired and grumpy); and, finally, this girl won’t eat her damn lunch (even when she picks out everything and packs it herself! Full of stuff she usually loves!).

So we are working out the kinks. Friday morning I set my alarm a half hour earlier than usual (6:30 instead of 7 am) and woke up Anna at 7 instead of 7:15. We were able to leave the house by 7:45 instead of 8:05 like usual and it was actually nice to be there early enough that Anna had some play time on the playground and Adam and I had some socializing time with other parents.

My biggest stress is being anxious about Adam leaving for business trips. I have no idea how in the world I am going to manage getting everything ready by myself. I rely on him so much and he is so helpful, helping make Anna’s lunch, brush her hair and teeth, get her her breakfast, etc. Infants just don’t understand time constraints (sigh) and little Lily loves to take her time with her morning milk (this girl SLEEPS–usually just one night wake up to eat–so she is starving when she wakes in the morning!).

I was able to volunteer on Thursday to do some class prep for Anna’s teacher (I’m planning on doing this 1-2 times a week this year) and it was actually fun to help get all the pieces ready for a project. It was really cool to be able to peek in on Anna in her classroom environment because I feel like we never really hear the whole story about her day. She tells us snippets but then gets annoyed with the questions.

On the whole, I couldn’t be more pleased with how well things are going. I am so glad that school is, thus far, a truly positive experience for Anna!