Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Although I don't quite believe it's possible, WonderGirl started school this week. I've actually been a bit surprised by my own reaction -- even though she has been in daycare/preschool since she was a baby, it feels like a huge step. The cliches about time flying are feeling true (for the first time ever, quite honestly). I also lay in bed last night, thinking about my two growing children, each asleep in bed, and got almost overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility to them. Usually I am good at doing the daily tasks of parenting, and I usually manage to complete the medium- to long-term tasks that are required. I think, though, that keeping up with the "tasks" has prevented me at times from really considering the fact that DT and I are now the Dad and Mom. We're not playing house; we truly are a family, and Rocco and WonderGirl will think back on these exact times when they think of their childhood. I know that none of this is particularly insightful on my part, and it's something that I always know on an intellectual level. For some reason, right now, I'm feeling it viscerally in a way that doesn't always happen. It's a little scary.

Hmm, that's not what I meant to write about today, but there it is.

Moving on -- the good news is that WonderGirl is overwhelmingly in love with her school, her teacher, her new experiences, her lunchbox, the blue bars on the playground, everything. It is a honeymoon like I never expected her to have. Instead of being frightened or having a difficult transition as she came to realize that things were going to be different from her old preschool, she has flourished. She is positively looking for things to enjoy, and DT and I are basking in her reflected glow.

It reminds me of people traveling to unfamiliar places -- WonderGirl clearly takes after DT in that she is eager to soak up the new culture, learn the rules and integrate herself as quickly and as much as possible. She has a 4-year-old confidence about these things that I can't relate to at all. Her tendencies are encouraged by the attitude and philosophy of her school; there is clearly a lot of attention paid to making students feel welcomed. I would be lying if I didn't admit my own jealousy. I'm starting my sixth year in my department and believe that, after two days, WonderGirl is more a part of her school's family than I am. Perhaps if I wore ponytails and mismatched shoes more often I would be similarly welcomed.


One of the odd things about WonderGirl's move is that I truly have no idea how things work at her new school. Our family was/is a fixture at the daycare, and there is nothing there that could surprise me. Now, however, I'm reliant on WonderGirl to describe her new situation to me, and some things are clearly getting lost in translation. I hear all about recess (both of them! each day! hallelujah! says WonderGirl) but don't quite get the other classroom routines. Actual conversation as WonderGirl described the "centers" in the room:

Ruth: What center did you choose?
WonderGirl: Blocks.
R: Who did you play with? Were there other people in the block center?
WG: Not me!
R: I thought you said you chose blocks.
WG (looking at me like she is already tasked with caring for an aging, slow parent): I thought you meant this morning.

So things come out slowly (turns out she was at the listening center in the morning, then the block center in the afternoon with two other kids, DUH, Mom) but they're coming out. Meanwhile, I have to wonder if they truly do have "silent lunch" and if so, how much her teachers charge in consulting fees to share their secrets of coercion.

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