Like a slap of aftershave after using a month old razor, summer came to an abrupt halt today. Both girls started school, one in 4 yr. old pre-K and the other in kindergarten. If the emotional pulls weren't enough, a parent also gets bombarded with forms, information, rules, numbers and whatever else. All nice enough and from good people, but I thought it was the kids that were supposed to be overwhelmed by the end of the day. I don't even know where to start. So I won't, for tonight.
Now that I'm back, I'm sure you'll hear more.
Our city has two holidays: Memorial Day and the 4th
of July. Legally, we have other holidays, but on those two days the party sign is out and friends from around the area come in celebrate. On our block of ten or eleven houses there were four backyard parties in the late afternoon and evening, and at dusk most of the city gets up and starts walking to the city center with blankets and wagons for the fireworks display.
Throughout the fireworks display, Genevieve sang loudly and Reesa
plugged her ears. Genevieve's singing had so much volume that people in front of us turned around above the din of the display to see what the source of the noise was. And what was she singing? Beats me -- it was mostly a stream-of-whatever-crosses-her-mind.Reesa
needed cuddling for much of the show, was very impressed by any rocket that was a "sparkler" (and, no, I couldn't figure out exactly what she meant about that), and in the middle of the show started her own song, fingers still firmly planted in her ears. Her words were very minimalist (she'll make a good pop song writer), and went like this:
-i-CAN fire woooOOORKS
So, it is a good thing that fireworks are loud, because they were relentless.
The day did not start so well for Genevieve. Our neighbor's daughter was over playing with our children this morning, riding bikes in the driveway, and Genevieve slowly rode past the friend and with her sister a little distance away quietly said "Hey, wanna go on the swing with me?"
There are only two swings on our swingset
, and it seemed clear to me that Genevieve's intent was to cut her sister out of the swing action (like, maybe I'd seen this maneuver a few times before, hmmmmmmm?). However, Reesa's
ears are sharp and mind keen and she wasn't on her bike, and immediately and without fanfare she bolted for the backyard swings. So did the friend -- after all, she had been asked to go swinging. Genevieve took a little smidge
of time to dismount her bike and didn't realize that both other girls had a big headstart
on the run to the backyard until too late, and ooooooooo
, what a tantrum there was! Oh, her sister was a tricker
and a sneak! And it wasn't FAIR (oh, that F word again).
I failed to be won over, which eventually earned me a big fat "I HATE YOU!!!!" Don't fret about me -- I was in good company, because she placed her mother and sister in the same boat. So, only Reesa got to go to the bike parade. This meant that She-Who-Would-Like-To-Be-Having-Fun-With-Our-Children ended up at home with the whirlwind child, which did break our "rule" of not having a consequence for a child be a consequence for an adult. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, and this was one of them. Next time, it will probably be my turn.
Reesa came running to present me with this drawing, two people parachuting under the sun and a rainbow. What she was most proud of was that one parachute was further away (the smaller parachute, bottom right).
A few moments later, Genevieve showed me her drawing (below), and seemed to complain that her sister had been copying her. I explained briefly that this was because her sister looked up to the work she did, and that her drawing was well done and that it was a compliment to be copied in that way.
I don't know that Genevieve sees it that way. Reflexively, she wants to feel cheated that her sister is imitating her. We try to suggest that she provides an older example for her sister. The trick then is to watch out for the hint of bragging or belittling that can come. It's familiar to me. As the eldest child, I remember dealing with similar feelings when my little sister tried to copy me.