Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Gemma

I had been trying to keep up with a little math/reading stuff over the summer so my kids wouldn't be complete potatoes once they went back to school. I've also been trying different things with Gemma (she can sometimes spell her name!), like teach her our last name. "I'm just Gemma," she'll say. I say, "Gemma Yvette." No, just Gemma. I'll try pointing out that we each have the same last name. Nah, she's "Just Gemma." I suppose she is.

Sunday night, after days of saying he wished it was Sunday night so he could go to school the next day, Donovan confessed to being a little scared. I asked him what he was scared of. He didn't know. I asked him if he was afraid he wouldn't have friends. No. Are you afraid it will be hard work? No. Are you afraid you won't know what to do? No. This is when my brain said, "Good job, Sarah. Way to give him ideas of what to be afraid of..." But my lips kissed him goodnight and said, "Then I think you're just nervous excited to get there." In the morning, he came galloping out of his room crowing, "I'm not scared! Just excited!"

It's hard NOT to have that kind of energy with the teacher he has this year (and will have next year, as well, since he is in a first/second grade combo class). She has sent several emails over summer break, and encouraged the kids to write back. When we met her at a park a couple weeks ago, she screamed, "Donovan! I've been so excited to MEET YOU!" And gave him a huge hug. Truth be told, I kind of wanted a hug.

I got one.

So when we showed up on Monday morning, she squealed again and said, "There you are! I've been waiting for you! Could you sleep last night? I COULDN'T!" (When she squealed, Joel practically jumped - it WAS rather loud. I just grinned, nodded, and mouthed, "She's ALWAYS like this. Awesome.") We put away his supplies and got to see who would be at his table (yay for neighbors who are practically like sisters!). He's lucky to have a big sister who is wonderfully encouraging and positive.

Then we moved on to Ainsleigh's classroom. We really lucked out with teachers this year. After Ainsleigh finished kindergarten, her (FANTASTIC) teacher moved to fourth grade. We always thought, "Wouldn't that be fun to be in her class again?!" But fourth grade seemed SO FAR away.

Fourth grade started Monday, and Ainsleigh was ecstatic to see she had her kindergarten teacher again. Not only that, but two of her best friends are ALSO in her class. I have to say, as I watched her navigate her classroom and reconnect with friends, it hit me, "This kid knows what she's doing." And she doesn't look like a baby any more.

Both kids had an exceptional day and couldn't wait to return the next. But before that could happen, Joel and I took the kids out to a celebratory dinner at a hibachi restaurant. The kids had never been there before, and I hoped they would be entertained by the table cooking. They LOVED it. When the chef(?) started flipping broccoli into everyone's mouths (and missing, for the most part, though I will point out that *I* was the only one to catch it on the first try), Gemma practically exploded in giggles. Anyway, the kids were thoroughly impressed and Donovan proclaimed it the greatest restaurant ever as I hoped/knew he would.

On the way home from school Monday morning, as our house came into view, it was like it all hit Gemma and she stopped. Kind of perplexed, she turned her hands up and incredulously asked, "It's just me?!" Well, I tried to pacify her, and me. And Daddy (even if he is working deliriously insane hours at the moment). Gemma kind of hunched her shoulders and stalked home, bewildered. I suppose I am a poor substitute for the boy who has run her life for the past three years. But now it gives me a chance to read to her and paint her nails in peace and, most of all, allows her to have elaborate make-believe scenarios with all of the little people and playmobil figures. She was scrambling around the swingset this morning, belting the Indiana Jones theme song and "rescuing" her doll while I tended the garden.

I miss those kids while they're at school. But it's good to have a little "just Gemma."

(three days until I finish my first half marathon or die trying. not that anyone's counting...)


laura said...

Okay, first, because someone has to and it should probably be me: "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so..... SCARED!"

Also, loooove that picture of G. Her hair's getting so long! And I can't believe your kids are so old.

And finally, woohooooo for the half! You'll do great.

Sarah Burgoyne said...

Hannah's also in a 1/2 multi age class. I wonder how we haven't had a conversation about this yet?

Every time I see Gemma I am amazed at how long and pretty her hair is :)

P.S. I'll think of you on Saturday!