Thinking kindergarten

Claire had an exercise at school today that involved listing “what makes me excited about kindergarten, and what makes me nervous about kindergarten!”  Claire illustrated each item with a little picture.  Claire is excited that her classmate Lyla will be there and about doing homework.  There it is for the record… excited about homework.  She is nervous about making new friends and “because it will be tricky in kindergarten”.  I have mentioned the early kindergarten start time to her, but it may not have hit her yet, or else she would have listed being nervous about getting to school every day by 7:40.  At least I would have listed that one.

Tough Time, Sweet Picture

Claire has been picked on more than usual the last few days. For starters, on the drive home from school, Molly has been scratching and pinching Claire. Claire is always in the back seat saying, “No, Molly! Stop doing that!” When I look back, I sometimes see Molly’s hand grasping at Claire, fingers outstretched towards Claire’s shoulder. Claire says that scratching and pinching is “non-negotiable” and is talking about moving her car seat away from Molly.
Then, yesterday, our dog Muffin peed all over Claire’s bed. We have no idea why she picked Claire’s bed, but there it was, soaked through the comforter, both sheets, several blankets, and a pillow.  Claire had to sleep in the guest room while her blankets were in the washer.  Claire was a little concerned that Muffin would sneak into the guest room and pee on her while she was sleeping.
And today, just before I picked her up from school, Claire had a run-in on the playground with a kid named Henry. Claire and Henry have had an ongoing love-hate relationship.  Apparently today, one of Claire’s “Croc” shoes came off during a race. Claire tried to put it back on, but Henry tried to grab it from her. Then he called her some sort of mean name and kept grabbing at her shoe. Then he scratched at Claire’s arm, ruining her very favorite temporary tattoo that she has been wearing for about two weeks. When I arrived, Claire’s friend Renee had rushed to her aid and comfort, I was told later that her friend Jack had somehow gone after Henry. Anyways, Claire was mad and was chasing down Henry and telling him that he should treat others the way he wants to be treated.  I was proud of the way she stood up for herself but did not yell or hit or otherwise attack Henry back.
When we got home, Claire said that she had been having some tough days, and she was going to draw a picture of what tomorrow would look like. Tomorrow was going to be a very good day (dammit!). Here is what she came up with.  Claire asked for my help to spell the words.
You can’t read some of the faint print.
Basically one girl says, “Hey, can I play too?”
The others say, “Sure!” and “Yeah!”

Little Baker Molly

Molly has been pretty good about entertaining herself lately while I make dinner.  Tonight as I was chopping tomatoes, Molly waddled through the kitchen.   She was wearing a winter hat that resembled a baker’s hat, and she was carrying a bag of uncooked pasta in her arms.  She looked up at me without stopping, smiled, said “Hey”, and proceeded to wander around the corner with her pasta as if she were off to make her own dinner.  I still don’t know where that pasta ended up.

Writing for Real

Claire has been trying to master her reading and writing skills, and is making steady, incremental progress on both fronts. I can actually show you the writing part.

For a while, Claire was happy to put any sort of letters on her pictures. These were either super-secret, encrypted words, used for national security… or just random letters. Sadly, we’ll never know for sure.

Now Claire is writing her first real, actual words, as seen here.
Sometimes she asks us for help to write out something more involved, for instance Rapunzel, let down your hair! to accompany a drawing of a very long-haried girl. I could not scan that one because she gave it as a gift to her friend Maddie, who can read.

Molly’s First Trip to Houston

I have been trying to avoid long posts, and I have found that posts about travel and holidays are nearly impossible to keep short.  They can quickly get out of hand, resulting in long, rambling posts (and much lost sleep on my part).  I was reminded of this just recently.

That said, it is worth noting that Molly took her first trip to Houston this weekend, to see my parents.  Claire, of course, came along too.  It was a busy and fun trip.  We accidentally overcommitted on Saturday’s plans, which included two play dates, lunch out, and swimming.  Molly’s favorite activity was probably sorting hair bands into a little plastic bag, which she did for at least an hour.

Molly also made her first trip to Corpus Christi recently, to see Kit’s parents.  I managed to keep that post short too, which was especially easy since I did not actually go on that trip.

Musical Maniac

Molly loves listening to music.  On the drive to school, I sometimes put on a few tunes from the Countdown Kids, as I did for Claire when she was a toddler.  They do a nice crisp version of all the kids’ classics, everything from “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to “Frere Jacques”.  Molly is crazy about this music.  Whenever a song ends, she says “more” repeatedly and quite emphatically, even signing “more” with her hands for emphasis.  Molly’s very favorite song is “Six In a Bed”.  She loves this one so much that she can get pretty mad and frustrated when this song is over, if it is not repeated pretty quickly.

Occasionally I like to listen to grown-up music to teach the kids about sharing and taking turns, and different styles of music.  Plus sometimes I just want to hear a certain song.  Today on the drive home, I had the urge to listen to “Love Reign O’er Me” by The Who.  This is not a kid’s song by any stretch.  In just over five minutes of play, this sad yet uplifting song from 1973 features some discordant instrumentation, some lively strings, some restrained singing, some impassioned yelling, a classic rock groove, and a wild crashing end.  At the end of this odd song, Molly insisted on hearing it again.  “More!” she said, adamantly.  Wow.  I wonder what she would think of Radiohead.