I had a nice long list of things to do today but all my plans were thrown awry when Andrew put his puppy dog eyes on and begged me to cut his hair. Suddenly my kitchen was transformed into a cheap barbershop and both my boys ended up with second-rate haircuts (because even with seven years of haircutting experience I'm not too skilled with the clippers). After haircuts I had time to do some laundry and pack a lunch before Benjamin, Miriam, and I headed off to Rachel's school.
They eat lunch at 11:00 in the morning, which seems so early to me! Rachel eats breakfast by 7:30, has lunch by 11:00, and then has to wait for six (or, more conceivably seven) hours to get her dinner. I make up for it by packing a somewhat large snack.
Rachel loves it when we visit her school and her classroom has an open door policy. Her teacher is so welcoming to parents and younger siblings alike. Not that we go all that often. She's been in school for four weeks now and we've visited twice. Today we only intended to stay for lunch, but her teacher was like, "Why don't you just come on down to the classroom for a while?" So we did.
The kids get their lunch recess before lunch, which seems so backwards to me (but as long as they get it, I don't mind). After lunch they have some quiet time in the classroom—the lights are off and they're free to read, write, or rest. Some kids put their heads down on their desks (I assume they were resting), while other students quietly busied themselves with paper, pencils, crayons, and books. Miriam pulled a chair up to Rachel's desk and tucked into some earlier readers while Rachel buried her nose in Ninjas in the Night (a Magic Treehouse book, in case you couldn't tell).
I wandered around with Benjamin helping kids sound out words and oohing and ahhing over various works of art. Everywhere we go, everyone seems smitten with Benjamin—he's quite the charmer.
When rest time was over, I rounded up the little ones and we said goodbye to Rachel and headed home for our own rest time.
We've been busy reorganizing things around the house. It almost seems crazy to me that we're reorganizing already when we haven't even been in this house for a year, but I guess "getting organized" is one of those ongoing tasks. We recently acquired an armoire for our living room. It's kind of bigger than I was expecting but actually takes up about the same amount of floor space as the little coffee table we had our computer-TV set up on. But, we were able to put our printer in the bottom cabinet (so now Benjamin can't play with it) and the TV and receiver are up higher (so Benjamin can't muck with them) and because the little speakers fit in the upper cabinet, the extra space around them acts as a natural amplifier so Andrew has consented to put away (but not get rid of) the honking-big speakers we've been lugging around our entire married lives.
They've been the bane of my existence. I don't know why they bother me so much (except, possibly, that they've always been larger than our television, larger than any "entertainment center" we'd concocted—they're larger than 2/3 of our children, for crying out loud).
I was happy to see them go, even if it meant hauling them into the attic when the heat index was busting over 100 degrees. If there's one place I've learned you don't want to be when the heat index is 105°F (45°C) it's in your attic moving boxes of stuff around. It was absolutely sweltering up there. I was sweating places I didn't know I could sweat (or at least, places I didn't remember could sweat—I haven't been quite that sweaty since that one time we went to the beach in the middle of the day...in Dubai...in August (I think it was about 114°F that day)). Not only did we have the speakers to put up, but I'd gone through the kids' clothes and sorted out what to keep for future kids and what to part with and we hauled all our clothing boxes up to the attic as well. I was dripping when I finally reentered the air conditioning.
Speaking of getting rid of clothes, I just sent out an invitation to the very first swap meet that I'm hosting. I'm a little bit nervous. My friend Kim used to host them all but she moved and no one volunteered to take over her duties so I did. And then I immediately began to regret that decision because hosting things is hard for me. But it's coming right up so there's not much I can do about it. Plus, I guess it's worth it if I can clothe my kids for free, right?
I'd already climbed down from the attic and Andrew and I were just finishing up sorting a few random things that have been sitting in our bedroom when my phone rang. I ran to get it and it was Rachel's school. A million thoughts flew through my mind at once: Is she sick? Did she get hurt? Does she need to come home early? Early? It's 3:40!
All that before I even opened up my mouth to say hello.
"Hello, Mrs. Heiss. This is Mrs. M., the instructional aide for Mr. A."
"Yes, hello," I said.
"I'm so sorry," she started. "But I have Rachel standing here next to me and...she missed her bus. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I came back in from getting all the other kids on their busses and Rachel was just sitting in a corner, reading a book. I didn't hear them call her bus number for dismissal and she didn't either—she was so engrossed in her reading. She wants to know if you can come pick her up. If that's alright I'll just walk her to the car-rider area."
We all had a good laugh about that one! She's such a little bookworm. Who knows how long she would have sat there reading if Mrs. M. hadn't have found her?! As it is, she ended up beating the bus home (she hates riding the bus and longs to be an official car-rider but it's simply not possible to drive her to and from school everyday when Andrew's going into campus). It was still hot so we decided to cool off in the pool.
Rachel is doing fantastically well with her lessons. Today we added arms to the backstroke and she swam a length of the pool. Her front stroke is looking pretty good, too, though we're struggling with rhythmic breathing (which is kind of essential to front crawl). We practiced treading water and pencil jumps and also had plenty of free-swim time.
Miriam is doing better in the water, too. She's so brave in shallow water—she can hold her breath for a long time, entirely submerge her head in the water, blows bubbles, and so forth—but take her out of the wading pool, away from the stairs/ledge, and into "the deep part" and she goes ballistic. But today she actually dog paddled (with a floaty on) from us (Andrew and I took turns with her) to the wall, and back again—somewhat willingly, too. She relaxed enough to do a back float without touching me and with me only supporting her with one hand (on either her back or her head). She floats so well that I'm confident she could continue to float if I let go of her, but she's not (which means that she'll sink...because she'll panic the minute I let go and people who panic are sinkers). She's making progress, though.
Benjamin had fun, too. He splashed around with Daddy while I gave lessons to the girls and then I took him and Miriam into the baby pool where they could have a little more fun. He enjoyed walking around the circumference of the pool but kept wanting to get crawl instead. If his arms and legs were just a little bit longer this wouldn't be a problem but when he drops to all fours in the pool, his face is barely out of the water. When he starts to crawl he can't keep from inhaling the water. I kept having to pull him up and remind him that the water is a little too deep for that. I did support him for a while in the pool and let him kick around and experiment with arm movements. He seemed to like that (though he did not enjoy doing his back floats).
We finished off the evening in style, with mini-pizzas, popcorn, grapes, and The Princess Bride. It was the first time the girls watched it and it was wonderful to watch them watch it. That movie is classic.