Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Day of School

Ben was so ready for his first day of school that he cried this morning because we weren't leaving the house early enough. Chris and I dropped him off together, and he didn't even care that we left. He ran up to the door giggling madly and elbowed another poor kid to get in the door. When I picked him up, Ben was exhausted, and his teacher reported that he had a very good first day, that's he's very smart, but he didn't understand "circle time" so they let him explore on his own a bit. Nice teachers! Also, he tended to be quiet in a big group. No surprises there. I'm thinking maybe we'll work on circle time at home with our stuffed animals.

I slept fitfully last night and felt twitterpated when dropping him off, so I just kicked myself out of the classroom quickly and ran 3 miles home. Then I made the mistake of walking to and from school to pick him up, which is about 4 more miles of walking. The first day of school wore me out!

First day report card for Ben: B+
First day report card for Dad: What is the letter grade for completely nonplussed?
First day report card for Mom: Q (Seriously, there is no rational grade for the mess that is me.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alphabet Birthday Wonderland

Ben began his first day as a 3-year-old by demanding that Chris and I sing "The Alphabet Song" instead of "Happy Birthday" to him when we got him out of bed. He then went downstairs and was thrilled to discover letters and balloons hanging from the ceiling. He thought they were pretty much made of awesome and unicorn dust.

After drawing our attention to all the letter decorations, he settled down to opening some gifts. He read his name spelled out on several of the presents (he is recognizing lots of sight words these days).

When he got to this fantastic wooden spelling toy, he set aside everything to play with it for a bit. It's so rewarding when your child actually really likes a gift you've chosen for him, am I right? I never know whether something will illicit ecstasy, apathy, or horror (as was the case with some Kipper felt puppets I made him last Christmas--he now loves them).

The party commenced at 10am.

The most popular items were the alphabet elevator, a bowl of Scrabble Cheezits, and some mason jars filled with candy on the table. FYI, that's pretty much all you need to keep children (or adults!) happy for a few hours.

Ben politely shared his elevator, snacks, and toys and was excited to see some of his friends arrive, but as the crowd grew, our little introvert snuck out to the back porch to have some fun time by himself. Look, bubbles!

Before long his friends joined him. (Doesn't it look nice out there? It was. The temperature stayed quite pleasant while the party lasted--at least as far as the not-eight-months-pregnant guests were concerned.)

After some buttermilk biscuits with ham and sweet iced tea (I fell back on Southern favorites this year), we enjoyed some alphabet and number cupcakes. Ben liked them very much and chose the letter B, for obvious reasons. Below he is staring intently at the cupcakes and refusing to look at anyone singing "Happy Birthday" to him.

A great strategy for eating cupcakes is to lick off all the frosting first.

The party ended with a book exchange.

After nap time (Ben didn't actually sleep, but Mommy, who'd been up since 5am, did), Ben opened yet more presents and Skyped with relatives. We had a great day! As I told Chris that evening, "All these parenting experts suggest that plying your children with junk food and presents is a bad thing, but Ben has been in a super mood all day! I've changed my mind; the key to avoiding whining is to just give him candy and toys all day long."

Thanks to everyone for making Ben feel special on his birthday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not a Box

The other week a mom friend called to tell me that she and her co-workers had received new desk chairs at her office. Whereas everyone else was excited about the chairs, she, as a fellow mom, was excited about the sturdy cardboard boxes that the chairs arrived in. She brought one over to me and, BEHOLD, I have transformed it into The Alphabet Elevator for my son, whose two favorite things in the universe are the alphabet and elevators.

Here's a shot of the interior button panel. I also cut a round hole in the lid to let in light, which looks like the dim, round lights in the elevator at our library.

Everything is better with a giant Z, A, E, or H painted on it:

The box is, much to my chagrin, just large enough that I can squeeze into it with Ben, and he knows it. Tonight I was required to cram myself in and out the door multiple times, scrunch up next to Ben inside, and sing a composed-on-the-spot elevator song about 500 times. Later Chris made up for my mild discomfort by telling me, "You're pretty much the coolest mom in the world because you make things for him all the time and you make up songs all the time. AND you never scream at him or blow smoke in his face." *Sniff, sniff*