Monday, November 12, 2012

Our Own Little Threenager...

A week ago now, Amari Becker Fishman - as she introduces herself now - turned three years old. Amazing. This is such a fun age. All along the way she has been slowly moving towards becoming her own little person, and now more than ever she is establishing her personality as a part of our family mix. A lot of it comes from what we've modeled - the manners, the humor, the reluctance at times to try new things - while a lot of it is all hers - the imagination, the creative talent, the stubbornness, the defiance/individuation. It's fascinating to Carrie and I reflected in our daughter.

School didn't go quite as smoothly on day two or week two. I think I took it for granted that Amari was fine the second day when I said, "I'll see you later," while she was engaged in a puzzle. Apparently, when she realized I was gone, she shed some tears, eventually recovered, and finished the day. The next Tuesday I kept her home sick and that Thursday ended up being my first day at preschool. She didn't want me to leave and I didn't want to traumatize her and make it completely distasteful. Since then, I've tried not to talk about school in hopes of a short-term memory and a healthy new attitude come tomorrow morning.

Amari's birthday party was on Saturday, and it went off without a hitch. No tears or fights or unhappy moments during present-opening time. I was worried there wouldn't be enough entertainment for the kids, but when everyone showed up I realized it's us adults who are more entertainment dependent. The kids just ran around, played, ate, and played some more. By the end of the evening, Amari was dancing around by herself singing, "It's my birthday. It's my birthday." She was completed sated and elated.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo. Sorry I don't write as much.

I love you,

 Amari's New Ride

 "It's my birthday. It's my birthday." 

" cream cake."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Waldorf Montesooria

For the past few months, pre-school has been the hot topic around Amari's playgroups. There about half a dozen to choose from on the coast, and depending on the parent you ask you'll get a rave review or a cautionary tale. Six months ago, I was barely open to discussing it, feeling as though time had gone by too quickly already and school of any kind would only cement the inevitable end to my journey as a stay-at-home dad. I wasn't ready - and if I'm honest, I don't think Amari was either at that point.

More recently, however, I began to imagine what I could accomplish with a few hours to myself each week. Indoors and out, personally and professionally, my "To Do" lists were mounting. I began opening myself to prospect of letting go, the certainty that I would eventually have to in so many ways as a parent, and I quizzed other parents about schools I was interested in. For a while, I was sure the local Montesoorie school was the perfect fit.

I never visited, I just liked the idea of a school with a philosophy. What I didn't like and what was ultimately the deal-breaker was their minimum requirement of four days a week. Too expensive financially and emotionally right out of the gate. Oh yeah, and the aforementioned Vegippie from the episode titled "And the Award for the Worst Townie Ever Goes to..." has her children enrolled there.

Then I started paying attention to the kids I felt Amari was temperamentally aligned with and asked where they attended school. A small sample size of similar children led me to check out the pre-school at a local church. Carrie was reticent and worried about indoctrination, but I figured it was pretty naive to think we could protect Amari from a world full of ideas. That's life. Whatever she comes home with will be tempered by or assimilated into what we teach here. When I asked the director of the pre-school, she let me know what to expect - very minimal religious influence - and told me they encouraged families from other faiths to come in and share their belief systems. That was enough for me - I enrolled Amari the next day.

The next day was last Tuesday. When we visited Monday, Amari wanted to stay, so I was optimistic and hopeful the next morning. It honestly couldn't have gone better. I was more anxious than she was. She sat down to play blocks with her friend Adam and when I asked for a hug goodbye, she jumped up, wrapped her arms around me, and said, "Goodbye." I drove away feeling relieved and nervous, and for the next two plus hours amidst a flurry of chores I checked my phones in case there was a call saying, "This just isn't working," followed by a list of all the things I need to work on if I'm going to continue raising an only child.

Instead, the phones remained silent. I got a ton of work done inside and out, and when I picked Amari up at 11:30 she saw me from across the room and and smiled, "You came back," she said -  a reference to the Llama Llama book we'd been reading in preparation for school.
"How did it go?" I asked her.
"I didn't miss you," she assured me, unlike Llama Llama had.

To be honest, those words have never sounded so sweet...