Lots of changes happening around here. Of course, one thing that never changes is me being behind, so you’re getting this report on Elfling starting BIG SCHOOL! and Dude starting SPIELGRUPPE! a whole three weeks late. And low on picture content. Um, oops?
(A has C’s first day of school pic secreted away in his camera and isn’t letting me have it yet, so blame him for that part.)
ETA: Pics are up! Those that include other children are friends-only, so be sure to log in.)
Anyway. Yes. Summer is over – it was ferociously hot, weeks and weeks and weeks went by with temperatures in the 30s (and not much cooler overnight), so the change of season is quite a relief. Holidays happened, we had a week in Davos (with a bit more mountain walking than Elf would have preferred) and 10 days plus 1 in England (the “plus one” owing to a flight cancellation, so it certainly didn’t add anything to the fun of the trip), and working backwards from the present as is clearly only sensible with a backlog, you’ll get your update on that Later.
Because the new things happening now really are big news. Big changes. I’m very aware, with all kinds of mixed feelings (though probably not the way you’re imagining),* that the baby phase of our lives is almost entirely over. Dude is mostly weaned (barring first thing in the morning – I can’t cut him off completely just yet, he loves it too much), he’ll be out of nappies soon (I really really hope), and he’s IN SPIELGRUPPE. Two mornings a week for now; one more (in a different, farmyard playgroup) starting after the October holiday.
He loves it. He took to it instantly, without a backward glance at mommy as I went out the door. I mean that literally. Frankly I would really like him to give me a friendly goodbye squeeze, but no, because THERE ARE CARS and they have his full attention. It’s as different from Elf’s (desperately panicked, miserable) playgroup start as could be imagined.
And, obviously, I love it. I love that he’s suddenly so much more a little boy; there was a noticeable change over the holidays, a major shift in the quality of how he plays with Claudia. They’ve always enjoyed playing together but now he can take a far more active role. He’s speaking in complete and sometimes complex sentences. So it’s a great time for Spielgruppe: he’s ready to socialise, make friends, even learn more German.
And HELLO ALONE TIME. For me, that is. I get to have two and a half whole hours undisturbed; I can listen to music. I can do work that requires concentration. I can do, well, whatever I want to do, as long as it’s not more than a couple of hours’ worth (so going into town is pretty much out, but that’s okay, what I want to do is sit at home and work, and be alone with my thoughts and my knitting). It’s not enough. I’m greedy; I want way more alone time than this. Not just for work – I really like spending time in my head, and I haven’t had that luxury for years, and I hardly feel like myself any more. But here we are, and it’s a start.
Elf, now: Elf is a first-grader, and in the school we wanted for her (we had absolutely no control over this – you don’t get to request a school allocation), which is a bit of a surprise, although a welcome one. It’s very small and ever so slightly further away, and all her friends, even the ones who live on that side, are going to the school on our street. So: yay Watt Schulhaus! Lovely teachers, lovely principal (who specifically wanted C “with me”, because our daughter is awesome, and as I understand it that’s why she’s there). But boo for a new class with a whole new group of kids. She knows a handful of them but basically has to make friends from scratch. I have no reason to be anxious about this. She formed friendships very fast in kindergarten, when she was still struggling with the language, so it’ll be easy peasy now, right? And yet, I am so very anxious. Parents, man. I should just chill.
Besides social anxiety, I’m full of vicarious academic anxiety. No, not that she’ll struggle, of course! More that she’ll be bored and unmotivated. They’re off to a slow start and I know how much she can already do – she isn’t even getting a chance to use any of what she knows, so far. But it’ll be fine, right? It’ll be fine. By her own account, she’s loving school and very happy so far. Mommy needs to chill.
One more new thing: she’s started Geräteturnen, ie proper gymnastics. (“Turnen” here is generally used to mean gym in the American sense – phys ed, sort of thing. Games. Geräteturnen = gymnastics with equipment, and competitions.) She is very excited about this, as am I. I never did any kind of sport at school but if I had had the chance, I would have loved to try gymnastics. And Elf is just stoked. I don’t think she’s particularly talented but she’s mightily enthusiastic! She has spent so many hours this year working on her cartwheels. (Still floppy.) The one kindergarten thing she was especially sad about leaving behind was the “Stange” (cross-bar thing in the playground, she used to tell me in great detail about all the ways she was figuring out to flip round it). So yay Turnen!
* I’m not sentimental about losing my baby. A is, a bit. And it’s absolutely true that M is an incredibly delicious baby/toddler and this rapidly passing stage is to be treasured. But I love watching kids grow, and am very aware of how much easier things get for me as they do grow. So that’s not it. But: things getting easier means fewer excuses for me. And I’m pretty uncomfortable, right now, with questions of what I’m doing and where I’m going. So: mixed feelings. I want to move forward, but don’t have a vast amount of faith in how much forward I’m actually moving.