Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hockey and Dance (Read Also: Our Life Savings and Social Lives)

This summer we signed Tyson up for summer hockey and enrolled Mila in her first ever dance camp. If they both like it, we can kiss away our savings AND our social lives. I'm told this is the definition of a parent's unconditional love for their child.

Tyson has been in ice skating since just after he turned two, but this was first go at hockey with full equipment and a stick. A stick! On the ice! After years of watching hockey, I'm just now realizing how dangerous this sounds.

Daddy and Tyson were thrilled. I was terrified.

Suiting up (is that's what you call it?) took approximately 30 minutes. That's roughly the same amount of time he had on the ice. And that was with Daddy's help. If I'm ever left to the duty by myself, we might have to budget a few extra hours. Or days.

The effort was worth it because he looked cute. I mean tough. He looked tough.

He fell at least fifty times, but got up each time with a smile on his face.  He was the slowest. But in his defense, he was also the youngest. He could have easily been frustrated, but instead he yelled to us from the ice, "I'm practicing!" On the way home he eagerly told us he thought he "really got the hang of it at the end."

Turns out he didn't just look tough, he was tough.

Mila is enrolled in a 5 week summer dance camp in yet another attempt to get her into a setting without Mommy by her side. And also because she looks ridiculously cute in a tutu and ballet shoes. Ridiculously.

"Suiting up" for her practice took two minutes, although I'm still not sure if her ballet slippers were on the right feet. Is there a right and left ballet slipper? I never took dance and couldn't seem to find a distinction. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I guess I can always blame her lack of coordination on my inability to determine right and left.

There were a few tears when class first started, but she quickly warmed up to her teacher and the idea of dancing around a classroom with scarves and a tambourine in her hand. Perhaps she was a gypsy in a past life. Either that our a mouse because she also really really likes cheese.


It's been two days since her first dance class and Mila has requested to put on her dance "costume" again no less than 50 times. It's been three days since Tyson's first hockey practice and he keeps asking how many more sleeps he has until he can go back.

Looks like we'll need to start clearing our social calendars.... and our bank accounts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mila's Second Day of School

Dear Mimi,

Tomorrow we will drop you off for your second official day of school. I'm nervous. The first official day did NOT go well. There were tears. From both of us.

I attempted to write this letter to you last week, on your first official day, but I couldn't even go there. How am I already dropping my baby off at school?  Wasn't it just last month that you fit in the crook in my arm? Didn't I just rock you to sleep last week? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was strapping your little body to my chest for walks around the neighborhood?  How does time continue to go so fast?

You have never been in a classroom without me. You depend on me for everything. You hold my hand tightly in new environments. It takes you at least an hour to "warm-up" to new adults. If a kid even looks at you on the playground you hide behind my legs. You are shy and apprehensive and not used to life without Mommy or Daddy by your side.

And this was why I sat in the parking lot for twenty minutes after I dropped you off. Crying. Convincing myself you would be ok. As I walked out of school last week, I could hear you yelling my name and it took nearly every ounce of willpower I had NOT to go back in and scoop you up.

This will be good for you baby. It will be good for both of us. You will learn how to play with other kids and how to take direction from other adults. You will learn to smile at that little girl on the playground when she says hi and that your teachers can keep you safe. You will learn that Mommy will always ALWAYS come back for you.

On the way home from your first day of school, I asked you if you had fun. You answered, "Yes, but I missed you."

I missed you too, baby.

Here's to hoping that tomorrow is a good second day of school.



Monday, June 9, 2014

MN Zoo

Early last week, I loaded both kids, a stroller, a diaper bag, three lunches and boatloads of sunscreen into the car by 8:30 AM. This alone is a feat worth mentioning.

I told the kids I had a surprise for them.

Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for the ramifications of this action. Surprises and four year olds, I discovered,  go together about as well as oil and water. Tyson anxiously asked every three minutes what the surprise was. EVERY. THREE. MINUTES. "What's the surprise, Mommy?" " Can you tell me the surprise. Mommy?" "Mom, what's our surprise?"

Considering he wakes at 6:30, that's roughly 50 questions fielded before 9 AM.

Did I mention I had ran out of coffee the day before?

By the time we pulled into the Minnesota Zoo parking lot, I was exhausted from the car packing and the question answering and the coffee lacking, but these expressions more than made up for it.

Two and four might not be the best ages for surprises, but they are definitely the best ages for a trip to the zoo.

Despite packing the stroller, they ran hand in hand from exhibit to exhibit. Mila happily waved to the animals, pointed out the baby monkeys and talked animatedly to the penguin that followed her hand around.  Tyson excitedly told me about the lion fish we saw, bravely reached in to pet the stingrays in the touch pond and ran like crazy through the splash pad.

When little legs got tired, we rode the tractor to the farm to pet the goats. Without fear, they both sat down to brush their coarse hair. We found the cows and talked about all of products we use that cows make.

We had a picnic lunch in the shade near a small tree trunk obstacle course. When the kids were done eating they climbed and jumped from trunk to stump while I happily texted my Mom that this was my favorite stay-at-home mom day to date.

And it was. It's harder than I like to admit to make days like these-days where we're all happy and content. Days where the effort to create something special is worth the effort to create something special. Days when we all go to bed exhausted but so, so happy.

I liked this surprise. I can only hope they liked it as much as me.