We didn’t have a trip or anything planned, so Labor Day weekend was just a mellow family time at home — swimming, hanging out mostly. We did manage to grill on Sunday night, some shrimp with vodka-lime sauce and honey-mustard mashed potatoes. Lukas had to go to bed, but Annika stayed up with us and we made a little party of it, putting on the tablecloth and everything; she made tiny place cards for us, with a different flower on each one — they were so pretty! A very nice end to a lovely sunny day.
It had been way too long, so when I saw some great fares online, we snatched ‘em, and Mamalah came out for a week. We had the usual amount of stuff going on, but there was time for some quality hanging-out, and the kids were thrilled to see her every morning (and devastated when she had to leave!). Got to do that more often …
With school less than a mile from us (if we cut through the park) and parking at around there a nightmare, it makes sense to walk to pick Annika up, so that is what Lukas and I do (every day but Tuesday and Wednesday — those are dance and swimming, respectively). It’s usually quite hot, which means I’m in workout gear and full sunscreen, and I’m often later to leave than I meant to be, which means we often make the outbound trip at a run. It’s one of Lukas’s favorite parts of the day: When he wakes up from his nap, he says “Get Ah-ka! RIDE!” On the walk back, we can take our time; it’s really, really nice to just kind of wander along, talking about our days, looking at trees and flowers and whatnot and letting her decompress from school, and when she’s tired, she can perch on the front end of the jogging stroller and ride for a bit (if Lukas is in the mood to let her do that instead of to yank her hair and laugh). I hope to keep doing it on all but the crummiest weather days the rest of this year.
I volunteered for this thing called Project Cornerstone at Annika’s school; it’s supposed to be reading a specific book to the class once a month, with activities for enforcing the lesson, each of which is a kind of anti-bullying/self-esteem life skill (like learning to listen, being a bucket filler instead of bucket dipper, respecting other people and getting respected, etc.). I did the first one this month, and it was … challenging. MAD respect for any teacher able to control a classroom all day; I could barely do it for 35 minutes. The kids are great, but the books I have to read are not the most dynamic things, and the whole deal requires more prep and planning than I bargained for (including finding someone to cover for Lukas care). So — I’ll keep my commitment, but ugh, it’s going to be a lesson in perseverance. Ha! Lead by example, me.
A lot going on with the social calendar for our busy little girl (who, incidentally, lost her second tooth this month!): Playdates (her classmate Alana, who’s the oldest of three kids, including a brand-new baby brother; Grace; Niamh), dance starting up again (there was an almost-complete meltdown when she discovered that at this level, they don’t give you stickers at the end of class, but she did eventually get over it), her little Mohawked classmate Mason’s birthday party (he is one of several boys who are totally enamored of her … oi!), etc. She missed two days of school with a fever (both kids had it for a couple of days, with no other symptoms — mystery), and her main concern was not getting to see her friends. Heh. Through Annika, we’re getting to know Grace’s family as well (Anne & Kevin, plus younger brother Sean, who’s about 2 years older than Lukas); we were all invited over to their house for dinner one Saturday, and it was a really nice time.
The kid is still very, very verbal; he repeats everything we say (note to self: watch your mouth!) and is making connections at light speed. He’s figuring stuff out, like when he says “Oh, nooo!” when things go wrong for the characters in a board book, or points to a bereft Curious George or Gossie and says “Sad! Crying!” while making crying sounds himself. Or, even more hilarious, he’ll pretend to be asleep when we catch him doing something we say no to — he’ll just tuck himself down on the floor, close his eyes with an angelic expression on his face, and say “Seeping!” Incidentally, this is also his “NO!” phase — he pretty much says it to anything, from a request for a kiss to a proffered cracker (his favorite food). Ay yi yi. He’s very very dexterous and curious, always trying to find out what a thing is and what it does, and wow, is he determined to do the stairs himself. It’s terrifying.