My childcare schedule is sort of a mess right now. Too much time for Gabriel, too little time for Katrina, just right for Julian....but the times themselves are a mishmash.
Today Katrina was at Tonya's all day, so I had Julian alone all day. I could put him at Tonya's, and I could have picked up Gabriel early, but I wanted to see how it would go having Julian alone all day. Answer: fine, though I got to do less of grownup things I wanted to, and he got to do less of kid things he wanted to. And, I discovered, I'm not used to having just one kid to deal with anymore!
I took Julian running at Rancho this morning, then to the park for a 2004 playgroup. A reasonable compromise between grownup and kid fun.
After a false start and a fake-out, he cooperated for some self-time photos at Rancho today.
An interesting day for photos because of the odd reddish glow of the sun filtering its way through the forest fire smoke haze in the sky. It made the light a lot like that of a low sunset, but this was in the late morning when the sun would usually be getting too bright and strong for good pictures.
After being out all morning and early afternoon at Rancho and the park, I was ready for a shower and lunch. When we got home, Julian went straight out back and put his bicycle helmet on to do "construction," then quietly played in the dirt for nearly two hours. So outgoing and friendly, yet also very happy playing on his own.
(Yesterday, Julian was in fine form announcing things out of the blue to random people. He stopped an older lady in front of the grocery store and informed her, "I have Red Hot Chili Peppers in my car!" (Not surprisingly, she had no idea what he was talking about, even if she had spoken English.) Then inside the grocery store, he asked me loudly and clearly enough for the numerous people around us to hear, "Are you my Mom?" No, I'm your kidnapper, thanks a lot!)
Tonight Dave and I went to Back to School night at Gabriel's school, which was held in Gabriel's classroom and conducted by his teacher. She went through the curriculum, including the things they'll do on a non-daily basis, such as the weekly music class and PE, and showed us the books they'll use and described the sorts of things the kindergartners will learn. Very useful. So far I really like the teacher and what he'll be learning, but I'm still not crazy about the shot-in-the-dark information from the school administration itself.
We had a chance to see things posted on the walls that the kids had done, including coloring an elephant and writing something about it on the same paper. I was very impressed with the artistry and creativity of many of Gabriel's classmates, whereas Gabriel's idea of coloring was to draw a grid inside the elephant's outline, and then meticulously color squares inside the grid. If he has a future as an artist, early emergence of his talent won't be its hallmark.
Katrina was in fabulous form today, of all days, when she was at Tonya's all day and then with Peggy this evening. Smiling, giggling, cackling, crawling around and finding new things to open and pull everything out of...and, I realized today, the awful screeching has subsided too. Yay! It makes me look forward to a peaceful morning alone with her tomorrow.
In fact, I like time alone with each kid, and for very different reasons with each one. The pull of being with my baby is strong, as babies change so quickly and need their mommies so much and are just so adorable. But at the same time, each day that goes by with my schoolkid away all day increases the pull to have him home too. Suddenly his days living at home seem numbered.
Then there's Julian....the quintessential middle kid. Half of me is in schoolkid mode and half of me is in baby mode, and I'm struggling to reconcile those two lives. But there's a preschooler in the mix too. Maybe he's exactly the middle ground I need.