I'm really not going to miss the drive to and from Melissa's, but I am going to miss Melissa. I feel bad too that Melissa is going to miss Katrina. As opinionated and un-cuddly as Katrina is, she's no troublemaker, doesn't whine or cry much, goes wit the program, and takes care of herself.
On top of it, I'm probably going to put Katrina back at Tonya's when I go back to work, and right now Melissa and Tonya are on the outs. I don't want to know why; I tell them both that I can't live without either of them, they've been friends for years, and I hope they make up soon. But I have a bad feeling Melissa will actually be a little jealous that Tonya gets Katrina.
But the one tiny bright side to the now-ex-driving is the time I "spend" (sort of) with the boys in the car, listening to them talk or sing or whatever. Today when I picked up Katrina with the boys, Julian had a Curious George book. He's memorized much of it, but he was also making a serious effort to read words he doesn't remember. When he got stuck on a word, he'd ask Gabriel to read it to him, and this developed into Gabriel instructing him on how to read. "What's the first letter, Julian?" "Sound it out!" "How do you pronounce -- ?"
One time I heard Julian say a word "serr-ren," and then Gabriel correct him to "siren" -- I'll be darned, Julian really is sounding out words and trying to read them.
Gabriel tired of this after a while, or sometimes cut Julian down: "GOD Julian, I can't believe you don't know the word 'scream'!" I handle this by jumping in with, "Wow, Julian, you're reading SO well, I'm so proud of you! Gabriel, what a terrific teacher you are!" Gabriel has no choice but to agree. Then I praise Gabriel for helping Julian so much, which really, he does.
I also take any opportunity to tell Gabriel that he wasn't anywhere near as good at reading at Julian's age. Truth is, I don't actually remember how well Gabriel read at 4-1/2, but a memory lapse is ample fodder to take big brother down a peg or two.
At home, Julian continued through the rest of "Curious George and the Firefighters," reading right up to The End. He persisted through some competition from his sister, who sat right down next to him and said "BOO? BOO??" requesting the book (most of what she says is intonated as a question). She was easily distracted by a pair of shoes. I'm delighted at his effort and interest. He really, really wants to read, and that's going to be the biggest factor in his success.
Good thing, because I paid a deposit today to enroll him at a new school. I don't know how I came to this exactly; I made my improved commute a little worse by moving him, but I do feel better about it than where he was. I especially felt good talking to the director of the new school and hearing her say she'd been there 7 years. Continuity is a really good thing in childcare and teaching.
I got one room under control in our rental house, finally! Katrina's room, the easiest one possible. In doing so, I uncovered a box of toys that included a pair of sunglasses, which Katrina latched right on to. It was SO funny watching her walk carefully around, almost with her hands out in front of her, because she's not used to the shaded view!
Gabriel came home from CDC early today with a temperature, and Katrina has the most horrendous and painful diaper rash (BRIGHT glaring red, raw and bleeding spots). Just in time for our redeye flight tomorrow!