Monday, July 14, 2008

7/14/08 Day Camps

Day camps started today! Even though we have deadlines in the morning again, it doesn't seem as onerous as s c h o o l.

Nevertheless, it turned out that Julian's day camp was moved back to the Y's building itself, while Gabriel's was at a nearby elementary school. Katrina went to Melissa's, and I found myself back driving all 3 to different places again! Another two hours a day spent driving around, plus another half hour picking Julian up in the middle of the day (pre-K camps are half-day). This has to stop!

Julian was obviously having a grand time when I picked him up from Lil' Chefs daycamp, throwing a paper airplane around the huge room where the kids were waiting for pickups. The camp director told me they'd made two cookies and frosted and decorated them, and Julian put them together into a sandwich.

On the way home, he fell asleep in the car, then woke up. When he came inside, he said he was tired, and went into his room and napped until I woke him up at 4:15pm! Then he had a fun snack: yogurt and raspberries in a smiley-face.

It makes me feel like a mom again to do little things like this with him, discussing the differences between raspberries and strawberries, or that if you eat one of the eyes, it's now an alien.

Gabriel was ensconced in a Malcala (?) game when I picked him up from daycamp. He was bounding with joy about the robots they built in the Lego Engineering camp. Katrina lit up around all those kids, and launched right into her infectious giggle to draw everyone around her into her game.

The boys haven't watched any TV at home since we moved here 6 weeks ago. Of course, we were away for some of that, but the real reason is that we still haven't set up the VCR to record (VCR?! Two engineers in Silicon Valley are still using magnetic media?! Lame city!) They've had almost no computer time either (chess, or games), since the office is cramped, so we're way up on our "screen time" budget. Tonight, they had a chance to watch (we'd have rigged something up), but they had to clean up for the cleaners coming tomorrow, and blew it.

Julian absolutely loves the soundtrack to the movie Les Choristes, and plays it so often on a boom box (more media lameness) that I make him put headphones on so I won't get tired of it. It's so cute, he sings along out loud, basically saying the sounds of the words that approximate French.

Gabriel meantime is right back at it on the piano, figuring out chords (partly from the little screen on the electronic piano), and now also trying to find and play chords on the ukelele. Saturday we went to a party of a coworker's of Dave's, and they have a piano, which Gabriel asked and was allowed to play on. A mom of a cute 2-year-old girl whom Julian befriended sat and watched her daughter and Julian play, within sight of Gabriel, and was blown away by how many songs he played, with chords, and some that he made up. It did seem surprising when I told her that the only lessons he's had was a very very short introductory group lesson. She said he was asking her all sorts of questions about the piano, its keys, and chords that she had no idea about. Same here!

Watching him from someone else's perspective, and on a real piano, it is striking how he puts things together, how driven he is. He's not that experimental, it's more of a technical approach, finding what notes complement each other. He and Julian sing constantly, but Julian makes up tunes and words; Gabriel will repeat songs he knows. But even if Julian is more "musical," whatever -- Gabriel is very driven and very curious. He really, really needs music lessons.

Or not. Not everyone takes to formal training. If music really is in him, it's irrepressible. If he's not into practicing scales every day, so be it. Music seems to have found him, and he'll find his way within it one way or another. Paul McCartney never learned to read music either.

Though I have many, many things to do during my remaining three weeks off work, I'm finding myself very torn again about going back to work. On the one hand, I know I'll miss the structure eventually, and there's also the new need for me to work. On the other hand, I like my time at home and not feeling such intense pressure to keep the day rolling, and hating the moment when I walk in the door with all three of them and have to jump right into dinner-making. The first step of being happy with your life is knowing what you want -- a simple first step that I can't seem to make!


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