Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/11/11 1st-grade performance

I left work today to attend Julian's spring performance at school.

When Gabriel was in first grade, the whole first grade did songs. Each class would sing a few songs, then the whole first grade did one together. This year, they split up the performances into one or two classes together at various times throughout the day. This made seating and parking and actually seeing your kid much easier.

This year, the first grade did some mini-musical plays instead of songs. Some kids played xylophones, while others had speaking parts. Julian was one of three "soldiers" in a story about "Stone Soup," in which 3 hungry soldiers arrive in town, and the townspeople try to save their food by pretending to make soup with stones. I couldn't quite follow the story actually, though it sounds familiar.

Julian's role as soldier meant a few things. One, it meant that he finished all his schoolwork yesterday on threat of being left out of the play altogether. Two, it meant that he wore a "costume" -- a helmet -- and a mike headset. Kids are terrible with mike headsets, and constantly had their hands at their mouths holding the mikes.

First, a soundcheck.

Julian as a soldier waiting to say his (mostly unintelligible) lines.

Toward the end, Julian joined the xylophone group.

Of course, the photo-op at the end. Notice how Julian, back row far right, is reaching out to touch a classmate's head. He can't quit pestering other kids for even 10 seconds.

He's friends with these kids, but the one in the red shirt is such a good friend that Julian has mostly alienated him and pushed him away. In fact, this happy smiling little boy is one of the reasons Julian went to the principal's office last week, because the poor kid was tired of Julian's constant physical play with him. (I'm not sure who the dark-skinned one in the middle is.) I passed the time before the show chatting with the kid's mother, mostly apologizing.

This was all very sweet and fun to see, at least for those of us whose kids had some speaking to do. I wondered if the parents of the xylophone kids felt gypped.

I brought Julian home with me after school, where I continued to work and he continued to putz around not doing his homework.

I really shouldn't even be working with all I have to do to prepare to leave for NY tomorrow, but with my impending absence I feel more pressure to get things completed.

It's also hard mentally to wrap my head around scanning photos of my Dad for his service coming up next weekend -- it's what I need to do, but it's a surprising emotional investment. I'm now past the initial shock of my father's passing, but it seems my coping mechanism has been to set it all aside. It's not working. When it does re-enter my mind, or rather when I re-enter that part of my mind, the pain and loss is as fresh as ever, and I burst into tears yet again. I guess this is what it's like losing a close family member, even one who was lost in many ways long ago.

A close friend wisely observed that I don't do well with finality. Never moreso has that been more clear than now, when for the first time in my life, I have to deal with the finality of the loss of someone close. I think this will be easier for me when I'm in my father's home and with my brother and sister this weekend.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5/10/2011 Laura and Gabriel

I am SOO behind in blogging....I give up trying to "catch up." We just can't keep up with all the events, especially not with wonderful in-laws visiting until last night, and all the trouble our dear boys are giving us right now. Not to mention keeping up with a challenging work situation, and arranging my trip to NY and my father's service.

Uncle Ryan was able to take a few photos while he was here, fortunately. This one really strikes me. Look how grown-up my son looks, and how beautiful my sister-in-law looks.

The same two together almost 9 years ago.

Laura's barely changed (stroke and astounding recovery notwithstanding), but Gabriel really has.

This picture will look very interesting in about 3 years when Gabriel hits puberty!


Sunday, May 08, 2011

5/8/2011 Fun weekend turnaround

We had such a nice relaxed (mostly) day with Aunt Laura and uncle Ryan, with lots of outdoor play. I got them these "dodge discs" toy that shoot light foam disks rapid-fire from a hand-mounted "gun" that can also be used as a deflector shield.

Katrina played too, but she's been a little out of it today with a cough, and enjoyed hanging with Aunt Laura.

Being so busy and tired this weekend, I did the few things I really had to do (flight reservations to NY next week), but that didn't include going through the boys' knapsacks and seeing what they had in store for us. Dave did it when he got home from being away for the weekend, and it was a nightmare.

Both boys had classwork they needed to finish at home. Gabriel's wasn't clear what it was supposed to be from, but he'd never mentioned it. Julian, we learned, had been sent to the principal's office again on Friday -- two days after getting sent twice -- for throwing other kids' lunchboxes around.

But alone with the Laura and Ryan and the kids -- those are the best times for everyone. I'm almost glad I didn't know about all that, or I'd have spent the whole weekend struggling to get them to finish their work, and looking for ways of punishing Julian for the principal office visit again. It just has to stop and there seems no getting through to them.

Didn't schools used to have "detention," where kids sit after school and finish classwork or homework, or do extra work if they were being punished for bad behavior? Something tells me that there's not much need for a detention room in Cupertino. Well, we certainly need one here.

Well, it was a fun weekend until discovering how un-fun it could have been if I'd had a chance to check their knapsacks on Friday!