Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for September, 2010

My Milestone Birthday

As is my tradition, I spent my birthday reflecting on the year gone by for me more than how it went for Iris and Robyn. It’s my selfish blog post, though it’s hard to be reflective of my life without having the two munchkins play into it. While 39 may not seem like anything unique, it holds a special meaning to me. I’ve come to realize that life seems to group nicely in five year chunks starting with when I was four years old.

* When I turned 4, we just left NYC and moved to the NJ suburbs where all my memories start. The next five years were pretty standard and set the original tone for what I’d be.
* When I turned 9, my brother left for boarding school and I turned into a weekday only child. For the next five years, I was more self-reliant and is probably a little responsible for my inclination toward introverted behavior.
* When I turned 14, I started high school and, for the next five years, I kinda lost track of who I was. I don’t look back on those years fondly, but I learned so much and started to grow up.
* When I turned 19, after a year of college, it all turned around. I hit my stride. The next five years, I was happy with who I was socially, who my friends were, and what my life was like. This was where I REALLY grew up (right now, friends who knew me back then are saying "really, he was acting grown up then?").
* When I turned 24, I just finished school, got my first full-time job, lost my mother, and would soon head to California. The next five years, it was all about me. Care-free. Having fun. Not answering to anyone. Going out a lot. Even going back to school.
* When I turned 29, I got married and left for Seattle. The next five years, I needed to take my career seriously and be a partner in a marriage. I had to think for two. The bridge to responsibility.
* When I turned 34, well…that’s around when this blog started. That’s when I became a father. I’ve still been thinking for two, but it’s a new two. I always said this birthday was MUCH more traumatic than 30.

And now I turned 39. Most professional athletes my age are now retired (this year is the first time ever that the Baltimore Orioles do not have one player older than me). Both of my kids are capable of coherent conversations and Robyn is getting very close to never needing another diaper. This is the year Iris starts school. This is the year where there are conversations at the dinner table and Cherise and I don’t speak for minutes at a time–because we can’t get a word in edgewise. They’re still who I’ll be thinking for, but by the end of this five-year stretch, they’ll be doing more of the thinking for themselves. Iris will be in the fifth grade and Robyn in the 2nd grade. BFFs. Slumber parties. Backtalk. Boys. I’m in no rush.

Maybe something will change with my business or my career, I don’t know. In fact, I’m sure it will. But if the last five years have taught me anything, it’s that my life triggers, once dependent upon my own rites of passage, are now more dependent upon my daughters’ rites of passage. And I’ve gotta admit that as a father, that’s very exciting. To quote a card someone once gave us, kids keep you young–but first, they make you feel old.  That pretty much sums it up.  I’m ready.  40, here I come…

The Era of School

Iris started kindergarten a week and a half ago.  She loves it and I’m so excited for her.  But part of me also feels sad, like our little era of freedom has ended – freedom from set early schedules, from homework, and from pesky school fundraisers.  This is the first time I’ve set my alarm clock since Iris was born.  The last 4 years I’ve awoken to whichever child wakes first.  So far Iris loves homework and begs for more (she finished it Monday and it wasn’t due til Friday…). 

 

But I was really surprised how soon the first school fundraiser began.  We gave our donation to the district foundation on Orientation Day, and yet already my kindergartener has been sent home with a catalog of wrapping paper and chocolates to sell.  I don’t want to complain – we’re lucky her class is 25 kids and not 30, she has music, art, and p.e., and there is a school science lab and teacher.  But it is weird to see my 4yr old transform into sales-person, excited to try to sell 10 things so she can win the backpack monkey.  Hopefully it’s a positive learning experience – math, persuasion, business?

 

Robyn is wondering when she can go to school too.  I decided to delay sending her to preschool, since I’ve realized this is my last chance to have one-on-one baby time before we start getting her used to separation from mommy.  So instead I’ve told her that she and I are trying out some classes – Mandarin and Spanish/Music.  The Mandarin class was intense – I didn’t completely follow it and couldn’t pronounce the sounds very well, but it was high energy, colorful, and fun.  Robyn loved it.  The Spanish music class was much more laid back, less structured, but included so many beautiful instruments that were all hands on.  I suppose we learned a few Spanish words, but mostly she had fun banging on the drum. 

 

At first Iris only talked about the pets in her classroom – petting the bunny, avoiding the guide dog puppy, watching the snake and fish.  Only days later did she mention friends, and even then she couldn’t remember their names.  She did remember “Duvall” the guide dog puppy though!  I started to worry that I’d entered her into kindergarten a year too soon – what if she was too shy to make friends? 

But just days later when I came to pick her up, I saw her giggling with friends and running around the courtyard.  And we had a playdate at a new friend’s house, where she and 4 other girls were upstairs “where no mommies could be.” (though they graciously invited Robyn to join them several times)

 

That playdate was fun for the mommies too!  We learned that our group of girls were:

·         One half Italian – half Indian

·         One half Japanese – half Caucasian

·         One Indian – Sikh

·         One Singaporean

·         And Iris – half Indian- half English/Irish

Our discussion topics ranged from what languages our kids were learning, to how different countries and regions view breastfeeding and family sleeping arrangements, to how to deal with the influence of Barbie and princesses, to whether our kids were intimidated by their kindergarten teacher.  I can’t wait to see them all again!

 

Here’s to our family’s new era of school.

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