Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On balance

If you follow my Facebook page, you already know that E survived the first day of kindergarten. And thank goodness, because this morning the outcome wasn't entirely clear. She emerged all giggles and hugs and as the afternoon progressed, bits about her new friend A. and the sandbox and the scary part of circle time came dribbling out until I had a pretty good picture of her morning.

But just as I felt caught up, her anxieties re-emerged. She want to sleep crying again, just moaning. It's different. It's too hard, it's different. It is different, I agreed, but different doesn't have to be bad. Different can be good. Different IS bad in THIS different! she cried, and fell asleep sobbing in my arms. So I don't have the highest hopes for tomorrow's drop-off.

But, still. A new friend. And a birthday party invitation. And an increasing familiarity with the building, and the expectations, and the teachers who have been nothing short of amazing with her. She will probably still scream tomorrow, but I have a higher degree of confidence that I won't cry.

There's been a lot about E in this space the past two weeks. I want to tell you something about her sister. Just because I haven't been writing much about the younger two lately doesn't mean they haven't been just as present in our minds and planning for this full-family transition. G is still just young enough to be fairly oblivious to the details of our new arrangements, but I have been concerned about how L would fare. She and her sister were in the same mixed-age 3-5s preschool classroom. They were together all day, every day. L's sister disappeared, L's best friend moved to a preschool closer to her home, and several of E's co-graduates have also left this past week for kindergarten.

So despite E's 48-hour panic attack this past weekend, on Sunday night I made sure to give L some extra-long snuggles so we could talk. I gave a gentle introduction about how change can be scary, or it can be exciting, or it can be barely noticeable. I let her know that if she was worried about school without her sister or if there was anything bothering her, I'd love to talk with her about it. I asked her how she was feeling about being the biggest Noteverstill in her school as of the next morning.

Oh, I'm fine, Mama. Now please kiss me and leave so I can go to sleep.

Sometimes I ponder how much those two look alike and feel so differently. And sometimes I ponder how L likes to kick my behind with her behavior all day long and then turns out to be the easiest kid in the things that matter most. And sometimes, like right now when I really need it, I like to remember that they're awesome, all three of them, even though they make me feel so unskilled and tired.

Completely unrelated, I keep forgetting to give you my book club links. Have you read Amor Towles' Rules of Civility yet? My review begins with this tease: 
If you wanted to hear a rich tale of the love triangle that develops between a young woman, New York City, and dirty martinis, I could tell you about that summer when I was 23. But you’d be better off reading Amor Towles' new novel, Rules of Civility. It’s much more glamorous.
Go read my review, and then the book, post haste.

I also read The Kid by Sapphire, sequel to Push, upon which the movie "Precious" was based.  Here's my review, in which I tell you why this horrific story of abuse and neglect made such a compelling novel. Ask my poor husband. I didn't talk to him for two days.
The Kid can be a difficult story to read, as the author's descriptions of abuse are graphic and remorseless and frequent...

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