Adeline had her first day of kindergarten today. She was jumping for joy this morning to finally be on her way and she said that her teacher was super nice and she had a good time and she told me about the fun adventure they had looking all around the school for "Chester" the little racoon from the book "The Kissing Hand". She was only there for an hour today, but it felt like long enough to her and she was tired for the rest of the day. I worry about Thursday when she starts her six hours a day every day schedule. It just seems like too much for such little ones. I was happy to know that her teacher is the one that everyone says is THE BEST KINDERGARTEN TEACHER EVER and to see that her classroom was big and bright and it looked like there were going to be a lot of opportunities for play on those long days. Despite how excited she was to go and how happy she was at the end of her time at kindergarten, she did say on the way home that "I wish I could be three again"... Sometimes I wish she could be three again too - I'm going to miss spending my days with my amazing, exuberant, curious, creative, thoughtful, smart, beautiful, sweet and spunky big girl. I'm just plain going to miss her. It seems like most of our time together will be spent trying to hurry her up to get ready in the morning or trying to hurry her up to get ready for bed at night. Our brief afternoons and weekends are going to become so precious to me.
Okay, I wasn't sniffly before, but now I'm getting teary eyed... I'm just going to miss Adeline so much and I don't feel ready to have her out there in the world without me all week long.
Last night, I heard The New Pornographers and Death Cab For Cutie perform at an outdoor music festival that's held at a park not too far away from our house. I say I "heard" them and not "saw" them because I listened to their distant, muffled songs, almost-but-not-quite able to identify them by name, as Adeline and I laid side-by-side in our little tent in our last Daddy/Daughter Backyard Campout of the year. We laughed and joked and made shadow puppets and she ate Pop Rocks for the first time ever.
So I had a great night last night, but I didn't go to the rock concert that I would have, were I a single man without small children. And I also had a great Labour Day weekend but I didn't go to the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle and see beloved bands like the reunited Replacements and Dream Syndicate, and another dozen bands and comedians I like. Like I would have, were I a single man without small children.
I'm not bitter (despite the tone of the previous paragraph). I'm really OK with it. Life is all about limited choices and compromises and trade-offs. I'm getting far more than I'm giving up. But I do have to acknowledge that part of my old life is gone. There's a cool new part to replace it though, as proven by the fact I did actually did go to a rock concert yesterday. Yep, Adeline and I saw Imagination Movers as they opened their Canadian tour in our city.
It was a treat to accompany my daughter to her first true rock concert. The Movers are a real band, and had been for years prior to getting a Monkees-styled TV show on Disney Junior. And yes, a reference to The Monkees indicates I'm pretty old. So I can appreciate the Movers' well-crafted original songs and their genuine love of popular music, and feel hip that I pick up all the musical references and in-jokes related to bands ranging from Tears For Fears to Rage Against The Machine and the Movers' largest influence, The Beastie Boys.
More than anything, a Movers concert is inspirational, because the band makes playing music seem like the most fun and cool thing in the world, and they closed the show with only one piece of advice: "Pick an instrument and learn how to play it and you'll thank us some day." I'm proud of Adeline that she's so dedicated to her violin and she genuinely loves playing music.
There was also a toilet paper-dispensing leaf blower contraption, a confetti cannon, and high-fives for Adeline from three of the Movers as they ran around the theatre. Adeline spent most of the show dancing in the aisle (I knew getting aisle seats was a good idea!).
I bought Adeline her first concert t-shirt too, over-priced as every concert t-shirt is. Because taking home a souvenir of the concert used to be important to me, I wanted to introduce the concept to her. Maybe it'll be her first of many, or maybe she won't care about that sort of thing. I'm OK with it either way. As much as I think she's ready for a mix-tape (yes, a mix-tape. You got a problem with that?) of all my favorite, catchiest, most-rocking' tunes, my happiness is not based on her liking the same pop-culture things I do.
I am pleased, however, that she really, really liked the Pop Rocks.
Don't worry - you haven't missed part one - I'm still just very behind on blogging all the fun we've been having lately. Our Autumn Moon Festival had two celebrations this year - a big fun party and outdoor lantern festival on Saturday and a quiet family celebration on Monday. After a Vietnamese supper at home we took our lanterns and our moon gazing picnic to the beach and watched the moon rise over the water, we ate some moon-shaped but non-mooncake treats (next year I'm making my own - hold me to that!), we went for walks, I told the story of the lady in the moon, we talked about the moon shining all over the world, including on Vivian and Adeline's birth parents, who we sent messages to, we sang some moon songs and we made our wishes. Finally we enjoyed some sparklers and then headed home a bit later than a tired baby would have liked and a lot earlier than a big girl would have liked, but it was a magical evening and I loved every minute of it.
Last year at the beach I remember looking up at the full moon and imagining it shining bright all over Vietnam. I secretly wished that the moon was shining on the little person that would be our son or daughter and that we would hear word of a match soon. I pictured their little dark head asleep on a reed mat and wished them peace and health and promised that they would be loved beyond measure. It was the first holiday where I really felt like someone was missing and one of the first times that I really believed that completing our family with a second child was really going to happen.
This year...my heart is so full I could barely think of a wish.
David took the week after Labour Day off so that he could walk his big girl to school and see her off on her new adventure, but as it turns out there is no kindergarten just yet, so we made the best of it and while I shudder to use the word "staycation", that's what we ended up doing. The weather was GORGEOUS and the crowds are starting to pack up and go home, so we thought it was a good time to introduce Vivi to Butchart Gardens. We were hoping to get a really good "sister" picture, with many hilarious results and a few sweet ones. Adeline picked both their outfits - she wanted them to go together and I think she did a fabulous job. Really she wanted them to have totally matching outfits as that's an idea that really appeals to her. I should probably make that happen for her...must admit I find the idea pretty cute myself.
Vivian is a full time walker now and she just wants to GO GO GO so most of the pictures were taken quickly before Vivi disappeared from the frame. She is curious about everything and she just wanted to explore!
Adeline was excited to revisit all her favourites - climbing up on Annabelle for a picture and riding the carousel.
The gardens were actually fairly busy, but no one was riding the carousel with Adeline, so she had her pick of animals. She isn't tall enough to ride alone yet, which is just as well as she's still quite nervous, not that you'd know it from this gleeful picture.
It was a warm day and in the italian garden there is tasty gelato which they serve in huge Canadian-sized portions...
Vivian seriously LOVED her first ice cream cone and ate a good portion of both mine and David's and Adeline polished off a huge cone of her own. We had sort of forgotten to give anyone lunch, so they really appreciated the gelato. Yep, I'm sure my "parent of the year" nomination is in the mail. Vivi used to really detest sweets and would make yuck faces and cry if you tried to give her fruit or anything sweet and while she still says a very firm NO to most fruit, she has started to develop a real taste for sugar. Uh oh.
It was a great day with my great family. I'm a lucky, lucky woman.
I don't want to jinx anything, but have you noticed anything? Yep - Adeline has decided after more than two years of refusing to look at the camera, that maybe having your picture taken is fun, and she is not only looking in my direction, she is often posing or thinking about what would make a good photograph. Shhh! I'm sure if I mention it to her she'll remember that she's supposed to be awkward and surly when the camera is out, so I'm just not saying anything about it...
...but until the teacher's strike is resolved it's enless summer at our place. Even though I know I'm in the minority, since I'm at home anyway and Adeline is only starting kindergarten, I don't mind at all! We've been taking advantage of the gorgeous end-of-summer weather and David having some time off and no school to have a lot of fun and that and our ongoing computer issues are what has kept me from blogging.
Hope all the little ones who did head back to school are having wonderful experiences! Adeline is READY and EXCITED for kindergarten, but I'm happy to have my girl home with me for a little while yet before she begins her grand adventure.