Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First firsts

First day of first grade:

First day of the last year of elementary school (ce n'est pas possible):

First photo of the first season of the sideyard garden, of which I am inordinately proud (see also: the nectarine tree behind the kids above. You would think I was sprouting these fruits myself):

Pumpkins, sunflowers, morning glories, beans, a lonely (and late-developing) stalk of corn. A glorious case of powdery mildew on the curcubitae associates.

It's been a good week so far. I've heard rumors of kids who dread going back to school and get grumpy and weepy and out of sorts as the ominous day approaches, but I have not given birth to children of this stripe. They were little wound-up springs of anticipation all last week and they have been exhausted but jubilant (and kind of strung out) this week. They both have male teachers this year and while Helen is on occasion prejudiced against boy teachers and boys in general, she has so far given a tentative stamp of approval to her teacher. Silas is thrilled unto death. As he should be. His teacher is young, funny, energetic and smart: he makes me wish I could be going to fifth grade. I have high hopes for this year. At the very least, maybe Si's writing scores won't decline over the course of the year, as they have the past two years in a row. Argh.

One thing that has been kind of--not sad, exactly, but melancholy--is that by fifth grade, we are getting into the time when parents who chose our elementary school for list-y, rate-y, type-A kind of reasons are starting to get restless and look for the next Xtreme Education Challenge. I sound judgy but I'm not, not really; I have certainly played in that tournament myself over the years. However, in a possibly ironic twist, and one which I did not quite anticiapte, the kids who are leaving now tend to be the most interesting and unusual ones--the boy who has already started his own business, the smart, arty girl with the Velma vibe and the awesome glasses whom I maaaybe had had a little fantasy of S dating sometime in the future. I was kind of looking forward to seeing how these kids developed, come middle school and high school; now I see that I won't. They aren't regular friends of Si's, and I don't know the parents, so: chapter finished. See ya. So I'm a little bummed for that.

Overall, though: wow. What a difference a year makes. Last year we were up to our eyeballs in drywall dust, mold, torn-out walls and money panic, not to mention the first prickings of irritation and misgiving about our choice of builders. There wasn't one thing that was easy, from keeping track of school-to-home papers to washing the damn dishes. Now, despite a triple-book schedule of baseball, swimming and soccer (we're like, a sporty family--I never would've thought that, not in a million years), M's four-year review at work and accompanying 80-hour-a-week workweek, things feel smooth.

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