A lot of nights, we're not necessarily the best parents ever. We tend to let Athena watch some Bob the Builder and/or Dinosaur Train while we unload the car, get dinner ready, and take care of random life details like opening mail or putting away groceries. I would feel worse about that if I didn't know with absolute certainty that Athena is run ragged at school.
They play so hard. And the stuff she comes back with is amazing. She'll go on about how she can't push because if she does then someone could fall down and then they would be sad and they would cry. Or she has to be patient and wait her turn. Or she wants to paint. Most days she comes home covered in paint. Or smelling sweaty with dirt smudges on her face. Or both. Or both shoes filled with sand. They take photos and post them on a group on Facebook for the parents every week or two.
|Painting with dye|
|There was orange paint everywhere when she got home.|
|Taking a car down the slide at school|
|Random dough project|
|Water play day this summer with Clementine|
|More water play|
|Halloween parade at school!|
She shares her days with kids from every ethnic background and her best friend has two moms. It's everything I want it to be. One recent morning, we arrived and another couple of kids ran in front of us. The little boy was wearing a fluffy white tutu. Miss Lupe called out, "Slow down please. There's not enough room to run inside please." Yep. Perfect.
She has a sometimes teacher named Miss Kym. Kym floats from room to room subbing for folks on vacation. Kym is undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, but so far as I can tell it hasn't even slowed her down. She's got no hair left and wears a scarf most days. Miss Kym started doing Athena's hair a year or so ago, getting her used to brushing it out, putting it up in "ponies" and other various styles. For a little girl with a lot of curls, this has been a godsend that she gets to practice this stuff at school. Recently Kym brought nail polish. We know, because Athena came home with blue and orange fingernails. She was so very pleased with them. I don't know how she managed to get them to sit still, but in the weeks since, Athena has had green, and then purple fingernails. It's fantastic. Wednesday night Athena was putting on her jammies and caught her shirt on her head, and flung it around and said, "I'm Miss Kym!" Erik and I looked at each other and we both knew how thankful we were for her. Miss Kym is awesome. She usually has to run off at 6 sharp to go teach an aqua Zumba class. She's pretty much who I want to be when I grow up - someone who puts her heart and soul into taking care of kids all day, then runs off to get some exercise after chasing kids all day.
Now our girl is not a morning person. She's not easy to get up on the best of days. Well, okay, to be fair, the last time we went to Disneyland, she woke up a few minutes early and said, "I want to ride the flying elephant!" But most days, we're lucky to pry her out of bed. There's often a lot of complaints about not wanting to go to school. I'm pretty sure they're (even) more likely to force her to live by the rules than we are, so there's a bit of resistance. But lately, we've got an ace in the hole on Fridays. She's got dance class at 9:15. They pick the kids up from her classroom and take them to class. She tried a 4 week stint back last spring and we decided to pause for the summer since she wouldn't be there on Fridays. Well, she's back, and she loves it. We knew this because I told her last Friday that she had to get up because we had to get there in time for dance class. Suddenly my ordinarily lethargic child was up and out of bed and dressed and in the car and into her classroom in no time at all. She actually ended up at school 40 minutes earlier than the day before. We also know this because another parent opted to try to capture dance class on video recently. The net result is that his daughter didn't dance much at all, but we got adorable video of Athena and Clementine dancing.
My favorite was this one with the scarves. Not only is the dancing adorable, but then at the end, Athena offers to help put away all the scarves for the teacher.
These are the moments of parenting that just turn you into jello. I always knew I'd love my kid, but I actually really like her as a person. She's helpful and enthusiastic and a good friend. A lot of it is her basic nature, but there's nurture there too. A big chunk of that is a really good pre-school/daycare where they encourage the best in her.