Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Bean starts preschool

My two-year old baby is no longer a baby. In fact, she has been classified as a "preschooler." And this week she started preschool.

There are still nights that she comes to our bed at 3 am. She still wants to be rocked to sleep in my arms for her naps. She still needs help putting on her shoes. She can't brush her hair (without making it look worse) and she eats spaghetti with her hands. During the daytime it's "Mommy, mommy, mommy!" almost without pause. She isn't even toilet-trained. But she's no longer a baby.

This week she went off to preschool with no fuss at all. I am still stunned. On Monday I dropped her off and she ran off to play with pom poms in the sensory table. She barely looked up as I kissed her goodbye. When I picked her up that afternoon, she was happy to see me, but appeared completely untraumatized. She was active and happy all day, the teachers told me. She had a great day.

And she napped okay? I asked incredulously.

Apparently, she did.

And that evening, when I asked her if she would like to go back to school, she jumped up and down and said Yes!

Now the Bean has been in daycare before. I went back to work 6 months after her birth, and she was a full-time daycare baby for nearly 2 years. She was happy at her old center. But she'd been home with me full-time for five months. And the past few weeks she'd been acting so clingy. So I dreaded what might ensue during her first week of preschool.

And she proved me wrong, naturally. She took it better than I did. I have stressed, and run around packing sunscreen and hats and diapers, etc. for her cubbyhole at at school, and filling forms, and planning on how to deal with an upset Bean... and she's just fine.

And now I'm home, with a sleeping Legume, wondering how to fill this day.

The Bean is growing up, even if she still refuses to tell me when she needs to potty. And yeah, I should stop referring to her as two years old. She'll be three in only two short months.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Odd conversations

My family and I are living in a midwestern town with a very homogenous population. That is, nearly everyone here is white. There are few faces of any color, and the Asian population is almost nil. This has made for some odd, if well-meaning, interactions between my family and others. (Oh yeah, my family and I are Asian).

Like the time I was strolling around the local mall with my girls. An older woman came up to us and peered at baby Legume. She made admiring noises, which I always like, then informed me that her daughter had just recently adopted a little girl from China. "You people make beautiful children," she told me. Uh, thanks? Better than our cheap plastic toys?

And yesterday my husband told me this story: His secretary was out to lunch, and a pharmaceutical sales rep infiltrated the office. She chatted him up, and noticed the pictures of Bean-girl on his desk. "Oh," she said, indicating the picture. "I'm getting one too. It's just taking a while, because China is clamping down on overseas adoptions."

Hmmm. I know they mean well, but it just comes off sounding rather odd. "I'm getting one, too"--like a purse or accessory ordered over the Internet.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rainy day reflection

"Both girls are finally asleep.

It is gray and raining. The day began in grayness and is fated (if the weather report is true) to end in grayness. It is one of those days where you do not want to wake up, just to pull the covers back over your head and spend the day wrapped in a warm coccoon, while the rain patters and patters outside.

The Bean-girl seems to feel the same. At least, she had no desire to leave the house. Of course, she never wants to leave the house, even when the sun is shining and it's gorgeous outside. The difference is, today I don't want to leave the house either, and have been perfectly content coccooned in with my little ones. The Bean and I played with her hair (new hairclips and accessories, packaged in a little Dora the Explorer purse that I bought at Kohl's!); we watched tv, we played computer games and colored. And the Legume has been delightful today. After an entire weekend of colicky fussing, she has been smiley and sweet-tempered. While the Bean watched Dora the Explorer, Legume and I cooed and grinned at one another.

It's one of those days when I think I can handle this. This isn't so bad. I'm a good mother and I've got it all under control. "

Okay, I wrote the above yesterday. And I knew when I wrote it that the sentiment would probably not last another hour.

I was right.

That very afternoon cabin fever set in and I dragged the girls out into the rain for an outing at the library. And at a yellow light I realized I was in the wrong turn lane, slammed on the brakes, and got rear-ended by a car that could not stop quickly enough on the slick road. Mea culpa.

Actually, both of us got out of our cars crying variations of Oh-my-god-I'm-so-sorry!

The other driver was a very apologetic, very nice woman. I also admitted blame. If our husbands had been there to see it, they would probably have had both our heads for being so naive. Neither of us had been in this situation before, and neither really knew what to do. The cars and the passengers all seemed fine, so we just traded contact info and left it at that. The woman even gave me a hug and said, "God bless." That's people in this midwestern town of ours.

So I'm an idiot, and I just thank the stars that the Bean and Legume are fine. There have been one or two occasions when my husband or I have forgotten to buckle in the Bean properly. Thankfully, this was not one of those times. And yeah, my husband scolded me when I told him what happened. So I don't feel perfect after all. In fact, most of the time I feel downright frazzled.

It's the next day, I'm tired, and I still feel frazzled.

And it's still raining.