Isobel has started school and we are settling into our new morning routine. It involves getting up way too early, cooking a good breakfast, learning to get ready on our own, and walking to school. We’ve adjusted our schedule to getting up early, which is nice because Elias has been getting up earlier and earlier anyway and I look forward to bed time each night with ever increasing joy. Isobel has even taken a few post-school naps since she started, which hasn’t happened in years. Girlfriend never did enjoy a nap. As she gets older I’m sure she’ll learn to celebrate and enjoy them as much as I do.
Few things make me feel as housewifely as cooking breakfast for the family each morning. I’ve been playing with oatmeal recipes and adding variety with eggs and toast with different homemade (though not by me) jams. It’s been really fun and it’s no more work to make breakfast for Anthony than it is to make Isobel’s, and of course he really appreciates it. Due to Crohn’s disease I rarely eat in the morning. It takes a few hours for my body to calibrate and food too soon leads to a system-wide meltdown. I’m cooking these absolutely delicious breakfasts for Anthony and Isobel, though when I get back from our morning walk I typically fix myself some black bean nachos. (It’s never too early for nachos, right? Mango and peach salsa helps me wake up.)
I’ve been letting Isobel pick out her clothes since, well, forever, I guess? I can’t even remember but she’s been doing it as long as she’s been able to voice her preferences, which has been a long time. I thought she was going to insist on wearing tutus to school everyday, since those are her preferred wardrobe choice, but she’s actually insisted on wearing shorts with pockets so her imaginary fairy friends can hide inside and come with her to school. Last week she did decide to wear a tutu, but you better believe she wore shorts with pockets underneath.
Since she’s in Kindergarten she only goes half days, and she was placed in the morning session. Morning session students have the option of staying for lunch, but I’ve been picking her up. She does have a snack time at school every day, and she has the option of eating the snack provided or bringing her own. She’s been taking great pride in packing her own snack in a bento, something she’s wanted to do since seeing my cache of bento supplies and watching Satsuki pack hers on Totoro.
Making the 20-minute walk to school has been the biggest change for us. I love it, though. The weather isn’t grossly hot at that time, and I think it’s healthy for Isobel to have some physical activity before settling in class. Originally I was going to walk her two and from school, but she was so tired after class she considered it child abuse and I was not at all enjoying walking in the heat of the afternoon. Morning is good, though, and Elias loves riding along in the Ergo and checking 0ut all the cars and people and things going on during our walk to school.
At first Isobel saw the kids here and there walking to school behind us (Kindergarten starts earlier than the other classes, so we were among the first leaving for school). She was convinced they were following us, even after they passed us up and walked head of us. “That girl that was following us is ahead of us now, Mimi! It’s freaking me out.” I think she’s finally realizing that lots of kids go to school, and some of them walk there, just like she does. We have been followed to school on a number of times, though. We’ll be half way there and we’ll notice a tiny gray blur trotting along in the bushes next to us. Squirrelly has often tried to follow us on walks and would probably follow the car around if she could catch it. I feel like Mary from the nursery rhyme and Squirrelly is our Little Lamb. Each time she follows us we have to turn around and head home because I walk Isobel to the door of her classroom and cats are probably frowned upon on campus. I can only imagine how ridiculous of a spectacle we make: me, with Elias in the baby carrier and Squirrelly hanging out on my shoulders, walking quickly down the street, with Isobel following behind chanting SQUIRRELLY, GO HOME! We’ve taken to locking her inside the house when we leave so we’re not late for school.
Isobel was sad to learn that her stuffed Pikachu toy is not allowed to stay with her at school so she takes it along with us for the walk and gives it to me to carry home when she kisses me goodbye at her classroom. I have to bring it with me when I pick her up, too, otherwise the day is ruined. I learned that the hard way.
She’s adjusted so well and has already changed in the two short weeks she’s attended Kindergarten. The last of her babyhood is falling away as she learns new vocabulary and makes new friends. It’s been harder on me than I could have expected, but it doesn’t compare to how rewarding it feels when I pick her up at lunch and I hear her say, “Mama, I want to be best at school!”