I had a dream this morning that suddenly Russell was taller than me, and woke up confused about whether he had grown or I had shrunk.
Silas and Russell both made big steps this week into new worlds where I am really kind of a peripheral figure. Though I do feel a little shrunken at times, mostly I am awed at how big and capable they have become. (Nevertheless, I am also a bit of a basket case as my little bears move into the care of relative strangers.)
Silas will go to a co-op preschool two mornings a week. It's the same school Russell went to for two and a half years, so we have a lot of family friends there (including some who were friends since our older kids were babies). He has a new teacher who seems just wonderful.
Silas' first day was Thursday, and somewhat to my surprise, he seemed very comfortable and happy right from the start. He is usually slow to warm up to new things, but his good friend Tucker was very welcoming and he was so pleased to get to play with everything. Just before I left (which didn't bother him a bit), I got these pictures of him playing happily (he was singing to himself at the time):
Over the weekend I said something to him about how I thought it was so neat that it was finally his playschool, and he gently corrected me, "It my playschool and all the other kids' playschool."
Russell met his teacher and saw the classroom last Thursday, but kindergarten didn't really start till today. He has not revealed much excitement or apprehension about school, just bits of both interspersed with a sort of calm how-should-I-know-what-I'll-think-of-it? attitude. He can sometimes dig in his heels and resist change, so I was worried about how the first day would go, but he was great. He and his best friend from preschool, Florian, are in the same class, and they ran to school in great excitement and kissed us parents goodbye without a pause.
Here are two pictures of Russell with his school supplies:
He is holding still because this was before Florian joined us. (The thing around the school supplies is a decorated cone made from cardboard and construction paper and pictures from an old calendar, all from SCRAP; it was based on something Russell and I saw in a catalog and both admired. Lord knows I am not "crafty", but even I figured this project would be fun, which it was.)
I don't know too much about what happened after that, except that Russell said they didn't play much (but he seemed OK with that) and that he liked it. He suggested a guessing game this afternoon that seemed to come from school. He looked pretty tired at the end of the day, but I think that was mostly because he'd hardly eaten any lunch. I bet by Friday we'll all be dragging, but if the week continues as well as it started I'll be a happy parent.
Russell's school looks great, by the way. His teacher is a neighborhood legend, beloved by kids and adults and full of great ideas, and the classroom and the school are beautiful. The school is relatively small (300 kids) and his class has 21 kids, which in this day and age in Portland is pretty good. The school puts a lot of stress on reading in groups (70 minutes four times a week) and on involvement in the community (cleaning up the local wildlife refuge, growing food for Meals on Wheels, etc.). There is a tremendous amount of parent and volunteer involvement. It has a very friendly feel and there is even a school cat who lives there!!!