ah, kindergarten

Getting sweet Caroline ready for Kindergarten and reading / discussing parts of Ramona, the Pest (John and Caroline just finished reading it as her bedtime book, but I read a night or two to her) have me reminiscing on my own kinder year. I was not a bad kid — in fact, I was probably a pretty forgettable kid in that I was mostly quiet and didn’t stand out much or get in trouble. I guess my memories of “trouble” stand out more, though.

In my day, we went to kindergarten for half a day (which I really wish we did now!). I had Mrs. Brittain in the afternoons (judging from the class yearbook picture.) I have no memories of who was in my class except for my best friend Jennifer.

I remember, before school even started, playing on the playground at kindergarten registration. I was playing with the son of my mom’s friend on the see saw, and I was at the top…my first time ever on a see saw, I think, when he jumped off. BOOM! I think I cried and I think he had to apologize.

Once school started, I remember having my chair taken away from me because I wasn’t sitting in it right. I think I had my knee in the seat but was pretty much standing and fidgeting. How would taking my chair away from me help me to learn to sit right?

I remember that we had to write our numbers on Big Chief tablet every day. Every.day! It took forever. We had to write, like all the way to 20 or something! It took a ridiculous amount of time and energy. So, one day, when I got to those incessant teens, I had a time-saving revelation. I took out my ruler and made a line all the way down the page. Then I just filled in the second digit of the teens. Genius, really, I was. But Mrs. Brittain did not think so. I got in trouble and had to redo the work.

I remember getting on the wrong bus one day. I am not sure if that was kindergarten or not, though.

And I remember whispering in Mrs. Brittain’s ear our vote for class favorites. My best bud Jennifer and I said we’d each vote for the other. I whispered my vote for Jennifer in Mrs. B’s ear. But I can’t be sure Jennifer did the same for me. She won.

I guess, considering how long ago it was and how little I was, I do remember quite a bit. Oh, and how could I forget the memory that just came to me: Weekly Reader! I just searched and it’s still around.

An ending and a beginning

I just completed three intense days of training to become certified as a Godly Play teacher. As we ended the training, we gathered in a circle around a large model of the liturgical church year calendar, each holding on to a piece of ribbon that started as a time line but became a circle. We tied the beginning of what was that line to the ending, creating that circle of time that we see in the church year. Every ending is a beginning.

As I begin a my time teaching Godly Play to the children at our church, wanting to commit my energies to doing that well, and as my daughter begins kindergarten, with my wanting to be available to volunteer at her school, I realized that I had too much going on and was not doing anything well. I did not want to give up my freelance work, so I had to choose a volunteer activity to let go of. And so, after La Leche League of Texas’s conference a few weeks ago, I wrapped up my duties as an LLL Leader. My co-Leaders are some of my favorite friends. The moms I got to know over the years are, too. I will miss that work. At the conclusion of the conference, I had the kids sing a special song to the Leaders, their moms. Our conference theme was Breastfeeding: Mothering from the Heart. And we were in Texas. This song sums up La Leche League philosophy, which in a large part, is my parenting philosophy as well.

(tune of Deep in the Heart of Texas)

My mother’s breast, for me was best

La Leche League of Texas

For my birth, mom was alert

La Leche League of Texas

With my mom is where I belong

La Leche League of Texas

My daddy’s arms are nice and warm

La Leche League of Texas

Wholesome food does my body good

La Leche League of Texas

Use gentle ways to guide my days

La Leche League of Texas

Thank you mom, for all you’ve done

La Leche League of Texas

I am sure I will write more soon about Godly Play. After the past three day (and preparing for VBS tomorrow!) my brain is full, as is my heart. I am so inspired and challenged by this method of spiritual formation for children. I can’t wait to share it, but I need some time to process it.

$10 Doll Closet

Caroline got Molly: An American Girl doll for her birthday and quickly accumulated several outfits for her doll, thanks to ebay and etsy. That prompted my search for a storage solution for this stuff. I could not sleep well at night with doll clothes just piled on top of the dresser or with the doll just sitting on a shelf or on our couch. “A place for everything, and everything in its place” was disrupted! The American Girl Store has closets and trunks, of course, for a pretty penny. I asked mama friends for advice and got some good ideas. And I was tempted to buy one of the $50 knock-off trunks.

Instead, I took inspiration from a friend’s suggestion and made Molly her own closet. The girls and I made a quick trip to JoAnn.

Wooden crate: 9.99 ($6 w/40% off coupon)

12 inch x .5 diameter dowels: .99 (for a pack of six — only need one)

Caroline picked out a pack of Woodsies stars to decorate with, and I needed to use three of those to wedge the dowel in: 2.49

And the splurge — a 4-pk of doll hangers: 4.49 (I have ordered ten more from an online store for .30 each, but I still have to pay her 4.50 for shipping.)

For now, accessories (which consist of bloomers and shoes since Molly is in her bathing suit) are in a craft jewelry box Caroline decorated this weekend that is sitting on top of the closet. I’m sure the accessories collection will grow and we will need a larger box, but I saw several at JoAnn.

I will rest better knowing Molly and her clothes are in their place. And I think Caroline will enjoy dressing her up more now that she can see all the clothes at once.

*Another AG tip: JoAnn carries a knock-off line of the dolls and has clothes that fit any 18 inch doll starting at $5.