Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Drop and Go

Inside Immy's school, there is a special cordoned off section in the parking area called 'Drop and Go'. This is where the bigger kids get dropped off - leaping out of the cars, hauling bags out of the boot and waving goodbye to mom who hasn't even turned off the engine.

It's all terribly efficient. I've noticed it, but since Immy has just started Grade 1 I didn't really PAY ATTENTION to it.

Until last Thursday. When my big little girl casually asked me to drop her off at the Drop and Go.

Our conversation went something like this:

Immy: Mama, will you please drop me off at the Drop and Go? You know I'm a big girl now and I can walk by myself. It's very safe. Daddy dropped me off there yesterday.

Me: (stunned silence)


Me: (strangled voice) But Immy. Mama LOVES walking you to class, and seeing your teacher, and giving you lots of hugs and kisses goodbye! I'll miss it SO MUCH if I can't walk with you in the mornings. I don't think we need to do the Drop and Go yet, you're only in Grade 1!

Immy: (frowning) You know mama. I think you just want me to go back to Grade O because you never want me to be a big girl. 

Me: (swallowing hard)

Immy: (hands raised in a gesture of reassurance) I'll tell you what, mama. Let's just try it for a few weeks, and see how it goes. Okay?

And so I stopped at the Drop and Go. Helped her with her bags. Watched her walk away, a smile and a wave and a blonde pony tail bobbing up and down.

I thought about it all day. And when I picked her up, I made a deal with her. That I would be happy to drop her at the Drop and Go, but that any morning she feels like she wants me to walk with her to class, she just has to say.

That silken thread of independence, getting stronger each day. But yesterday and today? We walked to class together. A quick hug and a fleeting kiss, before she ran off to join her friends.

Ordinary rituals that start to shimmer at the edges because I just know they're not going to be around much longer.

My little bird. Stretching her wings to fly up, up and away.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Less frisbee. More margaritas.

We've officially settled into that comfortable rhythm that the school routine brings. The days are already melting into each other, differentiated mainly by the type of afternoon activity taking place: Ballet Wednesday, Arts and Crafts Thursday, Little Lab Coats on Tuesday.  The December break seems a long way back, a distant memory of relaxed days, late mornings, and sun-kissed skin.

I sifted through our holiday photos this weekend. There were no grand plans or great adventures. Instead, slow mornings rolled into lazy afternoons, our days crisscrossed with swimming, games, movies.

Some of my favourite holiday moments, in no particular order.

:: Chipped nail polish and brown, carefree feet.

:: Freedom

:: Friendship.

:: Games. And games, reinvented. We played Jenga a zillion times, and when we got tired of that, her dad built her Palace Pets a mansion for a change of scenery.

:: Story cubes. You throw the dice, and then you need to make up a story with the pictures. Sounds easy enough.

Ha. Turns out we were totally rubbish at it. Our stories were appalling, but totally worth the laughs and eye rolls that accompanied them.

:: Hanging out at the farm.

:: We have a book on Southern African seas, which we have read cover to cover a few times. She loves it. She also loves watching the BBC Planet Earth series, so when the two subjects coincided she was in heaven. She insisted on writing down every single thing that we saw on the DVD that matched something in the book. Dugongs, whales, starfish, anemones. It was a laborious process, one that culminated in black ink everywhere (fingers, cheeks, lips, even - mysteriously - her shoulder), rewinding and fast forwarding so that she could double-check her facts.

My favourite was the preemptive check-boxes. First draw the box, then tick it, then fill in the thing that clearly has already made the grade. Unless you run out of space next to the box. In which case, abandon check boxes and head outside to play with the ball instead.

:: Our happy places. Bubbles for her, and holiday book piles for me.

:: A confession: I hate frisbees. The way they just COME AT YOU like that, all pink and slicing through the air. Apparently screwing up my eyes tightly and throwing my arms over my head in self defense derails the momentum of the game substantially, so Rob is her preferred partner of choice.

A couple of weeks back I was all geared up to take some important resolutions into the new year, based on the Less vs. More principle.

You know - like: LESS phone time. MORE connecting. LESS talking. MORE listening. LESS chocolate. MORE broccoli.

But really, life is so busy and complicated and messy already without adding all these tricky rules into it. So now my resolutions for 2016 look something like this:

1. Play more piano
2. Read more
3. Learn to ice-skate properly
4. And then learn to ice-skate backwards

However: because I couldn't completely throw aside my brilliant Less vs. More principle, my fifth and final resolution:

Less frisbee. 
More margaritas. 

It's going to be a big year.

Happy 2016.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Grade One: Day 2

Yesterday, Immy started Grade One. She's already been in the school for a year, so Grade One really wasn't that big of a deal for me. When I got to work, somebody commented that my eyes looked a bit red. Well, of course they did. Obviously I cried A BIT when my alarm went off at 5am.

Our morning was slow, easy, fun. We took fewer pictures than last year, and pottered around more. She stroked the cat, I watered my ailing mint and basil plants.

In the car on the way to school, we listened to Imagine Dragons, opened the sunroof, sang at the top of our voices. It was a good start to the year.


:: The morning hair. This may not look like much, but you have no idea.

:: Cat whispering.

:: Um. Those legs. In those socks and shoes. Big and small, all at the same time.

:: Friends reunited after a long school holiday.

:: Rushed family photos, clicked off quickly before she ran away to meet and greet friends.

We found her locker and her desk with her name on it. Greeted familiar faces, and met her teacher. Immy slipped away to wait quietly, anxiously, outside the door for Nosi. I missed the reunion, but Nosi's mom told me the hug was 'epic'.

When I picked her up from school. she looked much more like my girl. Messy hair, dirty feet, pullover crumpled in her bag. And this 'look ma, no arms' pose.

I like my Grade One so much.

So far I've filled in AND RETURNED the extra murals form, stuck the car disk on my windshield, packed two creative, healthy lunches, and attended the parents information evening.

I've only overslept once.

Which was NOT my fault because honestly,setting the alarm for 5:15PM instead of AM can happen to anyone. Luckily Immy woke up early enough for me to fall out of bed, assemble her (healthy, creative) lunch and still get her to school on time.

Grade One. Day 2.

I reckon I'm still ahead of the game.

Also. I've changed the time settings on my phone to the 24-hour clock.

You know. Just in case.