Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School days

Samuel on his very first day of kindergarten.

Our family has entered a whole new era. Samuel started kindergarten! August 27th was actually his first day (Thursday? Who starts on a Thursday?). I've fallen behind on just about everything lately, but this it too important to skip.

Every morning we walk Samuel to school, then he rides the bus home. The first couple of weeks, when I asked if he liked school, he said, "No, because we're not learning anything. All we do is sing and play games." When I asked about any friends, he said, "I asked three people to be my friend, and they said yes, but then they didn't play with me." There are people he plays with at recess, so he isn't friendless. This is the same kid who goes to a park and is immediately friends with the kid closest to his age, so I wasn't too concerned.

It's been a bit of an adjustment for all of us. Sometimes some people (I won't name any names) have a hard time waking up. Samuel still turns on movies in the morning, and I have to remind him that he doesn't have time to watch them. I keep forgetting that he has homework. But when I do remember, all the kids like to sit at the table and work or color at the same time. And then Lisy kept packing Samuel's backpack with toys until we bought her her own.

At first, Benjamin kept asking when he will turn 5 so that he can go to school, too. Now he's excited about preschool. We're doing a neighborhood preschool once a week, in which the moms take turns teaching. The first week he clung to me the entire time. Now I can drop him off, and he does fine. He also goes to speech therapy once a week, and his therapist gives him little books to "read" to practice his sounds. He especially likes reading to Samuel. Anyone who heard him at the family reunion will be impressed at how discernible his speech is now.

Not to leave out Dominic, this is a grueling semester of statistics with a demanding professor. He has a plan of attack, and there are ways I can help; together we can get through it. After this, he can get back to the classes he wants to take.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rachel's check-up

Rachel's first smile caught on camera.

Rachel had a check-up today and got shots. The shots are always sad but better than the alternative. I am happy to report that she is in the 97th percentiles for height (26 in) and weight (15 lbs 12 oz). At 3 weeks old she hadn't regained her birth weight, and the doctor was concerned. I listened to his suggestions, followed my sister Emily's tips, and I fed Rachel everytime she cried. Apparently it worked. Dominic said, "she's a chunk, not a baby." My sister Ellen commented that "she is perfectly rotund."

By 1 week old, Rachel was sleeping 7 hours a night. So one of the doctor's suggestions was to wake her up to feed her. Well, the alarm woke up Dominic, but not me or Rachel. After 3 nights of that, I stopped setting the alarm. Sleeping through the night obviously hasn't stunted her growth. Nowadays she's asleep by 9 pm, wakes up once to eat, and then wakes up around 7 am. She is a great sleeper.

At 5 weeks old Rachel rolled over for the first time. She has only rolled over half a dozen more times, so I thought she forgot how or gained more weight than her little arms could handle. But no. She rolled over for the doctor! He said she never forgot, she just doesn't want to.

She has a scream that shatters glass. Not really, but it does reverberate around my skull. She has even been known to give Dominic a migraine. The weird part is that she doesn't have an intermediate fussy stage like most babies. Instead she goes from happy or sleeping to 100 decibels in the blink of an eye.

Other than that though, Rachel is a very happy, cooing baby. She is very ticklish and laughs easily. Her older siblings adore her. Samuel likes to hold her and say, "take a picture of us." Benjamin calls her "my baby Wachel." And Lisy likes to join Rachel for tummy time or pat her back to burp her. Sometimes she likes to get all wrapped up, not because she's cold or tired, but just to be swaddled. She especially enjoys lying on the couch, swaddled, staring at the ceiling fan.

Rachel's latest picture, from Sunday