Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day in First Grade

The first day of school was marked by equal parts joy and emotional instability. And Grayson was just as bad.

I was prepared for his clothing crisis, after experiencing similar traumas on every major holiday in recent history, and successfully talked him off the ledge with lots of gentle but confident words and a final push out the door. (Although the complaint, that he was trying too hard to look cool, not normal, was a new and dramatic twist.)

The teenage angst continued on the walk to school. I was walked ahead, he followed behind at a safe distance. He refused to pose for pictures in front of the sign. He didn't want to be shown the bathroom location, or hear about whether his backpack contained milk money or a juice box. He was calm, cool and in-control. If he owned a Fedora, it would have been tipped at a jaunty angle with one eye looking out at the ladies.

Until we reached room 3.

Thin little arms cinched my waist like a belt. Size 12 Converse scaled my legs like a coconut tree. It was as if he was planning to exercise some of womb re-entry option. His very own desk was located, with his name already on both it and a math book. Friends were pointed out, the teacher introduced. The grip eventually relaxed, and the seal was broken. Officially, he became a first-grader.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fiddler on the Roof

Rob: "We got a new Netflix movie today. Fiddler on the Roof."
Janice: "Oh good! We can all watch it together tonight!"
Grayson: "But how are we going to get it down?"
Rob, Janice: "Huh?"
Grayson: "If Dad put the movie on the roof, how are we going to get it down?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Lucie Diet

Lucie's taste for strange and dangerous items has hit an all-time low: I found her chewing this morning on the caulking that bonds the toilet to the bathroom tile. Does the hospital's hepatitis ward take advance reservations?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Toyphobia? I don't think so.

While browsing in a toy store at the Third Street Farmers Market in Los Angeles this weekend, a reporter from KNBC introduced herself and asked me a few questions about the Mattel toy recall. I'm pretty sure we weren't able to deliver the sound bytes she was hoping for.

In her best hyper-end-of-the-world voice the reporter asked, "How can you be shopping for toys at a time like this? Aren't you fearful for your children's safety with yet another toy recall announced this week???"

Channeling the blase attitude Santa Barbarans are known for, I responded, "In the last three-weeks, my daughter has chewed on an acrylic fingernail she found underneath a lounge chair at a hotel pool, eaten a marshmallow dug up at the beach from a leftover bonfire, and sucked the moisture out of a used Swifer floor wipe. Really, toys in the mouth aren't even on my parenting radar." As if on cue, Lucie grabbed the microphone away and started gnawing on the foam covering. Rob says I should have concluded the interview by insisting the microphone be swabbed for led-based paint.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Heat in Fresno

Here's a little "Grayson-ism" from our vacation this summer.

Our one night pit-stop in Fresno included a Westmont event, featuring Dr. Michael Shasberger, a noted conductor, musician and professor. Dr. Shasberger stayed at the same hotel, so we picked him up for the event and planned to drop the kiddos off at a sitter along the way. We had briefed Grayson on Dr. Shasberger's prominence and stature and asked him to use his best manners during the brief car ride there. He assured us that he fully grasped the situation and could be counted on to act accordingly. I was still a little nervous, though, as Dr. Shasberger opened the door to our jam-packed minivan and brushed aside the Cheerios from the passenger seat.

"Hi, Dr. Shasberger," I said.

"Oh, who do we have here?" he asked.

"This is my daughter, Lucie, and my son, Grayson," I said.

"Well hello, Lucie. And hello, Grayson," he said.

And Grayson replied, "Hi, Dr. Shasberger. I'd shake your hand, but I can't right now because my butt is sweaty."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

In Case of Emergency

You might find it helpful someday to know (although I pray not) that cell phones can dial 9-1-1 with the keypad locked. It's true. Just ask Lucie. Or the 9-1-1 operator she babbled to for two minutes, ten seconds this morning before I caught on that there was actually someone on the receiving end of the conversation.

Now she is on the lookout for any unattended phone, anxious to enter that magic three-digit combination and get the urgent sounding voice back on the line.

Friday, August 3, 2007

For Grayson

My little Gentleman, the one with the freckles across his nose, is six.

You are a better person than I am; holding the door for ladies, crying over your own greed, making your sister laugh. Your unique perspective on life makes everything fun. I'm endlessly proud of your artistic talents, your prowess on the monkey bars, and the many skills you learned in kindergarten this year. You can melt me with a look.

I am so thankful that you haven't outgrown the need to crawl in bed with me every morning and snuggle your way back to sleep, or that you still follow me to the driveway and blow kisses as I leave for work. I'm holding on to these moments for a lifetime, my little man.