Monday, December 29, 2008

SF adventure express

Today Lucas and I set out of the house for a 3 hour San Francisco adventure.

9:15 - Lucas and I boarded the ferry for Lucas' first boat ride. We took the ferry from Jack London Square to the Ferry Building in SF. It was amazing, I had never taken this ferry before. Luckily for us, we got a respite from the frigid temperatures we were experiencing. It was a gorgeous day! Blue blue skies and not too cold.9:45 - We land at the Ferry Building. When we got to SF, we walked across to the Embarcadero. He has a great time running around Justin Herman Plaza, but we saw that the ice skating rink was about to open. So Lucas embarked on another first.

Lucas did great for his first time on ice skates! He would fall, laugh and just get back up. We had a fun time.

10:30 - We left the ice skating rink. Lucas' pants were soaked and I didn't have an extra pair because ice skating was an unplanned event. Knowing we still had to go to the Ferry Building for lunch and catch the 12:15 ferry back to Oakland, we risked it and went in search of a kids clothing store so I could pick up a dry pair of pants for Lucas. We found a Gap Kids in the Embarcadero, and picked up some pants

11:00 - We went back towards the Ferry Building. Lucas wanted to play tag, so we ran each other around the JH Plaza. He did a fair share of pigeon chasing too (yuck!) and I snapped some photos and video.11:30 - We made it to the Ferry Building and found suitable lunches for each of us. Of course, then we treated ourselves to Recchiuti chocolates and we were on our way.

12:15 - We boarded the ferry back to Oakland. We packed a lot into our 3 hours, but we had a great time!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Small talk at dinner

Lucas' friend, of mini dude fame, came over last night for dinner. After much deliberation I ended up taking the easy way out - Chinese take out. This is part of the dinner conversation I was privy to:

Mini dude: What's your favorite kind of food?
Lucas: Chocolate, cookies and ice cream. What are your favorite foods?
Mini dude: Well my first favorite is parmesan cheese.
Lucas: What's after that?
Mini dude: Cheddar cheese. And then fried rice (which he was eating voraciously while he was talking).

Then silence for about 20 seconds

Lucas: Do you like the white cheddar or the orange kind?
Mini dude: I've never seen white cheddar cheese. Are you sure it comes in white?
Lucas: Yeah, we have some white cheddar right now. Mom, don't we have white cheddar cheese now?
Me: Yes, we do.
Mini dude: Can I see it?

So I go and fetch the white cheddar cheese from the fridge.

Mini dude: Can I taste it?
Me: Sure. (I fetch a knife and cut off a piece and hand it to MD, he tastes it thoughtfully).
Mini dude: I think I like this better than the orange cheddar cheese.
Mini dude: So my favorite foods are, in this order, parmesan cheese, white cheddar cheese, orange cheddar cheese, and fried rice.

Way to diversify, Mini Dude!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keeping up with the boys

Today I went biking with Lucas and his friend and his mom, Becky.

Mind you, back in the day I was a decent mountain biker with a real mountain bike. Then the bike got stolen, I got pregnant and bought a more sensible street cruiser instead.

My cruiser has been good for all the biking Lucas and I do around town. But today, we took the boys to Tilden to go down some trails. But knowing that we would be going down easy trails, I had no reason to worry that my bike would not be able to rise to the challenge.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The boys went screaming down the first big hill, I couldn't keep up. Going uphill was easier for me to keep up, since both boys struggled a bit with their little dirt bikes that don't have gears.
But they pushed hard and made it up all the little uphills, while going no holds barred down the little hills.

At one point, Lucas turned around and said, "Why are you going so slow?"

Time for a new bike for mom!

Mini what?

The other morning, in anticipation for the afternoon play date, I asked Lucas what he and his friend usually play at school. I was expecting him to name some obscure Star Wars character, but I didn't hear those words. He said something that started with "mini" but I couldn't make out the rest of it, "Mini what?" I asked? He said it a couple more times, I still didn't get it.

Lucas: Mom, we play mini duuude! (WTF??)
Me: Wait, it's called mini dude? I haven't heard of that before, how do you play?
Lucas: You squat down and pull your shirt over your knees and walk around like this (demonstrating).
Me: Oh, interesting. I haven't ever seen that game before (trying hard not to laugh).
Lucas: Then we try and push each other over or pretend we're playing with light sabers.
Me: Like Star Wars?
Lucas: No mom, it's mini dude? Didn't I just tell you that?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten

Some sage advice that Lucas has passed on to me in recent days. Maybe he'll look back on this blog entry when he's older and appreciate the things he learned in kindergarten.
  • Lucas and I were drawing pictures. I was in the middle of drawing a tree. I had the trunk and the big green blobby thing that makes up the tree top. I started drawing in branches and a few leaves here and there. Lucas looks over at my drawing and says, "I see you're adding in some details, you're doing a good job adding in those details."
  • I was just about done with my drawing, so I sat back and said, "I think I'm done." Lucas looks at me and says, "When you say you're done, you've just begun."
  • I told Lucas that I had some things to do and would play with him when I was done. He asked if he could help and I told him that I would just finish it up really quickly and then we could play. He said, "You shouldn't exclude other people. If someone wants to do something with you, you should always let them in."
He's said some other things to me that I know he's learned at school, but I can't seem to remember the others now.

Okay, so this doesn't really have to do with this entry, but here's Lucas standing next to the kolam that he made on the school chalk day. According to Lucas a kolam is "making and coloring your own dot-to-dots, but in India". That's pretty close. Wikipedia defines it as "a form of sandpainting that is drawn using rice powder by female members of the family in front of their home. It is widely practised by Hindus in South India. A Kolam is a sort of painted prayer — a line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Email from Lucas

Lucas sent this email to me back in October, but I just found it in my monstrous inbox...

i hav a pet dog she haz a small head girl dog her nam is maggie ilikethrowing the ball for her i love my mom and my dad and my self and mydog i like flying in a airplane its fun you git treats

Friday, November 07, 2008

A little late, but "Yes we did"

After months and months of losing sleep being on media watch online, discussing politics with friends and co-workers, canvassing for Obama over a weekend in Reno, and general hand-wringing...Obama won the election. I know, this is old old news at this point.

But here's my recap of election night anyway. I took Lucas voting with me around 7pm on Election Day. Afterward we went to gelato, they had the tv on at the chocolate stand next door. We were watching it along with about 20 other folks. People were going nuts because at this point, it was pretty clear that Obama was going to win this thing.

I looked around and thought how cool this is to be standing with all these people I don't know, but everyone cheering and realizing together that this was happening for real. The chocolate shop owner who is French was walking around, patting us all on the back saying, "This is such a great day for America. A great day for the world." It was such a nice feeling, we were all so connected, the other folks were probably like me, no tv at home, or maybe just hungry for gelato and fancy chocolates, standing there watching history in the making. It was so cool. We were all feeling the same things, amazement, relief, and joy at the good news that kept pouring out of the tv.

By the time we got home, McCain's concession speech had just started. Then Obama's acceptance speech, I felt like running through the streets, banging pots and pans. I started crying during Obama's speech. I couldn't help it, I felt so hopeful and inspired by that man and his words.

Later that night after Lucas was in bed, I was emailing with friends other cynical folks like me. We were saying how proud we are to be Americans now, and how America now feels like a place for hopes and dreams to come true. Showing our country and the world that we're not as stupid and closed-minded as we have been in the past.

The next day I wished I had an American flag t-shirt or something that just said USA on it and I would have worn it. I wore my Obama shirt instead. If someone had knocked on our door selling big American flags, I would have bought one on the spot and hung it in front of our house.

Even when I called my sister that morning on the way in to work, she said, "You know I woke up and it just feels different." I felt the same way, things just felt good.

And it was great to go online and read what people around the world were saying about Obama as the new US President:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website: "Americans have elected Democrat Barack Obama as their first black president in a transformational election, which will reshape U.S. politics and reposition the United States on the world stage."

One man in the Kenyan village of Kogelo told a reporter: "Because Obama has won, we will have a change in the whole world." A school teacher in Kogelo remarked: "Obama and America have shown the world what true democracy is all about...."

Executive news editor in Dubai: “This is a historic moment not only for the United States, but so we can all get away from perceptions about religion and race and instead consider the quality of the person."

TV writer in Argentina: “The biggest economy in the world has a leader that the world can talk to. There is the feeling that for the first time since Kennedy, America has a different type of leader.”

Student in Moscow: “The U.S., that is country that is really majestic. I feel it is a country where everything is possible.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Halloween x 2

Lucas' school celebrated Halloween on the 30th this year, since they had parent conferences on the 31st.

Lucas decided that morning to wear his Spidey costume from last year. Here he is as Spiderman, with his buddy Spencer.

Spencer had an awesome costume...Wall E. The classes marched down to the main yard. There were some very elaborate costumes. The communication sent home by the head of school last week included this line:

Five of Lucas' classmates and their families came over tonight for pizza and then for some good old trick or treating in our neighborhood.

The 5 Star Wars characters (one may have been a Power Ranger, not sure) and one vampire shark were all brandishing light sabers, even the vampire shark.Luckily we escaped the house and started trick-or-treating before anyone got hurt. We came back and the boys counted and sorted their candy, and then everyone went home and went to bed with sugar coursing through their veins.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Genesis, according to Lucas

"You know that God made people out of clay. He first made a boy and a girl. And he gave them hearts and brains."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lucas' thoughts on women

I don't remember what we were talking about prior to this, but all of a sudden this came out of left field.

Lucas: You know that women are like infinity.
Me: How are women like infinity?
Lucas: Because women have babies, and their babies have babies, and their babies have babies.
Me: Yeah, I guess so. Who told you about that?
Lucas: I just thought of it myself because I have a good imagination.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reno for Obama!

Lucas, Rocky and I roadtripped to Reno a couple weekends ago -- to visit with my cousin Cathy and her family, and to help the Obama campaign out there.I was somewhat dismayed when we drove up to the Obama campaign office in Reno. It was pretty desolate - depressing actually -- an old storefront in a two-store, rundown strip mall. We walked in and there were just two people there. The woman asked if we were from California, I told her yes. She said, "Oh, all the California people are down the street." She gave us directions and we drove over.

That's when things started to look up. There was a woman directing traffic, she let us know that the parking lot was full and to look for parking on the street. We parked a few blocks away and walked over to the building. There was a line out the door and around the building, volunteers from California waiting to spread the word of Obama to the good people of Reno.

Rocky and I made friends in line with folks who were from Berkeley and El Cerrito, the two towns bordering my own. Some of these folks have done this before, in 2000 and 2004, driven to Reno to campaign for the Democratic candidates at the time. But they said they have never seen anything like what they were seeing this time for Obama - the enthusiasm and numbers of people were unparalleled.

There were so many volunteers, other people who had come from all over California, wanting to make sure they could do everything in their power to get Obama elected. It was inspiring to say the least.
During the training, they covered hot topics with Nevadans. Regarding guns, the campaign manager said, "We love our guns. Don't tell them that Obama wants to take their guns away, tell them Obama will let people keep their guns, he just wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."(Meanwhile, Lucas is at a grand opening of a new ultra sporting good store. This is the photo Cathy sent to me of Lucas and his cousin Connor on the day we learned about guns in Nevada. You know what they say, when in Rome...)After our training we went off to our assigned precinct. I've never done this kind of work before, but I have to say that it was pretty well organized. The systems they have in place and type of knowledge volunteers get about the doors they are knocking on is very helpful and well thought out.

I don't know if this was every Californians' experience, but the people Rocky and I were assigned to were identified as either definitely (OB1) or probably (OB2) going to vote for Obama. For these folks, we just had to make sure they planned on voting, and to inform them about early voting.

I didn't know about the importance of early voting until Reno:
  • Voters are sometimes dismayed by long lines on election day, and will walk away thinking, "What's the difference if I vote or not". But in a place like Nevada, every vote really does count.
  • Voters are sometimes swayed by the onslaught of negative ads in the final days before e-day.
  • Voters sometimes get to the polls on e-day, only to find that there was something wrong with their voter registration. If you vote early, you can find this out and have time to get it cleared so you can vote.
I was so surprised by the friendliness and openness of the people in Reno. No one asked who it was when we rang their doorbells, they just opened their doors to us. As most people were predisposed to voting for Obama, they were uber friendly...saying things like, "Thanks for letting me know, I didn't know I could vote early" or "Keep up the good work". Even when people come to our door at home for Obama or the DNC, I still let them know I'm in a hurry to close the door. (Note to self, be nicer to people who come to our door at home).

Over the course of two days, we hit all sorts of different neighborhoods close to downtown Reno (the self-proclaimed "biggest little city in the world") - beautiful tree-lined streets with old traditional homes filled with families, little apartment complexes with young 20-somethings or elderly folks.) I silently thanked the campaign organizers for not sending us two Asians into any rural trailer parks. They probably save those for the native Nevadans.

Did I mostly knock on doors with no one home. Yes.
Did I persuade anyone from the McCain camp to Obama? No.
But did I feel like I made a difference? YES.

You can see below, if you squint carefully, just how divided it is in Washoe County , Nevada. This was a common sight - a McCain sign sandwiched between two Obama yard signs. It was amazing how split this county is.
And since our trip to Reno, I've been reading so much about the battle for this state.

It was written up in the NY Times, and this from a 10/24 article on the UK's Telegraph online news source:
This month, for the first time in 30 years, the number of registered Democratic voters in Washoe has inched ahead of Republicans.

Nevada has backed the winner in all but one general election - Jimmy Carter in 1976 - in almost a century and is viewed as critical territory by both sides.

Republicans have won Nevada in eight of the 10 past presidential election. In 2004, Mr Bush beat John Kerry by 21,000 votes. But the latest polls show Mr Obama with a four-point lead over Mr McCain.

And it seems like Obama's campaign and presence is definitely outweighing McCain.

Many in Reno say they have witnessed unprecedented levels of campaign activity and passion this election. The Obama campaign, which has been working furiously in Nevada since before the state's winter caucuses, has 15 field offices (the McCain operation has nine), hundreds of staff and has flooded Nevada with thousands of volunteers, many from California, who have ventured into every corner of the state.

"Obama's just out-campaigning McCain at the moment," said Eric Herzik, political science professor at University of Nevada-Reno. "He has more people on the ground, he's more visible and he's running more ads on television. At an anecdotal level, the last three weekends, I have had Obama people at my door - and mine is a mixed household of registered Republicans and Democrats. I haven't seen a McCain person."

I wish I could have gone for more than one weekend, it was such an awesome experience.

In other Reno news, aside from guns, Lucas was also introduced to the Wii. He had a lot of fun playing some Star Wars game with Connor.
And then of course, sharing a monster brownie with Connor and Cassidy at dinner one night.It was such a great trip on all fronts. I'm continuing to watch Nevada closely in the polls, and keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

20 years ago

Twenty years ago I graduated from Campolindo High School in Moraga. I lived in Moraga from when I was in Kindergarten till I graduated high school.

Here I am pre-graduation ceremony with Jeanne and Ruth (June 1988).And here I am with Jennifer, who I've been good friends with since 6th grade. Caps off, we just finished the graduation ceremony (June 1988).

Our graduating class had a 5-year and a 10-year reunion. And for more than the past year I've been on the committee to make our 20 year reunion a reality. I didn't do much except read the emails from the committee and give my two cents, but it was fun to be part of it just the same.

This past weekend was the big reunion and it was more fun than I thought.

Friday night was the "alumni only" event, out at a brewery in Walnut Creek. Here's a "now" photo of me and Jennifer. She lives less than a mile away from me and our kids went to the same preschool. We still see each other at least once a week for walks and what-not.It was a little weird at first to see people, who for the most part were different versions of their former selves. Even with name tags, some people would come right up to me and say, "Hi Sunny." I would look at their name tags, look at their faces, and still have absolutely no idea who it was.

But there were a lot of people who I was really glad to see, people who I'd lost touch with over the years. Chris and I have known each other since kindergarten. He and Jennifer were boyfriend/girlfriend for a couple years in high school.

I've known John since 1st grade. And we both ended up at USC, where we became better friends.
And here's Michael Fisher, one of my favorite people, who I didn't really get to know until after college when we both lived in SF. It was good to catch up with him too. Like I said, it was an amazing night, so good to reconnect with all of these people from my past. And because Moraga is such a small town, a lot of people I've known since elementary school.

Saturday night was the fancy dinner/drinks/dancing at the Orinda Country Club. It was so interesting to meet people's spouses. I was the unofficial photographer, which gave me a good excuse to walk around and talk to people to take their pictures. And some people who didn't make it on Friday night, turned out for the Saturday night event.

While I would love to write about each of these people, I just want to post this and catch up on my other posts. Maybe I'll come back and write captions later.

So, here's me with a bunch of people you don't know.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Kids Q&A

I learn a lot toting the carpool kids back and forth from school. In the morning when I drive the two first grade girls, I definitely learn a lot more…their conversations go way beyond Star Wars and bathroom humor of Lucas and his friend in the afternoon.

This morning the girls were talking about the questions they were batting around in class earlier in the week. Every kid in their class got an opportunity to ask a question and give their own answers. I asked the girls to repeat some of the questions while we drove so we could all weigh in:

  • What’s your favorite time of the year – summer or winter? 3 for summer, winter for me.
  • Would you rather have two noses or three eyes? 1 for two noses so she could smell cookies better, the rest of us said 3 eyes, as long as the 3rd one is on the back of our heads
  • Would you rather talk to animals or live forever? 3 for talking to animals, 1 for living forever.
  • Would you rather fly or see through walls? Everyone wanted to fly.
  • Would you rather be able to jump high or run really fast? Two for two.
  • Would you rather have no hair or no shoes? The girls freaked and said of course they would give up anything before losing their hair. Lucas would rather have his shoes so he could kick soccer balls.
  • Would you rather be a princess or Hannah Montana? 2 for HM, Lucas and I said, “WTF?”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lucas' storytime

We were at my mom's over the weekend. I was in the kitchen and looked over and saw this.

Lucas was reading one of his chapter books to Milan, and baby Jack (not pictured, but laying close by on the blanket). It was one of the cutest sights ever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lucas' book group

We are involved in carpools up the wazzoo to get Lucas to and from school. Even though it seems complex, with four different people driving him during the week, including myself, it's been a lifesaver. Plus, when I drive Lucas and his friends I get to overhear their conversations.

On the way home the other day, Lucas and his buddy were talking about their day's trip to the school library.

They were talking back and forth about different books, their conversation going something like this:

"Have you read the Magic Treehouse book 'Pirates Past Noon'?"
"That was a good one. How about the one about polar bears?"
"Oh, Polar Bears Past Bedtime, yeah I liked that one too"

And so on and so on.

After dropping off his friend, I said to Lucas, "You know how you and Linden were talking about books, that's like what I do in my book group. You and Linden were having your own little book group."

Lucas, not impressed, said, "Yeah, but we didn't get to have dessert like you." I guess not all book groups are created equal.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A conversation I overheard

So I admit, I'm addicted to Facebook. I use it more than email now to communicate to my friends. And the best part is, just like at a dinner party, I can overhear snippets of conversations, which I can jump in on or not, as the case may be.

Here is my friend Julie's status update:

Julie forced her vacationing mom to watch all 5 hours of the DNC and has just introduced her to the comedic genius of John Stewart. Lewis Black is next. 8:30pm - 11 Comments

And the following exchange that ensued...

Timothy at 5:37am August 29 - enough of the liberal tear jerking. dont you have Texas roots? reach deep into those roots and see the light.

Julie at 7:23am August 29 - Where do I live, Tim? Where. Do. I. Live? [she lives in Berkeley]

Timothy at 7:26am August 29 - hilarious. but in private i know you will be GOP.

Timothy at 9:21am August 29 - sarah palin baby. thats all i can say

Julie at 9:34am September 7 - The more I learn about her, the more despicable I find her. If you had daughters, you might feel differently...I think of the world I'm leaving my daughter, and I shudder at what the GOP assholes want to do to her.

Timothy at 10:37am September 7 - oh shit, its just a VP. lighten up. mccain wont rock the boat socially either. hes a border line liberal. what you get with mccain is an effective tax reduction supporter and small business hero.

Julie at 1:35pm September 7 - He's just another meat puppet of Rove's. I swear I saw the strings during his acceptance speech.

Sunny McKay at 2:29pm September 7 - julie, you're not crazy. i saw those strings too. and i agree, it's not just a vp, mccain is not going to last in office - he's 72, but being a pow, his real age is probably pushing 80. then we'll all be truly fucked!

Julie at 9:15am September 8 - Yeah, seriously...and NOT in the good way. Their slogan should be "Killin' & Drillin'....yee-HAW!"

Timothy at 9:16am September 8 - you know i have a county gop meeting on thur and we may well adopt that slogan

Julie at 12:38pm September 8 - Don't make me fly down there, Tim.

Monday, September 01, 2008

My heart is full of what?

Lucas and I play this game where he's usually appointed the big tiger, and I'm reduced to playing a baby mouse, or baby owl, or some other infantile creature. Oh, and no matter what creature I am, he always says, "And your name is Chubby."

Anyway, we were playing this the other morning (me playing Chubby the baby mouse) and Lucas is ready to go off and hunt for food. I said to him, "Are you sure I'll be okay here? I'm just a baby mouse." Lucas looks at me to assure me that he will be back soon after he hunts for food for us. Then he says, "You will be strong if you need to be, because your heart is full of secrets."

WHAT? Yep, I asked him to repeat it and he said, "Your heart is full of secrets." I asked him later about it and he denied that he ever said anything like that.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kindergarten - days 2 and 3

I don't plan on chronicling every single day of Lucas' school life, but bear with me...

Lucas continues to love his school. This has been such a huge relief for us, as we remember how it used to take Lucas a long time to warm up to new things, and the going was never easy.

I think back to the school tours, open houses, and other pre-admissions events for all these schools, and the one thing that stood out about this school was that they really emphasized how from day one they foster and promote a shared sense of community and respect. And it really shows, even with just 3 days under our belt.

- I was waiting for Lucas after school and a few of the older kids were walking by. One boy said to the other, "It's pretty fun to have a whole new group of kindergarteners here." And one of the girls said, "Yeah, did you see how cute they are?" It was really nice to hear that. I'm sure there will be issues, but at least on day three, they felt a sense of responsibility toward the littler ones.

- When Lucas' friend was on one of the Flying Turtles and fell off face first, immediately one of the school plans went into effect. The older kids with him shot up their arms and yelled, "He's hurt! I don't know his name, but he's hurt!" And two of the after school teachers went over to see how he was (he survived the Flying Turtle incident with just a few scrapes).

- The one hard part about this school is that it's hard to drag Lucas away. When I went to pick him up the other day he just kept playing. The after school director went up to him and essentially said, "We all manage this program together. One of the biggest rules is that you need to listen to other kids, the teachers, and your parents. That's why the after school program works so well and that's why we get to have fun here." Then he asked Lucas repeat it back to him and we were on our way.

- Aside from the Flying Turtles, the other most-coveted items are the bottom boards. They're little skateboards that they ride on, sitting on their bottoms. They can ride down this little ramp (see above), or tie ropes to them and pull each other around on the black-top. One of the other things about after school is that the older kids teach the younger kids how to do things, instead of the teachers doing it. Lucas tried the b-board on day one, but was very cautious and mostly kind of scooted down the ramp. But by day 3, he had mastered it with the help of his coach, who's standing off to the side.

On Friday morning parents were invited to stay for the morning all-school assembly to raise the flags. The 4th graders are in charge of raising the flags every day, but this was the first time this year. The 4th grade teacher talked about the flags, but what I thought was nice, was that she started with a world view, with a school alum singing the "World Anthem", she had an amazing voice and I got the chills. Fresh from watching a lot of the speeches from the Democratic National Convention, I was feeling especially patriotic. Then all the kids sang "This Land is Your Land" and I got downright weepy.

Then when I picked up Lucas yesterday afternoon, I saw pieces of paper taped up along the main corridor. Here's one of the signs.
The rest were more general, "Go Obama", "Vote for Obama", "Obama for Change". You gotta love living in the Bay Area.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

1st day of kindergarten!!!

(This is a long post, so if you just want the synopsis - Lucas loved everything about school! Yay)

I'll start with the day before K, which was Tuesday.

We went to a kindergarten get-together at a local park the day before school with his future classmates and their teachers. Even on the drive over there, thoughts were bent toward the first day of school, "Will I have fun at my new school? What if I don't like the teachers?" Once we got there we introduced Lucas to his teachers. And we all, parents included, sat down in a big circle time. Kevin and I were surprised when Lucas raised his hand during circle time to ask a question. "Will we have circle time at school?" The teachers assured him that they would have not one, but two circle times a day. At the end of circle time the teachers gathered the kids around to read a book about a kid who is getting ready to go to kindergarten (surprise!).
After the book, the kids went running wild throughout the park. I introduced Lucas to a boy who, rumor had it, loves LEGOS and Star Wars as much as Lucas. And immediately they were off and running. Lucas' new buddy invited us (actually he really invited Lucas) to dinner with him. So we hit Rubio's with Lucas' new found buddy and his family, plus another incoming kindergarten family.It was hard for Lucas to tear himself away from his new buddy, but we finally tore those two apart. Lucas talking on the way home about organizing a play date, etc.

Lucas awoke the next morning with some extra energy, which I account for as nervous energy. He got dressed in his school t-shirt and expressed his energy with a long string of potty talk. We told him to get his jollies out before he got into that classroom because it would end there. During the drive, he again expressed some concern about his new school, "I think one of my teachers is a vampire."

But once we got to school, he was all business. He was too busy to pose in front of the school sign, like the kid in the upper left, he wanted to get to the playground and start playing.

We also tried posing for a family photo at the playground, but it was hard to contain Lucas, so this is the best one we got. Lucas immediately sought out his new buddy. They found each other and started to do what any crazy 5-year olds would do on the first day of school...
Actually, they weren't trying to escape, they just wanted to get up to that tree and swing from the branches.

At 8:40, the kids lined up and filed inside their new classroom, found their cubbies and hung up their goods.

The class starts each day with a morning "meeting", this time the parents were invited to stay. The teachers, Liz and Diep, introduced themselves and asked all the kids to introduce themselves and tell everyone their favorite animals. Lucas of course said his was a tiger.The first order of business was the calendar and weather chart. Lucas looked at me with a smile because they did the same thing at his old school. And Lucas, like most kids, loves routine and familiarity.
They talked about bathroom etiquette (they taught them to use the sign language sign for bathroom, which surprisingly, is not holding your crotch) and directed them to the bathroom which is in the classroom (another source of concern for Lucas, "What if I can't find the bathroom?"). Then they went through the rest of the day's schedule and took roll call.

The the teachers said, "Now it's time to say goodbye to your parents." The kids turned around and waved and we were ushered to the music room with the other kindergarten parents. At this parent coffee, I signed our lives away to eScrip, joined probably one too many committees and chatted it up with the other parents. Even Kevin was unusually social, the parents seemed relaxed and relieved that the first drop off was over.

Back at the office, it was hard not to think about Lucas and how he was getting along on his first day of school. I left work early so I could pick him up just a little bit after the afterschool program started.

I got there and he was still in his fencing class. I peeked in and saw him, with some of the kids from his class. He was having a great time. Aside from fencing with these foam swords (not much difference than the light saber wars we have at home), they had lots of jumping exercises.After fencing we walked down to the afterschool area. And once we got down there he didn't want to leave. He and one of the kids from his class were playing LEGOs, then some older girls taught him the finer points of the flying turtle.After about an hour, Lucas was finally ready to leave. He was talking to me about all the things they did that day, nonstop, and could not stop smiling.
  • We have recess and lunch outside, and recess is the same as playtime at my old school, but recess is for bigger kids.
  • I played LEGOs and there are all sorts of different LEGO pieces at school, like windshields.
  • So-and-so also had a Speed Racer snack box, just like mine.
  • We did a scavenger hunt, but not to find treasures, to find things in the classroom, like tissues, glue, paper...
  • I got to do fencing with some of the older kids (I think his class is K-2) and I did really good.

I think this photo as we left school sums up Lucas' experience on his first day of kindergarten.