Griffin just signed “diaper change” to me for the first time, and lo and behold, his diaper did indeed need changing! This has come at a time where I’ve been getting frustrated by his increasing desires but lack of ability to communicate them to me. Yippie for baby signing!
It is hard for me to look at Griffin and say that he definitely looks like either Andrew or me. I can always see it in other peoples’ kids, but Griffin has been more of a challenge. Lately, most people have been saying that he looks like his dad, so I wanted to hunt down two photos of Andrew at one year old that his mom, Sandy, gave us. When she passed them on, Griffin was only three months old and it was difficult for me make the connection. So today in my mad packing frenzy they resurfaced, and WOW; It’s pretty hard to deny that he and Griffin look amazingly alike!
Raven’s real birthday (her fourth) was on Friday, but she celebrated it today with a fabulous party at Kids In Motion. I had no idea that such a cool place was only a short walk from our house. It’s like a huge padded gym for toddlers, featuring a massive trampoline, balls, balloons, rocking things, bouncing things, swinging things, sliding things… all the good stuff. It was awesome. I’ve posted a full set of photos in our gallery, with some highlights below.
Griffin has been a babbling brook of sounds lately. I wanted to jot a few down before he actually starts reciting poetry because knowing this noggin of mine, I’ll have a hard time remembering what seems like unforgettable information.
Da-da: First word! We initially thought this was only in reference to Andrew, but we soon realized he was not really that discriminating and everything was da-da for a while.
burr: bird (this used to be any kind of animal, but now is pretty much exclusively birds)
bah: ball, balloon, anything round and ball-like
da-da, daddy: Daddy
I’ve been a bit in denial that we’re moving very, very soon and have been focusing on all of the things I won’t miss about the Bay Area: the horrid traffic, the hustle bustle of so many people, the cost of living, etc. But with the date of departure creeping closer and closer, it’s getting more personal and real. Today as I left the Rheem School staff end of the year party, I started thinking about the things and people I’ll miss. I suddenly realized that the party would likely be one of the last times I would see most of my fantastic colleagues, and it hit me like a truck. I could not, and cannot, stop crying.
Rheem has been the place where I have found my voice as an educator. I truly could not have asked for a better place to start out. I’ve had an amazing principal who turned into a great friend, wonderful mentors and colleagues, supportive parents and excited students. I feel like I came at exactly the right moment to help start the school garden, which has literally blossomed into an engaging outdoor classroom and an integral part of the school. I started to develop my stance on what public education should and shouldn’t be, and how I can be a part of that. I discovered that I can indeed teach kindergarten, and that I love to play the guitar. I participated in a collaborative teaching staff, one that is built on the basis of mutual respect and openness. And perhaps most importantly, I felt love from a family of educators who beyond doubt find joy in teaching.
So why leave? I have felt so confident in this move as it has stayed abstract, but today I’m feeling a little grief-stricken. I absolutely know in my heart that this is the right move for so many reasons, and I can look back on the past five years with great clarity to see all of the ways that the Bay Area is not for me (and not the place where Andrew and I want to raise our family). I am absolutely not leaving here with any bitterness; moving to Oakland has changed my life considerably, and for that I am ever grateful.
But in the end, it is not home.
And as beautiful as I think Rheem is, I know it’s not my home as a teacher either. I find myself drawn to the experiential side of education, and while the garden has been amazing, I do wish I could be in a place that had outdoor, whole child centered education at its core. I have known for quite some time this is who I am, and I’m excited to see if there is a place that really fits this dream. Also, in all honesty, I do love being a stay-at-home parent, which has its own style of teaching in itself. The path of my job as an educator is being revealed as I walk it, and I know I will arrive in a place that is right for me eventually.
So in the meantime, I know there are going to be many moments like these as we get closer and closer to the day we move, and I will let them happen as they rise and fall. Today, I feel proud to have been a Rheem Team Roadrunner, and although right now I am feeling immensely sad about leaving the people at Rheem, I also feel carried by their love and will be leaving with a full heart.
We are really trying to keep the house in relatively good order since it’s still on the market, but it’s nearly impossible with our little helper.
Today I made banana walnut muffins with Griffin, and it was truly a transformative experience. This may seem like the beginning of a silly anecdote, but I am totally serious. It really opened my eyes to the fact that my child is ready for things I didn’t know he was capable of.
The idea of involving him in making muffins (which I was going to do regardless) transpired after reading a book called Sign With Your Baby and watching the corresponding DVD. I’ve been working on signing with Griffin since returning from full time work, and already he’s picked up more, milk, and all done. I wanted a little more guidance, though, and so turned to these resources. The babies in the video were communicating on such a sophisticated level that it motivated me to first, learn more signs so I can introduce them to Griffin, and second, really involve Griffin in everyday experiences so we can have more opportunities to communicate and experience things together. Muffin making this afternoon seemed like the perfect chance to start. I thought at the very least he’d be fascinated by the mixer!
I put him in a little apron and pulled the step stool up to the counter. He watched me measure the flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients and put them into the mixer. He listened to my warnings not to put his hands near the moving parts, and was indeed taken with the sound and movement. Next, we worked on the wet ingredients, which were set aside next to another bowl. This is where the magic started happening. I was standing behind him while he was standing on the step stool: I cracked the eggs in front of his face, which elicited an excited, “ooooooooh!” I brought out the egg beater, and we spun it together, hand over hand, to beat the eggs. He giggled. He poured in the milk and yogurt without spilling! We stirred it together with a wooden spoon. I showed him how to mash the bananas with his hand and put them in the bowl, and to my amazement, he did it unaided. This was by far his favorite part. He was laughing with every squish and signed more! when he was done. I crushed the walnuts, and he dutifully put the walnuts in the batter, one by one, after I’d combined the wet and dry ingredients.
He did get banned from actually filling the muffin tins since he wanted to stick his hand in every single one, but this is only the first of many collaborative cooking efforts; I’m sure we’ll get to a point where he will be able to help every step of the way.