Sunday, October 2, 2011

School and swimming

Kiefer started pre-school at the Little Red Schoolhouse on September 6. He had been looking forward to it all summer (and even before then). Litte Red is located on the Amherst College campus in a building built specifically as a pre-school in the late 1930s. It is a charming little building and Kiefer was thrilled that he has his very own cubby. When we headed into the bathroom to wash his hands, he was amazed that the sinks and toilets were just his size. Kiefer has 18 classmates with 4 teachers and even a few Amherst college students who come and help out each day. He loves it and is learning so much. It seems that every day when I pick him up, one of his teachers tells me how wonderful, sweet or helpful Kiefer is. One asked if he's always so sweet to which I responded, "He has his moments!"

Each Wednesday, a woman named Wendy comes to do music with the kids. This past week, Kiefer came home singing, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain." He knew a lot of it, but he had me almost crying from laughter when, instead of singing, "And we'll all go out to greet her when she comes," he sang, "And she'll go out and beat her greeters..." Ha ha ha!

Kiefer schedule is getting more full the older he gets. On Monday nights he now goes to swimming lessons. We were a little nervous that he wouldn't go anywhere near the pool, because he hasn't had a lot of experience swimming and when he has been in a pool, he's been really nervous. To our delight, he did everything the teacher asked him to do! There are only 5 other students in the class, so he gets plenty of attention and we think it helps for him to see kids his age doing it.

Even though fall started officially a couple of weeks ago, it has not felt very fall-like. It has been unseasonably warm. It has also been quite rainy. Just when we think it can't rain any more, it does! Luckily, there are some beautiful sunny days here and there that allow us to dry out a little. A couple of weeks ago, we went apple picking with our Dutch friends who live in Hatfield. The weather was gorgeous and as expected, the big kids had great fun picking apples and snacking on them. Who knew Saskia would love snacking on apples, too! She kept taking apples out of the basket, taking a few bites out of one, and then tossing aside to get another. She ate practically the whole time we were there! We pick at Dole in Shelburne, and it is so beautiful with sweeping views of the mountains. It is also really inexpensive. We can pick an entire brown paper shopping bag totally filled to the top for only $8.

That same weekend, we were invited to walk in the 250th Town of Colrain parade. Our former neighbors (Haynes & Nancy) live there in an eco-village in Colrain now and they thought Kiefer would get a kick out being in a parade. He did! He was smiling and waving at everyone (although I'm pretty sure there were more people in the parade than were watching). His favorite part? The candy thrown from floats ahead of us. Of course. After the parade, we went back to Haynes & Nancy's house for lunch. They have turkeys, which both the kids got a kick out of. Kiefer fed them some cut up apples. Then, Haynes had Kiefer help him drive the tractor around. Needless to say, it was a great day for Kiefer!

Saskia is busy busy busy all day long. I think this is the reason she's a great napper. She'll take a good nap at daycare on weekdays and during the week she'll take two 2 hour naps. She talks a lot but there are only a few new words I can make out: apple and water. Right now duplos are her favorite toys. She will spend hours just sitting on the floor putting them together.

Roel and I are so busy with work, hauling the kids around and trying to keep the house in order. September and October are the absolutely the busiest time of year for me at work. I meet with student after student all day long so I am exhausted by the end of the day... too tired to work on my dissertation. Right now, I can only manage putting some time into it on the weekends. Sigh.

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