Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Days of School

Do most mother's dream of the first day they send their children off to school? I have to say I didn't. Even though we spent the last couple years agonizing (it seemed) over whether or not we should send Riley early, or make him wait another year, the first day of this momentous occasion seemed like it snuck up on me.

The first clue that I was not planning for this day as I ought was when I caused him to miss the bus because of my lackadaisical preparations, i.e. never actually checking the bus schedule. This resulted in me guessing based on when I saw the kids walking up the hill to catch the bus last year, and I was off by about twenty minutes- twenty minutes too late it turned out. My sweet boy was un-phased by this mistake on my part and we quickly recovered by borrowing money from another mom (I was toting Ari and Sadie in my running garb) and hailing a taxi for the 25 minute ride to school. Not long after getting on the taxi I realized First Day Failure #2: Forgot to take picture of first child on their first day of school heading out the door.

When we arrived the excitement that had been building in Riley's psyche for almost two years now all dwindled in a matter of seconds when he surveyed the crowd of what seemed like thousands of children (in reality maybe around 100?) gathering in the main courtyard. They were filing nicely into their classes and looked excited, cheery, maybe a little nervous for the first day to begin. Riley was nearly in the fetal position. By now, sobbing and stating quite firmly he was not staying and was returning home with me and the rest of his comrades from the womb. Looking back, I think it was a Divine change of plans that we missed that bus and I was able to be there with him to work through those first tough moments. Finally, a couple friends who are teachers came over and offered to stay with Sadie and Ari while I went with Riley to his classroom, which we did- with him still firmly believing that he would not be staying. But it is amazing what a few well-placed name tags will do for a 4 year old and it was not long after finding his personal cubby, seat, coat hook, and who knows what else, that he was waving goodbye while hurriedly wiping tears from his face in an effort to become the mature Pre-K'er he now believed he had always been.

With the traumatic beginning behind us, the days have continued with little incident. The makeup of his class makes for some funny stories. It's quite diverse: 6 kids with four languages (Korean, Chinese, German, and English). Riley stated that they all speak Spanish. His Chinese is improving little by little though, which is encouraging. Today he also asked me if he could have some alone time in his room, building with blocks... "like, this could be the Building Center and you and Ari could go to the Cooking Center in the kitchen like we have at school."

Though I failed to look sentimentally ahead to this day with any real emotional preparation, I do find that my heart twinges a bit when he kisses me goodbye in the morning, sounding so old and adult with his questions about what he has for lunch and telling us he'll miss us but not to worry about him. And I've been trying to make up for my initial lack of enthusiasm by working on ideas to restore myself to status of Supermom... at least in my son's eyes. One idea that I thought was pretty ingenious but was quickly corrected otherwise was making super healthy, sugarless oatmeal cookies! What good mom doesn't try to provide healthy, heart-conscious snacks for her growing, brain and muscle-developing children? Riley was not fooled. A request was put in for the "OTHER oatmeal cookies, mom!" I have pressed on though. With a little tweaking of the recipe I think it's pretty good now and the boys seem satisfied- or at least they are eating and not choking or gagging... and sometimes ask for more.

So, in honor of the First Day's of School here is a new, healthy, not-too-bad-tasting recipe for Oatmeal Cookies.

1 cup whole wheat flour (perhaps 1/4- 1/2 cup more depending on the moisture of the dough)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T. cinnamon

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil (can also use some applesauce in place of oil if you want)
1 T. molasses
2 eggs (beat with 1 T. water)
1 tsp vanilla

can also add raisins or walnuts OR I added about 1/2 - 1 cup small, diced apples.

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