Antics and escapades of Locke and Lola, twins in action.

21 August 2010

Everything Changes Monday

This weekend marks a passing that many have have experienced -- and even survived. But it's one that is weighing heavily on my mind and emotions. This is the last weekend before Locke and Lola begin Kindergarten.

Summer is over and our precocious preschoolers are now officially elementary school kids. It's hard for me to believe, and even harder to tame the whirlwind of emotions I feel about it. After several months of asking, "Aren't you excited? You're going to KINDERGARTEN!" I realized that, as much as I want them to share my excitement, they have no idea what being a kindergartner really means so I was only adding undue pressure to the whole situation. And the last thing I want to do is stress them out before what should be one of the most exciting days of their lives. But it's such a momentous occasion! And I am harboring the motherlode of overblown emotions that are understandably reserved for times like this.

I wonder what the etiquette for first time kindergarten parents is. Will they let me hold onto Lola's leg as she tries to walk into the classroom the way she used to desperately cling on mine whenever we walked into a new roomful of people? Will I be able to stand, arms folded, shaking my head in quiet defiance the way Locke used to when he didn't want leave a place that was too much fun? Or will I be allowed to stand outside at the window with tears streaming down my face after they excitedly run inside to begin their new adventure?

I'm so proud of the people they've become. They're compassionate, smart, creative, independent, talented kids. They're going to a great school and they're very excited about beginning this new chapter. I know they'll thrive and I'm so looking forward to their experiences and accomplishments. But I can't help but think of the big changes that are about to take place:

They will be in separate classes for the first time in their live (although they'll see each other daily at lunch and at recess).

They will be in school ALL DAY EVERY DAY, instead of 3-5 hours, several days a week.

They will be exposed to kids with big brothers and sisters -- you know, the ones who have already mastered sarcasm and cynicism, and who have seen PG-13 movies (gasp!).

And they won't be there to snuggle whenever I need a hug.

This is where we, as parents, let go and hope we've done what we need to make them strong and wise in their choices. Deep down I know they're ready. I just wish I was.

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07 December 2009

Read, Locke, Read

WARNING: You are about to read the writings of a proud mom. Exposure to excessive bragging can cause unwanted side effects such as cringing and nausea so read at your own risk.

Locke has been reading since right after he turned four. Not just guessing at words based on the first letter or two, but actually reading. It began because Locke had a mission. And that mission was to know everything there is to know about our prehistoric friends, the dinosaurs.

Locke learned how to read by studying his Smithsonian-sized collection of dinosaur books. He'd peruse these books for hours on end, carefully studying the pictures and learning to sound out the multisyllabic names so he'd know which dinosaur he was seeing. So, instead of looking at a few letters of a word and guessing what the word is, he could actually sound out names like Heterodontosaurus and Eustreptospondylus.

Learning to read this way may not be the easiest but, months later, after mastering these gargantuan creatures and their equally gargantuan names, he can now read any book in their comprehensive playroom library. It's like going from Tolstoy to Palin. I'm sure he finds the monosyllabic words, wild exaggeration, and large print amusing.

Kelly's mom was visiting recently and she brought a collection of books used in the 1st grade classes of the elementary school at which she is a guidance counselor. The books are used to test the reading progress of 1st graders throughout the year, the first book used at the beginning of the year, and the 16th book is to test their progress at the end of 1st grade. I grabbed the 16th book and showed it to Locke. He started reading it, using the correct inflection for quotes and punctuation, like he'd heard it a dozen times.

I'm so proud of Locke and impressed with his reading skills. And his success is beginning to inspire Lola. I try to be very careful to praise her progress as well as his but she understands that he has a gift and that he's worked hard to achieve his success. So now she's starting to work too. She's beginning to stick with a word longer, sounding it out instead of guessing.

A love of books is such a gratifying thing to see in your kids. I hope it lasts a lifetime.


17 November 2009

Goodbye, Indy. Howdy, Texas!

In two short months, your world can change completely. Kelly was offered a job in September and in less than two months we moved, sold our house (we closed Friday), and the kids have started a new preschool in our new city. But, unlike most moves brought about by new jobs, this one is a move back home.

We enjoyed our time in Indiana and will miss the wonderful friends we made there. So it makes it much easier moving to a place where you still have good friends. Lola and Locke, however, left the only friends they ever knew. But they are experiencing this brand new city with the wide-eyed wonderment reserved exclusively for preschoolers. They seem happy and excited by the prospects of new parks, new restaurants (Lola loves that every restaurant has cheese quesadillas!), new museums, and new libraries. And this new place has the added bonus of built-in family.

Finally, after living the majority of the kids' lives away from our families, we've come home. My family is now very close by and Kelly's mom lives close enough to see on weekends. Maybe that's how Locke and Lola are handling the move so well. As stressful as moving is, it's so much easier knowing there are people close by who love you.

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20 September 2009


Locke and Lola are 3 games into their soccer season. This is their first time to really play soccer. In fact, it's the first time for most of the kids in their league. And when you get two teams of 4 and 5 year olds with little or no understanding of the game together, it makes for some serious entertainment. Some might call it controlled chaos. Others compare it to herding gnats. But the kids have fun, win or lose. Go Galaxy!

Here are a few pics at practice and after the first game.

30 July 2009

Vocabulary Explosion

Every new day with Lola and Locke brings a symphony of new words, and new ways of stringing together familiar words. The rate of learning for a 4-year-old is astonishing. Sometimes what comes out of their mouths is a regurgitation of overheard phrases with faint understanding of what they actually mean. But they understand more than I realized they could at this age. And now that they're sounding out more words, they're even learning through written words.

Locke has been developing his vocabulary by focusing on his latest passion, dinosaurs. He can tell you the names and eating habits of at least 30 dinosaurs, including Heterodontosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus. Often he can tell you how large it is in both feet and meters, too. But some of his best new lines are derived not from his beloved dinosaur library books, but from the commercials he's seen on the Discovery Kids network.

The other day he saw a commercial for a hair iron that straightens and curls. He was so impressed that he told me, "That hair worker works like no other hair worker!" Then, days later, as they were dressing in the locker room after their swimming lesson he said, "Regular irons might damage your hair." I wonder if he's trying to tell me something.

My favorite vocabulary words of Lola's are the ones that she gets a little wrong. Like the other day when she told me, "When I grow up and have babies, I'm going let my kids stay up ALL night so they can see the 'nocterminal' animals." Or when she told me that Locke knocked over her bowl but "he didn't do it on 'kurpose'."

The rate and the level of their vocabulary development is surprising, but even more surprising is how much I'm learning as a result of their learning. For instance, if I find myself at a cocktail party with a paleontologist, I'll actually be able to discuss their work with a slight degree of understanding. And I'll know not to ask about Brontosaurs. (For those of you not as current on dinosaurs as I, a Brontosaurus is now called an Apatosaurus.)

Not to be outdone, I'll fill you in on my own latest vocabulary acquisition. I picked it up at the kids' swimming lesson last week. When we arrived at the gym and the indoor pool was closed I was surprised to learn that their lesson was being conducted in the outdoor pool. It was sprinkling and 68 degrees outside. When I asked why the indoor pool was closed, I learned this little gem: "fecal incident." I'm hoping I never have reason to use that one again.

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15 July 2009

Thank You, Mimi!

Most of my local friends with kids live here because their families live here. Many have lived elsewhere -- New York, Portland, San Francisco -- until the first baby was born. Then the need to be close to family becomes more important than whatever it was that was so important where you were living. Because once you have kids, you don't remember much about what happened before that.

Kelly and I were in a little different situation than most. In order for me to stay home with our babies, we had to move away from our families. It was very difficult but we both feel that it was the best choice. So, unlike most people I know, we don't have the grandparents across town to take care of the kids for the afternoon, or the weekend, or the week.

But we have something that none of our friends have. We have Mimi.

Mimi will drop everything to babysit for as long as we need her. This summer she spent 4 weeks here so Kelly and I could go to our close friends' wedding, renovate the kids playroom, and take care of several other orders of business while she was here.

She took the kids to school, classes, play dates and birthday parties. She took them to the dairy farm to see the cows and chase the chickens. She took them to eat cupcakes. And she took them on picnics. She baked with them, she painted with them, and she gardened with them. The kids had the time of their lives.

I know my parents would have loved to be here, playing with and caring for Lola and Locke. They've definitely done it before. They teamed up with Mimi a year ago to babysit so that Kelly and I could go to Beijing for the Olympics. That was the trip of a lifetime and I'll always be grateful for it. So, for a family living so far from family, we are very lucky.

This summer Mimi went beyond the call of duty. Thank you, Mimi.

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12 May 2009

Spring Break

Spring has sprung and the ample rain is creating one beautiful green landscape. It's time to plant and picnic and play outside. But before spring completely gets away from me, I want to post some pictures from the last few months.

In March when the nip in the air was overstaying its welcome, we fled the cold of the Midwest for warmer climes and went home to Texas for a nice early birthday and spring break celebration. We had nonstop fun, nonstop fish and shrimp tacos (or chicken nuggets, depending on which family member you speak to), and nonstop quality time with Mimi. Here are a few pics from our trip, and one of the kids' cool new birthday bikes.

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