7 Sept 2020

The back to school edition. Ruthie met her new 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Bankston, and Annie met 1st grade’s Mrs. Keene at the Meet the Teacher day back in August. Each of their classes have ten kids and meet twice a week, with me helping with homework that reinforces that previous day’s teaching. I don’t teach anything new, which makes this insanely doable. Annie knocks her homework out while Ruthie will find every excuse in the book to stall. Mom had to help with homework one weekend while I was gone and eventually she had to use a bell to call Ruthie back everytime (The same clanging bell she’d use in the middle of the night to wake me up to help her to the bathroom after her knee surgery. It is NOT sweet and dainty. It’s an in-your-face-get-off-your-butt-and-get-me bell. Ruthie admits she would stay away as long as could because she knew Grandma never gets mad.

Ruthie lost another tooth. When Ryan went to put the money under the pillow (The anxiety of waking them up keeps me from doing it myself), he found a full questionnaire for the tooth fairy.

“Dear Tooth Fairy. No I did not lose another tooth. (When she lost a previous one, she also wrote a note explaining why there was no tooth to collect.) I am sorry to bug you, but I have a couple of questions. What is your name? Is there only 1 of you? If you are not, do you come to me every time? I wish I could see you. Love Ruthie”

We’re realizing that her time is quickly coming to an end with these, so Ryan wrote back and she didn’t recognize his handwriting. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a few months ago and it’s about a poor family in Brooklyn. When the daughter got married and had her first child. Her mom said gave her some instructions on how to raise her, including to allow her to believe in Santa Claus for as long as possible.

When the daughter asked why, her mom said “Because the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believes. She must start out believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes so ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the saints and great miracles that have  come to pass on earth. Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.”

“The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I lied. She will be disappointed.”

“That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one’s self. To first believe with all your heart, and then not to believe, is good too. It fattens the emotions and makes them stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard. In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character.”

I just loved this book so much. I’m constantly thinking of little snippets like this. Like how when that little baby grew up, she and her brother were allowed one cup of hot coffee at dinner to do as they pleased. She hated the taste, but loved the smell, so would just hold the hot mug in her hand throughout dinner, bringing it up every now and then to smell. After dinner she would dump it down the sink. When her aunt came to eat with them, she admonished her sister for letting her daughter waste the coffee and the girl’s mom said that she thinks its good for the soul to feel like they can waste something. To feel like they weren’t that poor, that she couldn’t pour coffee down the sink. And they were indeed that poor, which is why it resonated with me. I’ll never forget that book.

Ryan snuck Annie away one night and took her for a nighttime walk at Crystal Bridges. Quality Time is her go to love language for sure. 

One morning last month, I heard Gertie whimpering in bed, so went in to cover her up. Her leg and arm were jerking back and forth and she was dead weight when I picked her up, with her body still jerking. I hollered at Ryan to wake up and he rushed her to the ER. Within the hour, she recovered fully and the doctor thinks it wasn’t a seizure, but that maybe she’d laid on those limbs for so long that they were really asleep, involuntarily moving.

We ate donuts and by that afternoon were in the pool. Gertie is showing signs that maybe one day she could swim. In her baths, she puts her face under the water and holds her breath. I asked her water therapist about this and she said that’s awesome and if she’s not taking in water, then she’s definitely learning. Just yesterday, we let her swim around (in her floaties) and she did a great job keeping her mouth closed and kicking her arms and legs. We’re hopeful.

I wasn’t expecting to be in a photo for their first day of school, but here we are. I’m thankful that their mask requirements are not as strict as the public schools. They only wear them in the hallway.

Only Kindergarten parents could walk back to the classrooms, and one of those moms snapped this pic of her girl on the way out which happened to have Annie in the background.

Ryan snuck both girls away for another Crystal Bridges walk. They sat and watched the glowing soccer ball for awhile.

Ruthie had to draw a picture of herself for school. She thought only the teacher would see and when she found out she’d have to show the class, she about lost her mind. She cried, and I’m not kidding, all day. She said this was the most humiliating thing she’d ever have to do. I told her to laugh about it and get her class to laugh at it too, but she said that no one talks in her class, let alone laughs.

Our Labor Day plans were cancelled so we’ve had a nice relaxing time at home swimming, organizing, and now trying to get our old Nintendo to hook up to the TV.