Thursday, June 12, 2008

The eve of kindergarten, and other boundary moments

Tomorrow afternoon is kindergarten and sixth grade graduation at Elliot and Astrid's school. The kids have been preparing songs and dances for the last month or so. Astrid was so excited tonight that she couldn't get to sleep; around 9:15 (more than an hour after Terry started trying to get her to zonk out), her eyes got very big when I told her that she *had* to get to sleep very quickly if she wanted to go to graduation. Happily for all of us, this ultimatum (plus a lot more cuddling from Terry) worked within another few minutes.

The kids go to a Montessori language immersion school, so much of the graduation ceremony will be in Spanish (which Elliot and Astrid speak), Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. At last year's ceremony, when Elliot was a rising fifth grader, he got to translate his teacher's very beautiful speech to the graduating sixth graders. Parents who were native Spanish speakers congratulated Terry and me so much that anyone would have thought it was Elliot who was graduating. I don't know what role he'll be playing at tomorrow's gathering--have I mentioned that he's a bit circumspect about what he does at school?--but I do know that the ceremony will be pretty weighty for him, as he will officially be a sixth grader at the end of it.

And Astrid will be a kindergartner tomorrow, as she reminded me in the bathroom this evening. This fact makes me giddy with an unnameable emotion. I really can't put my finger on it--it's not the usual "gee, they grow up so fast" kind of feeling, but more like my zillionth realization that she is her own person, simultaneously transparent and inscrutable. She is one of the most solid-cored people I've ever met--always resolutely Astrid, even when being Astrid is very, very difficult for her. She knows she tires us out (yeah, like Olivia the pig, but much stormier), and we know she sometimes exhausts herself in the process. With her, from the day she was born, the dynamic has been about asserting needs, wanting closeness, resisting boundaries and authority, identifying with and confiding in me, pushing back, reasserting needs--an amazing kind of upward spiral that always proves her a tiny bit more confident, accomplished, wily, creative, funny, beautiful than she was during the last go-round.

While Terry was gentling her to sleep (I've always loved Dr. Sears' phrase for a father's special kind of nighttime parenting), I got to watch the Celtics come from 24 points behind to beat the Lakers---and I got to do some summer sewing for Astrid, which really made me think about how she's growing. I made two pairs of shorts and finished up an unbleached muslin pinafore-ish top with black rick rack and a fabulous black-and-white flapper button. Then I went online and saw my sister-in-law Carrie's new painting--one marking the fact that her daughter is almost weaned. It's such a lovely image, especially for our family's eve of kindergarten.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your sweet comments. Wow, the kids are growing fast. I miss those two--I hope we can visit soon!