What is a first grader?

Before having kids, I was clueless as to what it was all about.

But I am understanding and enjoying all of the kid-having proposition, am propelled by good relationships, fresh ideas about how to foster the closeness I hope we can keep.


I wish that I could claim to have been one of the many people that have some sort of intuition or instinct about what children need. Anymore have a basic clue, after having 2 I am getting better.

I used to think it was really cool that I even figured out that if I just put sprinkles on the food, they would eat it. Now I am learning even more about just the enormous quantity of comfort and love these little ones require.  Constantly. And happily, my instincts are all to happy to make the time for the hugs (even when I am about to pass out from fatigue), the sitting with, the accompanying… even if it means I sneak a nap on the floor of the bathroom while they play in the tub. I still have a lot to learn, I am sure.


If they weren’t so delightful, I might not be as into it as I am, but they fill my days with giggles, activities and joy.  We have an elderly neighbor couple who have taught the girls to have “high tea” with all the proper settings. Yeah, a little girly is ok.

When Addy started first grade, I wondered “Now what’s going to happen? What will she do now?”  I recall a doctor telling me about how 4 months was really just one of the best ages. So far, I haven’t found a bad age.

The first day of the first grade September 2011.

Every time my first starts a new benchmark, I am embarrassed by a flash flood of emotion that seems to appear out of nowhere. Somewhere inside of me is a rational person thinking “What is this? Where is this water in my eyes coming from?”

I wish I could pack it as effectively as I packed my backpack when I was doing my traveling in my 20’s (man I could fit a lot of stuff in there), and then unpack it at will (but no).

It is probably confusing to teachers as tears fill my eyes as I discuss consonant blends and reading effectiveness scores.


Turning seven.  Every now and then I get a glimpse of something I can’t articulate.  Something very beautiful.

First grade is a marvel. She is full of love, loves everything.

She recreationally makes books for us telling us how much she loves us.

She writes stories telling her grandparents how much she loves them.

She loves school, and if you ask her what she did, she told me most of the year they had a party that day.

She loves her family and tells us all all the time. She gushes. I almost want to freeze frame this and hold on to it.

image017-200x300I have learned to give up entirely on the “perfect smile”.  I take whatever they have to offer and hope for the best.  And they are happy, and isn’t that what counts?image017

This year she got a cat, learned to read like a pro, got her ears pierced and lost her 2 front teeth and the newbies began to come in.  She told me that when other kids point out that they are not perfectly white like pearls, she tells them to “back off,”.   Her resilience is pleasing.

image010She told me she wanted to be a vampire bat for Halloween.  Hmm.  When I found the cupcake outfit, I took it out of the bag announcing that we will have to give it away because she won’t like it.  My plan worked.

image009At Christmas in a park in Portland after seeing Santa.

I have been surprised by the perpetual joy she brings to our home.  She elicits cascades of round, bubbly giggles from her sister and they play well together with joy that I love to overhear from another room.  And yes, we are normal, sometimes there are shrieks too.

image011Is there anything better than 2 kids happily doing chores?  Our Sugar Maples offer us an annual family ritual of months of leaf raking.  I sometimes wonder if having her jump up and down inside the yard debris container to squish the leaves down might not be somehow dangerous, I mean after all, it is fun.  And all fun is dangerous almost (unless it is a board game).

image012These scenes make everyone happy.image018

She is the willing explorer, not squeamish or only a princess, but a little bit of everything.

image003She has grown to be a responsible, capable, happy and fun person to be with.  I love cycling with her.


First grade curiosity seems to know no bounds.  She enters in with me on all our activities to find the fun and learning.


Before loosing the two front teeth.


Margalo the cat, so named for a character in Stuart Little which we read this year.  My job got so busy this year I lamented the time lost for things like reading a couple of chapters per night before bed.  Yay for summer!

image004She loves to dress fun and creatively.  Since kindergarten she does not want me to pick out her outfits.  This motivates her to get up in the morning, and I love her sense of style.image015

This past year they have begun to play more together, and still sometimes separately.  But the smiles here tell a good story.

image006I am glad I get to watch her grow up and be with her through her days.image001

Yes, first grade is very, very good.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Oh bud – there’s some good stuff here! Some truly great photos. The photo of Addy with her cake is just stunning. Thank you for chronicling the lives of our girls like this…it must truly be a labor of love.

  2. Zhenya says:

    Wow, what a big girl she is already!!! She is beautiful and sounds like a joy. Enjoy making even more memories together in the summer. I thought of you guys yesterday as we were passing JF University. We need to meet up at a splash pad or something this summer!

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