The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Friday, October 16, 2015

Milestone for Bitty

Bitty has been working so hard on her cello - she learned all her pieces in the first book of her program.  She actually learned them by the middle of summer, and by the end of the summer she was about ready to perform them in an official Book One Recital.  There was just one little problem.  Her teacher-aunt and her mom could not find a time that worked. It was such a busy summer and September for us all that we had to postpone the recital until we finally made it happen last weekend. Bitty waited patiently and kept faithfully practicing her pieces.

We gathered on the first Sunday evening of October on our back porch, a small group of folks including Bitty's dear activity days leader and the family of one of her closest friends, one of those terrific 6th grade girls I'm so grateful for.

Bitty did a great job and played her heart out.  She felt a little shaky after it was over, not sure if she had done as well as she wanted, but was reassured by the magical aunty Margaret that she made beautiful music, which she truly did.  I tried to reassure her too but Margaret is gifted with her students and knows just the right things to say.

It's so amazing to watch my kids play the cello, to watch their brains in full swing, synchronizing their hands and ears and bodies and brains to create music.  I'm so grateful we have music in our lives.

Joys of the Metal Mouth

I've known for months now that Cap needed a trip to the orthodontist.  And boy did I put that off. Not only did I find it overwhelming to choose one orthodontist among so many in the valley, I also just knew that once braces entered the scene, life was going to get a little more challenging.  And guess what.  I was right.  Happily I was led to a fabulous doctor that so far I've been super thrilled with.  (Shameless plug here - his name is Michael Richards and he's great.) I guess I can't complain too much - Cap has had his braces for more than a month now and though the first few weeks were challenging for him (and thus for us) he's adjusting pretty well.  He sounds more like himself than he did the first two weeks, and he isn't in the throws of pain and suffering quite as much.  But I'm not going to lie.  Those first few weeks were a doozie.  For him.  And thus....for us.  Someone in this house is nearing his 13th birthday.

My current plight is sending my mind back in time to long ago....nearly 30 years.....when I was the almost-teenager getting my braces on.  And it's making me kind of sad, because I'm feeling suddenly like I need to apologize to my mom.  I know exactly how awkward and grouchy Cap feels, because that's exactly how awkward and grouchy I felt.  It's like your whole face becomes nothing but your giant lips, which are protruding out in a very unfamiliar way due to the painful chunks of metal that were just glued onto your teeth. Glued!  Isn't that something that you've always been told to keep OUT of your mouth?  It's just a miserable experience.  I clearly remember that my mom, sweet lady, wanted to do something to celebrate the day, to find something to cheer me.  She printed up on our very fancy computer a little card that said, (I will NEVER forget this....), "Rachel is Sweet, Rachel's Petite, Now Her Teeth Will Be So Neat."  She used a card-printing format on Word or whatever the processing program was called in the mid-80's. She picked out a little rose-lattice border and a blocky font that printed up in pixelated gray-scale glory.  Sweet, right?  Well guess what.  I was 13.  I was horrible, and I didn't think it was sweet.  I was absolutely enraged because she had called me petite.  I hated being called short. I took great offense at her use of the label. I believe I even snapped at her and stormed out of the car in a great big fat huff, the door of the Volvo slamming shut with a very satisfying thunk.

Mom, sorry about that.  I should have seen that note for what it was - pure love. You were trying to make me feel special, and I was horrid.  You didn't even chase me down and holler at me like I clearly deserved.  You just let me go storm away while you probably did something like cook dinner for the whole family.  It's going to be hard to get through to you now but maybe you can feel a subtle shift, a little warming in the air that is the repentance your daughter is making for a long-ago wrong. Thanks for the note, mom. I love you. And thanks for the braces.  Those are expensive, and I'm grateful I had them.

Hopefully that little memory will help me be slightly more patient with my son as he works through these rotten months of changes.  Cap, my boy, you've never been horrid.  Thanks for that.  Your teeth are going to look great.  Look at that cute face....




What a good kid to put up with me taking pictures!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Off to a Great Year

It's a little anti-climactic to write about this when it turns out that it is now October and school started more than a month ago but...guess what!  School started!  (It feels weird to be working on Halloween costumes the same day as writing about the first day of school.  Clearly I'm either way behind at blogging or super awesome at costumes.  Ha ha.) But school! Exciting, right? Exciting for me, I mean.  The kids may or may not feel the same way.  Well, here's what I think.  They love it.  They just don't KNOW they love it.  Well....Skippidy loves it and knows she loves it.  The other two...maybe not so much.  They are grumpy in the mornings, but actually come home in pretty good moods, so I kinda think they secretly like it.

This has been a big year for us because it's the year that Cap departed the halls of our beloved elementary school and headed off (on a bus!!) to middle school.  He was pretty nervous about it, and I think on many mornings his tummy-butterflies act up still, but overall I've been pretty happy about his experience.  He's definitely on a learning curve when it comes to being responsible for the goings-on in seven different classes and keeping up with all that. I'm trying to be patient and remember that he has taken on not only the responsibility of middle school, but also had a major spike in responsibility for dental care and attention (braces blog post up next), not to mention eye care (I don't think I'll do a specific post about his new contact lenses), not to mention the fact that his brain is currently in a state of reconstruction that basically has turned it into hormone soup. (Sorry honey, I hate to say it, but it's true.) Considering all that, he's doing ok.  Considering that I have turned into a Hermione Granger wanna-be, I get a little frustrated.  We balance each other out.  But over all, I really think he enjoys being the manly man in our house as he's learned how to work a locker combination, navigate a comparatively huge school, change in and out of gym clothing in record time and has joined the world of morning commuters.  And I have to say, I'm super impressed with his teachers.  Special are they who wish to teach in a junior high school.  My hat is off to you.  I can't even manage one of these people at my house, not to mention a class room full of them.

The girls are also off to a great start - I can't believe Bitty is a fifth grader already.  I look at the sixth graders, who all look about a foot taller than she is with all sorts of mature manners and appearances and it totally freaks me out.  Bitty is still just such a cute little gal - I can hardly believe how close she is to being a sixth grader.  I guess I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'm really happy with her teacher, a Mr. Fuller - he's terrific.  Sadly, most of her friends are in the other class, but she's making new friends and strengthening friendships a bit where she is.  It's been a little tough with some drama here and there, but I'm very grateful for the dear friends she does have, including two of the cutest sixth graders ever.  I will MISS them next year.  Getting ahead of myself again.

And Skippidy?  What do I say about her?  That every single day I pick her up from school and ask her how her day was and she always leaps into the air and says, "It! Was! AWESOME!"  Of course, when I go to ask her details from her day, she shrugs and says she can't remember any.  Hmmm.  In reality, she has the greatest teacher ever, Miss Blank, who is nothing short of a 1st grade-teaching genius, a veritable guru in the art of mastering the six year old mind.  How can I even describe her?  She is sweet and kind and silly and also doesn't give an inch on her expectations.  She does amazing things where she has the kids learning concepts with their entire bodies, like standing up and doing motions to represent each punctuation mark they learn.  It's amazing to watch. I kind of want to hang out there more than I get to, which is only for 15 minutes on Thursday mornings.  I'm very happy.

Ok WOW I finally got through a blog post. Yay me.  Here are some ancient pictures of the kids on their first days of school.