My kids’ nursery school started SO late this year! I jealously watched everyone post their families’ first day of school pics, chalkboard signs on front stoops… I couldn’t wait for our turn. I love that at this time, unlike birthdays, both kids are on the cusp of something new. While waiting I wondered, how can I really capture my children right now, and create a series that I can look back on see the change? Not just a portrait, but how they act and placing them in a context that can show year-over-year change. I wanted to capture more than just the date, class name, and what they looked like… What are they like? how do they act? what are they into? what are their habits? how are they feeling about this new beginning?
We were headed over to the library one afternoon last week and I thought to grab my camera. I remembered taking (and blogging) photos there last year at this same time. Aha! The library: A consistent part of a young family’s life, where you can see the children in action and also capture them relative to a constant scale (the exact shelves may change, but they’re pretty much the same in any public library…).
And why not use the blog to write out the rest? So here we go… my kids a year ago, and now:
So what are these guys like these days? (other than taller, slimmer, with messier hair, and truly engrossed in books rather than just pulling them off shelves)
C.J. – 4 years old, starting his pre-k year:
- Our Type A, linear child. He has to follow instructions from A to Z. In a coloring book, he has to find a picture to copy the exact colors from. He’s always seeking patterns in words, activities, songs, everywhere. He seeks order, except when dumping out all his toys.
- He absolutely, positively hates to clean up said toys after dumping them. For some reason his own mess doesn’t apply to his ‘seeking order’ rules.
- He thrives in structured environments, and he makes all our lives crazy when he’s out of routine for any extended period of time. He likes ‘plans’, and he’ll want to know the whole series of activities left in a day from the time I pick him up to when he’ll fall asleep.
- He loves Legos and can sit still for an hour just taking apart and rebuilding a Lego set. And he always has to take apart every, single, tiny piece before starting the rebuild.
- His favorite form of creative play is with his sister, most often playing ‘house’ where she’s the mommy, he’s the baby, and I’m the sister (I’m not sure whose). They take trains and planes to New York City or California for weddings, and usually feel a need to take apart our couch in the process. Or, playing Paw Patrol where he is Ryder and he bosses his sister around like she’s Rubble or Skye.
- Right now we’re going through a regression stage… hence the baby role.
- He wants to know ‘why’ everything, and now also questions how his dad and I know things.
- He’s six months into occupational therapy, loves it, and has made amazing progress developing his core and shoulder strength and fine motor skills.
- He can sleep in like a teenager, and he would stay up until 10 p.m. every night if we allowed.
E.K. – 2 and 1/2 years old, starting in the 2’s class in nursery school
- Her mother’s child, she’s a morning person. She’s ready to start the day running from the moment she wakes up.
- She’s into princesses, ballerinas, Doc McStuffins, dress up, and all that girly stuff, even though we’ve done nothing to encourage her in that direction.
- She loves watching and mimicking me put on make up and brush my hair, but she won’t wear anything in her hair. Period. So she’s constantly pushing her untamed hair out of her face with the back of her arm.
- She holds her own with her big brother. While she’ll comply when he directs her in their imaginary play scenes, she does what she pleases and lets him know (often physically…) when she doesn’t agree with him.
- She’s unphased. She’ll trip, stumble, walk into a wall (yeah, she’s got the Brown-family depth perception), fall off the couch, and instead of crying she’ll shake her head and keep plowing forward. Or announce, ‘I okay!’
- This kid won’t sit still, unless she’s curled up on me napping – still her favorite place to sleep, though it’s not really allowed because otherwise she’d sleep in our room every night. She’s going through a mommy-attached phase…
- She knows how to do exactly what she’s not supposed to do (open the fridge and pull out food, open the freezer and pull out ice cubes, stand on a chair, climb the toilet) to get our attention. And she knows just how to piss off her brother, too.
- She loves announcing who are her best friends (most often her cousin, but could be the girl she sees just once a month at a Gymboree class) and what are her favorite things.
- Our little artiste, she loves to sit and color, always outside the lines and almost never the ‘right’ color. And often going from the paper onto the placemat or table. And she always wants to see the picture on the back of my camera after I take a shot.
Of course, I also had to document their first day of nursery school together. Although this was CJ’s second year at this school, he was the more clingy one… understandable, since he has all new classmates this year. EK was SO excited, so proud to start school. She hated to leave every day we dropped off CJ last year, so she was just elated to start and have her own classroom. I did have to hold her hand into the room, but as soon as a teacher expertly guided her to her cubby to unload her backpack, she was fine and I dashed off.
I tried to take solo pictures of both kids, but since CJ is 4 going on 14, he wasn’t up for it. E hammed it up for the camera though!