We didn't have a great morning around here, and I've been sitting here surfing the net and eating ice cream to cheer myself up. But I'm feeling a bit better now.
We live about .75 miles from our local elementary, and so we've been trying to bike. The nice thing is that there are no streets the cross, except the one we live on, so it's extremely safe. The hard thing is that there are no streets to cross because there is a pedestrian/bike bridge that is a bit hard for 5-year-olds to get up on their bikes. Yesterday, Tadpole came with me on my cargo bike and Turtle rode his own bike, and had to get off and walk. When hubby's with us, he can give Turtle a big push and that gets him enough momentum to finish the climb, but I can't do that, especially when I'm balancing the cargo bike with Tadpole on it. Turtle was really upset and cried for a bit, but then he made it to the top, stopped crying, and off we went.
Today, though, man. I made the kids practice violin Turtle is really good at it, he has the right personality. There is a lot involved in playing the violin - how you hold the bow, where you place it on the strings, how you move your bow arm (bend at the elbow, not the shoulder), how you hold the neck of the violin, where you place your fingers on the fingerboard, keeping your wrist straight, etc. Turtle has a ton of focus, can keep track of all those things at once, and can anticipate the notes and prepare his fingers to play them. We whiz through practice together, and he makes me proud.
Tadpole, not so much. She's constantly distracted. When I fix one thing, something else falls apart. She has a great ear, much better than Turtle's, but can't really translate it into the physical mechanics of playing the violin. She's falling farther and farther behind him during their lessons, and practice is a torture for both of us. Turtle gets through more material in 15 minutes than Tadpole does in 45, and 45 minutes is way too long for her to focus. I have a hard time knowing when to call it quits, and trying to end on a positive note, though. Today was no exception - I was annoyed, frustrated, and starting to take it out on her. Honestly, I would let her quit, but she has to go along to the lessons anyway, at this point, so it seems worthwhile for her to at least get a basis in music while she's there. If/when we get an au pair, I may look for other options for her. She would love voice and dance lessons, so I will eventually look into that.
Anyway. Violin practice took most of the morning, and I barely had time to heat up leftovers for lunch. Turtle decided at the last minute to wear his new sneakers, and he can't get them on by himself, so I needed to help him. We ended up leaving barely on time. I put Tadpole's balance bike on the cargo bike, and we rode to the top of our bike bridge, and I took it off for her to ride down. Balance bikes don't have brakes (or at least ours doesn't), so she tends to take even the downhills slowly. I tried to split the difference, not letting Turtle get too far ahead while trying to wait for Tadpole, but she wasn't happy to be so far behind. By the time we got to school, she was crying because I hadn't waited for her, even though she was close behind me most of the way. She cried for the first 10 minutes of class, while I sat with her outside, trying to calm her down.
The problem is, once Tadpole gets going, it's hard to get her to stop. I try to get her to take deep breaths, I explain that the bike path is too narrow for us to all ride side by side, I tried to cheer her up by telling her about the kindergarten ice cream social tonight, anything I could think of, but she wouldn't stop crying, and I was feeling desperate because we could see all the students inside starting their hello song and I didn't know what to do. I finally got her to at least stop crying, although she was looking pretty pouty still, and I sent her in to join the class. I knew she'd snap out of it quickly, once she got over it, and I suspected that my trying to calm her down was really having the opposite effect that I wanted. I'm sure she'll be cheerful when I pick her up, but I'm feeling bad about the whole morning. I'm planning to drive to pick them up, I can't take another bike ride today. We've decided we'll go on a family bike ride this weekend and try to get her more comfortable on her real bike.
In the meantime, I've got less than an hour to go, and a TON of work to do, so it's time for me to stop feeling bad, start planning for better mornings, and get on with my day.
Just a note, though - I like 5 half days better than 3 full days of school, for sure, although it's not a ton of time to get anything done.