Second Grade

We are one month into school and I feel like I can finally stop holding my breath.  This year is going well!  Nobody is getting into trouble, there is less drama on the bus, and Eli is finally reading on his own.  Everyone comes home happy every day.  We like second grade!  Maybe Mommy likes it most of all… I worked up enough courage to ask Ms. Hilda to please hang dry my laundry this year, and came home to this…


Our teachers, Ms. Ten Cate and Ms. Ray, are both lovely people and seem to be perfect fits for Jake and Eli.  Ms. Ten Cate is an Afrikaans-speaking Irish woman, and Ms. Ray is an American from Ohio who also has two boys.  The primary curriculum is built around Units of Inquiry.  Is this what they do in America too?  The current unit is all about Nutrition, and we’ve lately been hearing about experiments involving bread, mold, hand sanitizer, and glitter.  Second grade sounds pretty fun!

After school has evolved into a mix of after school activities and homework, with occasional afternoons to unwind over the sandbox or a pile of legos.  Jake came home today excited about his first choice activity, Needlepoint.  “Mom, guess what?  I get to make a stuffed animal, a pillow, or a bag.  I’m going to make a stuffed animal.  I’m the only boy in the class but I decided that I really like needlepoint so I’m going to stay!”


Last Friday, we had a play date with our good friends, also twins, Aditya and Arjun.  Daddy made some cool balloon animals.



I know I’ll never need to worry about our future as long as Mike has this skill in his back pocket!


Eli and Jake are also signed up for soccer, Dinosaurs, chess, swimming and the art of designing mandalas.  It seems busy and totally opposed to my belief that kids needs unstructured time to just play and let their imaginations roam, especially for these two.  Mike and I have never heard them say the words “I’m bored.”

Here is a soap souffle.


In an ideal world, Mike and I would not both be working outside of home.  We think about how our life has evolved into this, and sort of wonder how we got here, but also sort of know that this works because we live in Africa.  Our commute is only 10 minutes, we have help washing floors and bathrooms and keeping the house clean, and we are both love our jobs enough to  bring that energy home with us at the end of the day.  So is it better for the kids to have “free time” or better for them to have happy parents?

I guess we won’t ever know, but for now we feel really lucky and are glad for our life the way it is.

With our little boys who still jump to see us when we come home at the end of the day, who follow us into our bedroom for “a cuddle” when we go to change our clothes, who entertain us after dinner with dancing, music, and underwear on their heads.


I love the way they still climb into our bed first thing in the morning, the way they need a hug and kiss before getting on the school bus, and the way they still fall asleep to the Glow Worms they had in their cribs as babies.  They look almost magical, glowing at night under the mosquito net…


Being 7 1/2 seems like the best age yet.  Old enough to think, dream, and start stretching their wings, but still young enough for us to cuddle and keep safe.  I’m glad they’re still my babies.  Also glad they’re old enough to start being part of the party :).