After a mad scramble of a morning that included retrieving my son from school early due to a headache and a couple of territorial disputes regarding homework, I packed my newly-six-year-old daughter in the car for dance class and swim lessons.
Once we got to the pool, I discovered that I had left the bag with the swimsuits at home.
My daughter loves swim class. I expected her to collapse into a puddle of inconsolable tears when I explained that by the time we drove home and back, class would be mostly over. But she surprised me.
As we walked back to the car, she patted my arm and said, "Don't feel bad, Mommy. It's not your fault. It's just a mistake you made."
Well, it's taken me the entire first week of vacation, but I finally got Aubrey to sit down long enough to brush all the snarls out of her hair. Sheesh. I don't know what it is about five-year-olds and brushing.
Today I took my kids to the toy store and offered to buy each child a toy priced 3 Euros or less. Alex (and this is very typical for him) decided to make the most of this offer by adding in 3 Euros of his OWN money to buy a pretty pink fairy toy which he could then sell to his little sister for retail price, thus making a net profit of 3 Euros.
True to expectations, Aubrey fell in love with the Bayala figurine and desired to buy it. The plan hit a snag when the kids realized that Aubrey only had one penny left in her wallet. Alex, not to be cheated out of his expected profit, decided to hire Aubrey as his store assistant so she could earn enough money to buy the toy. This strategy was surprisingly effective. I'm generally reluctant to buy things at the store Alex maintains in his bedroom because (1) he's been doing it for years and it's not new anymore and (2) I really don't need any more knick-knacks, used toys, or pikmin pictures. But when Aubrey came trotting up with a basket of merchandise she was so cute that I broke down and bought the collection of hippopotamus stories Alex wrote during the past few weeks at school. Aubrey rushed back to Alex's room in triumph and they split the proceeds 50/50.
During the next two hours, Alex hired out Aubrey's services to set the table for dinner, sent her to peddle her basket of toys to Janika (who bought a Christmas candle and some modeling clay), and asked me whether I might possibly consider paying Janika money just to leave me alone (the answer was 'no'). By bedtime Aubrey still hadn't earned enough for the Bayala figurine, but she was four Euros richer, and she and Alex hadn't gotten into a single argument all evening. Since I also overhead a number of serious conversations about the importance of working hard and saving one's money, I consider the 9 Euros I spent on kids' toys well-invested.
My 5-year-old stopped by my computer to demonstrate her latest fashion invention: "Look at this princess. This princess has a rope to fight with and a sword to fight with and she can still dance."
She then executed some ballet steps to demonstrate how well she can move without dislodging her weaponry.
(Yeah. We probably watch too much Avatar.)
Alex was off to swim lessons. Janika was visiting her friend Niklas -- a prospect so exciting she willingly ditched swimming to accept the invitation. Aubrey went skipping and grinning down to kindergarten for a super-special slumber party with the Butterfly Group.
And for an entire hour, the house was my own.
Being the exciting and adventure-driven personality that I am, I slept.
The kids are home from Fasching.
Alex stomped into the house declaring that it was the most boring party he ever went to. He was able to describe in detail two games he enjoyed, however, which leads me to conclude that the day was not so bad overall. This was especially reassuring because his classroom aide is sick and he had to handle the day solo.
Aubrey came dancing in on a tangible wave of happiness. She loved the games, the desserts, the decorations, and all things Fasching. Her delight rushed out in a tumble of words that were only halfway intelligible.
Two-year-old Janika, listening to the delightful recitations, spun around with widespread arms and chanted "Me, too! Me, too!"
Today the local school and kindergarten are celebrating Fasching. It's the German incarnation of Karneval and very much resembles Halloween parties from my childhood. The children come in costume, eat a specially-made feast instead of their usual snacks, and don't have to do any school work at all.
It's amazing how easy it is to get kids out the door in the morning when they know there's going to be a party.
Alex bonded with his friends before school by comparing his knight costume with their Darth Vader costumes. A serious discussion ensued regarding whether one was allowed to bring swords to school.
Aubrey was out of bed by 7:00 AM (an almost unprecedented behavior) to remind me that today is Fasching and to put on her pink fairy costume. At kindergarten, she peeked through the door to her classroom, declared herself to be the most beautifully-costumed child there, and darted away. My last glimpse was of her jumping up and down with a clown and a ninja on a dance floor filled with balloons.
...that my daughters perceive a cosmic imbalance if my jackets aren't zipped all the way up to the top?
Leave my zipper alone, you little hooligans. I put it there on purpose!