Kailey is loving being a big sister. She still tries to soothe Alden whenever he is upset, which isn't very often. She plays with him all the time and talks to him constantly. It is really cute.
Alden is an extremely happy baby. He is so charming. He almost never cries. Just when he's hungry and he grumbles a bit when he is tired. Oh, and he cries in the car. He hates the car. All the trips back and forth between Sacramento and Oakland have ruined him for the car. Luckily we've been doing less driving this week. But, most all of the time he is just all smiles. He breaks out in the biggest smiles any time he catches someone's eye.
When not smiling, he has big expressions. One of my colleagues described him as having "a lot of face" because he has these big eyes, mouth and nose... they all fit together just fine, but it makes for these looks that are a bit unexpected in one so young. As an aside, Alden has met ALL of my colleagues because I've been working so much. He has been to 4 hearings in the Capitol. He's been to high level meetings between me and the head of the Department of Social Services. He doesn't know it, but he's met several Senators and Assemblymembers. He's well known in the Capitol for one so young! None of which would be possible if he weren't such an easygoing baby. He is just happy to be along for the ride (unless that ride is in a car, of course). Last night he started doing this belly laugh when Kailey was entertaining him while he took a bath. She was so pleased with herself for being the first person to make Alden really laugh. He'd been doing a kind of half laugh for awhile, but this was a full on belly laugh. It was hysterical. Too bad I didn't capture it on camera!
Kailey has come to the end of her kindergarten year. I am so glad it is behind us. Once school was over, she finally opened up about not liking her teacher much. She asked us why he yelled at her so much more than the other kids and also said, "I don't think he liked me." She told us he was mean. And, since she is finally done with him, we agreed with her. He was not a very good teacher. We told her not all teachers are like Mr. Thompson and that we hoped next year she'd have a teacher that was much better.
I am really proud of Kailey for weathering the last year and keeping her spirit. It wasn't easy on her and she did great. I took a picture of the sentences she wrote to keep herself on track after the incidence with her classmate this spring. She looked at this every day to remind herself to keep her cool. On the last day of school she said, "can I just be friends with her again? It was just an accident and I think we can try to play together again." A reasonable request for sure, but one that her teacher and the other parents had refused to let happen. The whole thing was just so screwed up and the way the adults around her handled the situation was so wrong. Kai was stigmatized for months because of a couple of run-ins with another child, one of which was most surely an accident. But, she was never allowed to make amends and try again. I'm proud of her for sticking with it and for understanding that there was another path.
Luckily, she had a lot of other classes and so got exposed to many other teachers. Her favorites were African Dance and drama. And her end of the year performances in each were such fun to watch.
Kailey has been great during this whole process of moving. Children handle change so much better than adults! She helped Eric with the roofing. She helped with packing. And, ever since arriving in Sacramento, she's been up for anything. She's easily making friends at her new school (she's in the summer camp at Courtyard so that she can meet the other kids over the summer). Yesterday we were at a park and she made 4 friends, as she informed me as we were leaving.
I feel unmoored being in Sacramento. I don't have familiar places that I know to shop or hang out, beyond the places I go for work. And, the people I know here are all work people -- they aren't really friends at this point. So, it's been hard to settle in. Made harder by the fact that we are, truly, unsettled. We are living in someone else's house and waiting to see what happens with our house in Oakland. I have one foot in each of my lives and I don't like it.
But, there are a few things that have made it better. The first is my sister. I am so glad Katie came down for a month to help us with the move -- I really could not have gotten through the last month without her help. She played with Kailey and made the move fun for her. She packed up our Oakland house, since I was in total denial about having to pack and move. She loaded and unloaded our moving truck. She researched storage pods and helped to set up the best deal for getting half of our stuff into storage. She spent an entire day on her hands and knees scrubbing our decks to prepare them for staining. She organized the house cooling party. She was amazing.
The second was our kids. Moving with children is, in so many ways, so much harder than moving without kids. Everything is a bit slower with them. As we would pack up, Kai would find forgotten treasure and spent as much time unpacking boxes as we spent packing them. Alden, of course, had no sense of what was going on, but had his own needs to be attended to, slowing down the process. But, what occurred to me is that having these two people in my life also made the move so much easier. We are moving for them -- so that we can spend more time with them and less time in a car driving back and forth between our home and our jobs. And, their ability to keep a smile on their face and a sense of adventure throughout (of course, that applies more to Kailey), was motivating to me and inspirational. We aren't living where I want to live yet, but Kailey calls our temporary home a castle and watching her embrace and enjoy the place that I feel is just a holding cell reminds me to have a more positive attitude. It was a hard couple of months, for sure. But, it's also amazing how much we can do together when we set our minds to it.
And so, we're settling into our new normal in Sacramento. Hopefully I can post more frequently for awhile and capture a bit more of these early months as a family of four.