Late November-Early December 2012

I can't believe it's already December and Samantha is about to turn one!

Last week we made our annual visit to the real-bearded Santa at Magic Beans. This year Samantha was content to smile at him from the safety of the sling, and Marcus went into frozen stony-faced mode and wouldn't even look at Santa.

We took the kids to three college hockey games, when Lexi's team (Providence College) came up to pay BU and Harvard. Marcus finds the zambonis one of the most exciting parts, and at Harvard they had a lot of give-aways and puck-tosses which were also fun. After the Harvard game (it started at 7:00 on a Friday, so he was exhausted), he fell asleep on my back still clutching the frisbee someone gave him as we waited for Lexi to get out of the locker room and chat a little.

Samantha got to open an early birthday present at Great-Grandma Helena's house--a cute ladybug ride-on toy that, at the moment, Marcus likes more than she does. Back in November, Robert celebrated his father's birthday with the help of a card Marcus proudly made for Grandpa.

Now walking 2, 3, 4, and even 10 steps at a time, Sam is starting to enjoy the church nursery. Here she is with a gaggle of one-year-olds at snack time.

We celebrated Chanukah at Sarah's house with latkes and dreidel and lots of kids. Marcus got good at recognizing the Hebrew characters. "Nun!" he shouted (correctly) when someoe spun.

Marcus and I took a Sunday afternoon expedition on the commuter rail to Hyde Park to go to a community theatre performance of "Annie." He really liked it, even though we had to leave 40 minutes before the end (the show was three hours long!) in order to make our train back home. Days after the show, if I say something like, "Okay, come on, time to brush your teeth before we go!" he sing-songs, "Yes, Miss Hannigan." Nice.

We had a brief but fun visit from our old friend Amit, still living in Switzerland, who was in town for a conference. Samantha loved eating dumplings when Amit was there, and then bonito flakes from okonomiyaki (while Marcus picked out all the shrimp, squid, and scallops from it) and Korean fried chicken legs the following Saturday when we were out at lunch.

Sam had her worst virus to date for about a week before Thanksgiving, complete with a lot of laundry for us, but she made it through and we are all back to sleeping well and snuggling happily.

Though it's Sam who has the birthday coming up in a couple days, Marcus is also growing and changing and doing well. He's still enjoying karate on Saturdays and piano lessons on Thursdays. He can find the keys from C to F on the keyboard, use correct fingering on them, and play the beginning of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." At home he plays with Playmobil for hours, particularly loving the knight-themed Advent calendar set we got him, which lets him open one door a day to get a small piece to add to the collection.

In school, Marcus is about to get his first "real" report card and wrap up his first part of the year in kindergarten, meanwhile. He's grown so much, emotionally, since September that it's unbelievable. He comes home every day learning things. He knows how to do push-ups (decently) and jumping jacks (enthusiastically but not well). He can read all the letters and write all of them, though often there's a backwards "c" or "s" and sometimes he confuses lower-case "b" and "d." He's got good strategies for counting a set of items and is starting to figure out adding simple numbers. He can (mosty) count to a hundred, though he still finds sixty hard to remember. His drawing has exploded--in August he would never choose to draw or color, and would dash off a perfunctory scribble if you asked him to, but now he makes pictures that are distinctly representational (in a four-year-old way, of course), he often adds words to his drawings, and he colors pictures in Sunday School or at home very seriously, diligently filling in all the white space with crayon. Nicholas, Kyrion, Mario, and John are some of his best friends from school. He talks about Soliyana's "princess toy" she kept talking about, and he loves sitting with Nixaliya in theatre and on the bus. He loves doing his homework--whether it's "draw your favorite character in the book you just read" or "draw a set of four items at the top of the page and a set of less than four items at the bottom." He knows the concepts of greater than and less than, he knows what voting is ("choosing your favorite. We voted for our favorite food and pizza won, and then we voted for President and I voted for Obama."), he's learning about cities and states and countries, and he's becoming a wonderful little self-regulator. Just before Thanksgiving, parents were invited into his classroom for a "Publishing Party." The principal and Nurse Sue also came, making a big deal of the kids who got to unveil stories they dictated to Ms. B. I took some pictures around his classroom while I was there.

Marcus at play (center) with interlocking blocks with Mario and Kyrion and other friends:

Some of his art on the wall. Notice that his self-portrait has blonde hair and two differently colored shoes. I appreciate his individuality here: all the other kids had apple trees that had standard, visible apples and self-portraits that had realistic hair colors and matching shoes.

Left: hard at work drawing a picture to illustrate another story. Right: the class election results (not pictured: pizza beating peanut butter).

A tiny snippet of the morning meeting, with Mario being the greeter and leading the class in saying good morning to each child by name. Adorably, he kept forgetting some of the girls' names and would say, "Let's say good morning to--what's your name again? Let's say good morning to Rachel." Here he just leads them saying good morning to Marcus.


Marcus still loves riding the bus back and forth to school. Both his morning and afternoon bus have been very close to on-time or early virtually all the time. On Tuesday, though, the afternoon bus was late. I was waiting on the street with Samantha asleep on my back. Even though it was cold out, she wasn't wearing a hat because she'd been asleep on my back in a wrap at home and I hadn't wanted to disturb her when my alarm went off at 2:38 telling me it was time to leave to meet the schoolbus. I just dropped the fleece babywearing coat over her, grabbed my wallet, keys, and phone, and scurried out. The posted arrival time for his bus is 2:56, but it usually arrives at 2:52 or 2:53 and we are usually back home by 3:00. At 3:00, with no bus there and none in sight down the long straight stretch of Columbus, I called the official bus information line. Because you're on hold for a little while and then they verify your information and then look the bus up, I wasn't talking to a person until 3:07, at which point he told me that the bus was on Harrison and Northampton, just a couple blocks from the school still, even though school had been out since 2:25, and that it was running late due to traffic. Traffic can certainly be bad, so I hung up and kept waiting. At 3:20 I called the school, figuring that the bus was soon to arrive but I would let them know how egregiously late it was in case they didn't know. I recognized the voice of the adminstrator who answered the main phone, and our conversation started outlike this:

Me: Hi, I'm calling about a bus. . .

Her: Oh yes, number ___?

Me: Um, yes, I already called the transportation line but. . .

Her: Don't worry, all the kids are absolutely fine. There are no injuries at all.

Me: Huh?

From there I found out that there'd been a minor accident just after the bus left the school. Apparently a car ran a stop sign and the bus hit the driver's side front of the car as it shot out into the intersection, with the bus having the right of way. The other driver was taken to the hospital (just two blocks away) as a precaution, and her car was indeed banged up, but she seemed fine and the bus just had a small dent in its bumper. Now, a schoolbus is big and yellow. It's hard for me to imagine someone trying to cut it off or sneak by it, but apparently it does happen. The intersection where this all happened was right by a big CVS, and it happened that two cops were walking back to their car in the CVS parking lot, from the store, when they saw the accident happen in front of them. They said absolutely hands-down it was not the bus driver's fault, and that no kid on the bus so much as bumped their head. Apparently the police boarded the bus to--here's Robert's favorite part--take statements from the kids, who were, of course, witnesses. Some of the bigger kids, fourth grade or so and up, have cellphones, so some called their parents and either got picked up or got permission to leave and walk home. An hour after the accident happened, the school explained to me on the phone, the bus was still waiting for a replacement bus to pick everyone up and finish the route.

"You can keep waiting, but I don't know how much longer it will be," she said, "or you can go over there and just get your child."

I asked how I could be sure that I wouldn't walk all the way over there just to find no bus, with the new one already being on its way back to the stop I was no longer waiting at. She assured me that she'd tell the driver not to let the new bus leave until Marcus's mom picked him up, so with a now-awake (and, I feared, quite chilly) Samantha on my back, at 3:30 I started booking it across the South End to the CVS. We got there to find two bored cops babysitting the dented car on one corner and the bus in the parking lot with Marcus, the driver, two other cops, and exactly two other kids (on a bus that normally holds 30 or more). Apparently everyone else had gotten the memo or been on the unofficial phone tree. Marcus, on a first-name basis with the cops by now, was very excited and he and Kanye were trying to tell me everything about the car accident. Mezorrah, a nine-year-old we wait for the bus with in the morning, was playing peekaboo with Samantha on one side. One cop was trying to get my name and address and contact information in case they needed to contact me or Marcus about anything after the fact. The driver kept telling me how good Marcus had been and that he wasn't hurt. The other cop was also trying to play peekaboo with Sam, but he was losing out in the battle for her attention to the little girl. Finally I got Marcus off the bus and we hustled home, arriving at the house at 4:15.

Given that no one got hurt, and the driver wasn't at all at fault, it was overall one of the most exciting things to happen to him in kindergarten so far. The next morning at the bus stop he regaled a second-grader and her big brother about the accident. She'd had a dentist appointment after school the day before, and her brother had walked her there so neither had been on the bus. Too bad.


Go back to web essays or over to links. was made with a Mac.
© 2012 C&R Enterprises
Email or
Created: 12/10/12. Last Modified: 12/13/12.