to kindergarten they go

Today, Etta and Claire headed off to kindergarten, two tiny girls with giant backpacks. This year, they will be in different classrooms, but they will be right across the hall from each other, and will have recess and lunch together.

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There’s another set of twins in kindergarten this year, two boys, whose blond hair seems to have a counterpoint in each of our girls. They are both in Claire’s class. Their mom, and many others, asked me if I chose to keep the girls together or apart. The truth is, we saw a lot of benefits in both options and decided to let the school handle it. They’ve done great together at Montessori, and all of their teachers there remarked on how they are neither clingy or dependent on each other, nor antagonistic and fighting– they just kind of coexisted like any other two kids in the same class. They are also very different little humans, though, and I think being on their own could give them each a chance to shine and grow in a way they can’t together, and I’m excited to see how this will go. We’ve been reading a great little book called Twindergarten about a set of twins who are in different kindergarten classes, right across the hall from each other, but who are together for recess and lunch, and it’s really helped them prepare for this change.

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I realized at Back To School Night that I’m mostly just excited for them as they embark on this big journey. Their teachers had big sheets of paper on the wall where we answered questions like what we are most proud of about our children, what they are curious about, what they like to read about, etc. To me, the most interesting question was what our hopes and dreams are for our children in their kindergarten year.

I want this to be the year they fall in love with learning and school. I want them to be, like I was, excited to learn and to be with friends. I am excited to watch them learn to read and have the world of books unfold for them, a world that has always been my happiest and safest place. But most of all, I hope they continue to grow and stretch their kind and loving hearts. “Brave” and “kind” are much higher on my list of desirable traits than “smart” or “successful.”

I mostly don’t feel sadness that my “babies are growing up.” I am so thrilled to see them becoming who they are. I am so excited for the adventures that await them. I woke up before my alarm, just buzzing with excitement. I can’t wait to pick them up (about to head out on our bikes to get them!) and hear how their day went!

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new routines

On Monday, Claire is starting SCHOOL!

While I have images of my tiny person with a tiny backpack sitting at a tiny desk, the real story is that she’s starting at a developmental preschool at the same place she currently has all her therapies. For the past 6 months, I’ve been getting her to 6 therapy appointments per week, which presents a bit of a problem for someone with twins– something must be done with Etta while Claire’s working on her skillz. So, for all this time, Etta has been attending the fabulous daycare at the hospital where my husband works.

Meanwhile, the therapy place has this “preschool,” which would be fully covered by Claire’s insurance and TEFRA, but we were waiting on a spot. This is a better situation because Claire will be able to get all her therapies in house, and not have to have them back to back, ever, which I know she will like, because when she has to have two therapies back to back, she mostly falls apart through the second session. And, on top of that, she can finally start the feeding therapy we’ve been waiting on because adding another appointment each week to the mix seemed a little nuts. It’s also better because she’ll get to be in a class with other kids with similar stuff going on, including another kid about her age who also has spina bifida! I really like the idea of her having a picture in her head that kids like her are “normal,” and I like that this preschool is a mix of kids with physical/intellectual/social disabilities, but also typical kids.

So, with Claire starting at the preschool, Friday is Etta’s last day in daycare. After 6 months of lots of one-on-one time with Claire, I have to confess, I’m really looking forward to some time with my Etta girl. And I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Claire’s progress once she’s finally getting all the therapies she needs.

She’ll be in “school” from 8ish (let’s be real, I’m just striving to have her there by 9) to 4:00 each day, Monday-Friday, which is a big schedule change for us. Just getting the three of us out the door, Etta dropped off at daycare, and Claire to therapy by 9 three days a week has been a struggle for me. I think I’m going to have to start (sob) getting myself up early enough to shower and get myself ready before the girls wake up. I have been enjoying getting to sleep in to 7:30! (Can someone please go back and tell 22 year old me that one day I’d think 7:30 was sleeping in? She’ll laugh in your face.) And I’m really going to have to get better about having bottles and bags ready for the night before.

Who knew we’d be arriving at “first day of school” so soon?!

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Bufflogal Style for Boys: Boden vs. Discount

OK, Boy Moms, this one’s for you. I’ve often heard mom friends say boys are harder to shop for than girls, and I admit, I usually roll my eyes and think, “How hard could it be? Cute little man clothes are everywhere!” I’m even sometimes jealous of tiny button down shirts, tiny blazers, and other clothes that essentially look like shrunken adult items. However, I’d never really shopped for boys’ clothes in any real capacity until I decided to do a boy clothes counterpart to my Carter’s vs. Boden girls’ clothes piece, and I have to say, there are a LOT of bad graphic tees out there for boys. The weird gender messages of kids’ graphic tees could be a post in and of itself, but it seems like boys’ tees are largely desperate to prove masculinity, covered in licensed characters, or just plain dumb. And, I admit, Carter’s doesn’t seem to be as rocking in the boys’ department as it is the girls’, so I branched out and included Old Navy, Target, and OshKosh in my boys’ looks. (Though if I had a boy, I’d be sorely tempted to dress him in OshKosh overalls 90% of the time.)

Additionally, I have concluded if I had a boy, Boden’s pants just might be worth it. They a) have cute baggy corduroys which I couldn’t find at Carter’s, Target, OshKosh, or Old Navy, and a lot of their styles are either lined or have extra sturdy features like knee patches to stand up to the abuse little boys will put them through.

Still, I think I managed to put together some very similar fall/back to school looks, usually for half the price of Boden, and as a bonus, even found some shoes. This time, I saved myself some trouble by figuring out how to post Polyvore boards in WordPress. So, they don’t have my cute little writing and prices on the images, but there are clicky links to make shopping easier for you. You win some, you lose some.

Without further ado, I present, Bufflogal Style for Boys.

$54 Jackets from Carter’s vs. $95 from Boden:

Carter's vs. Boden: Boy's Coats

$13 striped pullover vs. $38 striped pullover

Discount vs. Boden

Discount vs. Boden: cool shirts, cool kicks

Discount vs. Boden: stripes, flannel, sherpa, and shoes

Carter’s $52/outfit (including shoes!) vs. Boden $100/outfit

Discount vs. Boden: boys' outfits 2

Carter’s $59/outfit vs. Boden $112/outfit

Discount vs. Boden: boys' outfits