Monday, August 31, 2015

Final Countdown to First Grade

Last night, Raphaela and I went to Evelyna to meet her teachers and her classmates, making this transition all the more real. I was pleased with her Head Teacher (a woman who has a stellar reputation) and the fact that Raphaela knows 7/31 girls in her class,  from her previous years in Gan and from her English sessions.

Raphaela came home jazzed and motivated, and woke up at five am this morning because she wanted to "watch the sun rise."

[Trumpets and fanfare]  Today is officially Raphaela Day, a day during which I will not work, a day of preparation and celebration toward First Grade.

We started with a special breakfast at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens of pancakes and French toast with all the fixins, followed by the Farewell Tour of the Dinosaurs who have lived there all summer.  At the cafĂ©, I asked them privately to make Raphaela's breakfast "festive" and they slightly misunderstood;  they brought out her plate with a candle and started singing "Happy Birthday."

On the way home, we noticed that a new pet store had very recently replaced the video store on Herzog Street.  Animal lovers that we are, we had to check out this new business, and it turned into a full blown petting zoo experience.  The green parrot named Mitzi sat on our hand; we pet the rabbits; and observed the gerbil with her new babies,  these small red things the size of Bamba.  Then Raphaela and I had our intermittent discussion about when our 13 year old cat Harry might die, where we might get a new kitten and what kind of kitten toys we might buy for him/her.

Onto home, where we spent about 20 minutes organizing her backpack and school supplies, and covering her school workbooks with plastic covers.  We spent about an hour switching over her clothing dresser to school mode, adding in her uniform and weeding out clothing to be given to charity.  On the one hand, I am relieved that the routine of dressing in the morning has been infinitely simplified; on the other hand, she has some beautiful dresses and shirts that may never be worn again.

Then, almost inexplicably, my mind switched to Spring Cleaning mania.  Almost every drawer in the house was opened and emptied, the pile of charity donations grew, as well as several garbage runs.  I discovered in the process that I am more of a pack rat than I remembered, finding way many more bags, pillows, bathrobes and baseball caps than a normal human needs.

Though we had planned to go the pool this afternoon, instead we took a walk locally, running various small errands.  With everything packed and ready to go, other than her lunch which I will make in the morning, Raphaela eagerly took her bath and went to sleep on time.

Every time she said, "I am so excited for tomorrow," I simply smiled.

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