Friday was Ella's twenty fifth day of kindergarden. She is getting more confident about her long days there but is still quite happy to see us at the end of the day. She seems to be exploding with language. In five short weeks she has mastered the ASL alphabet as well as many new signs. I was thinking how interesting it must be to be approaching spelling from three directions. Phonetic spelling, fingerspelling, and a few sight words in Spanish.
I know I haven't talked much about her new school apart from her nervousness about being alone there. Perhaps I'm still thinking about how going to an alternative school is going to change her in comparison to the public school. Everyone packs their lunch, so she won't be experiencing cafeteria food. Some of her friends in other schools are experimenting with "steak and gravy" and elementary school spaghetti. Even I remember the steamy smells on spaghetti day. The puffy noodles with the bland meaty sauce. Ella will never have to change for gym or take a shower in front of other kids as a middle schooler. I'm sure there are many other differences that I haven't even thought of yet. For now she is grappling with her newfound reading skills. Suddenly she can write words, rhyming words. I have to slow her down. Today she was plowing through a workbook and worrying about getting her homework done, but it isn't due until next friday and she has already started it. I'm trying to get her to bed by seven thirty each night and keep her schedule predictable. She is playing outside at school for two hours a day, thirty minutes in the morning, an hour at lunch, and a half hour at snacktime. By dinnertime she is exhausted.
Friday afternoon I picked her up and went to a woodland park in the nearby national forest. The leaves are just starting to change and the air was cooler and misty. We found green and red acorns and saw lots of wildlife. Three deer were on the trail, and Ella and her friend walked so close to them that Ella was afraid. We saw a salamander, several turtles, frogs, and a dead snake hanging in a tree. Little John walked all the way around the pond, two hours.
Today may be the last day of summer, but it seems that fall is already upon us. Ella's birthday is in two weeks, and I know that we have long weeks of indian summer ahead of us. For now, these are the weeks of misty mornings and spider webs, slanty light and red trees, warm days and chilly mountain nights.