He’s so much more stylish now. (And bigger. And stronger. And smarter. And even more loving.)
He’s officially done with preschool, and in the fall will begin real Kindergarten.
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We have so many serious conversations around here, it’s amazing my head doesn’t explode from trying to keep a straight face during the es-ee-ex part, not crying during the really sad ones, and maintaining my composure when discussing school rules vs. our family rules vs. other families’ rules.
Last night, interrupting my lovely singing, Alex asked a very serious question: “Who will take care of me if something bad happens to you?”
This stemmed from our earlier conversation about the cartoon Adventure Time, where it seems that the human boy was adopted by the dog boy’s parents. Alex and I have had many conversations for many years about kids that don’t have parents. He has understood from a young age that there are various reasons for biological parents to not be around. But this time the conversation went a step beyond where it always had been; instead of focusing on other kids, Alex finally brought it back to his own life.
I told him if something bad ever happened to me and I wasn’t able to take care of him, Daddy would, of course.
“Okay, but what if something bad happens to Daddy?”
“Well, then you would go live with Munga [his grandmother].”
“Okay, but what if something bad happens to Munga?”
“You could live with Nana and D [grandmother and grandfather].”
“Okay, but what if something happens to both of them?”
The list went on. Great Grandma. Great Uncle Mike. Cousins. Great Aunts. His “Uncle” and “Aunt” (Zach’s best friend and my best friend, since Zach and I are only children). Distant relatives. Close friends. Friends of the family. On and on and on. “But what if something happened to them? Then who would take care of me?”
Finally he settled on an acceptable answer: “Oh! I know! Michelle and Alexis could take care of me!”
I laughed and said, yes, we will add them to our list.
After tucking his sheet back around his shoulders, handing him his favorite Bear, and kissing his forehead, he got a serious look on his face and asked, “But…how would I get there? No one but you knows how to get to their house and you won’t be taking care of me anymore.”
“Well, buddy, you can always call a police man for help.”
Satisfied with the answer, he fell asleep almost immediately.
“I had a bad day, Mommy.”
Those were the first words Alex said to me when I picked him up one day last week. Usually he tells me he doesn’t want to come home because he wants to stay at school. Usually he’ll explain what fun game he was playing with his friends that can’t be interrupted just for dinner and bath time and bed time. Usually, if there are tears involved in pick-up it’s because he would rather stay with his teachers and friends than come home and hang out with his boring old parents.
Apparently, he had a bad day.
The reasons for the bad day aren’t entirely clear, but it had something to do with a fight with his friend, getting in trouble for something he claims he didn’t do, and not liking the snacks they served at school.
Life as a five year old is rough.
“What can I do to make your day a little better, buddy?”
“The only thing you could possibly do to make me happy you won’t do!”
After a lot of coaxing, he finally told me what that only thing that I could do to make him happy is: buy him a new toy.
Clearly that is not the best way to deal with a bad day (although I can’t blame him for the desire), so we brain stormed:
Movie night? No.
Movie night with popcorn?! No.
Playing on the swingset? No.
Going for a bike ride? No.
Taking a walk and looking for cool rocks/leaves/flowers/animals? No.
Changing into a bathing suit and playing in the sprinkler? No.
“Wait! …yes. That would make me happier!”
He didn’t even care that I couldn’t find the sprinkler and could only offer him the hose.
Tomorrow morning is Kindergarten orientation.
I’m a little freaked out, a little nervous, a bit excited, and highly anxious. Did I mention scared? Because that’s true, too.
Something about Kindergarten is scary. It’s not yet real school, but it’s the closest we’ve come yet. In our district, it’s a half day program, with an option of “Extended Day” to allow for a full day of sorts. We, obviously, will be doing the full day option, with both of us working full-time, regular-hour, jobs. (And let me tell you: working regular hours has been amazing. I am finally, finally, home every evening. I finally don’t go a day, or two, or three, without seeing Alex due to ridiculous work hours.)
Alex will be in school. Public school. With assignments. And classes. And other students who are also in school, public school, with assignments, and classes.
He’s really growing up. It’s crazy amazing.
A few months ago, I brought up Kindergarten with Alex. I explained the new school thing, exciting new playground, even more friends. I tried to make it sound Super! Exciting!
I must have failed miserably, because for the next few months he would burst into full on sobs any time it was mentioned. In fact, he would start crying even when I didn’t mention it.
Little man broke my heart time and time again. He explained that he likes his current daycare. He likes his friends and doesn’t need new ones. He likes his teachers and doesn’t want new ones. He loves his playgrounds because there are two of them, and they both have benches, and there is a tire swing and regular swings, and a play house, and monkey bars, and a slide…
He told me time and time again that he didn’t want to leave his current school. He wanted to stay there forever.
One night he was crying so hard he was barely breathing, and I have been panicked ever since.
Something changed, and somehow he is now excited about it. I don’t know what happened, but some combination of knowing that some of his favorite friends are in real school already, that half of the day will be in an extended day program that has iPads, and that he will become a “School Aged Kid” like the older children who currently visit with his class during the after school hours to play, has made him okay with it. Some bit of information, or combination of multiple factors, has made starting Kindergarten in a few months okay. Whatever it was, I’m thankful for it.
“Tomorrow I get to see my new school? And then next week I get to go?!…Aw, man! I have to wait until after the summer is over?!”
Not just yet, Alex. You are still a little boy for a few more months.
This weekend was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining and it was warm for the first time in months.
We spent a good chunk of time outside both days this weekend.
It was fun to watch what a difference there has been in Alex’s motor skills in just a few months.
He’s still a total goofball, who is only slightly better about cooperating for pictures than the last time it was warm out.
I wish every day could be 70 degrees and sunny.
Who wants to make that happen, hmmm?
I know we are all looking forward to the regularly warm weather to arrive.
Time flies when life happens, huh?
I started my new job, which is 95% awesome. (The 5% that isn’t awesome? Commuting from the ‘burbs to my job in the city at rush hour.)
Alex is 95% awesome. (The 5% that isn’t awesome? He’s in a…how to phrase this? Tough phase right now. He’s just…yeah, tough. Often.)
We have made the official decision to send Alex to Kindergarten in the fall.
Maybe some day I’ll write a real post. A post about all of the hilarious things that the now five-and-a-half year-old says. A post about the struggles we are currently facing getting him to not be scared to try. A post about how Alex made a bowl out of clay, painted it, and was to give it to “someone he loves” for Valentine’s Day, and he gave it to a girl (not me!). A post about just how much Alex cracks me up these days.
Maybe someday. For now, I’m enjoying being home every evening. I’m enjoying spending the most time with my family that I have since I first went back to school when Alex was two.
And, quite frankly, while I wish I had photographic evidence and some written words about these enjoyments, I think it’s pretty important to just live the moments, too.
A few days ago when it was, on December 1, 60 degrees outside, it seemed like a perfect plan to spend the morning outside. I had given Alex an elf hat a few days before in what I assumed were my naive hopes that it would make him somewhat more cooperative for pictures that I had decided were a necessity for a holiday card this year. Too many years have gone by when I have been “too busy” for holiday cards, but I know how much I appreciate receiving them that it only made sense for me to find the time to do them. (Especially with my New Job! that I started on Monday, which allows me much more time with my family.)
He told me, in no uncertain terms, that he hates having his pictures taken. But! It’s okay if he gets to see them, make funny faces, or think about a certain favorite girlfriend of his.
It was such a beautiful morning, albeit it a little cloudy, that when the time came to come in and begin our typical routine for the day (cleaning the house and grocery shopping) neither of us was particularly happy about it.
Within about 15 minutes of our playing outside, it started to drizzle. Nothing serious, so a few more jumps and slides and swings were able to occur before heading inside.
I could do with more 60 degree days in December (as long as I don’t think too hard about what it all means).
The weather was especially appreciated by me because it made it easy to get a few cute pictures for Christmas cards.