Monday, June 9, 2014

All Grown Up

We are in full-on summer mode over here, complete with swim suits drying all over the back deck, giving in to the AC by 4pm, and regular "tick checks" every night before bed.

Of course, summer mode also means mama not being able to enjoy a morning with only two babies.  It means attempting to run errands and buy groceries with 4 kids.  And it means trying to come up with creative ways to fill our time on these numerous "home days."

 Summer also means eating dinner outside on the deck.  And those of us still left eating dinner (i.e. Lia) being entertained by puppet shows!

But before we get to meat of our summer schedule, let's talk about how we got here.  Enter: preschool graduation!

That's a proud graduate right there!
First, it started with Kindergarten registration.  I made Jack tag along--dressed him in his best, slicked back his hair, and promised to stop for a Slurpee on the way home if he was on his best behavior.  Turns out, Kindergarten registration is a table, two folding chairs, and a pile of paperwork in the school lobby.  So my soon-to-be-Kindergartener was immediately put on "do everything you can to keep the baby happy" duty while I tried to fill out forms as quickly as possible.  He earned that Slurpee and then some.

The next step was a parents-only orientation.  This was much more promising.  I feel a little better about this whole sending-a-kid-to-school thing now after having heard from the teachers, principal, and guidance counselor.  And getting to visit the school twice now has certainly helped.  Later in the summer Jack will have a conference with his new teacher and we'll get a sneak peek at his classroom.    So I'm gratefully setting aside any further anxiety about that development for a few more months down the road.  For now, we're enjoying the final days of our preschooler.

We celebrated his "graduation" on the last Friday of May.  There was a picture slideshow that had me forcing back tears.  It was the music.  (If you're ever suffering from dry eyes have a listen to "Let Them Be Little.")  Then the graduate themselves sang us some songs.

And then our little boy received his certificate.  Following the ceremony was a time of "refreshments."  I can't say that word without laughing now.  Apparently they mentioned the "refreshments" to Jack at school, because it was his most-looked-forward-to aspect of the day.  I once mentioned that I needed to pick up some grapes to take to the ceremony and he got very upset and said, "NO!  Not grapes.  You're supposed to bring refreshments!"

Jack's teacher, Ms. Sherry, wrote the sweetest, funniest letter to us about our "wonderful son" and "how animated he can be."  We laughed out loud when she said "I literally had to make an occasional request for him to stop talking just so I could have the chance to continue helping other classmates.  Jack loves to tell his stories and share his knowledge and experience with all of us at school."

Jack and his teacher, Ms. Sherry.

Yup, we're all pretty confident Jack will have no problems socializing in Kindergarten.  She also assured us that he's strong academically and loves to learn!  So I'm hoping, with those two areas well under control, we can use this next year as an opportunity to teach our little guy how to keep his hands to himself!
Ms. Sherry had her hands full with these boys!
As for Jack himself, he's completely thrilled with becoming a Kindergartener.  He said he'll "probably be a little nervous." But other than that, he likes to toss the K word into conversation regularly throughout the day--what Kindergarteners eat, what they wear, how they play or ride the bus... he's all over it!

As parents, they suggest we don't talk about being nervous, or about how much we'll miss them while they're gone, or any of our thousand other misgivings.  So I'm working REALLY hard on that.  But since we'll be well beyond this point when Jack someday reads my blog, I'll go ahead and divulge here.

I'm a mess.

Just thinking about spending 7 hours apart, 5 days a week, from a very significant portion of MY HEART tears me to pieces.  Part of me doesn't want to do it, part of me secretly harbors plans to NOT do it.  But the rest of me, the biggest part of me, knows it's going to happen.  Deep, deep down I know that school is going to be GREAT for Jack.  I know he's going to be a smashing success.  But if for some reason I'm wrong.  Or if someday we're living somewhere with a school that's just not working, you can bet I have a few ideas in my back pocket.

But for now, we're going to embrace public school Kindergarten.  And in these final 10 weeks or so before we cross that bridge, I'm soaking up every second I don't have to share this incredible little boy with someone else.  June, July and August--he's all mine.

So while I'm dealing with all these "goodbye preschool, hello Kindergarten" emotions, wouldn't you know it, Jack goes and loses his first tooth.  Well, loses might be a stretch.  I missed the main event because I was upstairs putting Joci to sleep.  But I have a feeling a certain daddy was a little anxious to yank his first tooth.  And a certain 5 year old was very, very brave about the whole ordeal.  By the time I got my littlest off to dreamland, the tooth was out and Jack was nursing a (very bloody!) hole in his mouth.

Of course, he promptly informed us that the Tooth Fairy is NOT real.  Really, where'd you get that from?  "Just try," we told him.  It can't hurt.  So, unbeknownst to me, Jon and Jack put the tooth under his pillow just to test the theory.

And you know what happens next.

Two very tired parents went to bed just as we have always done since our little boy arrived five and half years ago.  And of course, two very tired parents were rudely awakened at 6am by a little boy stomping in to our room with a "See! I told you.  The Tooth Fairy didn't come!"

He was back in his room by the time I realized what had happened.  I sat up in bed.  I may have thrown an elbow at my husband (this was pre-coffee, who knows what I did).  And I hissed (because Joci had snuck into our bed an hour earlier and was sleeping soundly beside me), "Jon, how could you forget!?!"  And so Jon, just now realizing that this whole Tooth Fairy business fell under his list of responsibilities, stumbled back into Jack's room to assure him that the Tooth Fairy probably had a busy night, will surely visit at SOME point (not about to make any more promises here!), and that he should go back to sleep.

Thankfully, Jack's not one for waking up early.  He's also a very hard sleeper.  So 10 minutes later I had convinced Jon that he needed to go make things right before the other two (who are early risers) woke up.

Problem solved.  I'm not even sure if Jack remember the whole pre-dawn ordeal because by the time Jude and Julia were jumping on his bed that morning his tooth was gone and four shiny quarters were in its place.

Speaking of the other little dude, he's having a hard time transitioning to a summer wardrobe.  This is him every day right now, long-sleeved shirt, shorts, and socks worn up to his knees "soccer clear style."

The other early riser sporting Daddy's hat.
And by the time Daddy came home from work that day we had heard all about how Jack's tooth fairy is a boy.  And he rides a dragon.  And carries a bag full of quarters.  And Jude is positive he heard a dragon open the window that night.  And Jack just doesn't know how he slept through it all because he never sleeps! 

Phew.  Crisis averted.  The Tooth Fairy (or is it a Fair-er if it's a male??) is back in our good graces.  For now.  One tooth down.  Only 79 more to go.

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.  I'm already racking my brain for mini-dragon accessories for the next time.  I'm thinking maybe some chocolate sprinkle poop by the open window will be necessary? Anything to keep my mind off what I'm going to pack for school lunches in a few months.  Don't worry bud, the Tooth Fairy team is going to make it up to you!

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