Monday, September 22, 2014

Jude the Second Born Dude

Well Jack's not the only one to start school this fall.  Jude went back to preschool on the same day that the bus picked up Jack. In typical second born fashion, his first day kind of got overshadowed by his older brother.  But there is a slight difference between one's very first day of Kindergarten and one's first day of their second year of preschool.

We had absolutely no issues this year. Jude was more than willing to march off down the hall to his new teacher and class. He dodged the clumps of moms trying to catch final glimpses of their little ones and those same little ones crying and trying to escape the room--walked right on by with hardly a wave goodbye and left me and the girls standing there trying to figure out what to do next.

Jude has this strange habit of always lifting his arms when I take a picture.
We've fallen back into the preschool routine so handily that it's sometimes easy to forget this is a special time. Of course, Jude is quick to correct us. While we regularly ask Jack about his day at school, sometimes Jude has to remind us to ask him too. Or if we pray at bedtime for Jack's kindergarten class, Jude will quickly chime in about his school as well.

Then there's the supply list, lunch-making, and meetings and open houses involved with Kindergarten that aren't required in preschool. And I think my little second born was starting to feel a tad left out. If Jack's my "words of affirmation" guy, then Jude is my "physical touch" kid. And I'm learning that when Jude goes through phases where it feels like he's constantly touching me--wrapping himself around my leg, crawling up onto my lap, asking for back scratches, and just leaning against me if we're standing anywhere--it probably means he could use a little extra attention.

So one day last week when Jon was off of work, Joci was taking one of her rare amazing naps, and Julia was distracted by the TV, I suggested Jude and I go on a date. And by date, I mean I decided I could really use some Starbucks for the afternoon and a Redbox movie that evening, and invited Jude along.

Picking flowers for Mommy ... the kind that fall apart all over the floor within 5 seconds.
He was beyond giddy. Jude has absolutely no "inside voice" but he tried very hard not to draw Lia's attention to the fact that he was putting on shoes and walking out the door with me (we were successful, she never even missed us!) And then, just like a real date, we took Daddy's car. So first Jude wants to know just what "date" means--it's when just the two of us do something. And then he wants to know why Daddy's car goes so fast, and can I make it go faster? And "when I'm a grown-up I'm going to have a car like Daddy's."

So we pulled into our destination, i.e. the grocery store down the street, and I attempted to hold Jude's hand through the parking lot, because that's what you do on dates, am I right? Well, not Jude. He was not interested in holding hands. But he did open the door for me because "that's what you do on dates, hold doors for grown-ups."

The thing with multiple children is sometimes your two year old asks for green eggs for breakfast and sometimes your four year old just isn't in agreement. Kids, this is not a restaurant, I am not a short order cook.
You really can't underestimate the power of one-on-one time.  We go to the grocery store every week, it's certainly nothing new. But just me and my second born, driving "fast" in Daddy's car, with the windows down and sunroof open--and then there's pushing the buttons on the Redbox machine and watching the DVD come out the slot--well that just made my preschooler's day. We got drinks and shortbread cookies from the Starbucks counter, sat down, and two seconds later Jude had to use the potty. So we ran to the other end of the store.

On the way back we passed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle puzzle on clearance that clearly needed to be purchased to round off our afternoon. And since I only had one kid, our obvious recourse was to utilize the self-checkout--yet another way to impress a 4 year old. By this point, Jude informed me that he didn't really like his pricey Starbucks drink. I felt like I needed to redeem the edible part of our outing, so I conceded to a second drink from the refrigerator and yet another round through self-checkout. And while none of this seems very significant to me, Jude couldn't have been happier with his first date. He still talks about it a week later. And so when it comes to making the second born feel like #1 for a moment, I'd say mission accomplished ... for now.

We're working on being a team player and not getting upset when things don't go your way in a game.
Now while preschool isn't anything new for Jude this year, soccer is. Both boys are playing soccer this fall, but they're in different age groups. Which means two soccer practices and two games each week. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for this new schedule of Jon's. Whenever he is working or sleeping during soccer time, I'm on my own with the four littles.

First game of the year and he scored two goals!

Oh, Jude.
 Take last weekend, for example. Jude's games are at 10:30 and Jack's games are at noon, with about a 30 minute break in between them for us to grab a quick picnic lunch. The forecast said there was a chance of rain, and I was secretly hoping it would so we could all stay home. But it came time to leave and all was still sunny and dry.

Picnic in the rain!
Jude doesn't exactly run out on the field, he prefers to skip. 

This kid, so much personality even in the middle of a game.

Example of working on that team player attitude when things don't go our way ...
We made it through Jude's game without too much drama. It was starting to sprinkle by the end so we decided to have lunch in the car. By the time Jack got out to his field to start warming up the rain was coming down a bit more steadily. It wasn't a big deal, or at least it shouldn't have been, but according to Julia "princesses do not like to get wet." So she just huddled under the blanket whining and crying. And then she got louder when Jude tried to get under the covers with her. Right about this time I sat Joci down next to me to fix the blanket and the team next to us kicked a ball and whacked her right on the head. Now I have two soaking wet, crying girls and one annoyed brother. (Jack was having the time of his life out on the field, by the way.)

Scoring goals their first game of the season!
It was at about this point that I decided we'd continue watching the game from the car. So Julia and Jude played in the van while I stood under the raised trunk with Joci, who had conveniently just pooped in her diaper. Then Jude had to go potty (these are dirty porta-potties, mind you), then Julia, then Jude again, then Julia said she had to go again and I just brushed her off. Next thing I know she's standing next to me in the parking lot with a trail of yellow rainwater puddling at her feet.
Soccer in the rain. Laugh it off, Mama!
I will say that I was able to catch 2 of Jack's 3 goals that day. He made sure to look up at me and give me a wave each time. So thank the Lord that his game just happened to be on a field near the parking lot and that I just happened to get a parking space up front. I'd be so sad if he had no one waving back.

Back home, bathed, dressed, warming by the fire with roasted marshmallows and hot molasses milk.
But that was last weekend. This past weekend I not only had Daddy to help out but Marmie, Poppa, Uncle Micah, and Miss Carrie. So between Marmie and Poppa's snuggles, Jocelyn actually got a morning nap. And thanks to Miss Carrie's back scratches, Jude got to feel a little extra love too. And I got to watch both my kids games without distraction.

Okay, so I'm never completely free of distraction. Not with this cutey running around.

After a difficult loss (except we don't keep score), getting his love tank filled by Miss Carrie.

Out cold.
 And now we can put all these "firsts" behind us--first day of Kindergarten, first day of preschool, first Jude/Mommy date, first soccer game, first time taking all four kids to soccer by myself ... and enjoy the familiarity of secondhandedness for the rest of the fall.

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