Monday, September 24, 2012

Changing and growing

It seems like every time I blink, the boys either 1) get bigger or 2) do something new. Or both. At the same time.

William has two loose teeth right now. (Note to self: make sure Tooth Fairy has a couple of dollar bills on hand.) He has sworn off apples in his lunchbox because they hurt his teeth. I'm torn between wanting them to just come out already and stop doing that stomach-flipping wiggle thing, and doing the whole cliched my-baby-is-growing-up-too-fast routine. He hasn't lost a tooth since last fall, when he lost his first two. I guess it's time.*

William is also reading. Like, real reading. Not just a few words but able to read along in the hymn book at church. (Well, except for the rather large number of SAT words that you get in lots of Presbyterian hymns.) I'm eagerly looking forward to the day when I can have him read recipes and directions to me when I attempt to do something without, er, reading them myself.

He is participating in the Accelerated Reader program at his school, and he's speeding his way through books like "Dino-Soccer" and "Henry and Mudge and the Big Test" and "The Bully from the Black Lagoon." As his reading improves, he seems to enjoy reading more. Which makes total sense to me. The books get better and the stories get more interesting as they get harder. I wouldn't want to read boring old simple books about cats sitting on mats, either. There's never any character development. I just started reading "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" to him at bedtime, and I'm actually starting to worry that he might notice when I might not read every single word. Ahem. (J.K. Rowling could have edited down some parts here and there. Just sayin.')

However, even his reading skills couldn't help him with one particular question on his homework the other night. William came storming over to me and threw his homework packet at me. "What is this VCR?" he demanded angrily. "Veekayare? VCR? What is this??"

I retrieved the sheaf of papers and looked for the offending question. It read, "Can a frog use a VCR?"

Well, my six-year-old wasn't even alive the last time we had a VCR in active use in our house. So either the frog would need to be well-versed in the use of outdated technology or the teacher might need to rethink the vintage of the homework pages that she's giving out.

(*Editorial Note: As soon as I finished writing this, William called in here to me and asked if he could have a snack. One of his loose teeth fell out while he was walking out of the kitchen with a Go-Gurt. We just rinsed the tooth off and stuck it in a baggie so it won't get lost. William reports that he doesn't feel like writing a note to the Tooth Fairy this time. "She'll still give me money," he said confidently. Good grief.)

So then we have the little fellow.

Andrew definitely has a sense of mischief about him. The other day, he tried to convince me that David was Mommy and that I was Daddy. He knew we weren't buying, but he was tickled that we were so amused by him.

This morning, I walked into Andrew's room to get him out of his crib. He handed me one of the two binkies that we still let him have in the crib at night. He watched me put them in the top drawer of his dresser. Then he said, "Andrew take binky to school?"

I laughed and said, "No, you can't take a binky to school, silly."

And with a gleam in his eyes, he said, "Graci has binky at school."

The little rascal, trying to persuade me! Wonder what he would have said if I'd responded, "Well, if Graci jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?"

He's taller than ever, too. I buttoned him into a darling little outfit--size 3, so not even something old--for church yesterday, and his long legs just hung out from the shorts. When I pick him up, I almost always let out an involuntary "Ooof."

And every time I turn around, Andrew has managed to get something down from a countertop or shelf that I truly didn't think he could reach. He walked up to me one morning last week, casually munching a plum. "Where did you get that?" I asked, and then realized that I had left a batch of unwashed plums sitting in the middle of the kitchen island. Sigh. Hope they weren't covered in too many pesticides and bacteria.

Between his long legs and his even longer sentences, I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that my baby isn't really a baby anymore. He's a strong-willed, hilarious, loving, occasionally exhausting boy. A lot like his big brother in that regard.

But I love them both more than ever.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

First Day of School for Both Boys

We have had two big First Days of School here recently.

William started first grade with a flourish on Aug. 1. Which is absurdly and ridiculously early for a first day of school, but whatever. He requested a new turquoise shirt for the big occasion, and of course, I acquiesced. This picture was taken after he got off the bus at the end of the first (half) day.

Then Andrew had his big first day of school in the Jungle Room at Westminster on Aug. 31. He has William's former teacher from the same classroom, so we are all really excited about that! I snapped this photo when I picked him up after the first (half) day.

William's first day went incredibly smoothly, which was wonderful. William sometimes frets in advance about not liking something new, but he always does great when he actually gets there. This was no exception. He walked right into the classroom with a smile and was delighted to see some pals already there. His classroom was bright and sunny, and his teacher seemed relaxed and cheerful. What a nice way to start the first grade! No tears, no fretting, no hanging back, nothing to worry about.

Of course, he's been that way his entire life. Someone once commented to me about how well-adjusted he was. I laughed at that because I can't take any credit for it at all. Even when he was just 15 or 16 months old, his approach toward a new mother's day out class or a new Sunday School class was always to walk right in with a big smile, check things out and not look back. I've always joked that he just waves me off and says, "Bye Mom, see ya later!" But it's pretty much the truth. He does always give me a big hug and kiss, too, though.

Andrew, on the other hand, is not William. Which is fine! He doesn't usually rush right into new situations with a smile on his face. He tends to hang back and cling to Mommy for awhile, as he takes in the lay of the land. But I figured he'd do just fine this year in school because he knows his teacher--and it's his second year at the school, and he's used to the place. Also, he's been talking about the Jungle Room for weeks now, and I truly thought he was excited about it.

But then he had a major freak-out during his classroom visit last Wednesday, which took everyone by surprise. Screaming, crying, climbing up and clinging to me like a monkey climbing a tree. One of the staff even handed me a handout on minimizing separation anxiety. "We usually just give this to the parents of the one-year-olds," she told me. "But maybe it will help you, too." I felt a little abashed but what can you do?

So I was a little, er, nervous about Friday, which was Andrew's first day. It started inauspiciously when I walked into Andrew's room on Friday morning and he announced firmly, "Andrew NOT want go to school." But I, um, might have bribed him--relax, it was just apple slices from McDonalds'--and talked up the exciting things about school on the drive to the church.

To my shock and delight, Andrew determinedly walked right down the hall, hesitated for a split second at the door to the classroom and then headed right in. No crying, no tears, no fussing. Did I mention I was shocked? Even one of the teachers told me that they were prepared for him to cry. He willingly went with me into the bathroom to wash his hands and then found two puzzles. He also seemed very pleased to see his friend Lizzie arrive a few minutes later.

I kept my phone right beside me all morning, waiting to get a phone call from the school. But I never got a call. When I arrived to pick him up, Andrew was all smiles. What a relief!

So now my two boys are both back in school. Here's to a good year....