lasagna (one of the few foods the super six year old will currently eat)
strawberries and "icing" (chosen by the four year old, and when he says "icing" he means whipped cream)
cookies (homemade, hopefully made by the four year old)
I think I will toss in a salad and bread sticks to make it a grown up meal for my husband and myself. Each boy will have their own place mat with their new grade printed on it and they will each get a cool "pencil" made out of construction paper and candy. (Candy assures at least a few minutes of listening ears and bottoms in chairs at our home.) The back to school banner will be hung in the dining room and we will have those so important new school year talks, like how to be brave and how to always listen to your heart. And then it begins. The early mornings, the scrambling eggs, the chatting in the school drop off line, the homework.
So it all has me thinking. This has been a good summer. We didn't do everything we wanted, but we did a lot. We certainly did more than we did last year. This summer we were able to spend more time together as a family, thanks to a combination of a slowing down of the persevering preschooler's issues and a speeding up of my understanding and patience. He was able to behave slightly better and I was able to ignore much more. Win!
For me, this was the summer of eye opening experiences and learning. Here is a little of what I have learned over the past few months, amid water gun fights, wet swim suits, road trips, and thousands of Popsicles:
- My persevering preschooler is wise beyond his years. I mean, he cannot for the life of him get the days of the week straight but he totally gets the fact that sometimes, being the youngest kid in the family isn't fair. He spent the summer questioning his big brother's ability to do "way more", in his words.
- Brothers will fight. And I mean roll around on the floor, pinching, sitting on each other's faces fight.
- Brothers will love. In a "Here, you take the orange gumball because your favorite color is orange and I will take the purple one.", kind of way.
- Six and a half years old is the exact age one outgrows "baby toys". Sadly for my super six year old, six and a half years old is still four and a half months away from Christmas.
- If you let go of your super six year old in the swimming pool he will freak out. And then refuse to swim again. But if you let him go on a trip with Grandma and Grandpa, where he sees his younger cousin swimming like a pro, he will come home from said trip being able to at least stay a float, while loudly proclaiming to anyone within earshot that he can, in fact, swim.
- Having a kid old enough to walk through a not so busy parking lot without holding my hand is kind of sad.
- Having a kid who can open his car door, hop in, close the door and buckle his seat belt is awesome.
- Change is good. Whether that be changing to a new church, letting go of preconceived ideas of how a family should look and "feel", or simply letting go of your child's hand and letting them walk alone, change is a good thing.
- Your six and a half year old calling you "Mom", instead of "Mommy", not so good. This is a change I was not ready for, but one he made deliberately. Sigh.
- Family vacations will from now on be filled with trains, planes, race cars, and monster trucks.
- My super six year old is on the right path to becoming a man of substance. Yesterday he asked his daycare teacher, twice, if he could go check on his little brother, who was in a new classroom for the first time. Protector, his name is Matthew Zhao.
- Just because the four year old often reads his letters from right to left is no cause for alarm. Amid everything else he has going on this is just not that big of a deal. I prefer to look at it this way- hey, the kid is learning his letters!
- My iPhone's sole purpose is to keep young boys quiet and still in public.
- When you take your persevering preschooler to a behavioral therapy appointment he will behave like an angel. And then throw a monumental tantrum in the parking lot, forcing you to stuff him into his car seat and slam the door before he can break free and run off to find someone more understanding about his needs to squat down in front of traffic to check out a rock.
- My persevering preschooler has increased his vocabulary. Now, along with the constant use of the word "poop", he has added "panties" and "butt". As is, "OK, Mommypanties, I pick up my shoes." Or, "Matthew is a Poopy Butt."
- A good eater can quickly become a poor eater. The hard part is remembering that this is, hopefully, just a phase, and that someday, hopefully soon, your sweet super six year old will stop whining about how nothing sounds good.
- I can now ignore whining like a champ. I am thinking of going pro.
- Adding a puppy to an already chaotic house is not such a big deal. What's a little more poop on the kitchen floor? (If you need the back story to that reference, read here. )
So both of my boys have done a lot of growing up this summer. As have I. We have laughed, loved, cried, and thrown tantrums. We have regrouped and hit the start button a few times. We are ready to move ahead and begin what just might be the best year we have had yet as a family of four. Bring it on world, me and my boys are ready!