I started a new semester, again. But I am not the only one going back to school this week; Alex is officially a third grader.
I cannot wrap my brain around that thought. Alex is in third grade. When, exactly, did he get old enough to be in third grade?! He's my tender hearted, super funny, sweet, caring, philanthropist who wants to be an architect when he grows up so he can build houses for the homeless people that don't have one. Then he will charge them fifty cents to buy the house. Does this not make you tear up? I love my boy. He is the best oldest child I could ever have asked for. He is my favorite.
We didn't know what time the bus would come this morning so I drove him to school. Just me and him. We talked about how much fun third grade is, things I remember learning (he's already learned multiplication tables (a bit) and cursive which both topped my list... he was a little smug that he's ahead of me year for year). Then he said he'll probably learn things like square roots. He didn't know what it was, had just heard it or read it somewhere, so we had a talk about math on the way to third grade. When I saw him after school he was so full of "we get to use the computer lab every Wednesday and we have a climbing wall in the gym now and Mr P told us last year it was coming but he said it was a big magnet so don't wear any metal but I had on my STAR WARS belt [thanks, Mom!] and I didn't stick to the wall so I think he was pulling my leg last year and I share my locker with [oh crap I forgot the kid's name] who's not back yet from his trip to Lincoln City and..."
We got home and he went out to play with his friends as if he hadn't seen them all at school all day (a lot of them are at the same one), came in for dinner and went right back out. When I told him I needed him to get ready for a bath he wanted to work on a puzzle until the girls were done. Okay, that would seem like a reasonable request, right? So he picks the hardest puzzle we have in the kids' puzzle box and gets like 2 pieces together and it's time for him to go take a shower. He informs us that it takes 3-6 hours to complete this puzzle (where does he come up with this knack of making up information? I dunno) and he blew up at us for making him put it away. Except we hadn't told him to put it away. We hadn't said one thing about it. He argues like his dad: With a broken crystal ball.
Evidently third grade is more stressful than I remembered.
That's why it was SO perfect that he called in the middle of this discussion. Alex turned his venom on Brandon and... well, anyway he finally told Brandon, by telling me with him listening, that he doesn't like that Brandon yells at him all the time AND that that was the reason he was yelling at Aiden and I. I love that his father got to hear it from him this time instead of me telling him. Stupid head.
Alex and I had a big talk, in his room (he wiggled out of the bath because of the stress induced yelling at us) so it was private about how to handle stress and how sometimes we have to look ahead only to tomorrow. It will be better tomorrow. blah blah blah. I'll not bore you with the Full House "wrap it up scene" here. It was sweet. Until he informed me he is half dog. Because he can smell as good as a dog. "no, you can't but you're funny." "yes, I can. Really."
"Dogs can smell things that were here 3 days ago"
he's laying in bed: "so can I. I can smell my farts that were here three days ago."
Oh my gosh, I have a third grade boy.
Then, another bomb shell: Annie starts kindergarten this year. Her first half of a half day is tomorrow (Thursday) and then Friday she gets to do the whole half day. (our district is easing the kids in but I think this is kind of dumb... "half a half day" with the parents there. psha!) We went to the open house at the kids' school Tuesday night, dropped off supplies, and met their teachers. There are 2 or 3 am kindergarten classes and 2 pm classes so they couldn't open the two rooms to all the families who would have been there. Stupid fire codes. So she still hasn't seen her classroom but she has met her teacher. She is soooo nervous. And excited. I almost started crying tonight when I tucked her in bed. I realized this is her last night as a little kid. She's going to big kid school tomorrow.
I know she's ready. I asked her if she wants to wait just one more year and she pretended think on it, giggled and said, NOPE!
Ashley bit her tonight. Hard. Almost broke the skin, definitely going to be a blood blister there at least. So in the midst of Aiden talking to Ashley about biting in their room and Alex in the living room having a throw down with his dad on the phone, I take the ice and the injured Annie to my room and we sat and talked and just had some "holy cow I need love because I am nervous and injured and tired and and and" time. She then told me she doesn't like it when Ashley bites "me.... because her teeth are so hard. It's like, all she ever used to drink is milk and now her teeth are super hard. And that hurts". She is my favorite.
Crap, I have to let her grow up. Luckily she will be riding the bus in to school at noon when no one but kindergartners are on it. And Luckily again Alex will be riding the bus home with her in the afternoon when the other kids are on. She has two friends who are brothers that will be at her school with her (one is in her class) so they are all four going to sit together and keep an eye out.
We are having a cupcake party for Annie, the two brothers, and another girl from our complex who ended up in a different elementary school (we live too far out to be assigned to a school by address. or something) on Friday afternoon to talk about how cool kindergarten is. They will all have had their first full half day by then and will, I'm sure, be full of fun things to say.
Ashley is going to be heading to preschool in another week or so. That may be the hardest thing I have had to face as far as kids going to school. Alex and Annie going have all been something I could easily reconcile with because I still had one of my babies at home with me. Now, the youngest kid I will ever have is going to preschool. I am excited for her but also nervous. She is going through a phase lately. I don't know what to explain it as except to list behavior: hissing at people when she's angry (like a cat), BITING is back, POOPING in her pants is back, growling, pinching, hitting, kicking, etc etc etc. Get the picture?
Maybe I don't have to worry about her going to preschool. They won't let her stay if this is how she acts there. UGH! I just wish she'd be a nice girl again.
The biggest problem, beyond those listed above, is that she turns it on and off. And when it's off she can still beat any one's recovery time. She's a master. I know a lot of this has to be that so many growing up things happened all together: potty training, riding a two wheeler, getting ready for preschool, seeing dad more. (I know some of those aren't growing up things. So? Sue me). And I know she's having feelings she's maybe forgotten how to explain or deal with by using words. But I need her to remember. I'm trying to help her label her feelings as it comes up but she is SO resistant.
Still, I love her best.
Okay, maybe now I can sleep.