I'm still having a hard time letting go of summer. Yes, I like being back in a regular routine, and we're getting back into the swing of things with homework and soccer and sticking to schedules again, and it does lend a certain stability to our days and weeks.
But nearly every single day since school started, I've found myself either driving by the beach, or taking walks with Carmine along the seawall. I can't stay away. We're planning an afternoon of boogie boarding this Saturday, once soccer games are over, and I can't wait to dig my toes into the sand.
The big boys are adjusting well to school, and happy to be seeing friends every day. We had a meeting yesterday morning about Gabe's 504 plan, though, and one of his teachers told me that Gabe said to him the other day that he wished he were at home because he missed his mom. He almost never says anything like that, so it nearly broke my heart.
Not much has changed with his 504 accomodations, but we're all in agreement that this is going to be a challenging year for him - more homework, and more expected of him in general. I feel confident that he's up to the challenge, but it's going to take a village - which is why I'm so happy we have one. His teachers and aides are all so amazing, and they do such a fantastic job with him. We are so fortunate to be at such a great school.
One thing in particular that I've noticed, and his teachers have noticed, is that he seems to be very aware now of the things he struggles with. He understands that he has more trouble focusing than other kids do, and that he's more easily distracted than other kids are, and that he sometimes finds himself feeling like he's physically unable to stop doing something (fidgeting, humming, tapping his pencil) even though he knows he shouldn't be doing it. And there have been times, both at home and at school, that he's said things along the lines of "I hate my brain," or "I wish I didn't act this way."
Those are things you just don't want your kids to say. I almost feel physical pain in my heart when he talks like that. So these are the kinds of things that I'm going to make sure we talk about when we have our next few appointments with the therapist.
He's not a big talker, especially when it comes to emotional issues, but he really enjoys our appointments and definitely opens up a little more in that setting, so I want to take full advantage of that and make sure that he knows he's a smart, funny, fabulous kid who can overcome these challenges and do anything he sets his mind to.
Dante, as usual, is our roll-with-the-punches little guy, and is loving first grade. He is also Carmine's partner in crime, and the two of them have a really special relationship that's very cute to see. Dante loves to get Carmine out out of his crib in the morning, and I love to listen over the monitor and hear the door open and Carmine yell "Hey Dante!!!"
The two of them also love to curl up in our ottoman. It's the kind where the lid lifts off so you can store things inside, and they line it with blankets and pillows and sit in there and call it their "boat."
Carmine, as usual, is just busy trying to keep up with his brothers. He's becoming slightly more adventurous with eating, as long as he can dip everything he eats into ranch dressing (which he calls ketchup - actually, 'kepchup'). He and Dante are definitely simpatico when it comes to food - they were both dipping grapes in ranch dressing the other day. Luckily Carmine will also eat several servings of steamed broccoli that way - that's the only vegetable he'll eat, but it's a good one, so I'll take it!
Yesterday I got out one of the three-wheel scooters the boys used to ride when they were 4 and 5 years old, and at 2 1/2, Carmine is already a pro. I took him scootering along the seawall this morning, and he was in heaven.
We skipped the gym today, and had nothing else planned besides a trip to the grocery store, so I let him just meander along the sidewalk at his own pace, and it was one of the nicest hours I've spent in a long time.
He scootered; he stopped occasionally for breaks; he pointed out the seagulls and EVERY truck and motorcycle that drove by; he waved hi to people we passed (all of whom got a huge kick out of him); and we just took our time. Nowhere to rush off to, nothing to keep us from lollygagging. It was wonderful. And it was something I realize we need to do more often.
As busy as our schedule is with afterschool and weekend activities, our daytime hours are relatively quiet, and now that school is back in session, it's hitting me that this is my last year of having at least one of the kids home with me all day every day, and I'm feeling like I don't want to squander this time.
Preschool for 3-year-olds is only a few hours a week, but that shift to 'school mode' is still a very momentous one, and signals the true end of babyhood. As long as he's with me 24/7, he's still my baby. Once he's out there on his own, even for just a few hours a few times a week, he's off and running......
Believe me, there is part of me that will thoroughly enjoy the quiet and the freedom of doing things without having a child in tow.
But there's another part of me that's going to really miss having constant companionship - because that companion may sometimes whine and scream, but other times he hugs me and giggles and makes me laugh when he says that something is "doog" instead of "good." Or when I tell him I love him, and he says "Alright."
There's a 'Back to School' mural on a building in town that depicts a group of parents jumping up and down as a school bus drives away. I drove past it with Dante in the car, and with a very confused, sad look on his face, he asked me why the parents were so happy that the kids were leaving on the bus. I told him that sometimes it's nice for mommies when the house is quiet for a little while.
He said "But don't you miss us when we're at school?"
I assured him that yes, even though it is nice to have some quiet time, I do miss them - very much - and maybe the mural was really showing the mommies and daddies jumping up and down because the school bus was bringing their kids back home.
And truthfully, I think it's a little of both.
For more from Michelle, check out Me and the Boys, her blog.