It has been almost two months since we put our boys on the bus for the first day of school.
It has become a tradition to take their photos each year before they leave. I started when each of them headed off to preschool for the first time, before they were even taking a bus. Boy, were they little!
Between sharing this year's photos with family and friends who mostly reacted with the obligatory "They're getting so big," and sitting at a meeting at the school when a flock of actual preschoolers paraded past the window, it is starting to sink in that my 8 and 9 year olds are not little boys anymore.
Granted, much of their recent behavioral maturity has to do with the prescription of ADD meds for both of them. They have had an enormous impact on the dynamics in the house, the flow of our weekends, and our ability to simply go on vacation.
They are also playing together a bit more. Sure, there's still plenty of sibling antagonism, but just yesterday I went looking for them, thinking the house was entirely too quiet, only to find them in their room playing a game. That it was a game of catch, in the house, I managed to overlook in favor of celebrating their mutual cooperation.
Their advancing grade levels are bringing more changes. As a fourth grader, Tigger can choose an instrument to play in the elementary school "orchestra." I had all sorts of ideas of the kind of instrument he was going to be attracted to, but the one he picked - the violin - surprised the heck out of me. He's super excited about it, too.
He's also playing soccer this Fall; really playing, not just rolling around in the net like a giant pillbug. He seems to far prefer defense, knows where he's supposed to be, and is usually there. He played goalie last week, and for the entire half that he held that position, no one scored against him. I was amazed, and impressed.
I spent years worrying that this child would never express an interest in and aptitude for anything beyond a screen. He spent years fighting against doing anything remotely productive or educational. Reading? Bah! Karate? Hell no! TV? Absolutely, at every waking moment and whenever you are not looking.
Pumpkin is a second grader. I am trying to keep as closely in contact with the goings on in his classroom as it is possible for a working mother to do. When I made the decision to have Pumpkin repeat a year of Kindergarten, my biggest fear was that he would overcome some of the things that were holding him back, get to 2nd or 3rd grade, and be bored out of his mind. This may be the year.
The first clue was the worksheet of coin values that he quickly filled in and had enough time left over to draw in explicit detail the head and tail faces of each coin, carefully copying out the words E Pluribus Unum, and other characteristics. The second was his mention of getting a bigger packet of math worksheets than everyone else. It is interesting that he has noticed this and I wonder exactly how long this is going to be the strategy for keeping him entertained.
I put it that way because this teacher has a reputation for being V E R Y R I G I D! This was borne out on open house night, when Tigger's teacher demonstrated an exercise with parents using a technology she had just adopted and made her presentation interesting and interactive. Pumpkin's teacher passed out a list of rules.
Still, the start of school was so much calmer this year than last. I wonder if we are in that "eye of the storm" before they become teenagers.