What a week. With all the dog eyeball drama, cats jumping out of second-story windows and babies graduating from preschool, it's all been A Little Much.
Make that way too much.
Ike's preschool did a whole proper graduation ceremony, with hats and Pomp & Circumstance and songs (that Ike did not sing, choosing instead to cover his ears in protest) and awards and enough mini-cupcakes to send the entire graduating class into a final sugar-fueled frenzy. Ike won an award for being "kind and huggable" and hammed it up during his teacher's little speech about him, making a series of smug little faces similar to the one pictured above.
I'm not sure it's fully hit me that not only is Ike done with preschool, we as a family are done with preschool. No more tuition checks, no more separate drop-offs and pick-ups, no more half days, no more days when the highest expectation is mostly to have fun and not bite anyone. Maybe fingerpaint a bit.
This fall, all three of my babies will get on the same bus and go to the same pressure-cooker of an elementary school. For all of one year, before Noah moves up to sixth grade and middle school. Middle school. The actual fuck.
I've read and heard a lot of people say how much easier they find parenting once the baby/toddler stage is behind them, once they get to enjoy their children as actual people. And while I certainly enjoy the many, many benefits that come with having older, slightly more self-sufficient children, other days I miss the simplicity of them as babies. I GOT babies. I was GOOD with babies. Babies were my JAM.
Now I have three incredibly complicated little people who are all so different from me and so different from each other that parenting feels more acrobatic now, a constant juggling act where I start out pretty okay but end up dropping at least one ball by the end of the day. I can already see a trail of parenting mistakes forming behind me, a series of fuck-ups I can't take back, or erase from my children's future assessment of what kind of mother I was. I remember when a bad diaper rash or suspicious poop were my biggest causes of worry and have to laugh, because man, you have NO IDEA the number of things that are going to keep you up at night in a few years.
Is Ike really ready for kindergarten? I honestly don't know! He is super-duper smart but emotionally immature! Is Noah going to fail math this year? Most likely! Fucking Common Core, man! What's going on with Ezra's hearing? Still no definitive answers, but I did discover weeks' worth of ADD medication in his pants pockets in the hamper, because it turns out he is super-duper scared of swallowing pills and has been tonguing it THIS WHOLE TIME, and never successfully swallowed a single dose! So that's...oh my lands, child, NO.
Yikes, this post took a dark-yet-honest turn. Sorry about that.
After I picked Ike up from his very last day of preschool, we went out for burgers and milkshakes and I taught him how to play Plants vs. Zombies. He made me smile and laugh like he always does; he's grown into such a funny little person who tells the best stories. It was the perfect lunch date. He probably won't remember it, but I will, a quiet moment in between.