We officially have both Elliott and Ian in daycare now. And for anyone who has experienced placing multiple kids in daycare, you'll understand that we are also officially big fans of coupons and macaroni and cheese and Goodwill. That's not a call for sympathy, especially in a time when so many are making sacrifices to make it through each day. In fact, watching how much they grow each day interacting with their teachers and friends, I consider it one of our safest investments (slightly ahead of the mac and cheese).
Ian had a bit of a rough start making the transition from the nuthouse daycare to Kiddie Kingdom. Because the truth is, his days with grandma and grandpa were spent in a land that far more represented a kingdom than his present situation. And most days he was the King of that kingdom. Not to say he was in charge, the owners may have been nuts, but they weren't crazy. Make no mistake, though, grandparents can anoint a grandson to Kingship faster than Miami can erect statues of Lebron James (or Cleveland can tear them down). So trying to convince Ian that his new Kingdom was one of equality, where everyone receives equal attention, well that's why I'm not a salesman.
I also can't overlook the fact that Ian is pure and through a "mama's boy." And having grand-mama as a fill-in was fine. Teacher-mama is not.
Elliott has been promoted from lower nursery to upper nursery. I quit bragging to all my friends about that when Katie informed me that no one in the history of Kiddie Kingdom has ever failed lower nursery. Something about age and not merit. Oh.
There is plenty of merit there, though. Elliott is big into spelling these days. His favorite activity is to have mom or dad pull up a blank microsoft word document so he can type all the words he knows. And he comes to know these words by some unusual methods, at least by my way of thinking. The other night he called me over to see that he had typed out the letters S T O P.
He said, "look dad, I spelled stop."
"Very good, Elliott, did you learn that at school?"
"Then where did you learn it," I asked.
He looked at me like there was no way I was smarter than a fifth grader and said, "It's written on all of those red signs we have to stop for."
I was driving them home from school the other night and I was trying to find out about their days. You can't ask general questions these days, like what did you do today, because the answer is going to be - I don't know. So I get specific.
"Elliott, did anyone get in trouble today?" I've watched a lot of Law and Order and I've seen them use this technique many times.
"Johnny did," he responded. Yep. I knew it. And Katie scoffs at me for watching Law and Order episodes for the 15th time.
Press on dad. "And what did Johnny get in trouble for?"
"He hit Sally." Ah, domestic violence, those episodes are always intense.
Details. Details. The conviction lies in the details. "What did he hit her with," I pressed on.
Elliott looked at me, calm in the face of the interrogation, almost like he didn't even realize it was an interrogation. "He hit her with the sign that says keep your hands to yourself."
I think I would have been able to keep my composure, only as soon as he said it, that someone had actually attacked someone else with a sign that says keep your hands to yourself, Ian erupted in one of his deep, drawn out giggles. And even though I knew it was probably because Ian gets great joy from anything that includes violence. Or that he gets great joy from anything that resembles a word coming from Elliott's mouth. I knew I had heard one of those pieces of humor that can only come from the complete innocence of a three year old. And then I peed my pants.
It has been a busy summer and I hate seeing it come to an end. Because whether they were:
CLIMBING WALLS AT THE PLAYGROUND
MAKING MEAN MONSTER FACES
BEING MAMA'S BOY
LOOKING AT THE WORLD FROM HIGHER GROUND
OR SPLASHING IN THE WATER JUST ONE MORE TIME.........
THERE'S NO DOUBTING IT WAS A GREAT SUMMER, BUT WITH THE END OF SUMMER COMES THAT MOST GLORIOUS QUESTION... ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?