Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The end of an Era...

Today marked the end of Ethan's "transition" into pre-school. In February, he started a class literally called "Transition", where I dropped him off in class, stayed "for a bit" and then retreated through a hail of weeping and "mommy, don't go!"'s to the couches in the "mom's lounge" in the temple's main building. E's teacher assures me that the second I leave the room, I am a mere afterthought and the theatrics ebb as Ethan engages happily with the other kids, toys, activities, and teachers, and proceeds to be an all-around gem of a student.

Initially, we went through a stint of "I don't want to go to schooooooool" tantrums that made me question the whole thing---is he too young? too small? are the other kids intimidating or bullying him (impossible to imagine, given the kids in question). Am I a bad mother for jumping on the "my 3 year old HAS to be in preschool or he won't get into Harvard" bandwagon?

Turns out, it was nothing a little pre-pre-school apple juice at The Coffee Bean couldn't fix, so clearly it wasn't a deeply rooted aversion. And pretty soon I started hearing all about Miss Claudine (the teacher) and Devon (his pre-school sweetie), and filling up my refrigerator door and kitchen window sill with paper butterflies, painted rock ladybugs and waxed-paper stained glass windows. So Ethan was all good.

And me? I got two hours, every Tuesday and Thursday to drink my coffee (translation: chai tea latte, always), sit on a comfy couch and chat with the other moms. I want to say it was a tough transition for me and that I was intimidated and overwhelmed by having to be "on" in front of a bunch of new people---I figure if it was a bit of a struggle for Ethan, I should have shared in that in some way, a kind of sympathy angst. But it was too fun to gossip and chit-chat and way over-share with these women.

At the end of class, the moms sigh one last "oh, it was so nice to have two hours off" sigh, gather up our things and walk across the parking lot to the bank of classrooms, the peals of our kids' laughter and the chatter of their voices all around (oh, the corniness of it all!). On one particular day, Ethan caught sight of us walking towards the gate and announced to everyone on the playground, "OUR MOMMIES ARE COMING!" If melting hearts make a noise, it was audible right then. Perfectly happy without us, but so excited to see us again.

There have been a few glitches along the way. A Passover puppet show sent Ethan into a downward spiral of histrionics (the puppets were more than life sized and WAY loud) and I got called out of my happymomchat mode to go cuddle some sense back into him. Miss Claudine pulled me aside after one class to let me know that Ethan had acted out to get attention when she was working with another little one. His favorite thing to do? Throw something across the room. Thankfully it's not "beat the snot out of a class mate."

So as I emptied out his cubby today, gathering all the left over art projects and changes of clothing, I was sad. It was a short era, but it was an era, nonetheless. He, on the other hand, really had no idea---he just wanted to play with daddy's car keys.

I shouldn't be too emotional, though. If this was one era ending, the next one begins in a month, when Ethan starts his first true pre-school class, Monday-Friday, 9am-12noon. Oh yes, folks, that's what I said. Five mornings a week. FIVE. That's like almost enough time for me to start feeling guilty about being a stay-at-home mom. Almost.

What do I plan to do with all. that. time? Well, I really hope to be lying on the bathroom floor, dry-heaving the morning sickness away, and napping, for at least the first month or two. But, should that not happen, oh my. Blogging more than once every two weeks, maybe? Going to the gym on a---gasp!---regular basis. And here's an idea---cleaning my house to such a degree that people could actually just drop by unannounced without my being utterly humiliated by the condition of our sty. A cross between Amalah, Martha Stewart and Jillian Michaels--that will be me. Right? Sure.

But anyway, let's do a little "end of an Ethan era" retrospective now by looking at some pictures of Ethan from February to now. You'll note that one thing is clear: we've not cut his hair since Transition class started. We are so torn between "long hair hippy freak" Ethan and clean cut Ethan. Sigh.

Ethan getting his hair cut the day before school started.

In the class room on the first day of class. If I remember correctly, he was "cooking a salad" for me. Ew.

Ethan and Noni play in the park...in February. In short-sleeves.

"Mother, please. Do you mind? I'm reading."

May I taunt the kitty until he rips me to ribbons? Please?

Really, no caption needed...

Ethan's first Tot Shabbat service, in April. Perhaps a smaller yarmulke? I think so. And maybe next time mama could tuck in the shirt. Sheesh.

Ethan and Sammy cracking up at something (probably one of them farted...they are boys, after all.)

Possessed red-eye Ethan loving clutches Grandma Judy's keys in a death-grip.

Rocking out at the Skirball Cultural Center at the Noah's Ark exhibit. What you don't see here is the old-school air guitar that Ethan managed to wow the crowd with. The kid knows his air guitar.

Park in May, take 1, the flirty coy version.

Park in May, take 2, the "look at the green sidewalk chalk on my hands" version.

Ethan and Noni test the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy at their local hang-out (the couch). Good thing the management is easy-going.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Watermelon? Bubbles? Crazy "I've been playing in the water
table" hair? Must be summertime!

He doesn't look like a baby anymore...

But he will always be my baby.


Sarah said...

Awwwwwww, so cute. I love his hair-- we are growing Harry and Jack's hair out, too, because I am developing a thing for hippy hair on boys from all the undergrads I see.

5 mornings a week?? So jealous-- I was beginning to feel giddy with the freedom of a measly 3 :)

Becca said...

"Tot Shabbat" and the giant yarmulke? Hysterical. What a cutie pie. Enjoy your three hours of freedom every morning. I've had dreams about that sort of thing. Nice dreams about showers and shaved legs and folded laundry! Sounds fabulous.

Amy said...

Man, I have to wait until SEPTEMBER for all-day school. And let me tell you, laying on the bathroom floor is not easy with the kids around!

May I vote for clean-cut Ethan? I am a sucker for little boys with short hair. :)

Grandma Bear said...

Great retrospective on Ethan changing and developing in just a few short months. Love the hair spikes!

Anonymous said...

who is this devon pre-school sweetheart? noni will have to send the photo of her and ethan naked on the couch and that should scare her off. ;) so jealous of your mornings off!