Thursday, August 22, 2013


This very week, most of the kids’ grandparents are on vacation at the beach. My dad and stepmom (and sister, and stepsister and her husband, and Very little Bro and his girlfriend) are in the Outer Banks, while my wife’s folks are in Emerald Isle (North Carolina, not Ireland). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I surely do envy them. The reasons why a beach vacation was not in the cards for my nuclear family this summer are solid, and I’ve made peace with them, and have chosen to divert my energies toward looking forward to a long break around Christmas to use up all these banked Paid Time Off hours, and then anticipating a return to sunny seaside getaways in the summer of next year.

Still and all, one week to mellow by the pool and recharge the old batteries before summer recedes would be awfully nice, especially this year. One week from today, the neighborhood elementary school is having an open house, including Kindergarten Orientation, which is especially salient to us and the little guy. The school year itself begins the following Wednesday, September 4th. The commingling of our firstborn and the public school system is ON. This is not a drill, people, this is happening.

Right on, Schoolhouse Rock.

He’s looking forward to it, and I have to imagine that after a summer in which he’s mainly been playing with his two-and-a-half year old sister, and occasionally the baby-sitter’s three year old son, that simply being in a room full of other five year olds will satisfy his need for socializing in a way he’s been profoundly missing lately. On top of that, my wife has been lamenting that the little guy seems hopelessly bored this month, with precious little in the way of stimulating new experiences available to him given that his parents often have their hands full between the aforementioned sister and also an infant in need of constant care and supervision. So the fact that it’s not merely a room full of five year olds but actually a structured educational environment can only be to the good. I admit I’m nursing certain fantasies that maybe, juuuuuuust maybe, for the first two weeks of school or so the little guy will throw himself into every single new opportunity and experience in the classroom, and come home cheerful but spent, and be extremely compliant about going to bed early. I know there’s at least an equal chance that he will come home overstimulated and short-fused, but come on, give me my harmless daydreams for a little longer.

Speaking of overstimulation, my wife and I discussed the possibilities and came to an agreement that while we think some kind of extracurricular physical activity, like gymnastics class, would be extremely beneficial to the little guy (and to our peace of mind by providing yet another outlet for his energies) it would probably be a case of too much all at once to sign the little guy up for something right around the same time that kindergarten begins. So we’re going to hold off on that until later in the fall. However, there’s no reason not to get the little girl into swimming lessons at the indoor aquatic center as soon as possible, so she’ll be starting those in September.

Big, big changes: little girl in the pool, little guy in five-day-a-week school. Sometime around then the baby will be six months old, too, and if he’s sitting up on his own by then he might very well start getting served solid food in a high chair and all that. And we have out-of-town fall weddings to travel for and holidays to prepare for and NFL games and new seasons of sitcoms don’t just watch themselves, people! We’re gonna be busy, is what I’m saying, and that’s a pretty good problem to have and almost entirely due to things we’ve voluntary chosen to take on. It would’ve been well and good to have a little getaway to allow us the luxury of coming back to the real world with renewed purpose and focus, but life goes on regardless.

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