Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes

It's strange to me that no matter how intentional you are about experiencing the present moment and savoring a child's new-gap-tooth smile, time somehow manages to sneak past you and leave you surprised when another year has come and gone.  2016-2017 was amazing here in Spahnville.  We seemed to hit our stride--- although I'll be the first to admit that our "stride" involved a crazed morning routine and Anna experimenting with super short amounts of sleep.  But as both kids get older, things seem to get a little easier-- especially as Anna grows out of the "constant by-your-side-watchful-eye" stage.  It's nice to be able to let her play on most playground equipment and not need to climb every ladder and squeeze through every tunnel after her.  And finally I'm actually starting to believe that someday soon I'll be one of those parents watching from the bench.  

Wasn't Charlie just in the middle of this phase?  I distinctly remember chasing him around so many parks, sliding down slides, and pushing him in baby swings-- and it seemed impossible that I would someday be able to sit down and flip through a magazine while he played at the park.  I often tell people that time is this funny warped thing because while it's true that it does go by incredibly fast, it also seems like things are falling into place exactly where and when they need to be.  It seems like Charlie should be seven years old-- and should be doing things like reading books on his own, riding his bike around the block by himself, negotiating for more iPad time, and collecting so much tiny shit like football erasers and keychains and shiny heart shaped rocks.  But it's still a little crazy that that little toddler with a love for all things orange and his imaginary friend, Binga, are a thing of the past. 

A week ago, when I posted the following photo on Instagram, I was shocked with the little changes that have happened over the course of a school year.  I knew he had grown--he checks his height almost daily, making sure that he really has in fact reached the long sought after 48"-- and gaining admittance onto bigger and better roller coasters.  I knew his smile has changed after losing four or five teeth in the past few months, and he's gone through another shoe size since starting school last fall (Crocs excluded). 

But looking at these side by side pictures, the subtle differences suddenly seem pronounced.   The little boy-just-finishing-kindergarten-face looks has been transformed to a true school-age-little-kid face.  Same eyes, same smile, but definitely older and a little more mature.  He's thinned out and shot up and the photo on the right looks like it might be the big brother of the little boy on the left. 

He's come a long way in other ways as well.  We've worked incredibly hard on identifying small/medium/huge 'common sense' problems and then coming up with ways to solve them.  He has a stocked toolbox when it comes to ideas to use when he gets mad or frustrated-- and is still working on using them (aren't we all?).  His patience with frustrating tasks is growing and we are constantly talking 'growth mindset' and trying new things and perseverance and learning from our (much needed) mistakes. 

He's come so far this year.  We truly credit his teacher for much of his growth.  She's the kindest, most genuinely sweet person you might ever meet.  Charlie instantly connected with her and after five days of summer, he has mentioned how much he misses her probably five times.  That being said, this second grader is extremely excited for summer, and all the promises that come with it.

Mason, never one to follow traditions, woke up on the last day of school and fed the kids cereal like every other day.  My heart that beats wildly for all things that can be called tradition couldn't handle this.  So we did what we have done for two other first day of school days and one other last day of school days.... donuts at Casey's.  Tradition. Bam.  

And Charlie's last request: summer buzz haircut for his last day.  Mason + clippers + bright spring day= Super adorable and happy 7 year old.  (With the cutest gappy smile.)

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