Wednesday, July 13, 2011

on the joys of organized chaos and big-kid friends

As I've mentioned, my son turns 2 in a few weeks.  Though this is a happy event to which I'm greatly looking forward, there's also a lot of stress that goes along with it.  There's presents to buy, a party to plan, food to prepare, and the "I can't believe my baby's turning 2" tears to shed.

Of course, most of his day-to-day routines won't change.  His preschool uses the same schedule for moving classes up as the public school system does so, there at least, he's been in the two-year-old class for weeks.

However, I will admit that I've been very nervous about him moving up from the nursery to preschool children's church.

There's a lot of reasons for this.  For one thing, it's only once a week, so he's unlikely to adjust as quickly.  For another, he's not fully potty-trained, and he's going to be in there with some (relatively) older kids.  I don't want him to be ostracized as "the baby".

Also, my kid can be a dangerous combination of hyper and stubborn, and our church meets in a movie theater.  Meaning, it's a lot easier to keep a kid calm and still in a closed room at daycare.  Short of putting a leash on him, he'll have relatively free rein at church.  (The kids are supposed to stay on the mat but, as one of the preschool teachers, I can tell you right now, that is easier said than done some days.)

Fortunately, we got a little bit of a test run last night.  See, our once cozy little Tuesday night Bible Study has exploded, and we now sometimes have as many as eight couples (or more) at a time.  Between us, we bring 7 kids (9, if you count the two still gestating).

Two of the kids are little babies, so they mostly just sleep.  One isn't quite walking all on her own yet, so she can only get into so much trouble as well.  Then there's my son, who's about to turn 2, a 3-year-old girl, a 4-year-old girl, and a 5-year-old boy.

What's really cool is, the 5-year-old, who is one of the awesomest kids I get to teach, has really bonded with my son, and they play really well together.  My son hero-worships him, and I think the older kid likes having a little sidekick.  But, still, they're boys, and they get a little rough-and-tumble sometimes.  I was really nervous about whether my son would be still and quiet for the duration of our meeting.

I had nothing to worry about.  The host couple, who are also our lead pastor and his wife, developed a solid game plan.  They organized a schedule of movie, then coloring, then play time.  And it worked great.  My son, who'd been clinging to my legs just a few hours before, came bursting out of the "playroom" (a.k.a. "my pastor's daughter's bedroom but fortunately she's a really sweet kid who's great at sharing her space and toys") showing me a pictured he colored of "raffs" (giraffes), singing some new songs he learned, and just jabbering away.  We said our goodbyes (his 5-year-old buddy melted my heart a little when he gave him a big brotherly hug), my son waved to everyone, and he chattered away in a great mood the whole ride home.

The couple who watched the kids assured me he did great (though I doubt they'd say differently if he hadn't), and I feel a lot better about putting him in the preschool class in a few weeks.

I'm still gonna cry over my baby turning 2, though.

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