Our fall semester started last Monday, so summer vacation is officially over. Today we made what may be our last trip to the zoo this year. A disturbingly large portion of the local foliage is starting to turn color -- not because cool fall temperatures have set in, but rather because the summer was so hot and dry that many trees have just given up and packed it in for the season.
It seems like just yesterday we were at Cape Cod, with Ben announcing that he had been out "waking with Fwed" -- i.e. raking dead seaweed off the beach with Uncle Fred.
Ben has one more week of daycare with his current provider, and then he starts preschool. He'll be in preschool in the morning, until 11:15, and after that he will be bussed over to his new daycare facility on the other side of campus. So he'll have two new classrooms and two new sets of care providers to get used to at the same time. We've already toured both facilities once and met the teachers. We have follow-up visits scheduled for next week. The afternoon daycare teachers made a welcome book for him with pictures of the room, themselves, the playground, etc. I made a similar book for his morning preschool. He loved both classrooms, bonded a little with the teachers, and is (at current writing) very enthusiastic about the whole project. We're also excited about the programs and impressed by the classrooms, and simultaneously very nervous about how all of this is actually going to go down on game day. I'll let you know.
And because we just don't have enough change happening at once, we're also taking a stab at toilet training. Real toilet training. As in Big Boy Underpants, carrying the potty around from room to room, and a shocking amount of unabashed bribery. And it's working, much to our great surprise. We started on a Friday after daycare, and during the course of the evening he used the potty twice and had three accidents (puddles). By the end of the weekend, he'd added only one more puddle, and a lot more potty usages, prompting my mother-in-law to announce that it's the Pots vs. the Puds -- gooooo Pots! And I don't think we've had a single puddle since. Not that we've been in underpants nonstop all week -- we don't fight him too much when he'd rather wear a diaper, although we're often pretty successful at negotiating for a switch to underpants shortly thereafter, and of course we're not making any attempt at sleep-training yet. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see a little regression when we make the transition to preschool. Still, we're pleased.
Here's a rough transcript of a conversation I had with Ben on the swings earlier this week:
Ben: "I asked Miss Pamela [daycare provider] if she had any musical instruments."
Me: "Did she?"
Ben: "Yes, she has a saxophone. Because J--- [Pamela's son] is going to play it."
Me: "Oh, and doesn't J------ [Pamela's other son] play the guitar?" [He does, BTW.]
Ben: "No, Miss Pamela played the guitar. And E-- played the drums and B----- played the bongos." [E and B are fellow daycare toddlers.]
See, he started off with what was probably a factual account of a conversation he'd had at daycare, and it morphed into a description of a fantasy concert featuring the whole daycare cast, inspired by one of his favorite books (Moses Goes to a Concert, by Isaac Millman, in which Moses' classmates get to play sundry percussion instruments such as bongos and tubular bells). You gotta love that toddler outlook in which fact and fiction blend so seamlessly.
At the zoo this morning, we encountered a family with two school-age children, both wearing cochlear implants. I was torn over whether to intrude, but I worked up the courage to approach the mother and point out that Ben has a CI, too, and we had a nice little chat about it. Afterward, I was kicking myself for talking with the mother about her children, in the third person, right in front of them. So why didn't I address the kids instead? Something like, "I see you have a CI. That's terrific! My son has one, too!" But nope, I make a beeline for the adult. Well, live and learn -- next time I'll handle it better.
Girls are beautiful
3 months ago