I picked up my son from school today and this is how he was dressed:

What would Maria Montessori have to say about this?

His shoes were on the wrong feet, his shorts were on backwards and his underwear was around his waist like a belt.

Me to his teacher:  “Please tell me this was self-inflicted”.

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They put a gold cap & tassel on Nate and sent him down the aisle to the Graduation song. So? Why was I bawling my eyes out? I search through all my emotions and tried to label this overwhelming wave that came crashing down on me. “Am I happy? Sad? Proud? Scared? Relieved he passed and I don’t have to pay for it again?” All the above.

It’s amazing how these two little boys have been in my life for such a small amount of time and yet have completely taken over my entire being. One glance from their eyes, one word from their mouths can send me into a full spectrum of emotions. I feel like Sybil most days.

I think this is what Kodak would call "a moment".

We love our Montessori school. They did an amazing job with the graduating ceremony. It was filled with proud accomplishments, symbolic traditions and cake. Nothing keeps a 2 1/2 year old interested in his brother’s program more than a promise of cake at the end. Except maybe:

All the other little brothers & sisters were restless and crying. Why? No lollipops.

It took 2 lollipops to get through the ceremony. That, and I had to hold him on my back, piggy-back style.  I had Zeke on my back licking his lolly; one hand holding him on and the other hand alternating taking photos/wiping tears. Every quiet moment in the program was filled with Zekey’s exclaims of, “MMMmmm…dat good! MMmmm, mmmm, mmmm, delish! Dollipop is good!” He did enjoy the graduates’ songs. They opened with the “Continents Song” then wowed the crowd with the “50 states” song. They rounded out their set list with “One Small Voice” which they signed as well as sang…a real crowd-pleaser. When they were finished, Zeke started yelling requests, “ABCs! Sing ABCs!” The ABC song is his “Freebird”.

It was Nate's night, but somehow, Zeke always finds a way to steal a little thunder.

I cannot believe that I’m sitting here crying again. Looking at these photos has turned me into a blubbering idiot …again. But I think I get it now. These are Mommy tears. When you spend every second of every day and night with these little humans, feeding them, clothing them, wiping every orifice on them…teaching them, scolding them, cleaning up after them because sometimes it’s not worth the battle to make them do it…and just when you feel like it’s all for nothing – like you’re banging your head against a wall and no one’s listening…you blink and your baby’s wearing a graduation cap, standing in front of a crowd of people, giving the “thumbs up” sign because he sees me crying. That sweet moment lasted a nano-second. Then he started emphatically signing for me to take his picture – he was next to get his diploma. (sigh)

Tomorrow is a big day…one of those “milestone days” you talk about the rest of your life. My kindergartener, Nate is visiting the lower elementary class at school. Sort of a practice day for this fall when he’s not my baby anymore. If you ask him now, he’ll emphatically tell you, “I”M NOT A BABY ANYMORE!” then 15 minutes later ask me to pick him up to “snuggle” like we did when he was little.” {sigh}

Nate is 5 1/2. I love 5 1/2. Young enough to still want to cuddle with Mommy in the cozy corner of the couch but old enough to wipe his own butt…well, most of the time. Zeke is 2 1/2. I’m not a big fan of 2 1/2. Thinks he’s old enough to do everything by himself and has a body-writhing, strangers-staring-at-you-in-judgement tantrum if you don’t let him… AND he’s still in diapers.

While the kindergarteners are previewing all the exciting and challenging work in their new class, Zeke and the other Montessori “newbies” will be clearing shelves, screaming for Mom and terrorizing class pets. I’m supposed to drop him off at 9:30am and pick him up at 11:00. Well, let’s see…I’ve brought him to the gym daycare and I get buzzed to get him usually after 22 mins. Long enough for him to play with a few toys, check out the video playing on the TV and drink his cup of soymilk.  I’m taking bets for tomorrow. The teachers are awesome and there are lots of things in the class that will interest him…I give him 27 minutes.

So how wrong is it to take 1/2 of the presents your son gets at his birthday party and hide them in the closet until Christmas?  Calm down…I didn’t do it. I thought about it, though.  {sigh}

Today was Nate’s 4th time turning 5. It was his classroom party.  We got out of the classroom party last year because Nate’s birthday comes a few days before school starts. But when he kept asking, “How come all my friends have a birthday at school and I don’t?” Mark and I decided to let him have it the week after. Turns out, it was a lot of work, but way easier than living with the guilt of skipping it.

Montessori birthdays are really special. (“special” being a euphemism for “lot’s of work”) I had to gather photos from Nate’s life and write something that happened to him when he turned 1, 2, etc.  The teacher shows the photos and tells the class the “story of Nate” while he holds a globe and walks around a lit candle (the sun).  It’s his 5th day of Kindergarten and he already knows more about the solar system then I do.

It doesn't look heavy but Nate had to "put down the world so I can rest" between each trip around the sun. I know that feeling all too well.

It doesn't look heavy but Nate had to "put down the world so I can rest" between each trip around the sun. I know that feeling all too well.

The parent of the birthday child (that would be me) is also responsible for bringing a birthday snack for all the kids. The teacher suggested fruit. Now, being vegetarian and a very little sugar kind of family…this was great. Only problem was, how do you make fruit fun, exciting and birthday-ish for a group of 3 -5 year olds? I got crafty:

Fruit all washed and cut...look how pretty!

Fruit all washed and cut...look how pretty!

I used a cookie cutter to make flowers out of the watermelon...well...more like bumpy circles of watermelon.

I used a cookie cutter to make flowers out of the watermelon...well...more like bumpy circles of watermelon.

Taa-Daa! It looks like a flower arrangement! (Unless you have a subscription to Martha Stewart's Magazine, in which case it looks like fruit salad on a stick.)

Taa-Daa! It looks like a flower arrangement! (Unless you have a subscription to Martha Stewart's Magazine, in which case it looks like fruit salad on a stick.)

Nate was happy and his friends thought it was "Awesome! So cool! Can we eat it?" And I felt like a crafty Mom that handmakes things with love for her kids...for an entire hour!

Nate was happy and his friends thought it was "Awesome! So cool! Can we eat it?" And I felt like a crafty Mom that handmakes things with love for her kids...for an entire hour!

It makes me happy to think that Nate will grow up and remember fondly how much work and love I put into his birthday.  And if he doesn’t…I have these pictures as proof!