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They Grow Up So Fast

Dealing with the transition from toddler to ‘big boy’

Like many of our friends, some colds and viruses visited us over the Christmas vacation. We even got to spend one night for observation with one of the babies at our new Texas Children’s Hospital. As the boys all recovered, I wanted to make the “back-to-school” transition easier for our oldest son, who is 4.

His school began on Wednesday. He went, eagerly getting ready that morning. He talked about seeing his friends and showing them his new Cars 2 watch that he received for Christmas from Grandma. He must have had a tiring day as he slept in the car on the way home!

He is the oldest, so all of our experiments will include him. I decided to let him stay home from class on Thursday. He goes to a Mothers’ Day Out program two days a week. I felt like he needed a rest and the two of us could have a “fun day” bonding while the babies were at the program.

Wednesday evening, I told him that we could go to the zoo on Thursday. “Just the two of us?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered, feeling like these kinds of experiences would be the good ol’ memories I remember as I rock on my front porch missing him.

“Okay,” he said.

Thursday morning came, and I prepared the babies’ bag. No need for his lunch or backpack. We were going to have a fun day together at the zoo. Who knows – maybe we’d stop for ice cream or something like that.

Out Big Boy comes. With his pajamas, he is carrying his backpack and clothes for the day. He is holding his watch in the midst of all the other items. “I want to go to school today. I can’t wait to see my other class,” he announces.

I tried to sound nonchalant. “Don’t you want to go to the zoo today?”

“No. We can do that another day, Mom.”

I texted my husband. His message included the words: “heartbreaking” and “sorry.”

As I drove the four to school, I realized that “normal” should be another word in this story. The boy missed his friends and his regular schedule. Maybe I didn’t have the right to try to keep him to myself. We will do the zoo another day, but not the first day back.

What do you think, Katy? What memories do you hope to make with your little ones? Or for those of you who have already said goodbye to this chapter – how did you go about making these special moments?

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