On Monday, the boy finally got to ride on a school bus. (I say “finally,” even though he’s only three, because since he really started talking, riding a yellow school bus has been one of the top three things he babbles about.) Though he was excited in the abstract, I expected a screaming tantrum when he saw that his sister and I would not be going to school with him. I mean, I’d told him we wouldn’t about a thousand times in the week prior to his stepping onto the bus, but he’s three, and I wasn’t sure he’d been listening.
But no–not a tear. Rather, he beamed with some of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen cross this kid’s face. He was excited to meet his bus driver, excited to get buckled in, excited to drive away. And when he got home, he was 100% happy. He even admitted that he’d had fun at school, something I hadn’t been able to get him to do during the six weeks or so he attended at the end of last year. So. Wow.
The next day, though, I was still prepared for screaming. He’d experienced the bus and school and all that, and he might have been done with it. I was ready for kicking and screaming. But again: school bus angel.
He went to school four days this week, and every day, he loved it. He doesn’t seem to miss us at all, and, as much as I’m probably not supposed to admit this, I haven’t missed him.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my son. It’s just–he’s three. He throws a mean tantrum. He has a baby sister and he’s a lot bigger than she is. He likes to play games with me–not like Candyland, but straight-up mind games–in which he attempts to control the entire world by throwing fits and making irrational demands. And he’s tenacious. He didn’t get to control the world yesterday, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to try today. He’s like Brain from Pinky and the Brain. I imagine him waking up in the morning and his sister saying, “What are we going to do today, Sam?” And him saying, “The same thing we do every day, Violet: TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!”
Also, I got to go to Target and the baby SLEPT THROUGH IT. I did chores. I made applesauce. I made phone calls and appointments and filed paperwork. I took the baby to storytime at the library and took her to a well check without having to drag her brother along. I did a lot of laundry and made beds and walked the dog every day and worked out. I spent time playing peekaboo with the baby.
So, I’m relishing the break. I expected to feel conflicted about this. I expected to miss him as much as I did during those weeks when he went to school last year. But somehow, neither one of us had to start back at the beginning. And, naturally, we all seem to appreciate him more when he’s been away awhile. He still drives us crazy (he’s currently doing his best to sing Frozen songs directly into the dog’s face), but it doesn’t wear us down quite so much. I get breaks from Violet throughout the day when she naps. Without them, my biceps would be the size of cantaloupes and constantly cramping. The boy hasn’t napped regularly for a couple of years now (judge me all you want, Internet–you can’t force someone to sleep), so I’d forgotten what it’s like to get breaks from him.
It’s pretty nice.
And I don’t feel guilty saying that.
Really I don’t.
But seriously, stop judging me.