The older two wait in our vehicle until they see the bus getting ready to round the block toward them, then they hop out and go to stand in line. Every day this week, from the back of the van, Caedmon has given voice to the fierce war waging within him: "Ohhhh. I really want to go say good-bye just one more time. But it's cold outside! The bus is coming. I-I- MOM, I NEED TO GET OUT."
He then bolts out the van, and scurries up to Adelaide to hug her tightly one last time before she leaves him for seven long hours.
|Caedmon's in the orange coat and blue hat, squeezing his sister. Pardon the frost patterns and snow in the foreground; I don't get out of my vehicle even for a picture, so this was taken through the windshield.|
Today Atticus got a hug, too, although there's no picture of that embrace as it was quick and very perfunctory.
You would think that this would mean that Caedmon loves it when we go to his sister's school to eat lunch with her, but no. Absolutely not. He gets very quiet and increasingly downtrodden as more and more fourth grade girls squeal over him and say to Adelaide, "Oh mah gahsh. Your little brother is SO CUTE. He is adorable. Oh em gee. Look at his face. Look at his Batman hat. Do you think he'd give me a hug?"
It got bad enough last time that Adelaide took the worst offender, a very nice but rather loud girl aside and said, "Privately, I agree with you, Caedmon is cute, but you really shouldn't say that in front of him; he considers it very offensive to be called 'cute' or 'little' or anything like that."
By the time we left, he hadn't said a word in thirty minutes and his shoulders were hunched up around his ears. All he'll say about the lunch experiences is that he does not like to be around so many bigger kids, and he does not like to be called cute. Fair enough.
None of this is terribly surprising given how loud and crowded and busy Adelaide's lunch room is, and I'm able to watch as it begins to overwhelm our youngest within minutes of our arrival, but I was in Caedmon's preschool for two hours yesterday morning for his Valentine party, and you want to talk about overwhelming? So loud. So shrill. And it's busy-ness borders on a swarm at times. It is nuts in there. It's always incredible to watch how Cade's preschool teachers can begin singing any of the songs they use to transition from one activity to another, because all those children who were I swear about to go Lord of the Flies on each other settle down and start cleaning up or washing their hands or sitting on the carpet. I guess it really is the presence of bigger kids that overwhelms our son so much.
Those same magical preschool teachers had also instructed that their students were only to write their own names on their Valentines; scratching out the recipients' names on nineteen pieces of paper is too cumbersome for little hands, and it's much easier just to go through a line and drop a Valentine in each sack, not worrying about which one goes to whom.
Our Caedmon, however, threw a wrench in this whole plan Wednesday night when I stated how happy I was that all his Valentines had been finished for days, as he'd already written his name on every last one. He grew upset, started honest-to-God weeping, and through a torrent of tears told me that "But Mom, the Valentines all say 'To:' and I can't just leave those blank! It'll look stupid! You're supposed to write who each one is to, Mom!" Then I began sorting through them, and he had already phonetically spelled out half the names of the kids in his class: Noah was Nou, Drake was Drak, etc, etc.
And that is how Caedmon got to stay up past his bedtime doing something his preschool teachers told him expressly not to do.