In addition to everything else that happened in late December and early January (Christmas, New Year's, Banner's third birthday, etc.), Banner transitioned to pre-school.
He was supposed to transition about six weeks earlier because the kid rocked potty training. Plus, he is HUGE, which always concerns the parents of the kiddos who are just transitioning into the class that Banner is about to leave (seriously, this has been going on for years and he is only three). So, I really wasn't surprised that they were going to move him up early. In fact, I was mostly disappointed that he wouldn't be reunited with his BFF, Charlie.
Have I mentioned Charlie? I can't remember. Here is a brief history:
Last year when Banner moved to the TWOS, he was separated from all the kids he had been with since the nursery. It was partly a space issue, and partly because - despite being the same age as all his old buddies - they (surprise, surprise) wanted to move Ban up early. So, when it was all said and done, Banner moved into one classroom while all his old classmates (with the exceptions of Lauren and Caroline) moved into another TWOS room down the hall.
It was the end of the Abby, Emma, Tay-Tay, Co-Co era.
At first it bothered me, but soon I realized that Banner was thriving in his new room with all his new friends. And, really, I think the main reason was simple: he was the youngest in the class for about the first six months last year, and LOVED hanging with the "big kids" (even if he was already taller than most of them). So we entered a new era with friends named Marcelo, Everett and CHARLIE, and all was right and well with the world.
Well, at least until last summer when all his new friends started transitioning to pre-school and Banner was left behind.
Banner took it especially hard when Charlie left in early September. We would sometimes see Charlie on the pre-school playground (a.k.a. the BIG BOY playground) over the course of the fall and Banner would scream, "CHARLIE! I SEE YOU! CHARLIE! CHARLIE!" It was heartbreaking.
Trying to make lemonade from lemons, we started using Charlie at home as an example (since all we ever heard about at home was Charlie, Charlie, Charlie). All good things like: “You know, Charlie eats his broccoli”, “Charlie helps clean up his toys” and “Charlie doesn’t try to ride the dogs like horses”. This has almost always worked, because – as we've learned – if it is good enough for Charlie, Banner will usually give it a shot.
Of course, it helps that I'm not lying. Charlie really does these things (including eating broccoli). I know because Charlie doesn't live far from us, and his mother and I periodically text and email back and forth. She's even provided pictures of Charlie eating his broccoli, because - apparently - three year olds need proof when it comes to harrowing task of consuming vegetables.
I'm also not even kidding when I say Charlie deserves all the credit for getting Banner potty trained so quickly back in October. Banner kept asking when he would get to go to "pee-skool" with Charlie, and we'd tell him he'd have to use the potty like a big boy. And, man, was that all the motivation our little guy needed.
But then we got the devastating news in November that Charlie's room was full, and Banner would be transitioning into a different pre-school class next door.
Y'all? I totally shed tears over this news. It was bad enough last year when Banner was separated from everyone he knew, but now it was different. He had legit friendships, and had been looking forward to a reunion with the infamous Charlie for months (not to mention all his hard work in the potty training department and, you know, broccoli). I was devastated, and asked the school if there was anything they could do.
Which, at first, was nothing. Only so many kiddos can be in a class and there simply wasn't any space. Unless...
Yes, unless! Unless we were willing to wait until the end of the year and the chance that someone would drop out of the program due to the planned rate increase going into effect January 1st.
Granted, Banner is highly adaptable and pretty easy going. I knew he'd do well whichever pre-school classroom he ultimately landed in. But I felt like I owed it to him to try to get him reunited with Charlie - even if it meant delaying his transition away from, as he called it, "the baby room". And, you know what? The gamble totally paid off. And not just for Banner either. There was even a space for Lauren (Banner's best gal pal), too. Success!
The reunion between Banner and all of his buddies has been just as wonderful as I imagined. Every day he regales me with tales of the big boy playground, playing with Charlie, Everett and Marcelo and his new teacher, "Miss Stephanie", on the way home. He even wakes up excited to go to school. It has been absolutely fantastic.
As for Charlie, we still use him as an example at home. Or did before last Monday. I mentioned something innocent to Banner like, “You know, Ban, Charlie listens to his mommy”. And Banner stopped me mid-sentence and was all, “No. No, Charlie no listen to his mama. He told me.”
And just like that, some of the Charlie magic was gone…
Even Charlie's mama agreed. Apparently, three is not synonymous with listening. In fact, I'm starting to realize that the terrible twos do not hold a candle to this three year old business. It is shaping up to be a long and sass filled year.
Today, at a birthday party for a one year old, Banner apparently thought the present opening portion of the afternoon was taking too long. So, he found the gift he brought, opened it, delivered the contents (pink mega blocks) to the birthday girl and said, "You are welcome!"
Papa Mint gave my son a hot scooter for his third birthday.
And I don't mean "hot" like racing stripes and an ultra cool paint finish.
I mean "hot" like he found it. In the alley behind his house sometime back in November or December.
To be fair, he propped it up against his fence and waited for the original owner to return to claim it. But - several weeks later - it still remained right where he left it.
So, my father moved it into his garage, spent some time cleaning it up (mostly reversing some weather damage and removing baked on tape) and gave it to his grandson.
Of course, Banner loves it.
Granted, I'm sure the original owner either forgot where they left it or simply didn't care about it anymore, and my father did give them ample time to reclaim it. It just cracks me up that I have conversations like this one with my dad at my son's birthday party:
Me: "OMG, dad! You got Ban a scooter?"
Dad: "No, I found a scooter in the alley behind my house and thought Banner might like it."
Me: "Wait. Slow down. What?"
Dad: "Yeah, maybe he shouldn't ride it at Papa Mint's house. You know, just in case the original owner recognizes it."
Banner had his three year old wellness today, and is doing great. I was a little worried he'd have to get shots, but apparently he won't get any more of those until his wellness next year after he turns four. I was thrilled with the reprieve since getting shots today would have probably ruined the excitement of "going to the doctor" for the little guy. Between two and three, Banner only had to go to the pediatrician twice (once for his flu vaccine and another time in early December for this weird, annoying virus. I wasn't planning take him in at all, but the advice nurse wanted him seen since it had been going on for a while), so the whole getting to go thing was a bit of a novelty.
Of course, I'm always fascinated by the fact that every year since Banner was born has been a remarkably BAD flu season. Which means I get to go to the germiest place on the planet for a "wellness" visit at the height of flu season every year. Awesome.
But, other than that, the visit was fine. Banner was scared of the nurse and refused to stand up straight when they were measuring him. When Trevor did the same thing at home, though, Banner was just over 40 inches. Not that it makes a huge difference one way or the other. The kid is simply tall. Everyone thinks he is at least four, which is hard because the little guy just turned three. Being rather tall myself, I remember this being difficult growing up because people expected more of me (assuming I was older than I really was). When I see this happening to Ban, I get a little defensive. He's not slow! Just TALL!
In related news, I found my baby book last spring with some of my stats in the first three years, and thought it would be interesting to see how Banner compared to Trevor and I in terms of growth. Of course, different doctors had different well visit schedules, and...well, even the best intentioned mother (Hi, Gram and Jeep!) may have fallen a little behind in their record keeping. ;P
That said, I still find the following pretty interesting. Especially the part about Banner and I being the same height at age three.
(I desperately cling to any similarity I can find, because the kid is really a mini Trevor.)
Somehow nothing seems to sum up my three year old as well as this Facebook status update:
Who knew three came with so much sass? As Trevor so eloquently put it, "Nothing says you got game more than picking up chicks next to the Bounty display". The kid definitely has more confidence than I've ever had in my collective 34 years. And to clarify, he DID have a party. It just happened to be a party that involved mostly people his parents' age. In fact, there was only one guest that was also three (although there were several babies and toddlers in attendance as well). Of course, we might have had more in attendance had his mother, say, not almost forgotten his birthday (hangs head in shame). For whatever reason, I had it in my mind that there was a week between New Year's and Banner's birthday. Except there isn't. There are FOUR DAYS. Thank goodness that someone invented evite for precisely this reason. The theme was SUPER HEROES, and there was even a kick a$$ cake:
And, of course, Ban couldn't WAIT to dress up (he's reallllllly into the cos play). Here he is a The Hulk, which caused sweet Peyton (only 18 months) to completely freak out and run to her daddy's arms for safety.
Terrifying toddlers the world over!
Don't worry, though. He made up for it later by taking Miss Peyton on a ride in his Hummer. Although he was upset that we wouldn't let him drive in high speed with a passenger (Uncle Yum unlocked that feature for Christmas. That thing goes FAAAAST now).
Happy Birthday, Banner! We love you so much and you bring so much joy and laughter to our lives everyday. XOXO, Mom and Dad
Since I clearly posted NOTHING to document them while they were actually here, I figured a bit of a recap was in order. With that in mind, here goes nothing:
* We've been terrible about going to church recently, and yet Banner - out of nowhere - prompted the family to say grace before both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. He even mumbled something that sounded like a prayer before clearly stating, "A MAN". Cutest thing.
* Banner told anyone who asked that he wanted a bike and "some trains" for either his birthday or Christmas. On the day we went to do the whole Santa thing, he was determined to convey this message to the big guy. But, well...Banner froze in Santa's presence (he was terrified). In order to get a cute picture (because: priorities!), Trevor had to faux hit and vomit on my head (instant smiles, y'all. I don't even understand).
About a week later, we went to Candlelight at Dallas Heritage Village. St. Nick was also in attendance, and Banner - determined to make sure his wish list got to the proper authorities - considered the situation for a second, took a deep breath, marched up to St. Nick's lap, climbed on and said "bike and trains" while staring nervously at the floor. And that, as they say, was that. He was done. No smile. No eye contact. No nothing. Just "bike and trains" and Banner climbed down and walked over to me with a mixed expression of "I did it!" combined with palpable relief that it was over and that Santa guy knew what he wanted.
* The kid fell in love with the first half of The Polar Express. He is completely in awe of the movie up until the scene with the marionette dolls. And then he is done. Not that I blame him, mind you. Toys can be very creepy. Plus, I'm also a little weary of the whole deserted Santa village and skipping record thing. He might look like a miniature Trevor, but Ban and I are on the same page when it comes to disturbing.
* Every time we drove past Christmas lights or trees, Banner would exclaim, "Look! Look, mom! Christmas!"
* Banner's main Christmas present from everyone was a Big Boy Room. Because, as wonderful as baby jail has been, the kid could not sleep in a crib forever. The funny thing is, we would have moved him awhile ago, but he's never tried to climb out (except that ONE TIME back in September 2013 when he fell out. Lesson apparently learned).
The transition was bittersweet, though. On one hand, Banner was just so excited. We intended to keep the room a surprise until Christmas morning, but our house is just too small for secrets like that. So, instead, we made him a part of it. He helped move his toys, clothes and books, and watched us hang decorations and unwrap bedding. His first sleep in the room, however, wasn't until Christmas.
On the other hand, however, moving into the Big Boy Room meant leaving everything baby and nursery behind. I thought for sure he'd want his baby blankets that he has been sleeping with since infancy. After all, he asked for his favorite blanket the night before (Christmas Eve), and requested I fold it into a pillow (as was our routine). But, on Christmas night, when I dutifully brought his favorite blankets to him, he stopped me and said, "No, mom. Those are for babies. I'm a big boy now."
I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up.
I made myself feel better by telling myself that he'd want them back eventually. So, I folded them up in the other room and waited for him to request them. A few days went by and nothing, so I washed them so they'd be fresh and clean. Still nothing. So, I put them in the closet so they'd be ready to go at a moment's request. And...well, nothing. It's been over a week now and I'm starting to realize this might be permanent. I guess I should be proud and happy that the transition been so easy and has gone so well, but I just can't help but feel a little sad that my baby really is growing up.
* Never allow your child to ride around in the back of the car unsupervised with stickers...
* In case you were worried, the little guy DID get a bike and "some trains" on Christmas. As we were driving home on Christmas night, Banner sighed contentedly in the backseat and said, "Santa listened! I got everything I wanted!" Granted, the bike is a tad big for him at the moment, but everyone is confident that it will be the perfect size by the spring when the weather is better for riding.
* Trevor learned the hard way to never to sneak off to the bedroom to take a nap while your wife is on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor hours before hosting a Christmas Eve party for friends and family. Because, no. Just don't do it, Trevor.
* Banner got a new pair of house slippers from my mom. They look like dinosaur feet, and - whenever he puts them on - he spends at least 10 minutes stomping around the house roaring.