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.