My babies, I mean Big Boys, "graduated" from the 3 year old program at their preschool this week. It was a much anticipated event for them and for me! We talked about it for days. They were practicing songs and getting ready to say goodbye to their friends for the summer. They were excited and I was a bit sad. Mainly I was sad to say goodbye to my new Mom Friends and my free time twice a week!! I kept thinking, OMG what are we going to do all summer??? But, when we got to school that last morning and the Show began, it hit me. I realized these were not the same toddlers I dropped off for the first day in September. As I watched the slide show the teachers had put together it was very obvious just how much they have changed this year, both physically and emotionally. They are taller, their faces are thinner, their hands and feet are bigger and they are much more coordinated. The physical aspects of change really stood out in the progression of pictures throughout the year. The emotional changes were a bit less obvious but there all the same. The pictures showed happy, smiling boys!! It brought tears to my eyes! They LOVED school this year and poured every ounce of their energy into being a part of the class. The teachers were FANTASTIC!! They are loving and nurturing women who have gently guided the boys and their classmates through the year and they have provided a safe, loving and fun environment to learn.. It was a wonderful introduction to school life. I cannot say enough how thankful we are and how blessed we feel to have our boys at this school!! And as an added bonus I have found wonderful Mommy Friends. I have met so many nice people and out of that group I have found friendship and support as I have adjusted to tlife with 3 little ones!
During the slide show, I also started thinking about how much life has changed for us as a family this year. On the first day of school the teacher had taken a picture of me with each of the boys and I was 8 months pregnant! And here we are at the end of the school year and Isabella is just about to turn 8 months old!! Becoming big brothers has forever changed Vincenzo and Luccio. In the long run, hopefully for the better. Becoming a family of 5 has meant a major overhaul of the roles and responsibilities of everyone in our house. Schedules and routines have had to shift, we have had to make room for another person and all of her Princess gear which has meant rearranging the limited space we have to work with. Immediate response to their every need is no longer as feasible and must be balanced with the needs of the baby. Very often the scale has tipped unfairly leaving the boys with less one on one time with Mama.
Through it all they have handled themselves so well. They take pride in their role as Big Brothers. They are attentive to Isabella and her needs, constantly making me aware of her feelings whether they think she is hungry, needs a pacifier, wants a toy or is bored. They are generous with hugs and kisses and attention. And of course find great joy in entertaining her as she is by far their best audience (besides the grandparents.) They always tell me how happy they are that we have had this "beautiful baby" and that they want to "keep her forever." Even in their most impatient moments they never take out aggression towards her.
That is not to say we didn't have adjustments. They certainly felt the crunch for space and attention and the shifts of change affected their temperament and attitudes towards me and daily tasks. On more than one occasion I have heard that I am "not nice" or that they don't love me anymore.
However, my boys are growing up and taking on more independence. Simple things like putting on their own shoes and helping one another with small tasks has made life much easier for all of us. I want them to feel not only that they are a part of our family, but they ARE the family. Each and every member of our household is important and loved and has an impact on one another and the people we will each become. As siblings they will forever be connected in one way or another.This graduation was one small step of many to come in the future. Even though it was the end of this year, it is truly only the next beginning for us. I am excited to see what the next chapter holds...