When I began this blog 4 years ago, Brendan had just wrapped up second grade, Cameron was preparing to go into preschool and Kaylee was only beginning to walk and talk. Now here we are 4 years later and Brendan has wrapped up his first year in middle school, Kaylee her first year of elementary school, and Cameron is in the same place that Brendan was when I quit my job.
It’s interesting to finally be at this point. When Brendan was Cameron’s age he seemed so old to me. It was the first time I’d had an 8 almost 9 year old, he was already halfway through his elementary education and I couldn’t figure out how time was getting away from me so much that I had this big kid in my house where my baby had once been. Now Cameron is preparing to make the same leap into third grade and I don’t feel the same way at all.
Part of that is just a parenting perspective. When you have an almost seventh grader in the house, an almost third grader doesn’t look nearly so large. In fact we generally lump our kids into two categories: Brendan, and the little kids. Not necessarily a fair grouping, but with Cameron and Kaylee so close in age they seem to go through phases at around the same time. Meanwhile Brendan will have already been through that phase, gotten past it and started on a new one. He’s really not that much older; he’s 4 years older than Cam, who’s only 2 years older than Kay, but that extra two years seems to make a lot of difference in what he’s going through.
The other reason I don’t think Cameron seems as “big” as Brendan did at this age is because he is actually physically smaller. All of my kiddos are tall. It’s only in the last year or so that Brendan hasn’t been a full head taller than a good chunk of his classmates. That’s not to say he isn’t still tall, he recently hit 5’7″ and is pretty darn close to being taller than me. (I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that day yet). And despite being the youngest kindergartener at the school, Kaylee is taller than a pretty hefty chunk of her classmates. Cameron, though, seems to be more on par in height with his classmates. He’s not the tallest, not the smallest. He is, however, one of the skinniest, and that makes him seem so much smaller than he actually is. I’ve written about his weight issues in the past, so I won’t get into that again today, but I keep hoping that one of these days I’ll find the magic food that he will eat a million pounds of and plump up just a little bit.
The other thing kind of weirding me out this summer is knowing that with Kaylee being done with Kindergarten that I will never have another kid going into Kindergarten. I have zero regrets about putting her into school this past year. She proved that she could definitely handle the workload and the information, and I really think being able to socialize with kids her own age on a regular basis has helped her as well. Way more so than another year of pre-school would have. And whether I put her into school last year or this year, I would have been having the same thoughts about not having a Kindergartener any more. I wouldn’t say I’m sad exactly, just having a little trouble coming to grips with the changes.
Brendan is causing me a similar amount of anxiety. Sixth grade was definitely a struggle for him, and it took him until the last 6 weeks of the school year to finally get things under control. It was hard to watch him struggle, and most certainly frustrating at times when he brought the trouble down onto himself, but hopefully we’ve survived the worst of the adjustments and it will be smooth sailing from here on out in middle school.
It’s not the struggles that are causing my anxiety as much as knowing that he’s already 1/3 of the way through middle school, and that there’s only two more years before I will have a high schooler in my house. Being the youngest in my family, and marrying a man who is also the youngest has always given me a complex of feeling younger than I actually am. It was a big shock to me this year when I realized that I am older than a pretty sizable chunk of people at my job. At my last job I was one of the youngest supervisors, so to find that I am now one of the older people among my coworkers felt very weird since internally I still feel young and inexperienced.
All my crazy quirks aside, today I start my fifth summer as a stay at home mom. A lot has changed over the past four years and I’m certain it will continue to do so over the next four. Regardless, some things never change and this fall I’m looking forward to again having a third grader. Third grade was Brendan’s all time favorite school year and I can only hope that Cameron enjoys it just as much.