Today the boys went on their first field trip -- well, Julian's first anyway. And a doozy: the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I wished so much I could go too, and I suppose I could have, but I committed to working this week. Meaning, we paid childcare for this week, and I'm about to take two weeks off starting next week, so really, this wasn't a good day to play hooky for me.
But I thought about them all day long. Well, Julian, anyway. At some point, thinking about your kid on a school bus for the first time, in a town an hour and a half away, in a huge exciting place, tips over into "worrying," but it didn't go that far. Mostly, I was jealous and wished I could be with them.
They were adorable this morning, all set for their trip. Lunch, backpack, sweatshirt, water bottle, a little cash for souvenirs, red field trip T-shirts, socks & shoes (the CDC requests sturdy shoes for field trips, the kids don't get as tired they've noticed), pink permission slips.
The only thing they weren't bringing was a cute little sister.
I was hoping to catch them getting off the bus on the pickup, and since the bus was a little late, I did. Gabriel and Julian were sitting next to each other on the bus, and later Kelly, the CDC director, told me, "We put them together for some things, but you know, they start to get a little...." Uh-huh. Say no more. I recommended she separate them as much as possible for her own sanity.
Katrina really wanted to ride on the bus!
Actually, Julian's having a tougher adjustment to the CDC than I expected. Thinking about it, I realize that at his preschool, he was one of the oldest, strongest, maybe fastest, most capable. Now he's gone from top of the totem pole to bottom of the ladder.
He complained that today he was playing Connect-4 with some boys, and they were helping Gabriel but not him. "No one was helping me, they were all helping Gabriel, and I always lose!"
Wait a second....you were playing with Gabriel and his friends?! Well no wonder. GEEZ, poor kid! He's trying to keep up with second-graders in a game, something he'd never even try if he didn't know one of those second-graders very well. And that second-grader has a well-established pattern of deliberating dominating him and engineering situations so he wins, and as his brother he isn't exactly going to be sympathetic or helpful. Major stacked odds against Julian -- who is a remarkable kid in so many ways, I think he's amazing -- but he's still just a kindergartner.
One of the CDC ladies, Nicole, who I like immensely, told me today that Julian is a "joy," and that he's so so polite. She's really sweet to him and seems to look after him. Maybe she knows, as I might just be getting now, that having an older brother at a place new to you isn't such a good thing.
And after all my lamenting not going with the boys to the Aquarium -- one of the most amazing fascinating wonderful places in the world (even if I left it in an ambulance once) -- all they could talk about was the cheapie souvenirs they bought.
Gabriel's souvenir was a deck of cards -- what that has to do with an aquarium I'll never know -- and I can already tell there's a new kick about to start. I recognize that attention, that focus, that intensity, that he applies to something he's intrigued by. I used to love playing Spit with my best friend Patty in 6th grade -- I might have a new partner.
And speaking of resurrecting favorite games, I almost got a lump in my throat when I saw Katrina playing with a game of Boggle. (To the uninitiated, I was a huge Boggle fan in high school.) It was so poignant for me watching her put all the cubes into the grid, cover it with the dome, and shake it, and start the process again. To think, I might actually have people in this household who like to play the few games I like!