On the last day of May, the Robot had to go.

If you have been keeping up with my fashion posts at The Eagle’s Nest you know about The Robot, which required the donation of a shoebox to the art class.  As it turned out, LittleMan, upon learning his options, actually chose to use a boot box — and if you know about women’s shoes, or shoe storage in general, you will understand that the two are not the same.  A boot box is considerably larger, and then rendered even more so with the addition of plastic-cup feet, a plastic-hanger antenna, some bottle-pump arms, and protruding eyes made of corks.

“R2D2”, as LittleMan christened him (of course) took up proud residence on the dining room table, right next to the semi-permanent Lego station on the far end.  He lived there for a month, my husband and I occasionally glaring at him over our salads, until my husband finally found the courage to whisper the words: “How long is this guy gonna live here?”

I have made much of the 850 square feet of living space we share up here, and in our defense The Robot was taking up a solid 4 square feet, feet that might be occupied by, say, our daughter.  She being non-negotiable (despite an inexplicable, 30-minute crying jag recently that caused LittleMan to wish mournfully that “the ride to school could be peaceful again”), and space being at a premium, The Robot had to go.

You feel me here, right?

It tore at my heart a little bit, tossing old R2 into the great recycling bin in the garage, but then I arrived at school for pick-up and LO!  An envelope.  And a binder.  And a fair bit of looseleaf.  More priceless works of LittleMan’s art.

And so the end of the first year of Pre-K is upon us.  Just in time for summer, LittleMan has embraced the pencil and begun to ask me how to write things.  Just in time for summer, he is attempting to sound out words — or at the very least, make connections between all the books he has memorized and the notion of reading.  Just in time for summer, he has forged these wonderful bonds with a host of other little people, with whom he shares interests (Star Wars, spiders, ninjas, Gangnam Style) and navigates the complex social web of the under-5 set, which is rife with misunderstanding, high emotion, occasional fits of violence, and an enviable collective short-term memory that quickly allows all parties to move on and get back to playing.  Playing, of course, being the top priority.  And cupcakes.  And silly dancing (“Heeeeeey, sexy lay-deee!”).

(Go play?  Go play? begs Babygirl.  And when she can’t be included, because the jungle gym is too high or the slide too steep or the Legos too tiny: Swing?  Swing?)

I remember the advent of summer when I was a kid.  The weather getting warmer.  The slow cleaning out of the classroom, everything becoming brighter, emptier (except our apartment, which apparently will now become a sort of ad hoc gallery of collage and crayon-based works — and our kid purportedly doesn’t even like art, which should speak to the quality of these pieces, not that I’m judging).

LittleMan is still a bit confused about the whole thing.  12 weeks is a long time to wrap one’s head around, when it comprises roughly 5% of one’s entire existence.  And while I’m trying to maintain a sense of routine, what with camp every day, I’m also trying to let some things slide a bit, in that summer way: a little more ice cream, a few more movies, maybe we’ll run late and hey, that’s cool.  I’m trying to work in a fair amount of swimming.  We bought a bike (more on that later).  We piled in the car and went camping to kick things off.

So there is a sense of optimism in the house.  Summer is another new beginning.  But it’s an ending, too: friends move on, goodbyes are said.  On the last day of school, LittleMan crumpled into my lap, red-faced and not-quite-crying.  “Will you hug your teachers and wish them a good summer?” I nudged.  “I can’t,” he whispered.  “It’s too sad.”

But on the way home we stopped for a celebratory toy and a gelato, and met Daddy for a ferry ride, and order was restored.  Because actually, for the most part, it’s only 12 weeks.  12 weeks of Something Different.  Fresh air, mud, popsicles.  New friends.

And Cars and Star Wars on repeat.

Maybe not so different after all.

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