Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shake It Off

Kade started asking about money. He started asking if we were out of money, when we should pay rent and whether he should (no joke) go to work to help out. My four year old is concerned about our finances. We've assured him, profusely, that he has nothing to worry about. We have plenty of money Kade, we're taken care of. You're taken care of. We've done our best to discuss bills privately, out of his ear shot. But still, it's become a normal conversation to have with him. Going for a walk the other day he panicked, "Mama did we forget to pay rent? We need to go pay rent Mama. Hurry." The rent was easily paid weeks ago but still, he stressed. Then, while taking a bath one night, he responded to Ezra's exuberant splashes by sternly stating, "Stop it Ezra. This is no time for fun."

This doesn't portray the fun-loving, giggling and sweet baby that belongs to us. The tantrums were getting out of hand and it became very clear that he needed to get away; out of the house, with kids his own age, doing kid stuff. Since we moved to Washington over a year ago, he has been with us. Glued to our sides through everything; the stresses of moving to a new place, a new job, being away from family, five homes in 12 months. He was always with one parent of the other, being brave and especially patient. 

Now it's time to relax, to go be a kid, to love learning and playing and forget the rest. 

This wasn't easy for me; letting Kade slip snugly into his own, very independent skin, squeezing him one last time before guiding him to the hands of a stranger on a school bus. We talked about this for weeks and I was sure we had prepared him the best we could. But there was still that moment, at the top of the stairs: he looked back and realized that we meant by himself, by himself. I could feel the uncertainty radiating from his skin. I gave him a smile and a nod and he was buckled up; my baby, off into the world.

At home, I was a very happy and very nervous wreck. My house felt eerie. It felt quiet and hollow. I kept looking at the clock and thinking about what he might be doing right then. After spooning globs of pears and oatmeal towards Ezra, I glanced at the clock. To my horror, it was only 8:15, meaning he was still on the bus. He wasn't even there yet.

To be honest, I slept most of the time he was gone. Ezra was taking advantage of having the bedroom to himself, took a long nap and I followed suit. When I woke up, I was ready to get my baby off that bus.

Finally, there he was, at the top of those stairs. He had a somber, worried look on his face, maybe wondering if I'd abandoned him or maybe just tired. When he saw me, he lit. I squeezed him and breathed in his little neck. He told me excitedly that school was his "favorite day ever." He spent the afternoon telling us about his teacher, his new friends and how he learned a new song: Walking Down The Hallway. I exhaled a chest full of not-knowing and worry and inhaled his beaming sunshine.

Today was easier. He woke up thrilled to get back on that bus and this time, he grinned all the way up the stairs and rushed to his seat. When he got home, he asked if I missed him and squeezed my hand like he knows this is harder on me than him. He requested Taylor Swift (his favorite right now) and wanted me to rock him, like when he was a baby. Half way through Shake it off, he was sleeping soundly in the crook of my arm. For a moment, he was an infant again, rubbing my fingers. I wanted him to stay just like this, to be a baby again, and to grow up. All at once.

In the bath, he sang The Days of the Week to the chime of The Adam's Family jingle and tried to tell me, through a fit of laughter, about his teacher playing "a stomping game." Before bed he told me he wants to be, "a bike rider, a firefighter and a superman drummer." And he laughed. Oh boy did he laugh... fits of giggling erupting from deep inside his belly, just the way they should when you're a kid.

I can tell this will be good. Hard on my Mama heart, but soothing for his Kade soul.

Go on baby, Shake it off, shake it off.