jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Twin Posts: Transitioning to Seven

boy with sculpture

Looking through the hammer of a hammerhead shark
October 2015

We’ve been talking a lot about transitions lately. My son is horrible at them. Like, he sucks at transitions. Let me clarify. He sucks my soul out and leaves it on the floor next to the sneakers that he never puts on his feet, the seatbelt he never buckles.

This isn’t a shocker. Even when he was just a baby and then a toddler and doing early intervention with a therapist, we always had to work extra hard on getting him to go from one thing to the next. I remember that in August we introduced him to mittens in the hopes that by November he’d have adjusted to the feel of them on his baby hands, the warmth to stave off the cold.

Before school started this fall, I began to think about his need to now make transitions as a big first grader. Two weeks before school started I began setting deadlines for getting things done. “Hey, slow guy,” I would say, “I’m setting the timer for five minutes. You have to have your shoes on and be outside by the time the bell goes off or there will be a consequence later.”

I took away a cookie treat. I took away a favorite book. I even took away ice cream. Although to be honest, everyone gave him such a big taste of their ice cream he ended up with almost the same amount in the end. (Which secretly made me happy.)

This year has not necessarily been perfectly smooth sailing; he has been trying out a new wise-guy persona as exemplified by the use of the word “whatever”. But as far as transitions go, it hasn’t been horrible. Every once  in awhile he’s not even the last one out the door headed to the car in the morning.

What I’ve realized though, in thinking about transitions, is that perhaps I am not so great at transitions. Summer is over. School has begun. All my children leave me at around 8:15 am as I literally throw their four backpacks out the driver side window and my four kids pile out of the slider door of the minivan, grab their bags and head off to their classrooms, independent and bold. They write book reports, they try hard at soccer, they have opinions. Time has passed, and it is officially a new year.

Yesterday I finally cleaned out the twins’ closet and got rid of the last lingering vestiges of baby-dom: a couple baby monitors, a baby bathtub, a changing pad, six cases of unused baby wipes (damn you, I filled the closet instead with kid furniture, a soft little rug, a bookshelf of Nancy Drew books, bins of art and building supplies so that instead of a bizarre dumping zone of memories under the eaves of the house, the space has become a little kid lounge, a place for pretend play, privacy and independence. It was a big move for me.


Playing in the clubhouse
October 2015

October is here now. It is no longer the first month of school. I still haven’t quite figured out the rhythm of my day. Even with them at school, I still never have enough time. Never. Time to be supermom, super writer, super closet-cleaner, super athlete, super artist, and super me. Perhaps that is just too big a transition for any one human to expect for herself.

But my son, the non-transitioner, turns seven this week. Before my very eyes he has transitioned from a mitten-avoiding toddler to a beautiful, creative, empathetic, wiseass, innovator of a boy. When asked to build a small ocean creature for the ocean wall at school, he builds a tremendous hammerhead shark complete with LED lights that makes all the kids say cool. When we ride bikes he rides right next to my running legs, struggling to slow down enough for me to keep up, when only last year he struggled to keep up with me. He seemed behind us all for so long, and now I see that he is ahead.

These are transitions that neither of us could hold off, no matter how hard we tried. And I’m realizing that that’s okay.

Happy birthday, big boy.

kids and birthday cake

Transitioning to 7
October 2015

(This is one of a two part twin celebration. Check out his twin’s birthday here.)

12 comments on “Twin Posts: Transitioning to Seven

  1. Pingback: Twin Posts: Mirror in the SKy | jen groeber: mama art

  2. Jennifer Berney
    October 10, 2015

    Looks like we were parallel writing this week about birthdays and sevens. I am in awe of you making time to reorganize the closet. Teach me. Off to read this post’s twin now.

    • jgroeber
      October 13, 2015

      Ha! Slowly I’m making my way through the house, one very painful closet at a time. It’s the writing of the book that seems to be losing out though. Teach me?
      And hope your seven birthday was wonderful.

  3. Dawn Quyle Landau
    October 10, 2015

    Such beauty and pain in transitions. I’m not good at them, and neither is my eldest son… or my youngest for that matter. My kids have all but left the nest (though, it’s not empty at all!) and I still can’t seem to knuckle down and do what I say I want to do… argh! Wish you lived closer. EVERY time I read a post, I wish that. Beautiful, as always, Jen. xox

    • Burns the Fire
      October 10, 2015

      Dawn said it first: beautiful, as always, Jen. Lucky us that you share. Happy birthday, twins!!

      • jgroeber
        October 13, 2015

        And thank you, Brenda, for reading and celebrating and being glorious yarn-haired you.

    • jgroeber
      October 13, 2015

      Me, too. I need you here to kick my rump and get me writing. For real.
      Thank you so much for your support. Your words stay with me.

      • Dawn Quyle Landau
        October 15, 2015

        You have no idea how tempting it is, to get on a plane! I could use a big kick too! Oh the fun we’d have… xox

  4. plainspokenmama
    November 5, 2015

    My son stinks at transitions too. Mornings getting ready for school are especially tough for us. It’s nice to hear that others share in the pain. And I’m probably not so great at transitions either. Your blog reminded me that I need to cut my son some slack. Thanks!

    • jgroeber
      November 21, 2015

      How did I miss this comment? Darn you, WordPress. (Although really probably my fault entirely.) And yes, transitions. What is it about some of these boys and their transitions? A kindergarten teacher suggested making a sign of the things he has to do each morning in order so that he can look up and remind himself. For now I’ve chosen life’s consequences. If you don’t have shoes on, you go to school in socks. If you don’t get your shirt on, you get out of the minivan at school shirtless. Too much? (One morning unloading in front of friends without shoes pretty much did the trick. Ha!) Good luck!

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