Two years ago I bought Otto this backpack.
He's used it every day during the school year, and last weekend he and I decided it was past time to wash it.
I ran lukewarm water in the the tub, added some detergent, dropped in the pack and swished it around.
A half-hour later I went back to look at it and... wow! I've never seen water that shade of gray before!
The backpack looks good again - not like new, of course, but it's at least several shades lighter. It still holds the essentials (lunch box, book, etc.). It still fits.
This evening we go to meet his new teacher. I found out yesterday that his two best friends will again be in different classrooms, which is a bit disappointing because I'd asked them to consider teaming him up with at least one buddy as an aid to anxiety. I'm really really hoping that this classroom will be a good fit for him. He's excited about the new building and getting back to school, which will help, but if I'm feeling anxious, I'm sure he must have a few qualms.
Or maybe not. We went through his closet today and got rid of a ton of stuff. He told me he doesn't want to wear jeans this year, just swishy (athletic) pants. I gave him a mom look and said "that will do for the beginning of the year, but in winter you will need real pants." He looked like he wanted to argue the point, but we moved on to weeding out t-shirts, and he rather gleefully discarded a number of formerly-favorited items. This is a useful mindset for school, too. Out with the old, make room for the new! So I'm hopeful.
As for Bel, well - she can't wait to move up to Pre-K. In a year, they'll both be climbing on the bus (which is stopping just across the street from our house this year!). I'm not capable of imagining that right now, though, and prefer not to dwell on it.
Next Tuesday is the big day!