Disclaimer: The only part of Castle that I own is the TV on which I watch the show.

The first thing was that last week Dad took me to a store to buy new shoes with laces that tie. When he tied them he made something called a double knot so they won't come undone. I don't know to tie things yet but when I'm older I'll learn. Dad says Alexis will teach me because we're both left-handed so we don't tie our shoes the same way that he and Mom do. The second thing was that I got a lunch box! I got to pick it out, so I chose one with four dachshunds and a paw print in the middle. That way I can think of Scrapple when he's at home and I'm not.

I bet you already figured out why I got new shoes that tie plus a lunchbox. I'm going to school! It's called nursery school, which is a bad name if you ask me. The twins are in a nursery. Nurseries are for babies. I'm not a baby. I'm two years and one month old. Everybody in my school is two, three or four. They're not babies either, even though some of them still wear diapers like babies which I do not. Mom and Dad told me not to make fun of them. Gregory who lives in our building used to say, "Nyah, nyah, you stupid baby" to me about my diapers so I won't say it to anyone else. But Gregory's nose is always running and some time I'm going to call him a big booger and see how he likes that. Gregory is four. I'm glad he doesn't go to my school.

School started on Tuesday. Mom and Dad took a first-day-of-school picture of me with my lunchbox and my lace-up shoes and my shorts and my new T shirt that Docky just gave me. It says HI. I'M ELIOT. That way the teachers will know who I am even though they just met me. The kids who can read will, too, but there aren't very many who do. I am the only one in my classroom who can. That was another thing Mom and Dad told me, not to make fun of kids who can't read yet. My lunchbox is really to hold my snack, so I think it should be called a snackbox. I go home at twelve o'clock. School is only in the morning.

On the first day of school, Sarah the baby sitter stayed with the twins and Scrapple so Mom and Dad could take me to school together. Mom has gone back to work, so some mornings she will drop me off and some mornings Dad or Sarah will. It's only four blocks away so it doesn't take long to get there. Mom and Dad had already met my teachers, but I hadn't. They're Ms. Walker and Mr. Shue. I'm not making that up, those are really their names! Walker and Shue! The classroom next door has Ms. Hendricks and Ms. Stein, which are more ordinary names. Anyway the first morning I also met the kids in my room, four girls and five other boys. Ms. Walker and Mr. Shue (ha ha!) showed us our cubbies. Each one of us has a cubby where we can put our lunchboxes and our coats and boots when it gets cold out. Our cubbies have our names on them in big letters. On one side of me is LIAM and on the other side of me is EMMA B. Her cubby has the extra letter because there are two Emmas in my class, Emma Bernstein (Emma B.) and Emma Richardson (Emma R.). I'm glad there are no other Eliots. I like being the only one, plus if someone says, "Hi, Eliot," I know they're talking to me and not another boy.

After everyone had met everyone else it was time for the parents to go. A lot of the kids cried but I didn't, even though I wanted to. Mom said, "Be a good, brave boy, Eliot, and have fun at school. Learn lots of new things. Be kind, okay? I know you will be." She gave me a hug and a kiss and so did Dad, but I saw Mom out in the hall and you know what? Even though she wasn't making any noise, she was crying harder than Emma R. or Jacob, and they were really crying.

We had games and music and stories and resting time but I was glad when it got to be twelve o'clock. I was a little bit afraid what if Dad didn't remember me, but he was right there at the door when the bell rang. We said goodbye and see you tomorrow to Ms. Walker and Mr. Shue and then Dad held my hand and we went outside.

"Did you miss me?"


"Did you miss Mom?"


"And Scrapple?"


"How about Otis and Abby?"

"Ti bit, Dad."

"Oh, you missed them a tiny bit, huh?"

"Yah. Home now?"

"You bet, kiddo, home we go."

"Not see Mom?"

"No, you know she's at the precinct, so we'll see her at the end of the day."

"See now? Prise?"

Dad stopped right there in the middle of the sidewalk and not even on the WALK DON'T WALK corner. "Surprise Mom?"

"Yah! Prise! Coffee!"

"Oh, you're so right, that's Mom's favorite surprise." So Dad called Sarah to say we'd be home later and we took a taxi to the precinct. Before we went upstairs we stopped to pick up lunchtogo and twocoffeesandamilktogo. We snuck in to Mom's office and I said "Boo!" She was really surprised and I got to practice Boo! for Hallowe'en which is pretty soon. We ate our lunch right there.

"What did you learn at school today, sweet pea?"

"Whees on bus!"

Dad said "Uh-oh, Beckett."

"Uh-oh, Dad? Why?"

Mom put down her sandwich and laughed. "You explain that one away, Castle."

Dad looked at me. " 'Wheels on the Bus,' eh?"


"Alexis sang that about a zillion times when she was in nursery school. I bet Mom did, too, when she was a little girl. We'll have to ask Granddad. It's a great song, but hearing Alexis sing it all the time drove me a little bit crazy. Are you gonna do that?"

"Yah, Dad! Fun!"

Then Mom had to work some more and Dad and I went home. I took a nap as soon as I got there. I didn't know that school would make me tired but it does. When I woke up I had an idea. I went to see Otis and Abby and told them about school and also my idea, which was a secret. They were practicing sitting up. They still fall over most of the time, but they're getting better. But I really needed to know what Scrapple thought.

"Wickedly good, Eliot!"

"I thought wicked meant bad? Can something be badly good?"

"Wicked also means really great. This is a great idea."

"Do you think you can do it?"

"Don't know why not."

When Docky called that night I told him and asked him if he would tell Gram.

"Scrapple said it was a wickedly good idea, Docky."

"Scrapple is right. I'll call your grandmother right now."

I know he did because this afternoon, which is Saturday, Gram came over to stay with me for a few hours while Mom and Dad went out and the twins were asleep. As soon as they shut the door she and I went over to the piano and sat down on the bench and Scrapple was on the floor right next to us.

"Doctor Perlmutter told me that you'd like to teach Scrapple to sing along when you do 'The Wheels on the Bus.' What a wonderful idea! I'm so happy to have two more performers in the family, sweetheart. You know, I had a little experience with a singing dog in summer stock a thousand years ago, and I'm sure I can manage. Scrapple is a very smart fellow."

Scrapple put his head back and made a noise like "arwhorrwh."

So we practiced even harder than the twins had been practicing sitting up and guess what? He can do it! Not with the words like Gram and me, but he sounds just like the song. We couldn't wait for Mom and Dad to get home.

As soon as I heard the key in the lock I ran to the door. "Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad!"

"You seem extra excited, Eliot," Mom said, and she grabbed me to swing me up. "Did you have fun with Gram?"

And there was Gram, right by me. She had a big, big smile. "Oh, yes, darlings, we had more fun than you can imagine. Truly."

Dad got what Gram calls his suspicious look. "Is this going to cost me anything, Mother?"

"Well, Richard, not in the standard sense. But we do have a surprise for you of immeasurable worth. Eliot? Do you want to lead the way?"

So I waved my arm for everyone to come with us and I started walking to the piano.

"Do please take a seat," Gram said, which is a fancy way of asking Mom and Dad to sit down, and they did.

"Remember what you do first, Eliot?" she said to me.

"Yah." So I bowed and Scrapple bowed and he and I got up on the piano bench with Gram and then all three of us sang "The Wheels on the Bus."

As soon as we finished, Mom jumped up and clapped and Dad put his hands on top of his head and said, "Dear God." I'm not sure if that was good or bad but Mom clapped some more and more and said, "Play it again, Sam!" She meant me, even though I'm Eliot, and Gram and Scrapple. So we did, and Dad fell over on the sofa and said "Unnnnhhhhhhhh." He sounded kind of like Scrapple. It was great!