My oldest gasped. I stopped reading. “Mom,” he pointed to the word dog on the page, “if you put the g in the front and the d in back, then the word would be god.”
I was slightly impressed. Then I sighed knowing his daddy must have taught him this trick, his daddy: the crossword enthusiast. I
“Did Daddy show you that?”
“No, I just figured it out,” he informed me.
“Wow honey, I think you’re learning stuff at school!”
“Yeah, I’m getting really smart.”
School, so far, has been a complete hit. He’s eager to go and happy to be home. He anticipates his school friends and is happy to get home to his younger brothers. He doesn’t miss me, but beams when I help out in his classroom.
He’s observing too. He has a challenging classmate with obvious special needs. My son came home after the first day of school to point out that this little boy is still in a pull up. I hear about this child almost everyday: how he can’t keep his hands to himself, how he ends up in the time-out chair...the list goes one. My oldest doesn’t think any less of this wiggly boy. How I wish the innocence of kindergarten lasted a bit longer. This little boy can be a bit frustrating at times....to classmates, teachers, and assistants. I know, I helped out for the first time last week. But I had total empathy for him. He was working really hard to behave properly, and I thought, “Wow, if my son can learn to work with this little boy, that will be a huge social-skill-accomplishment!” And his classmates seem to take it in stride and accept him for who he is.
He’s even encountered a bully on the playground, but not to worry, he was playing with his buddy Ryan and they both figured that the older kid was much bigger and concluded that they didn’t need the ball anyway---they’d just go back to playing vampires and bunnies. Sounds fun to me.
At the Saturday morning breakfast table my middle son shouted for some more juice, “Um, you don’t yell like that when you want something. You raise your hand nice and quiet.” My oldest told his eager-to-please younger brother. Ah, love it! My oldest is passing on his new found knowledge.
I can still remember when my older sister would come home from school and teach me new, amazing things. Like the night that she and I laid on our bedroom floor, and she taught me how to carry and take away. Addition and subtraction appeared, to me, to be the most wonderful magic trick I’d ever encountered.
I feel we are evolving, moving out of the Ice Age, into the Stone Age. But since I still have two more preschoolers at home, I still get to linger in the era of play dates, indoor park, and MOPS, but not as carefree as last year, because we have to remember to pick big brother up from school.
Many moms have asked me if I cried on that first day of school. I didn’t. They did. I feel a bit heartless, but then I realize that while I may not have been tearful I was still full of emotion on that first day, but they were all happy ones: anticipation, eagerness, excitement, and joy. I was ready for him because I knew he was ready. He was ready for the next big thing.
We did it! We did his first five years well. I have absolutely no regrets. We did all the things you do when your child is one, two, three, four, and five. Now we are focusing on doing a bang up job with six.
Each night after I put the boys to bed, I crawl back into the oldest son’s room and lay next to him. I let him talk. He tells me all about his day in the night’s darkness. (Hey, mamas out there, studies show that boys/men will verbally process more in dimly lit rooms.) And it is good. His world is expanding: mine is too. I’m not reliving my childhood through his, but rather watching him start to make his own life choices. I’m glad to be doing this parenting adventure.