It is so strange to realize you are 5 1/2 (next Tuesday, officially) and old enough to go to full-day school now. Kindergarten used to feel like so far away, but now you're there, and that makes me think that the next 13 years are going to fly by even faster. Last year at pre-k, I was worried you wouldn't wash your hands or ask other kids to play or sit still in circle time. This year, I know you can handle school time and all its social requirements. I think you're past sitting on people's feet as the way to get their attention. We've got to get shoe-tying figured out, but your velcro sneakers can suffice until then.
Mostly I'm excited to see you learn. When you came home yesterday and told first Daddy, then me, then Nana, all about the Spanish explorers who were trying to find India but ended up in Cuba instead, with half an hour's worth of details complete with a globe for visual aids, it made me so proud I couldn't stop smiling. You wouldn't tell me what happened in music class today, except that you LOVED it. I can live with that. It cracks me up that you call the boys you sit by New Christopher and New Ty because there were different boys with those first names in your class last year. I'm not sure how I feel about your getting homework most nights, but it's awfully cool to see you writing numbers facing the right way after a year of backwards. I'm amused that Mrs. Simons got you to start writing your first and last names on papers instantly although you always told me to forget it when I suggested writing more than your first name before this week.
Despite a sheet listing twenty things you did on Monday, it feels very strange that you're gone for up to nine hours every day and I have to guess at what happens while you're there. I'm glad the teachers realize you and your classmates are still little and need to get outside a lot for right now. It sounds like you have two recesses every day plus another when you go to Kidventures, the after-school program, at least this early in the school year. Your classroom looked so fun at orientation, but you spent the summer barefoot in the yard and I'd hate for you to be stuck at a desk for hours. I asked your teachers all sorts of questions, but in the end, I have to settle for the fact that I trust them to teach you and I'll never know every detail of your class time.
My biggest fear for you (and your brother) is that you won't love to learn. If I ever see you stop enjoying learning, I will do whatever I have to to make sure your eyes light up when you tell me what you did that day. Right now, going to Daddy's school seems like the best way to accomplish that, but maybe some year, a different school will be a better fit for you, or learning at home. We'll see how kindergarten goes and take things one step at a time.
You have grown up so much this past year. Reading books has been huge -- you'll sit on the couch for an hour reading the comics, or read board books to friends' toddlers, or read Magic School Bus books to Leo. It felt like magic to me when you moved from sounding out letters to breezing past silent e's and unusual pronunciations. When you were a baby, you hated sitting still long enough for a book and I dreamt about the days that are here now.
You have come so far from the fall of 2006, when Leo was crawling and you were always mean to him. Even a year ago, you had a hard time connecting with younger kids. Now you try so hard to help out with any babies or toddlers over at our house. You helped me with N. two days a week from December - August, always reaching to hold her hand and help her. Your compassionate for younger kids makes me so happy.
You are old enough now that I remember things from my own childhood at your age. What my desk looked like, waiting for the school bus, books I read. I wonder what parts of kindergarten will stick in your memory to tell your children when they are five. On days when I pick you up from school, especially when we're biking, I hope we can tell each other stories from our school days while you sit behind me.
The long days haven't been so easy once you've come home. It's easy for little changes to set you off and both you and Leo have been crying and yelling a lot in the evenings. After a summer of playing easily together, that's frustrating, but as a fellow night owl, I know it isn't any fun to wake up at 6:30 and be gone until almost dinner. I hope you and Daddy have some good carpooling time over the years.
I'm appreciating all the ways you play with Leo now that he and I are home alone all day. I'm building more train tracks and playing more Lego Creator than I did when you were home. Although, now that I've read the whole Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip, I'm better able to answer Leo's questions about generators and transformers. So I'm learning too!
After 5.5 years of spending most of my days with you, Mrs. Simons has taken over a large part of that job now. It feels a bit like part of me is missing. It's easier to go to the grocery store and there's less fighting over breakfast, but we miss you. Not enough to want to homeschool, but it's an adjustment. And Leo will start preschool next week and that will really be strange, having both my babies in school for 2 mornings a week. I wouldn't want to freeze time, but you boys are awfully fun right now and I'm trying to soak up all I can so I can remember later.
I love you,