Summer...ah, summer. Summer means home with Mom, days spent at the pool, a trip to Indiana to see Grandma and Zigmund, and a Utah vacation involving dinosaur bones and hiking in Zion National Park. When you are four, life doesn't really get any better.
(okay, the hiking is really for me, but there will be snacks for everyone.)
This year has been an incredible one, too. As a parent, I'm realizing all of the ages have their own benefits and limitations. For example, birth to about 8 months, benefit: no mobility (mostly). No talking back. No booty dances (more on this later). Limitations: no sleep, constant contact with bodily fluids, and life is spent mostly in a haze.
Year four, however...wow. It's been a good one. He morphed from chubby preschooler into a lean, tall boy. Still prefers chicky nugs and apples for lunch, but he did expand his culinary horizons enough to discover a love of chick peas, cantelope, and pepperoni. (I'm not so sure about that last one, but whatever).
Academically this year, we saw the advent of...
-- READING! Oh my gosh, how is this possible? The first book he ever brought home, "The Color Green," literally made me cry. Not because it's a sweeping, epic piece of American literature, but because my child was experiencing the greatest gift you can give to a child - the joy of reading. Sure, we suffered through some duds ("I Can Do It!" and "Up and Down" were major disappointments), but watching him touch a word and then vocalize it...chills, man. Chills. He likes it AND he gets it.
-- WRITING! Well, kind of. He knows how to write though the penmanship is poor (...like his father.) He spent the year journaling and from September to now, I'm shocked by the changes. Scribbles from the fall blossomed into legible words and then sentences. His little brain just keeps growing. Of course, the majority of his writings include "I see a shakr" and "I see a fish." The May journal is my favorite - it first starts with a sea snake and then another. By the end of May, the sea snakes are fighting each other. Conflict, plot development, central themes...well done, little Bear. Perhaps I'm reading into it, but I'm his mom. I get to do that.
-- SOCIALIZATION! I'm hesitant to write 'maturity' as potty words still drop out of his mouth the minute Mom isn't looking, but he's like a real boy now. He listens - even when we are not talking to him. (this could be very dangerous in the future). He repeats things, picks up on nuances, and has a sense of humor that is actually funny (most of the time). He likes to tell me about the other kids at school, particularly who tooted on the rug that day and who had to sit on the bench. He beams with pride when he does a good job and takes time-outs with grave humility. I think it's safe to make the call - the kid has a conscience. We can cross "serial killer" off the list of Things to Worry About.
In fact, we like Pre-K so much we decided to do it again! Seriously. And we are all okay with it.
It's that troubling "Summer Birthday and a Boy" dilemma so many parents face. There was a lot of back and forth discussions during the course of the year, and while he did fine on his Kindergarten readiness exam, we think another year of practice would benefit the little guy before we send him off into the great big world. He's the youngest in his class and just this weekend, we attended several classmates' SIX year old birthday parties. I was still on bed rest and eating my weight in Lucille's BBQ when those tykes were blowing out the candles on their first birthday cake. I know it's a controversial move (and am not opening the door for discussion...) but every family needs to make the best choice for them. And so, let's Pre-K-it up next year! I just hope we don't get the "I Can Do It" primer again. What a downer.
Some outtakes from our morning photo shoot on the porch:
Have a great summer!