I think this is the age your Dad and I have been waiting for.
Even though you’re just now in Kindergarten, it feels like you’re a Big Kid. You can take care of your own bathroom needs, you don’t need a straw cup anymore (and you haven’t for a while, honestly), you can dress yourself (although you still need help tying your shoelaces), you rarely throw tantrums anymore, you don’t really need Quiet Time anymore, and you can read quite well.
As I write this, you’re sitting in the recliner with your Nintendo DS, playing Digging for Dinosaurs. It amazes me how many dinosaurs you can name (and how many more have been discovered since I was a kid). You can even sound out the names of dinosaurs that you’re not familiar with.
This summer, we went on a trip to Dayton to visit Grandpa and Grandma Cook and our friend Amy. Being almost six, you weren’t much for “visiting” with family on the sunporch, but you did love running around the back yard (where we could see you), and you played on Grandma’s piano in the basement (where we could hear you) and drew a dinosaur book at the kitchen table.
We spent the night in a hotel with a pool, then the next day you and I had a fun time with Amy at the Boonshoft Museum and elsewhere in the North of Dayton, then you and I spent the night in another hotel.
Two successful nights in hotels made me realize that we’re finally to a point where we could do a family vacation. I’m quite excited about this, and have already done research on where to have a fun family beach vacation. Spring Break is going to be awesome. (I hope.)
You’ve been in Kindergarten for a few weeks now, and the new routine seems to be agreeing with everyone so far. Dad was on vacation for the first two weeks, though, so we’ve been kind of easing into it. Dad gets you off the bus about an hour and a half before I get home from work, so he’s still getting into a groove of getting home from any errands or appointments in time to get you off the bus, and getting ready for work after you get home and do any homework (last week, your homework involved retelling a story to Dad to confirm your comprehension).
Your sixth birthday was full of dinosaurs and LEGO, with a smattering of superheroes and other toys. We invited your besties from Pre-K, but J’s mom said their family had other plans for the holiday weekend, and L’s parents never responded. So, it was a small party, with Harper and her parents, Grammy, and Uncle Matt — but that was perfectly OK. (Cousin Nate and Andrew stopped by the day before, since they were in town already.)
Now you’re laying on the loveseat, curled up in the Star Wars fleece blanket, downloading a new app to your Kindle Fire, as I look at you and try to think of how to describe the boy you’re becoming.
You’re definitely silly, and you try to use your silliness to make others happy. Your sense of humor is maturing somewhat; you’ve still got a kindergartner’s vague grasp on puns and unexpected outcomes, and your humor is usually nonsense-based or silly faces, but sometimes you’ll pull something out that’s genuinely and unusually funny.
You’re also a voracious learner right now. Dinosaurs are your current jam, but you also read Dad’s old Charlie Brown ‘Cyclopedia set, with volumes about the body, space, animals, and other countries. You’ll ask whether certain things are real or pretend, like unicorns. Before you got really into dinosaurs, you asked whether those were real — now, though, you have a pretty thorough grasp on how archaeologists unearth dinosaurs from millions of years ago, so you understand that they’re real, but extinct.
You like playing pretend with other kids, and you like to take the lead. You also don’t like to lose, and you’re not much on learning new games — you either don’t have the attention span, or you don’t want to risk losing at your first attempt. I’m hoping that gym class — and kindergarten in general — might help you with learning new games and being OK with a bit of a learning curve. At home, I’m trying to institute some family gaming time on weekends, too, even if it’s just Ants In The Pants.
Parents of children of all ages always seem to say that they’re growing up too fast… but I think this is just right. I look back on videos of you at ages four and five, and I see the you I know now, just rewound a little bit, with some rougher edges. And I know that in another couple of years, your voice will be a step deeper, your footing surer, your vocabulary richer, and you’ll be a little bit more you.
In this moment, though, I love you just the way you are.