Last day of school!! John and I celebrated with breakfast today at the diner in town. We talked about what he liked about first grade (poems about penguins) and what he was looking forward to over the summer (swimming!!). It wasn’t overly precious, though. We also talked about Star Wars and whether or not I should be woken up at 3:30 in the morning.
This has been a great year for John. He had a teacher who figured him out pretty quickly. All of his buddies were in his class. He liked his coaches and his babysitters, too. Smooth sailing. So we almost didn’t notice all the changes as they were happening. Now that the end of the year has come, I think I’m seeing them more clearly.
He’s more independent. I don’t know that he’ll ever be the kid who disappears into his room for hours at a time, but it is nice that he can entertain himself here and there. I didn’t have a babysitter yesterday and he did puzzles in my office for about an hour. One year ago that would have sounded like science fiction.
He’s braver and tougher. Gets hurt, then brushes it off. Gets bumped into, brushes it off. Matt knocked him down when they were playing basketball not long ago and instead of worrying about whether his elbow hurt, he wanted a detailed discussion of whether it was a charge or a block. That issue is still being debated.
He’s more social. And I mean that as more than just friendly. I mean he’s more aware of social dynamics. We’ve heard a lot about the playground this year, which sounds as fraught with politics as any world stage. There are teams, there are “enemies,” there are tactical negotiations, and there are shifting strategic alliances. This is serious business, but I think he has it in hand.
He’s more fun. You can have a whole conversation with him about interesting things. You can beat him in sports or at games without anybody whining or worrying. He reads and watches things that actually are entertaining. And, even though I’m his mother, I think he’s really funny. It’s a lot more like having a regular person in the house than it was a year ago. A regular person that you really like.
Of course, he’s still six. So he’s silly, loud, bouncy, needy. He sometimes refuses to cooperate just to make a point. He occasionally melts down over the the tiniest things. But he’s also still sweet, and still holds hands, and still lets me read him books like these even though he could be reading more more interesting stuff on his own.
All in all, he’s loved first grade and I’ve loved it, too. He’s growing up, but he’s still himself all the essential ways that I hope he’ll always hang onto. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store.