Thursday, April 28, 2011

Higher Education

The little man sat in our kitchen, happily slurping up a hot fudge sundae. This week he passed his swim test, passing him to the next level for swim lessons. We celebrated his big achievement with ice cream.

"You're such a big kid now," I said. "Now you can move up to big boy Swim 1 and you're starting Kindergarten. You're all grown up."

As our conversation progressed, the little man became more curious about what lie ahead of him in the future.

"How many grades?" the little man asked.

"Well, you have Kindergarten, then you move on to First Grade, then Second Grade, then Third Grade ... all the way up to 12. There are 12 grades," I said.

The little man's eyes got big. "Then I'm all growed up!" he said.

"Well ... then you get to go to college," I said. "It's a super special school with four more grades."

The little man's eyes got bigger.

"And you get to live in a fancy house called Delta Upsilon," I said, marking my husband's Greek affiliation.

"Dwelta upsilawn ... that's a silly name," the little man laughed. "I don't wanna live in a fancy house."

"Well ... there's other houses you could live in," I said. "There's another super cool one called Theta Xi." (Marking his Uncle Lambo's Greek affiliation.)

The little man giggled some more. "Thtweata eye ... that's silly!"

"Well, where would you like to live when you go to college?" I finally asked the little man.

"I wanna live with Papa," he said. (Who, coincidentally, does live in our Alma mater's hometown.) "I live with Papa at his house."

"What about Grammy Jo?" I asked as I teased him. "Could she do your laundry and make sure you eat dinner every night, if you're living with them?"

"Yeah!" the little man exclaimed. "While Papa and I play with the skid loader."

And with that, college suddenly became a lot more affordable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last week, it became more evident than ever that one chapter of our lives was slowly closing, and another just barely beginning.

For the last five years we have been taking on one milestone at a time: the first "I've fed him, changed him, burped him and swaddled him and he's STILL crying" milestone, his first cold, the first solid foods, the first words, first steps, etc. We ran to his bedroom to make sure he was still breathing the first time we woke in the morning and realized he had slept the WHOLE night. We even survived potty training.

And now we find ourselves at the beginning of one monumental milestone: Kindergarten.

For the last few weeks, we've been getting all the necessary ducks in a row to enroll the little man in Kindergarten. First was the parent's meeting - a brief introduction and crash course into what would become quite the gauntlet of Kindergarten enrollment.

Then came the lottery - our elementary school only has so many slots available for Full-Day Kindergarten. Because our current daycare only takes them until they are school-age, we needed a slot in the full-day program. So we submitted our entry into the lottery and waited. I went home every day for lunch to check the mail. I knew the mailman came around Noon each day.

My husband became increasingly amused at my stalking of the mailman.

And the one day I cannot go home for lunch, it arrives. Our letter notifying us that our name had indeed been selected in the lottery - the little man had his slot.

The next few weeks were a flurry of paperwork gathering, faxing and phone calls. It took more paperwork to enroll the little man into Kindergarten than it did to get him his passport.

It all finally came to a head last week at Kindergarten Round-Up. Our family got to meet the teachers, the Principal, tour the school, etc. One of the Principal's major talking points was about whether or not your child was ready for Kindergarten - that it was perfectly fine for parents to keep them back a year if there were any doubts. The Principal herself had chosen to hold one of her children back - she said she had never regretted it.

The mommy part inside of me did allow those thoughts to seep in - is the little man really ready for Kindergarten? He is far from grown up - he can't even tie his own shoes yet.

And just as I started to entertain those thoughts of doubt, those thoughts were interrupted by "Hey, TAG - you're IT!" as the little man instigated a game of Tag with the other kids in the school gymnasium. Before long, all of the future Kindergartners were running about, laughing and tagging each other.

He's going to be just fine ... I thought to myself as I heard the little man laugh with his new friends.

It's mommy that is going to have the tough transition.