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The Big Boy Quotient

Simon is upping it in a big, big way, egged on I think by being grouped with younger kids at camp. He hated that designation, resented it mightily in fact, and told us every day about a particular child he disliked because “she cried”. The “she” in question was the youngest of the group, and therefore the one that most cemented his identification with “the babies”.

I learned from my friend Sharon, the cantor at KI and the mother of Leah, that the big kids at camp (the threes, fours, and kindergarteners) referred to the little ones (itsies and twos) as “babies” quite often, as in “Here come the babies!” or “Oh no, the babies are coming.”

This wounded Simon’s big-boy pride and has made him turn on all younger children for now. I know he’s not particulary nice to his friend Taylor’s little sister, Tori, and he’s already informed me that he does not want to play with Agotich because “she’s a baby.”

That’s all the negative stuff; there have been positives as well. The first came yesterday afternoon when Simon asked Matt to take off his bed-rail. He’s a big boy now, he explained, and doesn’t need it. He really doesn’t. He’s been sleeping in that bed for a year now, and his preferred position is shmushed up against the wall and his stuffed animals. Boy oh boy does the bed look odd without it, though. The whole room looks different to me!

The other manifestation of big-boy-dom is a most promising start to the new school year. It doesn’t begin until Tuesday, so I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, but I am optimistic that beginning the threes will be nothing like beginning the itsies or the twos. For one, I knew which teacher to request this year. One day last spring, I arrived at KIP and found Simon chatting with Ms. Tammy on the bench outside the cafeteria, whereupon Ms. Tammy regaled me with her thoughts of how sweet and sensitive Simon is, what a good heart he has, and how you can already tell he will grow up to be a wonderful person.

While she chatted away, I took note of the fact that she teaches the threes and had an interior dialogue something like this: “I want her for next year. No, scratch that I am demanding her next year. And Baron will be in that class, too, because they love each other too much to be separated next year. I’m on the board. I built the school blog. I can make this happen.”

And I did. Which brings me to today, when I took Simon along to school to show him his new room for next year. What distinguishes the big kids from the little kids at school is where their classrooms are (little kids down; big kids up) and where they eat lunch (big kids in the cafeteria all together; little kids in their rooms). I’ve been telling Simon that he’s going upstairs “with the big kids” for a few weeks, and he seems very excited about that.

At our dry run today, we ran into a few teachers, including Ms. Jill (Simon’s teacher from last year) and her daughter Larkin. Larkin is Simon’s age and was in the Itsies with him the year before last. The kids found each other upstairs, started to chat, and soon after took off down the hall together. They popped into every classroom, chatting, giggling, and turning on lights all the while.

After a few minutes, I decided it was time to chase them down. And they weren’t there! They had run all the way down the hall, gone downstairs, and had landed in one of the twos classrooms from last year, where they were playing hide and seek with each other. Ms. Judie, Simon’s co-teacher from last year, was in the room at the time.

Jill came down quickly to correct Larkin for going into a room that wasn’t hers. I stayed quiet, as did Judie. But once they left, Judie looked at with a huge smile and said, “Look at how far he’s come! Can you imagine him just taking off with a friend like that last year? He’s a whole new kid.”

She was so proud of him. And so was I. But I do have one minor correction. Simon is the same kid he always was. What Judie saw was simply a more secure and confident version, a Simon ready to let go a tiny bit and show the world his true self.

One Response to “The Big Boy Quotient”

  1. blg says:

    Nice post – I like your perspective.

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