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Much as it was hard to say goodbye to KIP last year, I felt strongly that Simon needed to be somewhere with more boys for kindergarten. Lots more boys. I don’t think Simon ever had more than 2 other boys in class with him the entire time he was at KIP, meaning his friends were more or less assigned to him. That might work at 3, but by 5 (nearly 6) a child needs to be able to choose those he or she is most compatible with.

Enter Mr. Sowder’s kindergarten class and its 11 constituent boys. It took a while for Simon to settle into a groove, including one gulp-worthy moment when he asked me why no one listed him as the answer to the “My new friend is” question on the All About Me survey that went home at the end of the first week. (Ideally, I’d scrap that question.) Happily, he is now settled into a very happy groove with three other boys. One friend, M__, whom he describes as alternately sweet and goofy, is his regular lunch pal. The other two boys are his best friends everywhere else.

Both are younger than Simon, one nearly a year younger, but they have much in common with him otherwise. Both are quiet and well behaved in class; both are at similar academic levels; both are very gentle and respectful by nature. The funny part is how much the two friends are like each other. For starters, they share a first name, James. Then there’s the fact that both Jameses have Asian mothers who are MST (math, science, technology) professionals. One is a math professor at the local community college while the other is a medical researcher at the University of Louisville.

What are the odds? Even at Brandeis this is a shocking coincidence. It’s no surprise that the Jameses glommed onto each other right away. It’s slightly more surprising that Simon was able to steer a pair friendship into a happy trio. So far as I can tell, he observed the boys, decided they were meant to be his friends, and abandoned his favorite playground game (chasing) for his least favorite (monkey bar climbing, at which he is terrible) to make it happen. For Simon, the payoff is an easy friendship with like-minded boys. For me, I’m hoping the payoff will be the availability of quality math/science tutoring when the work starts to get over my head!


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