Gabe came downstairs dressed and ready for kindergarten this morning, his second day of school. Thatâ€™s my paycheck and my yearly bonus these days. Especially since I had been prepared for the worst — he just as easily could have woken up grumpy and crying, right?
â€œGood morning, sweetheart,â€ I told him. I hugged him and tousled his hair. â€œWhat do you want for breakfast?â€
â€œCereal,â€ he said, happily.
As I poured Shredded Wheat into a bowl and got him a glass of milk, I asked, â€œAre you excited about school today?â€
â€œYeah!â€ he said, obviously really happy about school.
Iâ€™m so excited for him. I can literally feel how ready he is to be at school, learning. When I look at him, I can clearly remember being in kindergarten myself. I was thrilled with my teacher, with being taught.
Kindergarten had a different effect on my daughter, Anna. She loves to learn, but she reacted badly to the demanding full day of school. Each afternoon she turned into a little monster, calling me names, hitting, and generally falling apart at the seams. Most days she ate dinner in her pajamas and went to bed early.
Gabe is calmer about school. He is more settled than his sister and generally just a happier guy. I wish that I understood exactly why. After school yesterday, he gave me a full play-by-play announcement of the day. I loved it. He spent ten minutes trying to figure out the pronunciation of his music teacherâ€™s last name.
This morning, on the way to school, he and Anna had an argument. â€œAnna called me an idiot,â€ he called, a few steps ahead.
â€œIdiot?â€ I asked. â€œAnna, did you learn that word at school?â€ Great. â€œYou guys, idiot is a terrible thing to call each other. Letâ€™s not start the day that way, okay?â€ I asked. They laughed.
At school, a friend with a son in Gabeâ€™s class stopped to say hi. â€œGabeâ€™s translator is here!â€ she said cheerfully. â€œGabe whispers everything, so Evan calls out what he says,â€ she explained.
â€œThatâ€™s funny. I told Gabe to do the same thing for Evan,â€ I said, laughing. â€œWhenever Mrs. C. says something in Spanish.â€
â€œGreat idea!â€ she said.
When I hugged Gabe goodbye before the bell rang, I told him to use his loudest voice today at school, to pretend heâ€™s yelling at Anna when he talks in class. He said he didnâ€™t want to.