Owl turned five last Tuesday. It was also his first day of school.
Sounds like a big day, doesn’t it?
Except that his first day of school was barely 30 minutes long, and he had both of his parents in the room the whole time because apparently these days kids are eased into kindergarten at pace that can only be called geological.
His “first day of school” involved going to school, entering a classroom that wouldn’t even be HIS classroom, meeting a teacher that wouldn’t even be HIS teacher, and listening to a story while Perfect Husband and I found his name on a list and signed up for a time for his “meet and greet” with his teacher the next day – a 15 minute time slot which would constitute his ONLY time at school for the next TWO DAYS.
I spent the rest of the day spoiling Owl heavily. It was basically a “yes” day. Anything he wanted to do, we did.
That included a long walk, a game of SET Junior, a game of pretend-restaurant, and baking cupcakes while babywearing.
It was exhausting. But he had a good day.
His birthday party was Sunday.
Last year’s party had been simple and had worked well, so we planned to duplicate it. I emailed the lady in charge of our complex’s party room bookings and reserved the room. The morning of his party I went to pick up the keys from her mailbox, but they weren’t there. I rang her doorbell and she looked surprised to see me.
“I thought I put them in the mailbox,” she said as her three year old peered out from behind her.
“Nothing in there,” I said. She reached behind the door and produced the keys.
“Sorry about that,” she said, handing them over. I thanked her and headed over to the room so we could start setting up.
But the party room was already set up. Beautifully. There were pink table clothes laid out on the tables, chairs neatly set in front of paper plate table settings, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign on the wall, and quotes from the Mad Hatter’s tea party scattered around, written on paper tea pots.
“Why is that stuff there?” asked Owl.
“I… don’t know…” I said. After a quick consultation with PH, I decided to go back to the key-lady.
“Hi,” I said to her when she opened the door again. “This sounds weird, but do you know why the room is already set up for a little girl’s birthday?”
The lady covered her mouth. “Oh my God…” she pulled out her phone and started scrolling frantically. “Oh my GOD…. I double booked it… I told you it was available Sunday but I meant to say Saturday… Oh MY GOD…”
She picked up her phone and called the other set of people. “What time is your event?”
At the same time as ours, it turned out.
I said we could have the party outside and that their kids were welcome to come out and join us.
By the time all of this was worked out, there wasn’t much time for setting up decorations outside. Our earliest arriving guests ended up hanging balloons for us.
But with all of that, the kids had fun. They bounced in the bouncy castle, they chased each other on the playground, and after the cake, we went in to the pool and I let them all swarm me in a slightly-frightening, Lord of the Flies kind of way.
So now I present to you – my five year old.
He is rambunctious, but kind.
He loves his baby sister.
He loves to learn new things, and while he likes for me to read Roald Dahl or Mrs Piggle Wiggle to him, or to listen to my made-up stories about Rude Ronnie, Fraidy Freddie and other kids with behaviour problems, I can already see a preference growing for non-fiction books.
He likes to have the facts straight. “But actually,” is a common phrase as he corrects the tiniest of semantic details.
He loves to watch his father and I play video games like Spore, Minecraft and Super Mario Galaxy.
He’s a gamer who loves board games and picks up new games with ease.
He loves connect the dots, mazes, and other sorts of puzzles.
He loves other people, and doesn’t always understand how to react when they don’t embrace his company with the same enthusiasm.
He doesn’t understand “wanting to be alone for a while”.
He loves to swim, and is slowly improving through repeated lessons.
He has trouble sitting still, and treats all objects including other people like pieces of climbing equipment.
He is brimming with confidence. “But actually, Mom, I’m already a pretty good reader. But actually, Mom, I can probably do a rocket-ship under the water for FIVE SECONDS.”
I hope he keeps his confidence, and his kindness. I hope the keeps loving science but doesn’t lose his enjoyment of a good imaginary story.
I hope I can enjoy him for who he is without pushing him too hard to be someone he is not.
I hope I can help him be the best Owl he can be.
I hope that I’m doing an okay job.
I hope that it’s going to get even better.
Because my baby is gone. He has transformed into a school age kid, and I can’t believe it.