Three weeks ago
My 4-year old sits on couch and we talk. The subject of babies comes up. Realizing that my son has never been in close proximity of a very pregnant woman and that we've never had this discussion, I explain to him that babies come from a mommy's tummy. He just looks at me. I repeat myself. I tell him that when he was a baby, he was in my tummy. Again he just looks at me. He remains quiet. He then turns his head and stares at the TV playing cartoons.
He waits one minute - then two minutes - and then finally asks, "Mommy - did you EAT ME?"
Two weeks ago
My 4-year old gets a haircut. At the store, for every child haircut, kids received free Hannah Montana posters. Well to the disgust of my 7 year old son who does not like Hannah Montana, my little one asks for a poster. When we arrive home, my 4-year old walks up to me, shows me his new Hannah Montana poster, and tells me that if I am real good and if I clean up my room, then he will give me his poster.
Currently, I'm the proud owner of a Hannah Montana poster.
My 4-year old sees the classroom of his new school. It's form and fee day and the 4K teacher has her room decorated to greet her new young students. My son walks in the room and says hi to his first real teacher. He looks around. He sees the pictures on the walls. He stares at all the toys. Then his eyes open wide when he sees his own name taped to a desk.
My son sits at his new desk and he smiles. "This is my room", he whispers.
10 minutes later
My 4-year old's head is buried in my chest and he's crying. As we walk out the doors of the school, my son cries - not because he wants to go - but because he wants to stay. My son's arms are wrapped around my neck, not because he wants me to continue hugging him, but because in reality he wants to be somewhere else.
At this point, I realize that I'm hugging him tighter!
So I've learned - after these events during the last few weeks (and for that matter during the last months and years) - that as I delight in my youngest son's day-to-day events, he continues to walk ahead - that for every laugh he gives me, I will FOREVER MOURN his growth. And most importantly, I've learned that every time I clean my room, I will think of a Hannah Montana poster - the reward from my son - my reward for being good.
(He definitely owes me a lot more posters!)
Here's some good school/study sites that may help kids (and parents) get into the school frame of mind.
Discovery Channel Kid's Games
Kids Know It
The Kid's Page Learning Games