Buddy turns SIX later this week. And for the first time in my life as a parent, I can remember many of the details of my life when I was his age. My first concrete memories are of going to school for the first time and all the milestones that go along with it. It's so strange to be in a place where I can easily relate to his life. When he was a toddler and terrorizing this house (we called him Hurricane Buddy for years) I could not for the life of me relate to that type of behavior.
But a great switch has taken place. He's much more calm now. He's a deep thinker and we have mature conversations. He sits reverently in primary without being reminded. He has a legitimate developing testimony grown from his own work. For the first 5.75 years of his life it was pure torture for him to be held or cuddled. All of a sudden he'd rather snuggle with us than do most anything else. For years he'd rather clean his room from top to bottom than take a nap. Napping was equal to death. As I type, he's napping with daddy -- his request.
I realize this is a precious time in our lives. He's old enough that I can really relate to him and rely on him for lots of help, but he's young enough that he's still a little boy and still needs me for almost everything.
On a lighter note, I'm still enjoying Buddy's stories from school. He enthusiastically shares as many details as possible about his day as soon as he bounds off the bus. Some of the stories dig up memories I hadn't though about in 25 years. Here's a sampling. See if any of these sound familiar to you too.
- A couple days ago I had to wait an extra ten minutes for the bus to show up after school. I wasn't worried (Last time it was late it was held up because Buddy had to go poop after school and the bus driver graciously waited for him. Should I have shared that on my blog? Thank goodness he doesn't read this! Now I make sure he poops BEFORE school because he was horribly embarrassed.) Anyway the other day when the bus finally showed up I noticed that everyone was stuffed into the back 1/3 of the bus. I knew right away. Somebody had barfed on the way home. A right of passage for sure: riding home from school with that smell of puke permeating the entire bus. Remember how the puke would spread further along the rubber flooring with every start and stop of the bus?
- One day when I was volunteering in the classroom the class was working on a worksheet. Buddy had a question, so he raised his hand. After a few minutes the teacher still hadn't called on him because she was helping another child. I noticed Buddy was on the verge of getting impatient and I shot him a "don't you dare be rude" look from where I was sitting across the room. When he got home after school he told me he didn't appreciate my "mean" face I gave him. He claimed he was being patient but his arm was hurting from raising it so long, so he had to put his other arm up to support it. It had been years since I've experienced the "I have something so important to say I'm willing to raise my hand for 10 minutes straight, even though I'm losing feeling in my arm" phenomenon. Did you ever do that?
- He is constantly telling me so-and-so didn't listen today, etc. One day Tori was fooling around during "learning corner" (they sit on a colorful carpet in the corner of the room while the teacher gives a lesson about math, the weather, rhyming, etc). After being corrected several times, "Tori had to go sit at her desk and put her head down." I hadn't heard that phrase since I was in 1st grade, so to clarify, I said, "Does putting your head down mean you fold your arms on your desk and lay your head down on your arms?" After all these years, teachers are still using that as a discipline strategy. And apparently it worked because Buddy considered that episode the most embarrassing moment of the whole school day. And after that conversation I started to remember that game "heads up seven up" and wondered how old he'll be when he first plays that at school.
- A few weeks ago I chaperoned Buddy's first school fieldtrip and it didn't really go all that well. Before the fieldtrip my mom shared a few choice stories about how rudely I treated her when she would faithfully attend my school functions (every single one). I felt really bad that I acted that way but couldn't imagine Buddy doing that. He adores me and Sambo, so boy was I shocked when he suggested before the hayride me and Sambo ride on the other tractor because he wanted to sit by his "friends." And that was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the disrespect and lack of eye contact from him. Luckily I was warned, and so I got over it pretty quickly (especially after we had a "chat" when he came home from school).
- I have a love-hate relationship with his homework. I think it's quite enjoyable to listen to him read and I love seeing him learn and improve his math and handwriting skills. However, he hates, and I repeat HATES having me help him. He doesn't listen to me and he argues whenever I give him help or feedback. (Right now my dad is saying "boy does this sound familiar"). Every time he starts running his mouth about how much he knows, I have a major flashback to days when my dad would help me with my homework and I would refuse to listen. If he continues to follow my behavior pattern, G will become the full-time homework help. Because the two of us were clearly not meant to co-exist while doing homework.
- I had a real moral dilemma when it came time to order school pictures. Do you remember those? They are ridiculously expensive and if I remember correctly, they never turn out well. So we ended up only ordering the class picture ($9). So when they sent home the "proof" to try to encourage the deadbeat parents that didn't order anything to buy up, I felt better about my decision. In my humble opinion, Buddy is one of the most attractive and photogenic children I've ever seen and yet his school picture was beyond horrific. If I didn't know better I would have thought he was constipated during the photoshoot (but of course that's not the case because I make him go before school, remember). Just another right of passage I guess: bad school pictures. But lucky for him, I've out-smarted the school picture folks and will take him to JC Penney instead.
- And this has nothing to do with school, but I loved this moment in our household. The other night Sambo gagged near the end of dinner and ended up throwing up all his food. It wasn't too big of a deal because it got all over his bib and tray so it was easy to clean up. Not to mention he pukes pretty often (Oh no! he's probably going to be the barfing kid on the bus!!!!) So after we got him cleaned up Buddy was still eating and Sambo was climbing all over the table and all over his chair begging for his food. Buddy snapped "get away from me!" to him. I quickly told him we don't talk to each other like that and asked him to say it again respectfully. In the sweetest voice you've ever heard he tried again, "Sambo? Can you please go somewhere else? You smell like throw-up and I'd like to finish eating."