I asked E to tell me three things he loved about pre-K. He listed them:
* "I loved being one of the last kids picked up! It was so fun! I didn't want you to ever come early."
* "My great teacher."
I asked him what he loved about kindergarten. He was pensive about this year.
* "I loved helping R. out with his work once I finished mine. It made me feel good to help him and it was fun."
* "My teacher was nice."
* "Writing stories was pretty awesome."
I reminded him he learned to read chapter books that year. He nodded, indicating that could be added to the list.
Then first grade. Here's what E noted:
* "I just really, really loved studying Mars and the Macaroni penguin for research projects."
* "My teacher was so great. It's going to be hard for my teachers this year because she was so great! Plus, she never had to yell."
* "Playing with my friends. Oh, and chapter books. Plus, art class and drama."
Finally, I asked what he was most looking forward to about being a second grader. He said he wants to see his friends and maybe do more research projects. He is happy to get back to recess and gym class.
"But you know," he added, "it's so crazy in school. It's like the days are sooooo long. In the beginning of the year, you're like, 'When is this day going to be over?!' It's like second after second and it goes soooooo slow. And then the next thing you know, it is the end of the year!"
"Yes, I do know," I told him.
I took a moment, looked at his gummy grin and more angular features, longer hair, leggy body.
"It's like one night you are up for hours and hours with a baby and wondering, 'When will this night end?!' and the clock ticks sooooo slowly," I paused so I wouldn't tear up. "And then, the next thing you know, that baby is going into second grade."
He smiled benevolently at me. He won't get it. He can't. Not until time flashes before him in the face of a loved one or baby or some other vision of complete and crazy and unbelievable love. Then he will know.
But for now, he just has to worry about who is It at recess, which chapter book to choose next and how much money the tooth fairy will tuck under his pillow next time.
It's second grade, another agonizing slow and completely too-quick adventure for my boy.