“Is ‘nasty’ a cuss word?” Jack asked me right when he got in the car one time after his day in kindergarten.
“A cuss word? Who has been talking to you about cuss words?” I asked confused because I don’t know that we have ever really talked about “cuss words” at home. I mean, the kids have definitely heard us slip up and say them from time to time, but I don’t think we have labeled them as “cuss words” exactly.
“Is “ugly” a cuss word?” he said back to me in response. “It is at school.”
Over dinner last week, he told us, with great emphasis, that you do NOT raise your middle finger in the classroom. He is so tall that he is a whole head above his teammates at soccer.
His teacher has assigned him the job of taking the cart that carries the lunchboxes back to the classroom after everyone eats. She trusts that he can make his way from the cafeteria to the classroom, leave the cart and then meet the rest of the class outside on the playground all by himself.
He regularly gets permission to ride his scooter up the block to the stop sign and back alone. He can reach the milk in the refrigerator and fill his own glass. He sets the table and clears his plate. He knows how to use the remote to find DinoTrucks on Netflix and can work the computer to do homework on his own.
Just the other night he wanted to teach me about the Buddy Breathing exercise he learned at school. “Sit crisscross applesauce on the floor and scoot your back up to mine. Use your thumb and pointer finger to make a ‘p’ and put them on your knees. Now close your eyes and breathe. Can you feel me breathing? I can feel you breathing!” he said.
I really value the time I have early in the mornings to drink coffee in quiet, without anyone needing me. I prepare and set the timer on the coffee pot and put my mug on the counter top the night before so that I don’t risk waking anyone with the opening or closing of cabinet doors or water running from the faucet. I intentionally walk slowly and quietly in the dark in an effort to keep the kids from even sensing that it might be time to wake up.
Somehow, Jack still knows. Just as I get settled with my first cup, here he comes, arms full of stuffed animals and ready to ask questions. “Is today Friday?” “Can we have a TV Cuddle Party?” (TV Cuddle Party = everyone piles in the bed, watches cartoons and cuddles) “Will you make me breakfast?” “What is the meaning of life?” “How old do I have to be before I can reach the ceiling?” “Can I play with matches?”
My husband was sitting next to me the other morning when I heard the familiar click of Jack’s doorknob.
“Ugh, I am going to lose my mind. You have got to make him stop getting up so early,” I whispered to him.
“He’s five. Don’t forget, he’s only five years old,” he whispered back. Jack made his way to the couch and sat in the middle. The three of us snuggled in close.
“Will you make me some pancakes, honey and milk, Mom?” he asked.
That afternoon when I picked him up from school the first thing he said was, “I am NOT going to college. I am going to live with you and dad in our house forever instead.”
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