I can now count on two hands the number of days that my son can rightfully say he is in second grade. The A to Z countdown is much closer to Z than to A.
On deck is third grade and I’m trying to figure out the kinds of pitches that will be thrown to him. He has long outgrown the preschool and kindergarten era but is still too young to be called a tween. All of those kid stages have well-established playbooks. What will he be exactly, a big little kid or a little big kid? I am not really sure.
What I am sure of is the increasing complexity and confidence in all that he does. The training wheels are coming off everything, not just the bike. All I have to do is compare his writing and artwork from the beginning of the year to now. The stick figures have been replaced with entire villages and landscapes with people, animals, cars. At the beginning of the year he would write simply that he wanted to be a cowboy. Now not only does he want to be a cowboy, that cowboy brands cows, counts the calves since the last roundup, chooses the biggest longhorns to sell at market and says the best part of being a cowboy is the peaceful night after a trail drive. What detail to emerge from his pencil.
Then there is his piano playing. The lessons at the beginning of the year contained simpler left hand chords and the right hand drove the melodies. Not now. Both hands are needed in the driver’s seat. For his spring recital he is playing both “The Entertainer” and “Hello Goodbye” memorized, without sheet music.
On the field, the hesitancy to run to the ball to make the play during Fall Ball is gone. Hesitancy is not invited on the 8 and under field where he is a relief pitcher who has in back to back games pitched well enough to get the 3rd out and end the inning.
I also see fewer giggles, little kid outbursts and tears. Fewer requests for help cutting something on his dinner plate or getting a snack or drink. Now “mom” seems more appropriate than “mommy”.
The teachers see the change too. At our Girls on the Run session last week I was with one of the third grade teachers, stamping the girls’ hands as they circled the track so they could keep track of their laps. She even said, “Second grade is really the last of the little kid years.” I thought as much but when someone else tells you that is the moment when the suspicion becomes reality. I suppose I didn’t need anyone to tell me outright since I have noticed for some time now that there is a line of demarcation between second grade and third grade. Kindergarten, first grade and second grade eat lunch together, have the same recess period, and are grouped together for activities and assemblies while third, fourth, and fifth grades are similarly grouped. This is probably true at most K-5 elementary schools.
So here I am, caught in the space somewhere between remembering his early baby days and planning his 8th birthday party. It doesn’t help I still have a toddler to care for so the flashbacks to the early years are there on a daily basis. But time moves on.
We never talk about graduating form second grade. Sure, there are celebrations when the kids move up after 5th grade into middle school and 8th grade into high school and of course, leaving high school itself. In this day and age we even have preschool graduations ceremonies with caps and gowns and all. But even though my son will roam the same elementary school halls this fall, I feel like I need something to mark this transition, to show the incredible growth that happened this year, more so this year than any other in his brief school career to date.
As for the new playbook, little big kid, big little kid or otherwise, guess I have to make it up as I take the field of big kid parenting, new turf to me anyway.
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