It has been five years since I wrote that original post and much has changed. My son is not a little boy anymore. Granted, he is still young, but he has probably doubled in size. I don't work across the street anymore so I don't have the birds eye view of the yard. I can't spy on him that way any longer.
The lad who was in preschool is in the midst of third grade and wise beyond his years. I am biased, so what. He is bright, inquisitive and soaks up knowledge about everything. I love that.
He has a good sense of humor and we have spent much time laughing together. Sometimes the dark haired beauty will look at us and roll her eyes. She tells her mother that she doesn't get boys. I always tell her that is good and that I don't want her to try for at least a 100 years. She tells me not to worry because in a 100 years I'll be dead.
And then her brother corrects her. Sometimes I see this and I find myself watching their interaction in amazement. Some conversations feel like echoes of the past. It is not them, but myself and one of the six thousand sisters I grew up with.
Lately the big guy likes to try and tease me. He'll call me "his old man" and then wait for my reaction. I am told by other family members that we share the same mischievous expression. I don't know if that is true, but I know that we have the same hands and feet. And I know that he wants to be just like me.
It makes me smile. I remember doing that with my dad. And I remember asking my father to tell stories about his childhood and what his father did. In this family there is no question that Father's Love Their Daddy's too.
I am not one of those parents who thinks that their children have no flaws because mine do and so do yours. But the real point is that I look at my son and I try to steer him away from imitating my less flattering traits. He certainly doesn't have all of them and for that I am grateful.
But school has shown that there is an area that we most definitely share. We remember the good and the bad. We remember those who were nice and those who were not. We remember what made us happy and what did not. Sometimes we may be quiet but the gears inside are always turning.
One distinct difference between us is the speed with which school work is completed. I was fast. Whenever we took a test I was always among the first to complete it. Not him. He is far more methodical about them than I was. He likes to take his time and review. He never wants to get anything wrong.
There is merit in that. I like that we have similarities but I want him to be his own person. So this is all good.
This week they are taking some state mandated tests. He spent a chunk of time worrying about them. He was afraid that he wouldn't finish them on time and or fail. He was nervous about a bunch of things.
So I sat him down and explained that these tests are nothing to worry about. First, he won't fail. He ranks among the top of his class and knows his stuff so I haven't any concern there. Second, the test is really to determine if the school is meeting the state's educational requirements. It won't have any direct impact upon him.
He felt a bit better about this, but not perfect. He is like me in that sometimes we need to confront the things that make us anxious sooner than later. Don't tell me about the shot, just stick the damn needle in my arm.
I made a point of reiterating to him that I don't care if he is in the highest group. I don't. Doesn't matter to me if he is the best in math or reading. Some of these other kids are already freaked out because their parents demand that they be the best.
I don't have to do that. He drives himself to be a good student. It is more important to me that he learn without developing a complex about it. There aren't any prizes or special benefits to being the best reader or math student in third grade. It won't get him a better job.
As long as he knows the material and his grades are solid I don't care. My goal is a happy and well adjusted child. I don't need to pass along more neuroses than necessary, do I. ;)