Through some fluke of eavesdropped conversation, I learned that some schools in Calgary require parents to register their children for the next academic year as early as January. (Next month!) It pays to eavesdrop sometimes, because I was certainly NOT thinking about where to send G for Kindergarten. Not in December. I figured we had until May, at least.
Luckily we live in a city where there are a lot of options for schooling. Language immersion, arts-infused, Waldorf, Montessori and private schools that charge gazillions of dollars each year. So G can hang out with kids driving mini-Lexus’ and wearing mini-Rolexes on their tiny wrists; who probably bring catered lunches to school in gold plated lunch boxes.
One of the ‘cheaper’ educational possibilities nearby is a Spanish immersion school, which sounds like a nice option. Since Spanish is, after all, spoken by a few (million) more people than French. Of course there are also French immersion schools aplenty, but I can’t justify sending G to school to learn the language… just so he can read the bilingual labels in the grocery store. He could just turn to the English side.
I asked the little man where he might like to go to ‘big school’ and the conversation sparked huge interest on his part. Now, when we drive in the car, he pipes up from the back seat about ‘how [he] wants to go to big school’ and ‘when can [he] go to big school,’ and ‘[he]’s going to ride his bike to big school…and take the bus.’
Now my oldest son, for all his ‘smartitude’ as Mallory quipped in an episode of Family Ties, has shown little interest in acquiring some of the skills he seemingly requires to go to school. For instance, he can’t – and doesn’t seem to want to – ride a bike. His interest in the particular method of transport was so marginal we didn’t even bother bringing his bike to Calgary. So there is much work to be done in this area. If one could get to school by naming different kinds of excavators, or making two-dimensional models of the Big Dipper….he’d be set.
He’s also shown little interest in dressing himself. Something his pediatrician never failed to bring up during his annual well check. ‘Is he dressing himself?’ Well, no, not really. ‘Well, he should. And he should want to.’ But he doesn’t and it’s so much faster if I do it. And I’d leave the office ‘promising’ to ‘work’ with him on dressing himself.
But a few weeks ago, as I observed a girl – nearly a year younger than he – remove her own shoes, coat, hat and gloves with great skill and carefully stow them in the appropriate place…..I realized it was, perhaps, time I forced the issue a bit.
I had leverage, after all.
‘You know….you can’t go to big school if you don’t dress yourself,’ I casually mentioned one morning.
And, that was it. That was all the incentive he needed to start picking out his own clothes and dressing himself. And unveil a style that is….out of this world. (Photos on the flickr feed since our computer has died and I no longer have access to Photoshop.) I managed to capture his first unusual outfit on camera: grey cords with dark grey stripes, a red and navy striped rugby shirt with white collar, and a blue argyle sweater vest over it. His dad, a crazy dresser wannabe, swelled with pride. I didn’t quite know what to say when I saw him, mostly because I couldn’t decide if the outfit was ‘cool’ or just ‘off’.
Another day yielded a royal blue long-sleeved polo shirt with a red and grey striped t shirt over it. Which was clearly cool. Today’s combination was a greyish shirt, with a bright green shirt over it, paired with brown cords. As he pulled the last shirt over his head, he said: ‘I need to go downstairs to show my outfit to dad….because I look cute.’
Kindred spirits, those two.
I decided I needed to kick my own outfit up a notch. So I put a black and white striped t shirt underneath a muted orange sweater. Which, in the end, was probably more ‘Halloween’ than ‘cool’. I’ll keep watching and learning from the master.