September 12, 2013 by Katia
This was the summer that I got to spend at home enjoying the last days of my maternity leave and being fully available to my children. I will always remember this summer. 1 Year Old won’t, but I’m curious to see what leaves its mark on 4 Year Old, if anything does. I’m constantly surprised, sometimes blown away by the unexpectedness of the stuff he remembers. I don’t know why listening to your child recreate an event in his memory, whether one you’ve participated in or not, is one of the most fascinating and gratifying parenty moments, but it is.
Surprisingly enough my extroverted firecracker of a boy who attended different child care settings since the age of one and never had any issues, is having a difficult time adjusting to JK. On the first day of school he raised his eyes to me from underneath his wide rimmed sun hat and I saw something unfamiliar in them. It was a question mark but not of the inquisitive, curious kind. It was a flustered, ‘asking for’ instead of just ‘asking’ kind of a question mark. ‘Are you going to leave?’ he said in a small voice, part incredulous and part outraged at the thought. His voice was shaking. This is where I would kneel in front of my son had it been a Hollywood movie and our eyes would lock as we would have a heart to heart about first days in school. Instead I was struggling to remain calm as I explained what was going to happen. I was raising my voice over the first day chaos surrounding us. I was raising it above the teacher’s instructions. I was almost yelling my consolation and rushing it. I was doing it through the lump in my own throat. 4 Year Old was urged to do a whole bunch of things that didn’t come naturally. Wear your backpack. Line up. Walk away from your mommy and toward the building. I saw his shoulders tense up and raise to his ears. Then his expression changed as his whole body and face were becoming engaged in the battle against tears. Then from inside the building he looked at me and melted into his shoulders as he pulled at his teacher’s sleeve. ‘Excuse me,” he said and broke down in tears ‘I love my mommy’.
This new heart-wrenching raised shoulders routine repeated itself every day since. He asks to be held and wraps himself around me. He tells me things that send my heart soaring and sinking at the same time like ‘But mama, I talk about you all day!’
Yesterday I was putting him to bed, lying there with him and listening as he pondered existential questions. ‘Mom, when I die will I be held by God?’ he asks and his voice is shaky again. ‘Does EVERYONE die?’ ‘Will I die?’ He doesn’t want to die. He wants me to ask God not to let anything happen to him or anyone in his family. I talk to God right then and there. I’m not using my inner voice either. But he is still on the verge of tears. He doesn’t accept my explanation that dying only happens to very very VERY old people. He tells me ‘But if I die, everyone won’t have any fun without me’. I tell him he is right. I’m stretching my brain at full capacity but it feels like a severely untrained muscle as I attempt to take the edge off death and its cousin – school goodbyes. I do a mental inventory check of my parental tool box and finally pull out the “distraction” wrench. “Hey, remember how we went to the cottage this summer?”. A feeble “Yeah?” ensues and it’s of the curious, interested ‘OK, I’ll bite’ kind. ‘I remember feeding the ducks!’ I tell him in my most cheerful voice. He is engaged. And I continue full force ‘Remember, how there were two of them, a boy and a girl and you would throw bread crumbs to them?’ ‘Yeah, but I also throwed them at the one who was trying to steal from the other one, renember? Renember that mama? And then you said to him, no no no! And waved your finger, renember?’ Now I do. I wrap my arms around him and plant my face in his shoulder. We’re both laughing.
On Monday I wrote a post about the F-ing Fours, which scared a lot of parents. This is the Flip side of the same coin. I hope you Find consolation in this. The Fabulous Fours.
his post was a Finish The Sentence Friday post on the topic: The best memory I will have of this summer…
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