School Chat



Son’s first few days of Kindergarten were a blur of excitement and energy and a deer in the headlights stare when he got off the big yellow bus. A smart friend shared that she gives her kids cookies for snack to revive them.


“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “But you can just watch the life come back into their eyes and they start to perk up again.”


Whether it’s been the cookies or just a general stimulation from all the new faces, activities, and learning at school; Son’s been going strong since the first day. I thought his energy would wane after a busy school day but nope, he’s doing laps around the house first thing, running bases mid afternoon and ready for a soccer game later.


But getting a download on his day has proved difficult.


“What was your favorite thing about school today?” I asked on day one.




Day two. “Who did you sit with at lunch today?”


“I don’t remember.”


And on we would go for a few minutes as I tried to be more and more precise in my probing questions to extract some, any, just one tiny piece of revealing information about his five hours without me.


Until Sunday. Son and I were both up early and I could already see that his energy was in full force.


“Let’s go for a hike,” I suggested.


A friend had recently taken Son hiking with her and her son on one of my favorite, and challenging, trails. I was surprised to hear that the boys had finished it without much complaint and was eager to combine my favorite exercise with the company of my son.


He was excited and so by 8:30 am we were following the red arrows in Trout Brook Valley preserve.


I’m leader, you walk behind me,” he announced, spotting arrows hung on trees to lead our way.


Okay. Then we hit a challenging uphill climb that required careful maneuvering over rocks. My instinct was to walk behind him in case he fell. But he struggled to place his feet.


Watch where I step,” I took the lead. “Look at where I put my feet and step exactly where I do.”


This worked better and after reaching the top we hiked across the crest of the hill surrounded by thick ferns, moss covered rocks, and the tops of trees growing every which way to reach the sun.


“So tell me five things you liked about school this week,” I said casually.


“Well,” he thought for a brief moment. “We did science.


And the teacher brought out a smart board that’s big and white and she can do cool stuff on. And it’s connected to her computer so when she touches it things move on it and move on her computer.


And we did the weather.


And we went to the computer lab and we learned about how we’re going to learn about the computers but we didn’t have time that day and I’m going to sit at the same spot each time.


And we had PE and the teacher was the cookie monster and were all different cookies and when he called Oreos the kids ran and he tried to get you but when he called my kind he said it was his favorite cookie and the kind he really wanted to eat.”


“What was your gym teacher’s name?” I interrupted.


“I don’t remember.”


Wow. We had blackboards in school and my first computer lab was in college and my PE teacher made me wear a uniform and I never got to be a cookie.


We started our descent and I told Son to slow down and watch for tree roots.


“Now, watch where I place my feet and put yours exactly where I put mine,” he instructed me, taking the lead. He’d stop and turn around every few feet to see if I was placing my feet exactly where he put his.


We sat on a rock for a snack. Son quietly ate his bag of pretzels, Goldfish and Honey Nut Cheerios.


“Mom,” he said thoughtfully. “Some day I’ll be able to drive and I can drive here and go for a hike.”


“Yes, someday.”


“And I’ll be able to drive before Sophie.”


“Yes, but you could invite her and bring her to hike with you.”


“No,” he said. “I don’t want to have Sophie then.”


“Well, what do you mean, honey? Sophie’s your sister forever just like Daddy and I will always be your Mommy and Daddy.”


“No, I don’t want to have her.”


I didn’t understand. “Well, what do you want?”


“I want to live with my wife, Emma, and my two new kids.”




I guess Kindergarten had already taken him leaps and bounds into his grown up future and his friend Emma was along for the ride. At least he’ll have some science and technology under his belt. It took Back to School night for me to fully understand how a smart board works and that his education will be far different than mine was.


And hopefully a few cookies will help me ply information from him on most afternoons.  Or we’re going to get to know this hiking trail pretty well.

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