My good friend, the one with 5 boys, told me last year when I was particularly frustrated with Jonathan's behavior "don't worry, once he starts school, things will change for the better." Who was I to argue? She certainly has experience in those matters. But secretly, I was thinking, what better child to defy a generation's worth of the inevitable? Jonathan would be sure to be the one holdout in a classroom of compliant children.
But happily, and with extreme caution, I can report that already, we're starting to see some of those changes. It started early. He had only gone to school one or two days, when I stopped hearing "pee-pee-potty." Now he tells me he has to use the "bathroom", and the other day, he excused himself from the dinner table, announcing he had to use the "restroom". Good heavens, who are you and what have you done with Jonathan?
Unbelievably, he has earned his gold stars every single day, even the day when he apparently fell off his seat in the computer lab - he still got a gold star along with a note from the teacher to "please work on teaching Jonathan to sit on his bottom". Mark and I shared a quiet chuckle over this one, after all, if Jonathan is even IN a chair, it's a victory.
The other day, Matthew was (supposedly) taking a nap and I was telling Jonathan to please keep quiet. We were walking down the hallway toward the kitchen, and I reminded him yet again to not run like a herd of cattle, when he turns around and tells me he's going to teach me a song. He puts his finger to his lips and starts whisper-singing "Quiet as a mouse, here we go...quiet as a mouse on tippy-toe...." all the while tip-toeing up the hall past Matthew's door. Whoa. Amazing.
He even likes to play school. He'll get the whole living room set up as a classroom, and calls the kitchen the "cafeteria". He plans a lesson! He announces it's reading time, or time to learn numbers or letters (he has these posters and he'll point to each number or letter and "teach" me what they are). Then there's "game time", coloring time, etc... All the while, he's the teacher, of course, and you never saw a child so still, so focused, so poised. He could play school all afternoon, if I let him. I indulge him a bit - I'll pour a cup of coffee and go in and learn my letters again. But I've now realized that we can also "learn" things like "how to unload the dishwasher" and "cleaning up the classroom before your brother wakes up and finds the crayons and colors on every surface we have, including the LCD screen tv". And HE DOES IT. Happily. With no WHINING!
I realize this is all part of growing up. But I don't think it's a coincidence that all these nice changes have come about just 3 weeks into him starting pre-k. So for now, I'm grateful, and looking forward to even more changes ahead!