Sunday, April 6, 2014

The birthday outing

It's hard to believe the school year is nearly over. I was counting the weeks left before my Zumba class is done for the summer, there are only six weeks left (not counting spring break week in April or Memorial Day week in May). Where did the time go? And it seems like it was only yesterday I was putting our older son on the bus for the first time and sending him off to kindergarten and now he's almost done and about to become a first grader. Didn't he only -just- become a kindergartener? Fair warning dear readers, this one is a "mommy post".

Watching our son make the transition from preschooler to kindergartener, I'll admit I worried. Just a bit. I knew he was ready academically and emotionally. Socially though? In preschool he had a couple of friends who'd come into 4's preschool with him from his 3's class and while registering him for kindergarten, he asked me if he could be in a kindergarten class with the two of them. The answer unfortunately was no. It was really hard for me to disappoint him, but there was really nothing I could do. The preschool building is for kids from anywhere in the district, but once students start kindergarten, they are (most of the time) assigned the school closet to them geographically. There are five different elementary schools in our district. Further, each school has between three and four kindergarten classes. Even if he wound up at the same school with one or both of his friends, it was a crap-shoot as to whether or not he'd be in the same class. Explaining the kindergarten admissions process to a four year old is difficult at best, but he took it better than I thought he would. In the fall, at kindergarten orientation, I realized that not one of the students who'd been in 4's preschool with him would be in his kindergarten class. Not one. I worried about him starting a new class in a new school not knowing anyone. As it turns out, I didn't need to. In fairly short order, I began hearing tales of recess and choice-time all involving the same three boys. That's the beauty of children, at this age new friendships seem to form so easily and naturally. Our son seemed to talk the most about one classmate in particular, E. He and E share a love of Lego and all things superhero. E's mom and I met for the first time at the school's Halloween party. Turns out, she'd been regaled with the same stories of their exploits. We exchanged information and spoke about getting the boys together for a play-date. Getting to know E and his mom better has been a real treat. E is a lovely boy and his mom is someone I can see myself being friends with. I realized that our son has good judgement when making friends and I'll admit that knowing that makes me feel pretty good.

S and E - in the photo booth
Last month, E turned six. His mom asked me if our son could go with their family to see The Lego Movie at the theater. That's apparently what E wanted to do to celebrate his birthday. He got to choose one friend to invite and he chose our boy. I'll admit that made me feel pretty good too, but it also gave me pause. For one thing, this would be only the second time, not counting school, that our son has been away by himself (the one other time was when he slept over at Grandpa's while I was in the hospital delivering our younger son). For another, it meant letting go and trusting another parent with his dietary needs. As an allergy mom, let me tell you that is not easy and I think without the issue of the food allergies, I would hardly worry at all.

E's mom was very understanding, accepting, and willing to listen though. She asked what fast food type restaurants (if any) were options for lunch. I told her Subway, and she asked me to please write down exactly what was safe for her to order for our son. Which I did, and gave her the paper to take with her. She called part way through the afternoon to ask what kinds of candy (if any) he could eat at the theater. She also said that the Subway where they were eating was next to a grocery store and she she could easily run in there for something if I didn't think she'd be able to buy any of the theater's offerings; I suggested dried fruit and she bought him a box of craisins from the store. Our son came home full of happiness and excitement. He had a wonderful afternoon with his buddy E. I was thrilled by how well it had all gone. The older he gets, the more opportunities like this one will present themselves. I suppose I'd best get used it.

Best advice: If your kid has food allergies, educate them. Teach them to be their own advocate. It will pay off, and you'll gain some piece of mind as a parent.

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