Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is It September Yet?

It has been very eye-opening to watch each of my boys react to the end of the school year. 4 year old Eric never really embraced his first year of preschool. It is the same preschool Ryan attended, it is at our church...I had assumed that Eric would be so excited to finally get to participate! Could not have been further from the truth. Each day was a struggle for him. While he did make a few friends, he often played independently. Academically he could probably do Pre-K next year (he can count to 50 and somehow he knows to write almost all of his letters. He is a pristine colorer and is already starting to ask a lot of pre-reading questions...) but socially there is no way he could handle school 4 days a week. I know I will need to ease him in to the school experience, so Eric is enrolled in the older 4's class for next year, attending 3 days a week. Eric has been classified as a highly-spirited introvert and it is a description that suits him to a T.

But now that school for him has ended, he has sprung to life! He loves the days without structure. He loves to wear pajamas all day (my firm rule is that he must wear clean underwear) and would never leave the house again if he had his way. This week I have been babysitting our friend Jacob while his mom finishes up her school year as a teacher and Eric has thoroughly enjoyed it. Eric carries on animated conversations with Jacob and, although he is a year younger, has been taking the lead in their playtime. Clearly a burden has been lifted from Eric and he is loving every minute of it.

For 7 year old Ryan, it is clearly a different story. Ryan is a child who, like his dear sweet mother, needs structure. Routine is important to him and he has never done well with free time. He's getting better, but he is a child who is often bored and generally wants me to entertain him. Ryan has always loved school and all-day Kindergarten, in many ways, was a very good decision. Now that he is about to finish the 1st grade, he is already talking about being a big 2nd grader.

The end of the school year has become stressful for Ryan. He has always been my temperamental child and the end of the year has brought out the worst in him. This last week he has been moody, belligerent, argumentative, and just down right hard to be around. It's like Sybil has come to live with us and we've seen all 16 personalities. I am trying to be understanding about how the end of the year changes are hard for him, but as some point, when he starts to yell at his little brother that he is coloring all wrong, I have to tell Ryan that if he wants to continue to act this way, he can do it in his room. Then he will burst into tears and ask me why I'm being so mean to him. And I start to wonder when a 13 year old girl came to live at our house.

And then I become temperamental, moody, belligerent, argumentative......and to top it all off, the warm weather means DIRT in my house. The kids are in and out 100 times a day and, despite all my precautions (taking wet swimsuits off outside, laying old towels down on my new carpets, etc...) the outside starts to take over the inside of my house. This morning my feet were sticking to the kitchen floor. I don't say that figuratively. They were literally sticking to the floor. And even though Mike swept the kitchen floor last night, I had to sweep it again this morning. And Mike, before you get too defensive, you know I love you, but I was sweeping up dried spaghetti noodles. And we didn't have spaghetti for dinner last night...

In another week or so Ryan will snap out of it and I he and I will come to terms with summer break and embrace it to the best of our abilities. But I don't think anything can stop me from longing for the cool fall weather and counting down the days until Labor Day.

1 comment:

Mom Tu-Tu said...

My little boy who started preschool last year sounds a lot like your son who is active and yet often played on his own. It's nice to hear about another child with the same type of personality.