Tonawanda News

Family

September 22, 2010

The one who’s left behind

NORTH TONAWANDA — So a few weeks ago, the inevitable happened ... a very happy 5-year-old traipsed off to school again, shouldering his Elmo backpack and “Cars” lunchbox, chattering about his friends and his teacher and thrilled beyond words to get back to the old grind.

In his wake, he left admittedly relieved parents (that kid was so bored the last week of vacation!) and a little brother who doesn’t get it.

Why does brother have to leave in the morning? Why can’t I stay in the classroom and play when we drop him off? Why do I have to go home?

Why don’t I get to go to school?

It’s hard, sometimes, to remember that my younger son is only 2 ... he’s social beyond his years, and fairly bold as well. He’s never batted an eyelash at trotting into Jim’s classroom behind him, and he’s not shy about dragging his feet when he’s led back out.

While we’re looking into preschools for next year, there are few things available for children his age this year. So he gets Daddy time while big brother’s in school and Momma’s at work. And while he likes that ... he’s already spoiling for more.

The baby is growing up.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Sure, it’s what every parent should be working toward: the ultimate independence of their children. But this is my little one ... probably my last ... and the day he heads off to school, I’ll probably shed a tear (through he won’t).

And Sam is 2, going on 12. Or more.

At the Peach Festival in Lewiston the next weekend, he wanted to go on all the big rides ... not only the ones for which he was far too short (most of them), but the ones at which even a roller-coaster fan like myself would hesitate. (That giant spinning thing flying by overhead? He was fascinated and tried to tug me into line. Nope, Sammy, not going to happen.)

We caught him standing on the arm of a chair recently, trying to reach a container of not-appropriate-for-toddlers items stored above his head (scissors and the like). He could see no earthly reason why he couldn’t play with them.

Elmo and Caillou are still beloved, but “Cars” and “The Lion King” are entering his radar.

And he’s threatening to skip over the tricycle stage altogether, enthralled by the row of “big boy” bikes at a nearby toy store.

His feet couldn’t quite reach the pedals yet, but I already have visions of him pedaling away from me (heaven help me, if he tries half the stunts on a bike I tried as a child, I don’t think I want to know about it).

Sam, sweetie, don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. We love you just the way you are.

Your time will come.

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