Easing Into 25

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

Confident, cute and curious: Kolton starting school.

I fear May has become the month of melancholy for me.  For the past nearly 30 years, May has been the hustle and bustle, much like December.  Graduations, school semesters ending, apartment-moving, babies coming home for the summer, end of school year parties, teacher gift-giving, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and the fait accompli – Bubbie’s birthday.

May’s not as hectic any more, but at least there’s Kolton’s birthday.  This month, my 300-week-old baby is turning a big number – a quarter of a century – 25.  He’s taller than me, has facial hair and looks like a man – to other people.  To me, he looks exactly like his picture the morning he went off to three-year-old preschool – confident, cute and curious.

When Kolton graduated high school, we had a big party for him.  It was at that party that I felt obliged to reveal a secret I had kept for 15 years about his academic career, which began at the age of three.

The big reveal went something like this:  Kassidi was starting Kindergarten, and Kolton was starting preschool.  It was a big day in our house.  Kolton grabbed his “briefcase,” his name for his backpack since he grew up in Momma’s office, and I took the first day of school photos.  We were ready!

We arrived at the Methodist Day School and took Sissy to her new Kindergarten class.  She was thrilled to see friends and was off to the races, all smiles, no time for photos.  She was in her element.

We then went to Bub’s classroom all the while me snapping pictures.  We put up his “briefcase,” got his bear nametag affixed to his shirt, met his teacher and all was going well until I saw it: “The face.”  It was not all rainbows and sunshine; his mood had changed dramatically once in the classroom.

Then came “The face.”

In one swift motion, I grabbed his “briefcase” and swept my baby up in my arms.  I walked briskly out of the classroom with a teacher hot on my heels.  I called back, “Not today, Satan,” and Kolt and I left the building.

I strapped Kolton into his car seat, now all smiles, and said, “Do you want to go to Donald’s?”  That’s McDonald’s in Kolt speak.  “Yes Momma,” was his immediate reply.

We had a lengthy discussion about how going to preschool was something that needed to be eased into.  You couldn’t just jump right in on something like that.  We were going to take our time and ease into it.  He readily agreed that was the plan.

With Caillou on the tv and a McDonald’s breakfast on the table, Bub was all smiles in no time.  We played baseball, watched cartoons, drew pictures and had a great day.  Pretty soon, it was time to pick up Sissy.

“Now Bub, Sissy and Daddy are going to ask how your day was today,” I told him.  “Did you have a good day?”

“I had a great day Momma.”

“Good, so that’s what you need to tell them – you had a great day.  They are going to ask if you met your teacher.  Did you?”

“Yes Momma.”

“They’re going to ask if you made any new friends.  Remember Ms. Stephanie at the McDonald’s drive thru?  Isn’t she a new friend?”

“Yes, Momma.”

“They’re going to ask what you did.  Did you eat lunch and play today?”

“Yes, Momma.”

So, the evening inquisition went smoothly as baby boy was well-prepared, and the next morning rolled around.  We all got up and got ready for school; however, Kolton and I quickly deemed 24 hours wasn’t enough time to ease into this new routine.  We dropped Sissy off, and Bub and I drove away yet another day repeating Donald’s and Caillou.

By day two of Kolton being MIA, the school was calling.  “Is Kolton coming to school?”

“Did you get my check?” was my reply.  “Because I feel certain it’s cleared my account.  Do I need to send you a copy?”  That concluded the inquiry.

Day three of preschool finally came around, and that was the day of reckoning.  Kolt finally felt he had eased enough, and I delivered him without “the face.”  No one but the teachers ever knew that I had postponed his career in academia a couple of days.

Upon the big reveal, Mr. Kaminski was stunned that we had skirted preschool for a few days and kept it to ourselves all of these years.  And Kolt wasn’t certain on the specifics, being three and all.

The picture of “the face” the day we abandoned the concept of preschool sits in a frame beside my bed.  It’s a constant reminder that if Momma sees “the face,” I’m going in.

Happy Birthday Kolton!  Make 25 amazing, and if you need help easing into something, just call Momma.  See y’all next week – on the porch!

Patti Parish-Kaminski

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