Monday August 23, 2004 11:17 PM
The Day Before

Tomorrow is the big day. Isaiah starts kindergarten!

Ever since he got to see the classroom he will be spending the next year in, he has been very excited about the whole thing. Of course, this makes Ruth and I happy.

This morning Ruth took me to work since she needed the van today. I had to get there early so we all had to get out of bed before the regular hour.

On my way to the shower I went into Isaiah's room and shook him gently to begin waking him up.

"Isaiah.... Isaiah- it's time to start waking up."

"Whuh mum grmbl zyzzzz"

"Come on, Buddy. We all have to get up early today."

At this his body went rigid, galvanized with excitement-

"Is it kindergarten day?!"

"No, Son. You are taking me to work this morning."

"Oh, yeah... I need some more sleep."

He was in a good mood when he finally did wake up, though. Part of the reason he woke up in a good mood and stayed that way was that I let him wear his pyjamas instead of getting dressed for the ride.

On the drive to work, I told Isaiah that if he got his stuff picked up, we would go to a special celebration dinner when I got home for starting kindergarten. He thought that sounded like a fine idea and I told him to think of where he'd like to go.

When I got home, the living room and family room were actually straightened up- far better than the average nagging-induced job he produces. Also he'd received an item of mail during the day. His kindergarten teacher had written him a letter in which was enclosed a nametag for him to wear tomorrow. Needless to say, this made him even more excited about going tomorrow.

Not surprisingly his choice was El Mezcal. He was so excited he was about to pop as we drove to the restaurant. When we got there I took his picture out front. All I remember about my first day of kindergarten was that I was not happy about being left and that I had a small brown-ish satchel that I was proud of but I figure since I (very occasionally these days) write this website to help me remember, why not take some steps to help him remember, too? I frequently wonder exactly what things were like back when I was little. Hopefully, if he has similar wonders when he's older I'll be able to satisfy his curiosity.

His behavior at the restaurant was not what could be called exemplary. He wasn't bad, he just was simply so excited that he could not sit still. If I'd had a dime for every time I said "Sit up, sit still, and knock off the monkey-business" I think our supper would have been paid for. He had a good time, though, and that's what it was all about so I exercised a great deal more tolerance and patience than I normally would have felt appropriate.

During supper he proposed that the way we could really celebrate and have fun was to put together a certain robot kit he recently rediscovered among the outrageous amount of toys he has.

"Maybe," I answered, "if you will straighten up and if you are good at the grocery store where we are stopping on the way home."

Well, we didn't work on the robot. His excitement prevented him from achieving the level of behavior required for that particular treat, but it was just as well. By the time we got home there was just enough of the evening left before bedtime for Isaiah and Gideon to have a celebratory bath together.

Gideon, by the way, has a new thing to add to his list of favorites. He loves to watch the water filling the bathtub and the way he loves to watch it most is standing tubside patting on the ledge of the tub. He does pretty well standing there, and he's tall enough that the side of the tub comes to the middle of his chest. It's neat to watch him standing there transfixed by the flowing water.

After Isaiah was dry and had his jammies on he gave Ruth and Gideon goodnight hugs. Then we turned off his ceiling light and in the warm 20 Watt glow of his dresser lamp we traveled to Middle Earth to listen in as Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves all got chased up trees by the evil wolves known as wargs.

"Wow, how do you think they'll get away from the wolves?"

"Uh, sneak away?"

"But, they're up trees and the wolves are all around the bottoms of the trees. How can they sneak away?"

"Well maybe they would be able to see somewhere where the wolves weren't looking and just... sneak away."

"I don't think that would work, but we'll find out tomorrow night. Right now it's time to brush teeth."

After a bit of dental hygiene, it was time to travel to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe to join Paul and Barnabas in the 14th chapter of the book of Acts and then it was time for bed. Before a prayer and lights-out, however, we had a little discussion.

"Hey, I've got a question for you."

"What is it?"

"What's your phone number?"

"Awww, man. I'm not in the mood for that stuff!"

"Come on, they're gonna test you on that tomorrow. I know you know it..."

With a bit of prompting he recited it.

"Now, what's your address?"


"Come on, Dude. You have to know this stuff for kindergarten."

Again with a bit of prompting and a slight correction he had it.

"Now, I want to tell you you're going to have to figure out how to be happy and excited without all the fooling around, and hopping and running and all that kind of monkeybusniness."

"But when I get excited I have energy!"

"I understand that, but if you don't figure out how to be excited without jumping around, you are going to be in trouble all the time and then you won't be happy anymore."

"I know, I know."

"Well, knowing and working on it are two different things. You have to work on it."

"OK, I will."

Then I begged his indulgence as I took a picture of him going to bed a "little boy" for the last time. With a bit of goofing around, he humored me and I got a decent shot of the end of an era in our lives.

He's asleep now dreaming of who knows what. It's probably got spaceships or robots in it, or Power Rangers or big, friendly monsters or something, but my dream is simple.

I am dreaming, as I hope, that his excitement about kindergarten will remain when I see him tomorrow night and that it will continue throughout the shcool year.