“Abajo!” he says to me one morning, while I attempted to hide my face under my pillow. This extraordinarily unorthodox morning greeting usually meant that he couldn’t find his mother, who was likely already downstairs with the younger one. “Downstairs!” he tries again, this time in english. He pokes at my face for a few moments until I reluctantly surrender. This has been my life for the past few weeks; the result of spending most of my evenings poring over thousands of images into the wee hours of the night, until succumbing to the sweet respite of a dreamless slumber. This spanish-speaking phase however, is a new development.
My oldest son spent the better part of his first 3 years on this earth being a couch potato, which is where I presume he’s been learning all his numbers, alphabet, shapes and spanish. From the beginning, our child care arrangements were meant to be a short term solution that was simply borne out of countless other undesirable options. This was unfair; both to his development and to his grandparents, who’d graciously forgone a quiet retirement in exchange for chasing two rambunctious little boys around the house for 10-12 hours a day. But nevertheless, my in-laws are getting older, and our once burgeoning photography business has now transformed into something beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. It was finally time to do the right thing as a parent, and set this little boy free to explore the world around him.
Raggedy sweats and blinking shoes for his first day of daycare/school. Ballerrrrrrr…..
When we first researched our daycare options in our area, we were looking for something that was more than just an overpriced babysitting service. We were looking for an environment that would nurture our son socially, academically and spiritually. Most importantly, we were looking for something within our budget – which was the primary reason why he stayed at home all these years with Grandma, Dora and Elmo.
As we walked down the long corridor to his new classroom, a wave of emotions rushed through me. What if the other kids didn’t like him? What if he starts eating other people’s lunches? What if he starts diagnosing all his teachers with brain tumors? When we walked into the classroom, the teacher smiled and introduced Aiden to his new classmates. My wife and I gave him a big hug, told him that we loved him, and that he had to be a good boy. We weren’t sure if he heard any of this though, as busied himself with the endless shelves of unfamiliar toys with his new friends.