Saturday, March 7, 2015

Officially A Dragon

Dear Ian,

I can't believe I am getting ready to write this, but in exactly one month (on April 7th), I will attend a mandatory meeting for parents of incoming kindergarteners.  And then in five months (that's only one hand of months - ack), it will be time to purchase school supplies and send you off to kindergarten. 

And while I am all sappy and Mommy-ish about my baby boy starting kindergarten, I am thrilled.  You, my little kiddo, were randomly picked out of a lottery to attend The School of Arts and Sciences.  SAS is a rockin' charter school right down the street from our house and a stones throw away from Advent.
I fell in love with SAS when I was a teacher there in 2005.  I loved the arts based curriculum.  I loved the Montessori based learning centers.  The respectful environment was amazing, and the staff was committed to their jobs and the philosophy of the charter.  The kids learned by doing.  This last part appealed to me the most; your mommy is a kinestheic learner.  If I can physically manipulate something, if I can DO it, I can learn it.  And you seem to have the same sort of mind.  But I digress...  Watching the kids learn, even as kindergarteners, multiplication by using bead bars, or helping them learn to read with moveable alphabets made SO much sense to me.  Participating in hands-on gardening activities made them more aware of their school environment and therefore made them proud of where they learned, and that was just wicked cool.  And the atmosphere of respect based on Conscious Discipline was just a really refreshing change.  I remember saying out-loud, "If I ever have a kid, I am going to my darndest to get him (or her... again, this was years before you were born) in this school."

But.  To attend SAS, you have to put your name in a hat.  Maybe not literally, but yeah.  The school is filled by lottery.  Parents fill out admission forms and then wait.  Our current school zone is for Gilchrist Elementary, which is a great school, and I was going to be ok either way.  But deep down, there was this hope that you'd get called.  And we did.  And I practically did a cartwheel.

So, in August of 2015, you will start kindergarten as a dragon.  And if you read the last letter, you'll probably guess how very excited you are about that part.  Dragons, knights... you get me?  Yeah.  You're thrilled about that part.  Kindergarten?  Meh.  You're rather blase' about it.  According to you, big school "will probably be fun."  But you're going to be a dragon, and that part just makes your day.  
It makes my day, too,  little boy.  But for majorly different reasons.  My boy is going to kindergarten soon! 

Love you lots and lots,

*Random weird fact: back in the day, the campus that is now SAS used to be a church based preschool through Epiphany Lutheran Church.  Your Grandma Brooks taught there when it was Epiphany in the same classroom that Mommy taught in few years later.  So yes.  I have taught at Advent where she taught and SAS where she taught - even in the same room.  I'm trying to make sure that doesn't sound creepy.

Medieval Times

Dear Ian,

I'm Mike the Knight!
Over the past few years, different things have caught your attention and become the focus of your learning and play.  You love all things tractors and trains, and you learned a ton about them.  I know more tractor models now that you've taught me than I ever knew, even growing up around them, and I have listened to you talk about the difference between steam trains and diesel trains until I thought CSX would give us BOTH a job.  It's neat to watch you latch on to something that interests you; I love to watch your brain work.

As of late, your new interest is knights and castles and such.  I'm not exactly sure where this new topic of discovery originated.  Maybe episodes of Mike the Knight on Nick, Jr?  Not sure.  But either way, you are consumed.  You wanted a knight costume for Halloween, and I made it happen, but then Uncle Ryan trumped me by getting you an awesome set made out of wood and leather.  It's pretty dang awesome, and it's not rare for me to turn around from cooking dinner to find you looking like this:
None shall pass
A quintain.  Thank you, Google images
Thankfully, Mike the Knight is actually a pretty tolerable show, and to be fair, it has increased your vocabulary by some pretty awesome new words.  What other five year old knows what a trebuchet is and how to properly pronounce that?  (Other kids that watch Mike the Knight, I'm sure, but I am still impressed...)  You also had to explain to me what a quintain is.  For the record, it's a snazzy little contraption that helps a knight practice jousting. You have asked for both a trebuchet and a quintain for Christmas, as well as a bow and arrow set, a horse and a book that teaches you how to be a knight.  Apparently Mike the Knight has one called "The Big Book for Knights in Training," and you have to have one.  Good Lord.  Santa has already started researching. 
But anyhoo...

I many not have been able to find a Big Book for Knights in Training, but I did find a book that you think is pretty dang cool.  One of your other favorite things to do is draw.  The house is covered in your drawings.  From pictures of us, to drawings of the cruise ship we're about to go on for Spring Break, to the images of techno music creators Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto (those are hilarious; look for them in the next post), you love to draw and create.  So the other day, when I was at Barnes and Nobles looking for a birthday party gift, I stumbled across this awesomeness:
I think I broke land speed records getting to the cash register.  And when I gave it to you, the look on your face was priceless.  You LOVE this book.  And now you're whipping through white drawing paper and recreating every page.  Here's a small sample:

Pretty sweet, right?!

So, Sir Ian.  This is what has captured your imagination for now.  One of my goals over spring break is to get you to Medieval Times Dinner Theater, where real knights joust and sword fight and you get to eat dinner with your hands in a castle.  I think it would just completely THRILL you!  Uncle Ryan is in on the plan, and hopefully we can make it work.  If not this spring break, then we will get there eventually.  With your current obsession, though, I think now would be better.  Just gotta work out those logistics.

I love you, my little knight in training!