I have a draft post from last week about Landon's parent-teacher conference. Well, if you can call the uploading of four pictures a "draft." Seriously you guys- unpacking, cleaning, organizing, interior decorating, finance stressing, lunch packing, children raising, dinner making, internet surfing, springtail obsessing, and the occasional bit of TV-watching takes up the bulk of my evenings. And last week, I was doing all that while JP was out of town getting 9-hours of sleep in a room without springtails. Which is all to say, not a lot of writing has been happening lately and that makes me sad.
Anyway, back to the parent teacher conference I never got a chance to write about. There are very few thrills in parenting equal to that of hearing someone else tell you your child is wonderful. Sure, much of who Landon is comes from something inside himself, and it's not like JP or I had any control over the genetic material we gave him, but you do not get a report card when raising your kid. There is no one to tell you on a moment-to-moment basis that you handled a particularly challenging moment well. And there are SO MANY moments where some sort of guidebook or grading system would be helpful. So hearing your son's new teacher tell you that he is a JOY, that he is a leader, that the other children look to him, that he works so hard and does it with a smile, that she would never have to raise her voice if her whole class was filled with Landons, and that she is just so happy to have him in her class... I have to admit I got a little teary.
Since he had such a marvelous report, and he's come along so far academically in the mere 8 weeks he's been there, we celebrated with a trip to the "yogurt restaurant with all the toppings" down our street. Claire flipped out when we pulled in the parking lot, even though we've only been once before and I can't believe she recognized it.
Landon was given his own cup to fill with yogurt and any four toppings he wanted. He made very careful selections, posed for a picture, and then sat in complete, almost reverent silence while he ate every bite.
Two of our personal parenting principles are (1) that we don't bribe- good behavior is expected, not bargained for, and bad behavior is punished, and (2) treats are just that- treats. Special, exciting, and unexpected. So as we were heading out to the car after dinner and we announced the frozen yogurt trip and why we were going, it was so fun to see his proud, excited expression. Because we were going to get dessert and we were going because of him. I'm smiling just thinking about his adorable flustered grin.
Then, today Landon's class had their graduation ceremony and show. Landon was careful to tell us that he was not graduating, so he would be wearing flowers and NOT a graduation cap, but that was okay, because he would graduate next year after he learned even more things and grew even bigger. We listened carefully and nodded our way through his earnest explanation, never letting on that we were the ones who'd decided he'd be staying an extra year in the Montessori school, and though we agonized over it at first, we're now completely certain it was the right decision.
Not surprisingly, Landon took his job as performer very seriously, following all instructions and reciting each poem and song with a focused expression. There was a song in French, a telling of the presidents, the continents, and the planets, and a meandering story about never asking a black bear where it's going. Adorable.
There was a receiving of diplomas. Landon INSISTED that a belt must be worn for the special day, so JP punched a few extra holes in a too-big belt we found in his drawer.
I was presented with a belated Mother's Day book and plant.
JP got hugs. I wish you could see their matching cowboy boots.
And we got to meet the parent's of Landon's class girlfriend (and spy on the little couple through my telephoto lens).
It was a great afternoon. The greatest part was getting to see our baby boy in the spotlight, and to be able to focus on him alone. I can't remember the last time we spent time with him without Claire (as is his preference, but still, it was nice to be able to completely focus on him for a while). But the second greatest part? Using an extra credit hour to log out of work exactly when I needed to in order to be at the school 15 minutes before showtime, so I could be the relaxed parent in the front-row, smiling with my camera ready. No checking my blackberry, no reassuring anyone I'd be available later if needed, no need to log in and make up for the hours tonight. The move and my job change did have a price, but the resulting could-not-previously-be-comprehended, absolutely life-altering lifestyle change has been priceless. Even with the bugs.
But back to Landon. I'm so proud of him, and while I can't believe my baby boy is about to turn five, watching him grow and learn and change is so fun and rewarding that I can't honestly say I want him to freeze in time and stop. But if he could slow it down a bit, that would be great.