Dear Mister Man,
Today you “graduated” from preschool — and forgive me, but I use that term loosely. In my mind, you have moved on from preschool, but graduations are reserved for high school and college. Even Daddy only has the eighth grade recognition ceremony at the middle school.
I remember when you first started preschool just before you turned three. I knew you needed the social interaction and the academics were fun play. Your teachers expressed concern that you would wander the perimeter of the classroom and knock toys down during the day instead of playing with other kids. You did a great job of listening to the teachers in circle time, but the less structured periods were a struggle for you.
Just over a month into preschool, you had turned three, and we moved you to the Early Learning program in our school district where the teachers had the expertise to encourage all your development, social and physical and academic. The first day, I followed the bus all the way to school to be sure that you were ok. Five day a week preschool and riding a bus were big changes for us both!
Miss Erin was a great teacher, and we saw differences quickly. Over winter break, for the first time you asked a friend if she wanted to play Candyland instead of talking to an adult. I was so proud of you!
You made changes large and small, from figuring out how to ask kids to play with you without knocking their toys over to actually now being able to walk up to kids in any situation and play with them. It’s so cool for me to take you to the kids’ area at the health club and listen to the stories of the friends you made and what games you created while I was working out.
Physically, you’ve come a long way, too. I would watch you struggle to do basic gymnastics moves like jumping down the trampoline or holding onto the rings or walking across the ladder. Today, you scamper up the tall ladder toys at the playground without a concern. You’re very proud of all your strength, and someday, you’re sure you’ll be stronger than Popeye.
Academically is where you’ve amazed me the most. Dude, you are the smartest little kid I know. You started to read a year ago February — or before, since I didn’t realize you could read! — and have so quickly progressed from the Bob books to reading Thomas books to now reading the entire Magic Treehouse series and Encyclopedia Brown. You do math in you head, you know your coins, and you’re really starting to figure out spelling, too.
While some parts of your life are a challenge, you’ve been blessed academically. In fact, this is where Daddy and I are a bit challenged, too. We know you hate to be bored, and we want you to be challenged in school. We’re still trying to figure out what school to send you to next year, but I just hope that you’ll be happy wherever you are.
You’ve made so many friends over the past three years, and your teachers have nothing but positive things to say about you. Miss Dawn still insists you’re the most generous child she’s ever met for all the chocolate you’ve given her out of your own Halloween stash. All someone has to do is ask, and you’ll happily give.
You are so enthusiastic about so many things. I love the joy you show when you ask Little Miss’s teachers every day how she did in school, knowing the answer will always be “awesome.” Your happy dance will always crack me up, and the way your face lights up whenever there’s a surprise is so neat to see. You are a truly special kid.
My one word of warning to you is that you need to learn how to fail and to recover from that. I know you want to be perfect, but no one is, not even Mommy. It’s ok to try and to not succeed. If you don’t try, you’ll never learn whether or not you like something, and no one is good at something without a lot of practice. Just try, and never give up. Mommy’s always going to love you no matter what.
And you know what? You’ve done a great job so far. I’m so proud of you!