Monday, June 15, 2015

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Chopped in the Throat (aka Micah's 4K Graduation)

This one.

He wants to feel special. He is the middle brother, but certainly he is the outlier of the bunch. He feels it. When his brother introduces them to new people, he will say, "I'm Isaiah. I'm the older brother. This is Micah. He's the bigger brother."

He is always going to stand out from the crowd, I think. He's the one who refuses to wear his graduation cap with the rest of his class, the one who covers his ears because the singing is too loud. He is the one who wails that he is starrrrrving twenty minutes after polishing off a stack of pancakes.

Ok, fine. That's all of my boys. That might just be boys in general.

He's also the one who walks right up to complete strangers, flashes the smile and the dimple, and launches into conversation. In seconds, he will have told his new best friend his name, his age, what he wants for his birthday, and how he has superpowers that allow him to control the weather and fly. But his flying powers are broken right now, so he can't show you. 

He is charming, hilarious, infuriating, and intoxicating. All at the same time.

I mean, just look at the photos I took of this boy at his little 4K graduation ceremony.

First of all, can we just all pause for a second and really ask ourselves why a bunch of 4 and 5 year old kids need a ceremony to transition to kindergarten? It's cute and all, but it's pretty clear the whole thing is much more for the parents than for the kids. The only ceremony I got to help me transition to kindergarten was a new backpack and a reminder that nobody likes a know-it-all.

First, our little graduate walked in the room, clutching his little red felt graduation cap in his hand. No matter how we tried to gesture wildly or plead with him in whispers to put it on, he refused. Strong-willed, always.

But then this happened and I pretty much lost it. After the class finished singing their cute little songs, we actually convinced Micah to put the hat on. He kept monkeying with it and ended up pulling it down over his eyes, which the kid next to him clearly thought was the funniest thing he has ever seen in his life.

I just kept snapping photos, trying to hold my phone still while my body shook with laughter.

And then while they handed out the certificates, the two of them launched into an epic ninja battle.

What graduation ceremony is complete without someone getting punched in the throat? 

But, at the end of all the fuss and craziness of the ceremony, Micah got his certificate and became an official graduate of 4K. Let me tell you, that was no small feat for this child. He is the oldest kid in his class, clearly the biggest kid in his class, and one of the kids who struggles the most. He was identified as needing some support services early in the year, so I got to attend my very first IEP meeting as a parent rather than as a teacher.

He was identified as having some significant language processing issues that kept him from being able to focus in a large group, understand complex instructions, and process language in an effective way. He started to work with a speech and language teacher and the thing I was most thrilled by was not his progress or improvement in the areas I just mentioned, but rather in his perseverance.

He worked so hard. When something got tough, he kept trying. When his eyes would fill with tears because he didn't write his name exactly right, he would get himself under control and try again. When I would ask him to do three workbook pages of homework in the afternoon, he did not want to do it, but he pushed through and did it anyway.

That tenacity paid huge dividends and it was our sincere joy to take our boy in our arms, look him in the eye and speak the truth into his 5-year-old heart that he desires more than anything else - "We are so proud of you, son." 

Not because his test scores went up and not because he improved at sorting things by color or shape. Not because he suddenly leaped up to the top of his class. We are proud of him because he busted his butt at being the best version of himself. What more could we ask?

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