Third grade helps you grow up

Published 6:03 am Monday, August 13, 2007

By Staff
It’s amazing how quickly people change and my son has changed overnight.
During the last school year, Landon was in second grade — still a baby by many standards but becoming a little more independent. What has amazed me is that he grew up, without my noticing, on Aug. 8, the day before he began third grade.
What transpired on Wednesday night still has me in a state of shock. While we were busy bagging the ton of school supplies he needed to begin the year, he took over. He separated what were really school supplies from the other things. He was so organized that he made sure to put things like rulers, crayons, pencils, paper and folders in his backpack. He made sure his name was on everything and even put the other items in a bag to keep things separate. He made sure the tissue, paper towels and hand sanitizer were bagged in such a way that they weren’t crushed or squirting all over the place inside the bag.
As we made sure his uniform was ready to put on, he placed his socks inside his shoes, his belt over the hanger of his pants and hung them in an easy-to-get-to spot.
That may not sound like a lot to you, but for the mother of an only child, it was more than had ever happened before. Never had he been so anxious to help and so organized on top of it all.
When Thursday morning, as the first day of school dawned, he was up in a flash and getting dressed. I didn’t have to remind him to tuck in his shirt or to button the collar.
Even though he is certainly not a morning person, on Thursday he was chipper and ready to get going. Mom didn’t have to tell him to go brush his teeth. He was so grown up, all of a sudden he didn’t need reminding.
Breakfast was not as hurried as I imagined it would be. I prepared a little something, but for some reason the scrambled eggs and toast did not appeal to him. He informed me as we drove to the school that he was a little nervous about his first day back at school.
Nervousness — I thought — was only something that adults could feel and actually verbalize. Being the parent of only one child, I have nothing to go on in the way of knowing how a third-grader is supposed to act.
My child had, overnight, become something more than the little boy I had put to sleep before the first day of school.
While I love to tell him goodbye and give him a quick kiss as we part ways in the drop-off line at the school each morning, I found out that the little smooch I can’t seem to make it through the day without wasn’t high on his priority list.
I made the trip inside the school with him to help deliver the three bags of supplies to his room. I even stopped to take a few pictures of children for use in the newspaper and was able to observe some of the activity around the lobby of the school.
Landon didn’t seem to mind that I decided to hang around at the front of the school. As a matter of fact, he left me there. He made his way to a whole new wing of the school. I found that third- and fourth-grade students are in a completely different part of the school that I had never seen before. But, my suddenly grown child didn’t have a problem at all making his way to his new classroom.
Again, that might not sound like much. But we are talking about a child who can’t find the clothes hamper at home most of the time and has a little trouble remembering where the garbage can is.
At any rate, it seems that becoming a third grade student puts a young person into a grow-up-now mode. It’s sad in a way and thrilling in yet another. I’m happy he can get completely dressed in the morning and remember to brush his teeth without being told. It certainly makes my life a little less hectic in the mornings. But I am a little sad that he doesn’t need me as much for the same things as he did just a few short months ago.
I hope that his teacher, Mrs. Jordan, will enjoy having him in her class this year. She has no idea that less than a week ago, he was still somewhat of a baby and just because he is in the third grade now, he has grown up in a lot of ways.
I realize he’s only been to school two days so far, and there is the possibility that he may slip back into the younger version of himself at any moment. I did get my goodbye smooch in the drop-off line on Friday morning, so I was able to make it through the day just fine.
I’m just praying that he will be the confident little boy he has become so quickly during his time at school. I also will be praying that my baby will show up at home from time to time. No matter how grown up he gets or how independent he becomes, there will be joy for his growth and sadness for the same reason.
Lisa Tindell is a news reporter for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at

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