Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Scootin’ to School May 16, 2013

Last night we had our parent-teacher conference with Seamus’s preschool teacher. Don’t worry–he’s neither a genius nor a sociopath. It made me realize how much he has grown up this year by being in “school” two days a week for three hours a day. He’s learned routine and adjusting to peer pressure and more! At the beginning of the year we dealt a Seamus we didn’t recognize after picking him up. He’d get home, eat, have a tantrum (or four, just for fun), finally lay down for a nap and sleep for 3 hours. School wore him out.

Now, I’m pretty sure he wears school out. He has friends and I’ve been trying to figure out how to let him have playdates with the other kids he likes when both Patrick and I work full time. It’s fun to see who he picks for his friends and then to watch them have good time with them on their own games and terms.

This morning we scooted to school, after crashing disappointment yesterday when it was raining and we couldn’t ride. Seamus rides his scooter, Gilbert rides the balance bike, and I run frantically after them, shouting things like, “Gilbert, stop! Brakes! Stay in the white lines! Off road on this side!” etc. For some reason, this morning the boys insisted on wearing all of their protective gear (knee pads and elbow pads, not just their helmets).

At one point, there’s a steep downhill with a turn, and I told Seamus to stop so I could catch up, but he didn’t. He turned to say, “I’m going slow!” Like, stop bugging me Mama, I know what I’m doing. And just then, he hit a slick spot on the bricks and went down. Of course, he cried. But when I pointed out to him how lucky it was that he was wearing all his gear, and we looked at the scratches on each pad, he cheered right up. I am pretty proud of myself for not saying, “That’s why I told you to stop.” I find that sometimes I cover up my concern with irritation. I had actually been more nervous about Gilbert going down that hill, because last time he almost missed the turn and sailed into traffic. I had wanted to be standing at the bottom when they came down rather than chasing behind them.

Anyway, no real harm done. Gilbert started trying to crash his bike so he could get some scrapes on his protective gear. When we got to school, Seamus took off his equipment, but Gilbert left his on. In the classroom, the kids wanted to know about Gilbert’s stuff, so we showed them, and then we left. As we were leaving, I heard Seamus explaining to his friends how he had crashed and scraped up all his equipment, and if he hadn’t scraped it up he might have been really hurt. The others were in awe. It strikes me like stories that end with, “And if I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt…” Or, “If the bullet had been in the other chamber…” or other nearly missed tragedies.

Final note: This reminds me of the time I was hit by a car while I was pregnant with Seamus. My helmet was cracked in five places. He’s heard that story a few times now. I guess it’s rubbed off.

Now I have to go, because Gilbert is packing his suitcase for a trip. He’s packed his blanket and all the wooden cupcakes that go with the kitchen.

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One Response to “Scootin’ to School”

  1. Linda St Clair Says:

    Ooh. I hope they keep wearing that protective gear. When I read this I had a little flashback to the time your brother broke his arm on my watch. He was experimenting with how fast he could stop — repeatedly speeding up and slamming on the bike’s brakes — head over heels over the handlebars! Boys will be boys, I guess. But, they’ll give you a heart attack every once in awhile for sure before they grow up.


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