It’s been 2½ weeks since Toby started school and he’s still as enthusiastic now as he was at the end of his first half-day, washing away our concerns that he might struggle to cope with the change in moving up from preschool.
In fact, if anything he has embraced it even more readily than his elder brother Isaac, who himself took to school like a starving man to an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Up until now, I’ve never really thought of Toby as being particularly mature for his age. When he’s in a playful mood with his mates, he’s as loud and silly as you would expect from any four-year-old boy, whereas Isaac has always been more bookish and serious and tends to hang out with the girls rather than kick a football around.
But Toby the Schoolboy – as opposed to Toby the Preschooler – has been a revelation. He actively wants to get dressed in his school uniform every morning. After a quick kiss goodbye, he proudly marches into his classroom ready to start his day. At the end of the day he’s all smiles. He comes home and loves to talk about and show what he has done that day. There’s still the odd afternoon tantrum, especially towards the end of the week when he’s simply dog-tired, but as far as school goes he’s loving the experience.
At the same time, moving up to primary school has coincided with a desire to start reading for himself at bedtime rather than just being read to. We sit with him at bedtime and he’s determined to read one story to us. Okay, much of it is him reading from memory but he is starting to recognise common words for himself and he’s ever so proud when he reaches the end of a book.
When I look back to where he was even four or five months ago, when he didn’t seem anywhere near ready for school and was having real trouble making himself understood verbally – he still has some trouble with sibilant sounds, but he’s improved so much recently – it’s like comparing two different boys.
If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say the biggest difference in Toby over the past few weeks has been confidence. He’s finally growing into himself – no longer Isaac’s quiet little brother, more willing to express himself and show who he is.
So … so far, so good. This is such a rapid period of development for him it’s hard to keep up. We’ve got a four-day break away over half-term when I’ll get to spend some prolonged quality time with him. I can’t wait. The young boy is fast becoming a young man. I’m as proud as he is.