I was convinced for the first three years of Cole’s life that I would homeschool him. I read books on unschooling, I followed the message boards, I was on board. Then Cole changed. He became so social and desperate for time with other kids that it became a daily conversation.
“Where are the kids?” he’d ask.
So we went to look for them. On the weekends we could take him to the beach or the mall where the families tended to be. During the week, after about 8 PM the kids come out to the park near our house and the little ones ride their bikes until about 10 PM when magically, without a word, everyone just disperses. At the end of those evenings, Cole often cried, he wanted to play more. He made one friend, Alexander, and they would ride their bikes like madmen around the plaza, past the teenagers playing soccer, around the moms gossiping, darting around the yippy dog that the old man brought with him every night.
One night, after a few days of not seeing Alexander, we approached the park and there he was. The boy. Alexander. Cole and the boy saw each other and started running.
“Boy!” Cole shouted.
“Niño!” Alexander yelled back.
They ran into each others arms, well, more like smacked right into each other, then fell to the ground hugging.
Holy crap, this kid needs friends.
So this week, we enrolled him in Kindergarten (they start at 3 years old here) at a bilingual private school so there’s a smoother transition. (Most colegios in Mexico are entirely in Spanish and often don’t have English speaking staff — eventually we will do that, but for these first few months we wanted a little English buffer for him).
Of course we got him a new backpack.
Which he asks to wear around the house too. He loves everything about school. The kids, the teachers, the drawing, the playing, the painting, saying things in Spanish, getting a new spiderman toothbrush to use at school, and of course, the most amazing part, the Monsters University shoes we got him even though we try to avoid branded clothing (nearly impossible these days) but he thinks they are like robots for his feet and confided in Drew that they could make him fly.
Okay fine, kid, you get the Disney plastic shoes instead of the stylish kicks your mother picked out. I never really had a chance.
On the first day of school he was so happy. He brought his backpack up to the classroom and when the little girl next to him put hers against the wall, he did too. The teacher asked, “Are you happy?” and after a beat he said, “Yes”.
He was so ready. If he one day decides he doesn’t like school and wants to homeschool, I will be here. Until then, we’re just eating up his joy.