Thursday, November 3, 2011

The age of innocence

I've had people ask me what is my 'favorite phase' of my experiences in motherhood.  It's a hard question to answer, because every age and phase has its own unique set of characteristics that you love and cherish (of course, there are also characteristics of each phase that aren't so thrilling and adorable--i.e. the random level 6 meltdown that Brynn has been known to demonstrate in the middle of Target or the grocery store).

One of the coolest characteristics of the kindergarten age is the perfect blend of 'knowledgeable sponge-like pupil' and 'sweet, innocent child'.  When I pick Gavin up from school, he and I have the opportunity to share about 15 minutes of peace and special conversation.  He shares what he's doing in school, what his teacher has been teaching him, and what events transpired during recess or BASE (before/after school).  It's adorable to hear him speak of Mrs. Irwin as though everything that comes out of her mouth is gospel.  I know he listens very carefully in class, and he's learning the art of being intuitive.  Just the other day, he told me his entire daily routine.  After he was finished, I told him I was amazed at how much they did, and how I would be so tired after a day of kindergarten.  He proceeded to tell me how his teacher is never tired, even with all the kids she has to teach, questions she has to answer, and directions she has to repeat.  In one instant, he went from being the 'knowledgeable pupil' who knew the ins and outs of how he's learning in kindergaren, to an 'innocent child' who lives under the impression that his teacher is similar to a superhero.  (I shared this story with his teacher, and she was tickled by his interpretation of her energy level :)


There's something about Gavin's age that I'm not a fan of--loose teeth.  I'm not in love with the constant wiggling, and the concept of the tooth falling out reminds me of a recurring nightmare I've had several times where my teeth crumble and I spit them out continuously (gross). 

This morning, while brushing his teeth, Gavin realized that his once unbelieveably wiggly tooth was no longer in the place where it had been patiently waiting to be freed from its temporary home.  Needless to say, he was concerned.  First, he thought it was in his bed.  Then, he thought he swallowed the tooth in his sleep, or with his cereal.  That's when his little innocent mind began processing at a faster rate--a more profitable rate. 

His concern shifted from the potential 'lost' tooth to the potential of lost profits.  "What will the Tooth Fairy do about my tooth?!", he pondered.  "Will she even come to visit tonight?", he asked quizzically.  "Oh no! What about my money?", he asked, frantically.  I assured him we'd get it straightened out in the evening, you know, when we don't have about 3 minutes to get out the door and on the way to work on time in the mini-blizzard-like conditions we were having at that time of day.


After basketball practice ended, we came home and went on a tooth hunt.  We searched the sheets, the floor next to the bed, and underneath Eeyore's tush.  No luck.  I could see the concern washing across his sweet little face.  Quickly, I scurried him down to the dining table and set him up with a pencil and paper.  He proceeded to compose a letter to explain his current plight. 
I asked him what he wanted to say, so I could scribe it for him to use as a model for his own work. "Dear Tooth Fairy,

I lost my tooth and can't find it.
Can I still have some money?
Love, Gavin

During his entire letter-writing experience, he was bouncing back and forth between teaching me all he knows about the words and letters he is writing, and the innocent child, desperate to make his plea to the Tooth Fairy in neat handwriting.  Brynn wasn't making the experience any easier, as she taunted Gavin with the possibility that the Tooth Fairy would say 'too bad, Gavin', and ignore his request (another one of those *fun* characteristics of a 3 year old girl that I just *adore*--and will absolutely not miss when it has passed!).

In the end, the letter was completed, and he went to bed as a trusting and innocent five year old, anxiously awaiting to reap the benefits of a very kind and understanding Tooth Fairy.  Good thing for him, we're blessed to have a very kind and understanding Tooth Fairy (and, double bonus--he will get to taunt Brynn as he drops his new coins into his piggy bank tomorrow morning!)

Innocence...a characteristic that has breached so many of the ages/phases that we've experienced so far.  As Gavin develops and learns in school, I know that the trusting innocence of a child will be replaced by the knowledge of a very knowledgeable and sponge-like pupil.  I pray for that innocence to hang on as long as possible...we've got a lot more teeth to lose in this household....

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