Here's Kaden on his first day of second grade. The first time. We moved the poor kid to another school about three weeks in when a spot opened up at a nearer school where he'd been on the waiting list. If you count where he attended pre-K, this is Kaden's fourth school. You'd think he was a military kid or something.
But he rolls with it.
Seriously. He's so easy.
And loving and compassionate.
There's a girl in Kaden's school who is severely handicapped, non verbal, in a wheel chair, and sometimes she'd come into Kaden's classroom. Kaden knew her name and made it a point to say hi to her and, in a conversation at church, said she needed more friends and that he wanted to pray for her.
He's a boy, so yes, he thinks farts are hilarious, sometimes he has a bad attitude (like when we ask him to read), and he tries to get away with things, but, for the most part he's a really good kid. He's even got a few citizenship awards to prove it.
And there was a day last month that he SAVED OUR LIVES. Well, his life, my life, Blue's life, and Toby's. Kevin wasn't there.
The story goes: We were off on the usual morning rounds. First stop was Kaden's drop off and we were almost there when... Much. Loud. Squealing. And I'm like, woah, now. Before I wreck this still-new-to-us van and kill us all, stop the squealing and explain.
A frog. In the van.
Now my boys love frogs. I'm the one who should have been squealing. I'm not sure why they reacted this way, so I put on Stern Mommy Voice which settled things down, and while refusing to look around lest I catch sight of said frog and LOSE IT (frogs GROSS ME OUT), I calmly asked where in the car it was.
Apparently it was approaching the top part of my seat belt.
I pulled over, scooted faster than was probably humanly possible but possible to me in that moment because of the adrenaline that had already rushed into my body once the words "frog in the car" were first uttered, and while still refusing to look, said, "Kaden, get it out."
And he did.
Caught the thing, rolled down the window, and adios Senor Frog.
Move over Avengers, there's a new superhero in town.
Last week I noticed a baby lizard in my bathroom. Not crazy about lizards either, they are right under frogs on the Creatures I HATE list. (Yup, over spiders, snakes, and roaches. I can't explain how I'm wired either. Just how it is.) Now baby lizards aren't quite as bad as grown up lizards, but I wasn't about to touch that thing. Nor was I about to call Kevin in. In so many ways, Kevin is still a middle school boy and sometimes he tries to show his affection by tormenting me. Sure, he might catch and release the lizard but not before holding it up to my face or other similar act of torture.
Kaden knows better. I called in Kaden. And just like that, lizard problem solved.
But sometimes I get to be his hero too.
Because I can cook.
And the boy loves to eat. Really, really loves it. And not just pizza and mac n cheese. He especially loves salads with feta cheese and olives of any kind and pasta dishes where I toss in capers. The boys likes strong flavors.
Through the year when he had to answer anything about me the reasoning was always the same, "I know my mom loves me because she cooks for me."
My place is in the kitchen.
And yet I can be the hero in other ways. He may save me from lizards and frogs, but in a story he wrote for school, I had a hand in saving him from a tiger.
The story goes:
One early morning I was walking home from church when I went to my bedroom and then screamed, "Ahhhh" because there was a tiger on my bed. First I held up a toy man in the air to attract the tiger but the tiger didn't move. Then I held up a baby tiger cub, but the tiger still didn't move. Finally, I held up a piece of juicy steak and he opened his mounth (sic) and snapped the steak right out of my hand. My mother called the zookeeper and the zookeeper came to the house. So there was (sic) no tigers in my bed, and I was glad."
I guess we're a good team.
The cupcakes were given to him. The bottom container held strawberries which, along with a tub of Cool Whip, he'd brought to his End of the Year Party. He'd wanted to bring Doritos but I convinced him that every one else would bring chips, and he should bring something else. He was a little grumpy about this, but sure enough, according to him, one kid brought cupcakes, one kid brought cookies, and everyone else brought chips (and Doritos were represented). He was glad he'd brought something different. I like that the boy can admit when his mama is right. :-)
His grades are good. He likes school. He likes baseball. He likes basketball. When he goes to Marine Science Camp tomorrow, he'll like that too. I mean the kid likes so many things that in a "Second Grade Memory Book" he created he wrote that he really enjoyed learning about "matter." Liquid, solid, or gas... Kaden likes it.
One more second grade memory from an assignment Kaden brought home:
"My favorite memory from second grade is (sic) the second grade dance. All of the second graders were at the dance. It was in the caferteria (sic). At the second grade dance I danced, went to the Shout Out, and I bought some popcorn and glow sticks. We had the second grade dance to celebrate our SAT 10. I really enjoyed the dance."
Second grade down.
My biggest just keeps getting bigger.