Tales Of A Middle-Aged Dad #60: First Grade

Written by Alex on September 8, 2017 - 0 Comments

Dear Ivan:

Today was the first day of first grade. You’re a first grader.  This is real school.  Homework.  Math problems.  Reading.

Speaking of which, it’s time you started reading to yourself on the toilet.  No offense, but no matter how adorable your stories are, they don’t make your poops adorable.

But, back to school.  This is a big year in the life of any kid, especially any kid that lives with Mommy and me.  (Hint: that would be you).

What it means is that you’re no longer a little kid.  You’re not quite a big kid.  But you’re not a little kid.  You’re sort of an in-between, medium kid.  You don’t carry a wallet, and thank goodness there are a whole constellation of problems and issues that you haven’t even gotten into yet (like being a sullen teenager, staying out too late, going to parties where there are illicit substances and no parental supervision, etc).  Still, you have a pretty extensive vocabulary.  You are self-sufficient enough to dress yourself, brush your teeth, make yourself a bowl of cereal, and monopolize the tv.  I’ve also noticed that when you punch me “in jest” (and by “in jest” I mean really hard, taking a running start and winding up), it hurts way more than when you were just a toddler and punching me was hilarious (for you, not so much for me).

Being a first grader means also that what you do at school will start to matter.  You’re going to be reviewed, evaluated, and graded.  I’m not saying that messing up this year will forever bar you from going to Harvard.  But, I am saying that let’s play it safe and keep the Harvard option on the table.  So, don’t screw things up.  Get plenty of rest, eat right, listen to your teachers, and, please, for the love of all that is holy, if and when you get picked on in the schoolyard, do not retaliate and get dragged into something with a bully who has no prospect whatsoever of going to Harvard.  Don’t get dragged down into the mud (unless you are absolutely sure that you won’t get caught, in which case make the kid regret the day he was born . . . kidding . . . or am I).  Point is, pay attention, be curious, listen, and learn.  And, wash your hands when you go to the bathroom.  Being in First Grade doesn’t mean that the school isn’t still a breeding ground for colds and germs.

Beyond that, just relax.  There are no SATs awaiting you.  No final exams.  No pressures to do community service to impress an admissions board that you really are altruistic (rather than a suck-up kid who just needs some charitable work to get into college).

Have fun.  Learn.  Make friends (but not too many. We go to enough birthday parties already).

But, also remember that when Daddy was in First Grade he got a bazillion on his First Grade Final, so you’ve got that to compete with.

Enjoy the year, my man.

Love always,


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