26, 2003 - Wednesday
Harry's mother and I attended his Preschool's annual "Thanksgiving Feast." It was the same rather hectic slightly fancy lunch for all the students that I attended last year, except this time, because of this increased class sizes at the center, there were no chairs for any adults to sit in, just the kids. Harry's mother and I did eat a little, but we did so sitting on our knees or feet beside Harry and it was all rather odd. Certainly the main reason to go was to be with Harry in his daily environment, to watch him eat, and to hear him talk about school while he's there. That last part is more important than it might seem because, at less than four, his mind still bounces from one topic to another as soon as a new thought enters it. When he's not at school he's rarely talking about it or what he does there unless annoying prompted by his parents at dinner.
And what does happen there? Milestones. All of the children in Harry's class made these lamenated paper placemats over the last few days and as Harry's teacher, Cathleen, was handing them out she casually commented that she'd never seen Harry write his name before.
'What?' I thought to myself, 'what is she talking about?' Then I looked down at his placemat and saw in the lower left corner the surprisingly clear HArrY, as if he'd done it many times before, just not at school as Cathleen was implying. 'But, no, I haven't seen him write his name before. I've seen H many times, even H and A. But that's it. And, wouldn't mommy have said something if she'd seen it before?'
Finally, I said, speaking for both of us but with a look for confirmation from mommy, "I don't think we've seen him write his name either." Mommy shook her head in negative agreement.
Harry wrote his name, at least a day ago, and he didn't even say anything about it. That's not at all surprising really. For all of my adolescent life and probably well into my adult life I thought other people were interested in what I knew and what I could do. Now that I'm a father it's pretty clear that the excitement isn't necessarily in what a child can do, but what a child can learn. That's become one of my top ten things to teach Harry before he goes to college, and hopefully sooner.