My little girl is going to school for the first time next week, but don't expect me to cry about it. I'll be the parent doing doughnuts in the parking lot on my bike, pumping my fist like the Leafs won the Stanley Cup, while other parents dab their eyes and reflect on how big their kids have gotten, how time has flown, and yadda yadda.
That's kind of the whole point of it: kids are supposed to get bigger. This day was always going to come, and it's too awesome not to celebrate.
If it feels like time has flown by, then you must have been having fun. I envy you. Kids are awesome and really can be incredibly fun at times, but in my experience a lot of this parenting gig feels like work — cleaning work, laundry work, short order chef work, crisis management and conflict resolution work, with some part-time clowning thrown in. I've helped keep a kid happy, entertained, fed and active for over five years while my house fell apart around me, my hobbies languished, my friendships ebbed, my skills on a bike and snowboard dissolved, my muscles atrophied, my belly grew and my wallet shrank.
Not that any of that really changes now my daughter is in school: a kindergartner is no more able to cook up a meal of bland, sauce-less food with cheese on top than a preschooler. But it is the beginning of something amazing, something I've been looking forward to since day one.
Before my daughter, I'd never been around kids. I have no younger brothers, no younger cousins, and all of the kids in my neighbourhood seemed to be about the same age growing up. I'd never done any babysitting or worked as a camp councillor, and had no idea how to relate. All I knew was that kids occasionally throw tantrums in malls and supermarkets.
Like a lot of Whistler dads the obvious solution to the whole toddler issue was to do whatever I could to help my daughter grow up quickly. Two? Sure, you're ready for How to Train Your Dragon! And lots of two-year-olds ski! If you can reach the pedals then you can ride it! I don't care what the box says, you're old enough for little Lego — just don't stick the pieces in your ear! Hey, let's read this Dr. Seuss book for the 150th time because it will teach you to read faster!
That approach has only sort of worked and she doesn't hate me too much for trying. But at last she's in school, and based on her years of gymnastics, swimming, Kishindo, preschool, art class, etc., I know she'll be a lot more likely to listen to her teachers than to me.
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