February 10, 1012: The Mayor of Extended Care

There is no better way to start a week day than dropping my kids off at school with impeccable timing following my organized plan from the prior night.  And, yes, this morning was blissful in this regard and fortunately more of the norm than otherwise on our week day starts to the day.  Sorry, Zach...I miss you, but frankly you were a bit of a boom-a-rang to my ideal routine.  I didn't realize this until you moved on to the big Frat House, but your not wanting to get out of bed or follow a morning routine during your senior year did cramp my style a bit.

But now, other than occasional spats with or between my youngest two on insignificant items, our mornings go without a hitch.  This starts the night prior with both boys requesting wake up times (which are typically earlier than necessary), me asking why they want up so early, and then my reminding them that they do have alarm clocks.  My clothes are carefully chosen and laid out with accessories (yes, I did love paper dolls growing up) and the boys are reminded to do the same with their uniforms and back packs.  For the record, Grant almost always complies and Ben does not.  The coffee is ready for the early morning brew timer and all other essentials of the next day planned out.  <thoughtful sigh>.  My boys would quickly add that their mom loves her coffee which is almost always part of our morning routine along with the red ceramic Wal-Mart cup.  Daily I balance this cup filled with my favorite brew, trying not to spill (which has definitely happened on occasion).  They have stopped asking why I don't use one of the many travel mugs we own.  I am sure they don't understand my desire to drink my visibly steaming coffee out of "real" open cup, but are sick of asking.

Grant loves to go to Extended Care; both before and after school.  The continuation of this desire has surprised me a bit given his age and beginning of the Junior High years.  Although my older boys liked Extended Care as well (not as much as Grant), they begged not to go once they decided they were "way too old".  This usually hit around 6th grade.  Not with Grant.  Almost every night before bed, he asks if we can get to Extended Care early.  "Can you get me there by 6:30, Mom?" is a very typical request.  So today as we drove to school (with my coffee mug in hand) even earlier than usual with Ben's early morning weight lifting, I inquire a bit about the draw for Grant.

"Who is there so early with you, Grant?"  I ask.

"I am usually the first one and then a preschooler."

"So what do you do when you get there?  Why so early?" I ask as I try to dig further.

"I like to lay my head down and then I read sometimes.  Then Joe gets there and we play Foosball.  I like to be there as everyone comes in."  Grant explains.

"Wow.  And what about afternoon?  What do you like about that?"

"Oh!  I like to get my homework done and then I hang with my friends.  I like that."  he explains.

So there you go.  The visual that quickly came to mind was Grant being deemed "Mayor of Fillenwarth Beach" on our past annual summer vacations.  He would make friends with every kid vacationing there as though they had known each other for years.  Then he and his posse would fill their beach days fishing, playing, and basking in the sun with no bugging of the parents for busy entertainment.  So not only does this child of mine like a routine and has found one he is very comfortable with, he has also fallen into his mayor role; feeling the pulse of his contingency and enjoying the simple pleasures of his little community :)


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