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new year

maura @ 12:06 pm

Tomorrow Gus starts 4th (!) grade. Really school started last week, but since they only had one day (Wednesday), tomorrow feels more like the real start. He’s pretty happy to be back in school: one of his best friends is in his class this year, and he loves riding the schoolbus with his pals from our neighborhood. The 4th graders get to do lots of awesome stuff like go to camp for 2 nights (again) and build a Lenape wigwam in Prospect Park with a Native American Technology Specialist. He’s going to have a ball.

Fourth grade was my favorite year of school, hands down. For that year (and for half of 3rd grade) I went to a smallish Montessori school — I think there were maybe 10 or 15 of us in the 4-6 grade unit. We had a huge open classroom and lots of interesting stuff to work on. We got the blue sheet with our work for the week on Monday, and once we finished the work we could essentially choose what we wanted to do. I was kind of obsessed with geography in 4th grade so I spent lots of my free time with atlases and globes learning countries and capitals, drawing flags, and labeling photocopied maps. Or I would park myself in our small library and read.

Fourth grade was also when we lived in my favorite of all of my childhood houses. It was a twin but pretty big even so, with 3 floors and a basement and a wrap-around porch (which I used to drive my remote-controlled car off of) and a pretty little Japanese maple tree in the front yard. My sibs + I slept on the 3rd floor, and my bedroom was really long and narrow. The closet was all the way at the dark end of the room (near the wall that was shared w/the house next door) and I remember being absolutely certain that that side of the room was somewhat evil, what with the darkness and the closet. Maybe I just read too many Narnia stories.

One of the coolest things about that house was that it had front stairs–which went up from the entrance hall next to the living room–as well as back stairs–which were sort of tucked into the back corner of the kitchen. Both stairs met at about the same place on the second floor, and if you were chasing someone (or being chased) you could run up the front stairs down the back stairs and (slam!) out the back door into the yard. Or the reverse, onto the front porch.

The neighborhood we lived in (in suburban Philadelphia) was great too. We could walk or ride bikes to parks, playgrounds and the little commercial district in the town. My mom sent me out to the little grocery store to pick up milk, and I walked to piano lessons, friends’ houses, and girl scout meetings. I guess we do the same with Gus here, in many ways, though he’s still less independent than I was at his age. We do send him to the corner store to pick up milk, but we don’t let him cross streets by himself yet — he’s not very tall, and the cars drive really fast in our neighborhood because our streets are so wide. I can’t quite decide when he’ll be old enough to go to the park with friends + no adults. Maybe next year.

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2 comments on “new year”

Em (14 September 2010 at 10:12 pm)

Sounds like Gus is set up to have a year that may be almost as good as your 4th grade year.

It’s going so fast I just want to slow it down. Your memories sound slower and I hope that is how our kids remember it too.

maura (17 September 2010 at 8:52 pm)

I know! For all the times when I felt like my brain was dripping out of my head during the toddler years and wished things would go faster, now I just wish I could freeze it here in the elementary years before the adolescent angst begins.

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