aaron sfMy five-year-old starts kindergarten in the fall. To his credit, he seems acutely aware that it’s time for him to start acting like a ‘big kid.’ Which includes less reliance on what used to be affectionately called his ‘baaboomaa’, then just ‘baaboom’, and more recently, just ‘blanket’.

He’s also trying to wean himself from sucking his thumb at night while he sleeps. As far as I can tell, this was a decision he made on his own. Rather than going cold turkey, he proclaims at bedtime on alternating nights that it’s either a ‘suck night’ or a ‘non-suck night.’

I was thrown off the first time he announced this to me after reading his bedtime story, not knowing what he was talking about. My first thought was that one of his older brothers had taught him an expression that I’ve asked them not to use. I had to chuckle after he clarified. He’s very determined about it, although I haven’t yet tried to sneak in at night while he’s sleeping and see if he’s sticking to the plan.

It’s fascinating to watch our youngest grow older. It is for the other two as well, but in different ways. There’s something about knowing that this will be the last one of our boys doing little boy things that is fascinating. My kids seem to think it’s fascinating as I’m growing older too, but I don’t find that as funny. When he starts kindergarten, it will be the first and only year when all three boys will be on the same bus, going to the same school. (Barring the unlikely event that one of them gets held back, or, perhaps even more unlikely, that one accelerates.)

We’ve been lecturing the older two for a while now that when your younger brother is on the bus with you, the correct way to behave is look out for him and not torment him. I’m mildly confident that they’ve gotten the message, but we’ll see how it goes. What I have no doubt about is that my youngest won’t bat an eye as he boards the big yellow bus and zooms away for the whole day come September. From the beginning, (or at least early on) he’s believed himself fully entitled to keep up with his two big brothers in whatever they do.

It’s already started in earnest with the sports. All three boys played baseball in the spring. All three are signed up for soccer this fall. I’ve given him a lesson on riding his bike without training wheels and am negligent on the follow-up. Part of me is surprised he hasn’t tackled it on his own already, and fully expect him to be zooming around the cul-de-sac by the end of the summer.

For now, I’ll take solace in the fact that he still likes to hold my hand walking down the sidewalk. I’ll try to cherish this last month of summer before the weekdays at our house are unusually quiet. Eventually, I assume the non-suck nights will prevail and he’ll stop carrying around his blanket. I see few people still carrying around their blankets as adults, although one could argue that the thumb is sometimes replaced by a cigarette and the blanket with a wallet. But that’s a whole different post.

And besides, I think tonight’s a suck night, so we’re all good.

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