I was studying on the couch a few weeks ago, and Conor was busy on the floor next to me. I paid him no mind until I heard him say softly to himself, "Aiden is going to be sooo proud of me." He got up, satisfied, and was leaving the room, when I looked over to see what had inspired his self-confidence. There sat a chess board, perfectly set up. "Wait, did you do that?" I asked. "Yep," was his reply. I looked more closely, and darn if that kid--who just turned 5--didn't have every piece in its proper place.
I was impressed. But not as much as when I came back into the room later and found them both playing. And Conor had a sizable collection of Aiden's pieces. I was shocked! He knew the names of every piece and he knew how every piece moved! He was actually playing chess with Aiden (who, if you remember, is our little chess champion).
Apparently, Aiden taught him to play. He took an afternoon and taught him each piece, its moves and position. He said pawns capturing diagonally, though they move frontwards, was the hardest part for Conor to remember, but he got it, that kid.
I'm telling you, he thinks he's a grown up. The hardest part about kindergarten for him is the fact that everyone else in his class is 5. He loves school, and he's doing very well. Reading, counting, adding. One of his favorite parts is seeing the teachers, crossing guards, playground attendants, other parents, and bus drivers, many of whom he knows by name. Some he even has regular special hand signals or high fives as he passes them by each morning or afternoon. The students? Well, he tolerates them. After all, they are only 5 years old, so he tries to be patient with them. He told me the other day that sometimes he feels like a jerk. (Well, he has no real "r" sound yet, so at first I thought he said he felt like a "joke", and I said, "No, no, honey, you're not a joke! You're a great kid!") I find it interesting that he's analyzing himself in the way in which he interacts with others. We talked about it, he shared some interesting insights, and then I concluded, "Then, don't be a jerk." He's my 4th kid, you'd think I'd have more sage advice, but this one throws me for a loop constantly.
If you saw my status post on Facebook, you heard about how he decided to clean up the family room, just because it was messy. His mess, I might add. Toys strewn about. I would have told him eventually to clean it up, but he walked right in, noticed it, and said, "I better clean this up!" I praised him for noticing and cleaning up without even being asked, to which he replied, "That's because I'm being proactive." That's right, Proactive. I'll say. He hears his school principal talk about being proactive every Friday after announcements. But who listens to the school principal, you know? And who adds her vocabulary to his and incorporates it into his character? Well, my kid, that's who. My adult-loving, kid-tolerating kindergartener.
Gotta love him. He's very entertaining. I highly recommend a conversation with him, if you ever get the chance.