This morning I dropped Five off for his last day of preschool. First, we accompanied his big brother to the morning sports camp he is attending this week, and today Five rode on the back of my bike rather than on his own.
He is almost too big for the kiddie seat, and he is getting heavy to tote around, but we both like the closeness of it. I will miss his little hands sneaking under my shirt and rubbing my back, his hugs from behind.
We sing little ditties and he asks me math questions: what’s 600 plus 800? 32 plus 32? 64 plus 64? They are usually half in Italian and half in English and sometimes he calls out the answer before I do. I don’t know if it’s because he has memorized the problems or if he is some kind of math genius. I guess we’ll find out in September when he starts first grade.
The World Cup has fueled his obsession with soccer. He plays every day with his friends at school, and again in the afternoon when he manages to find a group of kids from the neighborhood at the playground, where there is a smaller than standard size soccer field with goal posts in the shade. Yesterday there must have been over a dozen boys aged five to 11 or 12 on that field, stopping to drink only at “half time”, and then starting up again.
Nine plays too, but he feels no need to boast about it, whereas all evening long Five regales us with stories of his most skillful, daring feats, the time he stole the ball away from one of the big boys, the time he passed the ball to another little boy who scored.
At the park yesterday, there were two little girls his age playing quietly with a sticker book on the bench beside me, and during half time Five brought his ball out and showed me his tricks, all the time with his eyes trained on them. When he knew they’d seen a particularly impressive move, he seemed to grow two feet taller on pride alone.
He is a performer and his own biggest hero. And after today, he is officially a big boy.