LEO’S MOM!

Yesterday, I had to take The Boy ™ to the eye doctor to check on some tracking issues that were making reading a struggle. The good news is that he doesn’t need glasses nor does he need any kind of therapy. The bad news is that the reason why he gets so physically exhausted when he reads is that his whole body is working to keep his eyes in alignment.

“Since he’s able to keep his eyes pointing parallel on his own,” the doctor said, “then he is doing exactly what he needs to be doing to train his muscles. Give him lots of praise when he reads, make sure he knows that he’s tired because his body has to work extra hard, but with daily practice he’ll get stronger and stronger, and opt for bigger type and books with pictures for now, and don’t be in such a hurry to put the kid in chapter books. Let him be a kid. With kids books.”

Then he paused and thought about that for a moment.

“Have you noticed,” he continued, “that there are some AMAZING children’s books out lately?”

Why yes, I said, a faint smile on my mouth. I may have noticed a thing or two about it. And I may know a few of the folks making those amazing stories, but that’s another post.

Anyway, Leo, after a long day of eye tests and exercises, performed admirably and with distinction. I was honestly bracing myself all day for the moment that he crawled into the duct work, or reduced a hundred-grand-pricetag bit of equipment to smithereens. Or called the therapist lady a poop-head. Or whatever. But no. He was a perfect gentleman – conversational, gentle, serious, with a couple well-placed jokes that were actually funny. It was as though someone took my child and replaced him with somebody else’s perfect child.

Anyway, we headed back to school in the middle of the day. I parked the car, took his hand and walked across the parking lot. A classroom window pushed open and a kid’s head popped out.

“LEO’S MOM!” the kid yelled.

“Yes?” I called back.

“ARE YOU BRINGING LEO BACK TO SCHOOL?”

I looked down at Leo, who shrugged back at me. “Well,” I called back. “That’s what it looks like.”

I could hear a teacher’s voice in the background saying step away from that window at once young man. But the kid persisted.

“LEO’S MOM LEO’S MOM! WHERE DID YOU TAKE HIM?”

And before I could say to the doctor the kid yells “LEO’S MOM ARE YOU GOING TO VISIT OUR CLASS.” And then two hands grabbed the kid’s shoulders and pulled him out of sight.

We went into the building and a group of first graders were walking down the stairs.

“LEO’S MOM!”

“HI LEO’S MOM!”

“LEO’S MOM, DID YOU SEE MY SHOES?”

“LEO’S MOM I HAD A CUPCAKE! LAST WEEK!”

I smiled at them and continued to the office. There was a kid sitting on a chair with a huge bandage on his knee.

“LEO’S MOM, I SKINNED MY KNEE.”

Another kid was leaving with her mom.

“LEO’S MOM NEXT WEEK IS MY BIRTHDAY.”

I signed Leo in and walked down the hall to his class. I saw a kid with a bathroom pass – one of my first graders on my Lego League team.

“HI LEGO LADY!” The kid said, running over and giving me a hug. “I MEAN LEO’S MOM!”

And a realized a few things.

1. My son has made me famous.

2. My son, being the loudest human in the world, has trained the kids in his school to be just as loud as he is.

3. The rest of the school, assuming that I must be quite deaf at this point, feel the need to shout at me to make sure I can hear them.

4. Because my son is fun, they assume that I am fun as well.

This last one, alas, is a fallacy. Just ask my kids. I am not fun at all. I am the enemy of fun. This was told to me last night – at bedtime – with great enthusiasm, with gusto and relish. “Mom,” my kids informed me. “You are the fun-killer.”

Still, to these kids at school, I bear the fun of my son on my forehead like a seal. I am the Fun-Bringer. I am LEO’S MOM.

(so there)

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3 thoughts on “LEO’S MOM!

  1. This happened to me after I did a reading and Q& A with my son’s 3rd grade class and the 4th grade last year. I think it was quite possible my finest hour. Kids rule!

  2. Funny how being a parent makes you a bigger rockstar, then being an author. At least locally.

    I suspect the reaction of the kids at the school has more to do with your own involvement than it does with your son’s ability to sell you. Not to say that your son isn’t awesome, but even the best salesman can push a product that doesn’t work. As any teacher worth their salt will tell you, a trained and experienced educator in front of their class is an absolute joy, and a much needed time to rest their tired feet for a few seconds.

    We just moved The Boy to a new school (specific for GATE kids), and no one knows us there. At our old school we got treated like rockstars. “Are you going to read in our class today Mr. Tolladay?” That came from reading “Green Eggs and Ham” very very fast on Dr. Seuss day. Or, “Are you going to do more science today Mrs Tolladay?” That came from my wife setting up a science experiment every year in our son’s classroom as a way to celebrate his birthday. So along with the soul crushing homework the school has decided is fit for a gifted kid (and is counter to everything I have read about teaching the gifted) he has lost a special place in the school; the son of enthusiastic and active parents.

  3. That’s adorable how badly those kids wanted your attention. So cute and funny!

    As someone who grew up with a lifetime of vision problems, I can sympathize with your son. It’ll take exhausting work, but I’m sure he’s in for the fight.

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