When I wandered into the House of Many Children tonight, it was homework time. Well, almost. First it was fussy baby time, and then it was read with D.J. time, and after that it was homework time. Being a first grader and the oldest child, D.J. is the only one in the house who actually has homework. But when he’s sitting at the table writing his numbers and letters, his two younger brothers have to be sitting at the table with pencils and crayons as well.
In fact, Dakota said, “I want to do homework,” which is a fairly long sentence and a kind of complex concept for him. He was dedicated to it, though. With David’s help he sat at the other end of the table and made a stab at copying the numbers. When that proved a little too much, he was satisfied with naming the numbers. Several times he counted the people in the room. “D.J. one, Dakota two, Aiden three, David four, Uncle Mike five. Five kids.” I was impressed.
He asked me, very sweetly, “Uncle Mike, do you want to sit with me?” If you think I didn’t pull up a chair and sit next to him, you don’t know me very well. We talked numbers, monsters, dinosaurs, candles, anything that popped into his head. He was tireless, I have to say. Long after I would have been bored with sitting and doing homework, he wanted to keep going.
Meanwhile, Aiden was sitting on the other side of me, casually tossing paper and crayons across the table. It didn’t seem to distract D.J. much. One of his assignments was to write his phone number ten times, and another was to draw a shape and then turn it into a picture of a monster. He also wrote out the whole alphabet in capital letters, almost perfectly. This is the kind of thing they’re asking first graders to do for homework, but it’s obvious he’s ready for a lot more.
Dakota knows his alphabet, too. He sang the ABC song, and before anyone else could respond, Aiden got a big smile on his face and started clapping and shouting, “Yay!” Dakota seemed very pleased with this response. I guess the two middle children have developed a bond.