As Declan waved to me and waddled his way across the school playground, excitedly beginning his first day of school recently, it occurred to me that not too much had changed since his first day of kindergarten a year ago. He was still the same excitable little guy, shy of two front teeth and maybe an inch taller, but otherwise the same.
Hopefully I will continue to feel that way in coming years but something tells me the whirlwind of his youth is just getting started.
When Declan lost his two front teeth his excitement for losing them seemed to be a bit over-the-top, but what harm could come from it, right?
The answer to that question didn't take long to present itself. Declan was so excited with the "windfall" of money he received from the tooth fairy, that he decided he would never brush his teeth again, in an effort to encourage all of his teeth to fall out so he could collect even more money.
It was a comical idea when he made the announcement the week prior, but after several consecutive mornings of arguing with him about brushing his teeth, it was no longer funny.
The morning of his first day of school I attempted, with little success, to utilize his pickiness for food as a deterrent to him wanting to let all his teeth fall out.
"You will have to eat nothing but soup," I explained, "no noodles, no corn-on-the-cob and no candy."
He was not discouraged, dollar signs flashed in his eyes as he defended his position.
"I like soup now, tomato soup is really good. Corn isn't that good, I only like the butter on it," Declan explained.
"Ok, tomato soup for dinner tonight it is, now brush your teeth or we're going to be late for your first day," I replied with a no-nonsense tone.
Declan stomped his foot and began angrily brushing, repeatedly in only one area of his mouth, carelessly splashing toothpaste on the front of the new black shirt he wore in the process.
I took a deep breath and calmly asked him to ensure he brushed all of his teeth as I attempted to wipe the toothpaste from his shirt.
I spent the next 20 minutes prodding him out the door before eventually getting to catch my breath as he waddled away through the school playground. He looked back just long enough for a quick wave and did his best to conceal his smile, but I still saw it.
Nope, not a lot has changed since last year and I wouldn't have it any other way.