You hear a lot about Jack and Quinn here, but I write less often about Sam. This is partly because he is older and as he gets older, his stories become more his and less mine to tell. That said, even though he’s turning into his very own guy, he’s still my little munchkin and sometimes I just have to chat about him.
In the annual emptying of the backpacks, I found a whole slew of really awesome stuff, including that sentence above in his reading journal, in which I discovered that he has a pretty good handle on himself and that he uses the serial comma, just like me.
I have some other little gems pulled from his papers to share with you. It is a little bittersweet for me to read these because in them I see a little boy who is turning into a big kid whose earnestness is so genuine and so serious. Sam is a kid who tries so very, very hard and part of me wishes he could keep that beautiful, young innocence that he is so rapidly shedding. I see a young man who is working so hard to toe the company line, which is so different from anything I see in either Jack or Quinn, both of whom believe it is their way or the highway.
For example, Sam is the only one of my three children who would write this on the first page of his notebook:
“I feel happy because I like to work.”
There are also delightful little passages like the following:
“I am more like a summer tree because I exercise and run and I’m full of life. I’m also like a summer tree because I play around a lot.”
As trees do.
Last fall, presumably in October, he wrote, “My favorite part of October is Halloween because I can eat candy and stay up late.” I’m always amused by what teachers must think of families based on the information they get from the kids in their classes. I also shudder a little bit to think what my kids’ teachers think of me based on things such as the following:
“The one food I would never want to eat again is broccoli because I tasted it once and I didn’t!” Presumably the end of that sentence is “like it.” Also, who is the worst parent in the world if she has only managed to get her 9-year-old to eat broccoli one time?
But who is the best mom in the world to have a kid who would write, “If I could [I would] build a robot to help me do my homework so I could help my brothers do their homework.” Although, honestly, I think sentences like that have a lot more to do with Sam’s inherent generous nature than anything I’ve done. (Also, it might just be easier to have the robot start with his brothers’ homework to begin with.)
That inherent generous nature is also evident in an argument he wrote about the topic: Do you think animals should be used in labs?” which, incidentally, is way more complex than anything I discussed in third grade. Here is Sam’s argument:
“Opinion: I don’t think animals should be used in labs.
“Detail 1: Animals are doing nothing to people.”
“Detail 2: We harm animal’s environment.
“Detail 3: Animals belong in the wild not in a lab.
“Conclusion: Overall, animals should not be experimented on.”
Honestly, that is about the same thought process I went through…in college. Although I’m sure the fact that we have pet mice didn’t help the cause of scientific advancement and medicine at all.
I do, however, think that Alex and I had a little something to do with Sam’s love of classic rock.
And I know that Phish isn’t exactly classic rock, but it is only a matter of time before Alex starts dragging Sam along with him to shows.
Speaking of places where we dragged Sam to, he wrote about our camping trip last summer too.
“My favorite vacation in summer is when we went camping. We drove about 400 miles for 6 hours straight. A raccoon stole our food. We also collected rocks and shells. We got to play at the beach, have ice cream, and play tag. Finally we got to make delicious smores.”
The raccoon was a big deal for me too.
This next piece of work, I include because I was enchanted by Sam’s language. He wrote this when his class was reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. (And let me tell you that I completely blew Sam’s mind by telling him that Jack got his autism diagnosis at NIMH. “The rats saw it as a prison!” he exclaimed.)
him to that rancid cat. I would be bewildered if you
abandoned him to the cat. My advice is to keep his
poor essence safe from the tractor. Sincerely, Samuel.”
Rancid cat? Bewildered? Poor essence? This kid could grow up to be a poet.
Except, of course, that Alex has already poisoned his little mind and Sam says he wants to grow up to be a lawyer. Alex almost cried when he saw the worksheet wherein Sam declared his intentions of being a lawyer. “I kind of feel like his hero,” he said. (Alex, I think you are.)
I particularly like his image of what a lawyer does. In fact, I don’t think he’s that far off.
Although I feel a little bit sad about how ready Sam is for a life of toiling at a job.
But if you want to know a little bit more about Sam’s true nature, you need look no further than the following evidence. In, I presume, a response to a question about what he would change his name to if he had a choice, Sam wrote, “I would not change my name because I am used to Samuel.” Yep. That’s my practical kid.
Also, “What I like to do on a rainy, cold day is to curl up on my bed with my blankets and pillows and read a very long book. I also like to help my brothers catch up on school work on a rainy cold day.”
Sam, you kill me dead every time. What a great kid. And finally:
Seriously, that kid is magic. He’s such a crazy, impulsive, riotous kid, but underneath all of it, he is just such a sweet soul—and, as he says, creative, thoughtful, and respectful. I love him so very much.