Back to School Blues

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

Kolton on his first day of three-year-old Pre-School with his Sassy in tow; Kolton on his last first day of college with his girlfriend Emerson in tow. Seems like he never starts anything without a gorgeous girl by his side. Good job Bub!

Yesterday was the last first day of school for my baby.  I hate that.  I hate lasts.  I don’t want anything to ever really end.  It’s just so . . . final.  I went to Austin a couple of weeks ago, and we went back to school shopping mostly for items for his apartment, but I talked my sweet baby into a few school supplies.

That last back-to-school shopping spree was a bittersweet time, and yes, Kolton ended up with some unnecessary school supplies.  It is a proven fact that every twenty-two-year-old senior in college needs a Scooby-Doo lunch box and a banana-shaped pencil bag, so my baby got one.  That precious boy never said a word.  He knew it was a tough day.

Bub and Sassy with The Cat in the Hat.

Not saying much is quintessentially Kolton.  Literally from birth, I was focused on ensuring that my babies were able to communicate verbally with an extensive vocabulary.  I read to them constantly – sure the childhood classics by A. A. Milne and Dr. Seuss for the alliteration – but grown people books and poems as well, all the while encouraging them to possess and have a commanding use of an ever-expanding vocabulary and oratory skills.  I never engaged in “baby talk.”  And yes, I got stares in the grocery store when they were infants sitting in the cart, and I held conversations with them about our purchasing choices or plans for the day.

Ours wasn’t the “Say Mama” or “Say Dada” repertoire when they were babies.  Kassidi didn’t babble.  She just one day up and started speaking – in complete sentences – with correct subject-verb conjugation – at around two-years-old. Those of you who know her get that.

Now Bub, on the other hand, didn’t speak for the longest time.  I was literally beside myself.  I informed Mr. Kaminski that something was dreadfully wrong and as a Speech-Language Pathologist, the fact that he had not addressed and resolved this issue already was a significant issue.  He merely laughed at my concern and informed me that Kolton didn’t need to speak; he had Kassidi.

I would like to tell you that I took this information like a good Christian woman.  I did not.  I was furious with Mr. Kaminski, but I made note of his flippant remark and held off on changing the locks on the front door for a day.  Sometimes a girl needs to give things a solid 24 hours.

I observed my babies as they interacted closer than ever.  Bub would point; Sassy would fetch.  Bub would grunt; Sassy would say, “Bubbie’s hungry.”  Bub would bounce up and down in his high chair; Sassy would bring him more Cheerios.

I sat down with the then four-year-old Kassidi and told her we needed to work on getting Bub to speak.  Soon he would be going to pre-school, and he needed to be able to communicate with his teachers and peers.  That was all of the direction big sis needed.  She was on it like a duck on a june bug.

That sweet girl sat down with Bub and explained to him in a calm, cogent manner that he was going to have to start using his words properly like a big boy.  That two-year-old baby boy looked her dead in the eye and said, “Okay Sassy.  Let’s go play.”

Sassy still probably outspeaks Bub 10 words to one, and he still can give her a look or grunt, and she knows exactly what he means.  But they both have excellent vocabularies because they had to put up with me all of their lives. I can remember being in the kitchen with their friends listening to conversations and Kolt or Kass using a particular word and one of their friends being perplexed by the word, then retorting, “Yea, you’re a Kaminski kid.”

Today my babies can speak and write beautifully as required by the circumstance, and they can sound equally as appalling using verbiage that makes me cringe, also as required by the circumstance.  Guess that makes them multi-lingual.

Happy back to school to your babies!  See y’all next week – on the porch!

Patti Parish-Kaminski

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