Tronk's first year in the American public schools is almost over and I am thinking about all the challenges faced by our family and changes this year.
The biggest one has certainly been to get Tronk to eat a three courses lunch (entree', salad and fruit) in the miserable 20 minutes, given by school here in America. We had our days of struggles but in the end Tronk learned. I don't know if we should be proud of that, especially because it does not do any good to his digestion, but it will certainly help him stay away from the junk food trap most American kids fall into - they call them "snacks" - with the complicit support of almost everyone in society, schools included. This year we also managed to get a couple of American kids to eat lunch with us at the table. So special.
In addition to becoming independent, this year he has also become more disciplined and wise. In many instances I feel so proud of him: when I hear him tell his buddies that there is no need to constantly buy new Lego sets to create new toys and that they should use their imagination with the existent pieces they have; when I see him eating all his food seated at the table, while his buddies are playing in the other room; when he refuses brightly colored candies and popsicles; when he picks unaided the blue polo which matches perfectly with the blue in his plaid shorts; when he tells me off for wanting to help him do one of his jobs (e.g, taking the dirty dishes back to the kitchen).
This year Tronk has also started wondering whether Santa exists for real of whether it is just one of our friends (Filippo) who brings him gifts at Christmas and put them under our tree. I felt better after I was able to explain to him that our friend could not possibly bring him gifts under the tree every year during his entire life. Unfortunately, my explanation that the gifts are actually from baby Jesus was not at all convincing. He has become logical and science has become his primary interest since he started kindergarten. I saw a pattern in all his choices: his favorite movies, toys, books, magazines, events and museums are all about science. We read many books on Christmas from religious and non-religious sources, including a detailed scientific demonstration of the existence of Santa (and his marketing enterprise). Still, his doubts on the matter continued and I bet next year we would have to lock his bedroom door on Christmas Eve, before we put the presents under the tree.
Few weeks ago I was hit by a stone, just before we prayed, he started expressing doubts about God. How is it possible that I failed to pass to him my beliefs?
Me: "Tronk, andiamo a messa domani sera, ok?" (Tronk, we are going to Church tomorrow night, ok?).
Tronk: "Quale Chiesa?" (What Church?)
Me: "Ti ricordi quella Chiesa dove abbiamo visto tutti quegli angeli quando eri piccolo? Siamo andati la' lo scorso Natale, ricordi?" (Remember the Church where you saw all those angels as a baby? We were there last Christmas), remember?.
Tronk: "Com'e' possibile che il Signore ha tante case, una qui, altre in Italia?" (How come the Lord has many houses, one here, others in Italy?)
That night, he came up with more serious questions, like these:
Tronk: "Mamma, in realta' le domande sono due: (1) come si e' trasformato il nulla in qualcosa? (2) che cosa era il nulla e come era fatto?" (Mom, in reality the questions are two: (1) how did nothing transform into something? (2) What was that nothing like and what was it made of?)
Me: "Buonanotte William. La notte porta consiglio". (Goodnight William. A good night sleep will bring the answer). I then closed his bedroom door and went to the kitchen to prepare his lunch for the next day.
Boy, what an intense year we have had. What will happen next year? His short lunch time will grow even shorter plus we'll most probably have to move to a new school and a new country; even more challenging. I'll better leave this for my next posting. Before that, I have so much to think and do.