Dear Mrs. B:
It is sweet that you would like to know a little bit about Will before kindergarten starts in two weeks. Your e-mails to that effect have been bubbly and cheerful, which makes me think you will be a fine kindergarten teacher indeed. It will be nice for Will to spend time with a bubbly, cheerful female, since his mother is not known for her effervescence (though much admired for her ability to bellow like a master drill sergeant).
Here are the main two things you need to know about Will: He does not eat and will not use public restrooms. You should not expend any energy trying to make him do either of these things. Given that you don't have the authority to award him extra Wii time for trying a bite of something he's sure he'll hate, there are really no incentives you can offer him to ingest anything other than a cup of water and maybe--maybe--a handful of goldfish.
I know this will be especially disappointing during those special lunches sprinkled throughout the school year at Our Fine School, the Mexican Fiesta, the Nigerian Feast, the Teddy Bear Tea Party. Come to think of it, though, none of the children eat during these lunches. For Jack's Nigerian Feast, I personally prepared an elegant dish of baked bananas in cream. Here's a hint to the next mom who tries this: slice the bananas into half-inch chunks. When left whole, the bananas, browned by baking, bear an unfortunate resemblance to--well, you can imagine.
But as no child touched any of the Nigerian food, nor the Mexican treats, nor the lovely scones prepared by that nice Amanda Parker later in the spring, I was not dismayed that my bananas went untouched. Really, some plan should be made to cart all those lunches down to the Food Bank after the kids go out for recess.
But I digress.
So Will won't eat, and he won't go. Once you accept these two seemingly carved in stone facts about him, you and he will get along fine.
You'll be glad to hear that he's not a problem child--at least not for adults other than his own loving parents. I've been continually shocked over the years to learn that in school, Will doesn't talk back, sass, naysay, resist, make rude and sometimes scatalogical remarks, ignore authority, or put his hands on his little hips and say, "Oh, yeah? Well, you can't make me, you stupid head!"
You might want to know that Will has already decided that kindergarten will be boring. Since he has no idea of what kindergarten will entail, this is a bogus assessment, but it's typical. He's a tough guy, jaded, hardened by years of suburban living and preschool.
Here's a secret: Will is a marshmallow that's been dipped in glue and rolled in gravel. It's all show, baby. You look at him wrong and it hurts his feelings, but he'd never in a million years admit it. He just kicks stuff, and then later you find him crying in his closet.
If you find yourself and Will at odds--say you've said something devastatingly cruel, like, "Will, you need to pick up that crayon you dropped under your desk,"--you can joke the bad feelings away. Bring up his baseball heroes, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and wonder if they ever accidentally wear their gloves on the wrong hand. This will make Will giggle. He'll say, "Yeah, and maybe sometimes they forget to wear their shoes!" And with that, the crisis is averted. You cannot go to this well too many times, trust me.
If you try to hug him, he'll squirm away. If you ask him a question about how he enjoyed his weekend or if he's looking forward to Thanksgiving, he'll say, "I don't even know how to answer that."
His love is not the obvious kind, but it is true. He is loyal to his friends. He loves to play, to run and roll around and swing from things. He doesn't hit or bite. Sometimes he remembers to say thank you. If he doesn't say it--well, he did, really. You just didn't hear him.
With best wishes for a wonderful year,