new leafYesterday our 6 year-old asked if I’d snap a photo of this leaf. He suggested that it may in fact be the first orange leaf of fall. His need for the photo alerted me that autumn truly is upon us.

Last year I started a few traditions when my oldest started Kindergarten. One was asking the 20 questions below. Although last year we asked these just prior to school start, we finally got around to asking them yesterday. The four of us had a hoot reviewing the responses. Our 4 year-old got a chance this year, too. I may update the questions next year but I’m thrilled to be stacking these responses in the boys’ memory boxes. I’ve included both 2012 and 2013 responses because it’s the evolution that is so valuable. Traditions are like that, better with each repetition. I also included some responses from our 4 year-old that are just too good to leave out…

  • 20 Questions At School Start

  • What is your favorite color? “Yellow”—>2013 “Orange”
  • Favorite number? “5” —> Not surprisingly this year he said, “6” and our 4 year-old chimed in with this, “9,000… no wait, 199.”
  • Favorite food?: “Strawberries”—-> “Bananas” and to keep us honest our O said, “Cotton Candy.”
  • Favorite toy?: In 2012 he said, “This is going to be a tiny bit hard……airplanes.” —> This year just, “Airplanes” (no hesitancy).
  • What are you most happy about this summer? “I got to spend more time with Mommy and Daddy” (be still my heart). Nothing quite so romantic this year. All our 6 year-old said was “Swimming in Lake Washington.” But our 4 year-old produced this doozy: “Going to the radiology summer party with the bouncy house.”
  • Favorite memory from the summer? In 2012, “Going through the Costco carwash.” (you can’t make this stuff up). This year nothing just so comic, rather he said, “Going down the water slide in Berlin, Wisconsin.”
  • Favorite place we went this summer?: “Wisconsin. Best part of being there was jumping off the dock into the lake.” For 2013 it was the same: “Greenlake, Wisconsin” which is where we visit the boys’ grandparents every summer.
  • What are you really good at? “Biking. I learned to ride a bike on June 10th.” —>2013 it was simply,  “Swimming”
  • What is hard for you?: “Going down slides—when I have to put my feet up.” —> In 2013 I had to squeeze this out of him. In fact we had to pass this question when it first was asked and come back to it which brings up all sorts of thoughts (and opportunities for parenting). However, when I finally got something out of him after we returned to it, it was this, “Climbing the new rock climbing wall at school when it’s wet.”  The lesson here I suppose is that discussing our weaknesses is something none of us are very good at. We’ll work on this…
  • What is your favorite thing to do at home? “Play with toys.” —–> 2013 he said, “Read books.” But his brother said the identical to what his brother said last year, “Play with toys.”
  • Who is your best friend?: “This is tiny, eansy bit hard. [pause] Jasper.” No pause this year, “Zoe.” Zoe’s mom and I are already planning the nuptials.
  • What do you want to do when you grow up? “I might change my mind. But I think an air traffic controller.” (good thing nothing is set in stone). Again tapping into some anxieties he said, “That’s a really hard question. I don’t even know right now. I don’t have a guess.” He then teared up a bit so I didn’t push. His brother clearly defines growing up as being age 18 (uh-oh!) as he said, “Go to Kenyon College.” Go Lords!
  • What do you think your brother will do? “Don’t even know. [pause] No guesses.” (I feel just the same way) was the 2012 response. This year he had a clear direction for his 4 year-old brother. He said, “He’ll be a doctor.” And the 4 year-old suggested that his older brother would be, “an air-traffic controller.”
  • Where do you want to live when you grow up? “In a house” was the concrete sequential answer last year. This year he said, “The Netherlands.” Another reminder that travel with children opens up the world
  • If you could have a super power what would it be? In 2012: “I’d be able to squirt noodles out of my hands. I could make pasta and wouldn’t have to cook it.” And this year, “Ummmm, I’d fly with only jumping. So you’d run and jump off a high place and I’d go up, up, up instead of down.”
  • Where do you want to travel? “Africa.” —> In 2013, “England” he said. Our 4 year-old said, “Arizona.”
  • What is your favorite airplane? “If I had to choose between all my planes, I would choose Frontier.”  This year he said, “The Blue Angels.” Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suspect.
  • What is your favorite book? “Piggies” and this year—-> “Two Little Trains” which is a beautiful, lyrical book by Margaret Wise Brown from the late 1940s.
  • What is your favorite song? “All You Need Is Love” to the downshift in 2013, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” In my opinion that response represented a bit of fatigue with the questions. Our 4 year-old responded (without knowing his brother’s response), “Twinkle, Twinkle Traffic Light” and then sang the entire song…
  • How would you describe your brother? In 2012 he said, “He has blond hair. He’s a boy. He’s fun.” (I had to pull that last one out of him). This year he said about the same thing, “Blond hair, blue eyes, He’s cute. He’s a good listener and he’s friendly.”  Our 4 year-old said this of his elder brother, “He works in a house. He’s a boy. He likes toys.”

Start your own 20 questions? I’ve a goal to keep it up for 20 years.