On his first full day of summer break, I asked Ryan, "If you could go anywhere today, where would you go?"
He looked up at me hopefully and asked, "Can I go to school?"
The boy loves school. Loves it. He has been in a deep funk since school let out. Tuesday afternoon he stepped off the bus sobbing that he "can not find the sea creatures and the blocks," his favorite in-school reward toys. Summer school starts July 1, but it's at a different school than he attends during the year, so he won't see his precious sea creatures until fall.
I've tried letting Ryan direct what fun summer things we do, but he finds fault in all his own choices. On Wednesday he announced a desire to go to a trampoline park; he made his wishes known by putting on the pair of bright orange grippy socks we had been required to purchase that one previous time we went to a trampoline park. I then made the mistake of bringing him to a trampoline park that recently opened just half an hour from our house, rather than driving an hour to the one he had been to once before. To say he was distraught that it was the "wrong" trampoline park would be an understatement. The closer location had all the same elements, but Ryan was quick to point out the subtle differences which made it unacceptable: fewer ramps, only two basketball hoops instead of three, the blocks in the foam pit were the wrong colors. And they wouldn't even let him wear the grippy socks. I got him to stay for half the time we paid for and considered it a victory.
While negotiating with him about leaving I noticed his sneakers were falling apart, so I dragged him to the mall to find replacements. We had our usual fights about which direction a person should walk on an escalator and our usual brief detours into stores Ryan finds interesting (his level of interest in a store correlates with the number of mirrors it has, not in the merchandise it carries), and then Ryan did something he has never done before: he asked if we could go to a movie.
We rode the escalator up (and down, or whatever) to the theater just in time for a showing of How To Tame Your Dragon 2. I let him get popcorn. The theater was practically empty, and we had a whole row to ourselves. He sat patiently through previews. And then ten minutes into the movie, he started testing me. First he moved one seat to his left. Then another. Then another. Then he stood in the aisle. I told him to sit down, and he said, "But I want to tiptoe away." Then Goldilocks tried out all the seats again, then my lap, then all the seats to our right. Then he shook an empty seat in front of us, looked at me, shook the seat some more... There were threats; at one point I gathered up our stuff as if to leave. He insists he enjoyed the movie, though I'm surprised he saw enough of it to form an opinion.
Homeschooling would never work for us.