He knows his A-6s from his A-7s. But, somewhere along the line, we didn’t teach him his phone number.

My son doesn’t have the right stuff for kindergarten

My son knows his Sabres from his Super Sabres.

He knows his Hueys from his Huey Cobras.

He can pick out a Superfortress from a Flying Fortress, and a Stratofortress from a Stratojet.

He is, to say the least, nuts about military aviation.

If it can drop an incendiary device or strafe an insurgency, he knows what it is and when it was flown.

Seriously, he might be the only 5-year-old who inquires almost weekly about the Korean War.

Then again, if you’ve seen us out in public, you guessed all this.

There’s rarely a day when my son isn’t wearing a flight suit.

We’re talking a real, olive drab flight suit — with one set of Velcro patches if he thinks he’s flying an F-16 that day or another set of patches if he’s transporting troops or cargo in a C-17.

The kid means business.
Now, I’m not going to venture to say my kid’s a genius.

He still thinks we’re at war with Germany.

He can be “flying” a P-51, an A-10 or an F-18 — and he’s still always blowing up Germans.

At this stage, I’d classify him as a savant.

By all outward appearances, he might even count as, ahem, special.

If you see a kid wearing a particle mask around in the backseat of a car, that’s him.

No, he’s not actually infected with SARS.

To him, it looks like a pilot’s oxygen mask.

On Friday, my son will take his first official step toward the Air Force Academy when he reports for the first day of kindergarten.

We warned Mrs. Kennedy in advance that he’ll probably show up most days in the flight suit.

“But don’t worry,” my wife explained, “we wash it.”

It’s indeed hard to believe our son is going to start kindergarten this week, but considering that he’s been in day care since he was 6 weeks old, it almost seems like he should at least already have an associate’s degree.

Preparing him to start “real” school hasn’t been all that hard, to be honest.

He can count. He can say his ABCs.

He knows his address, his mom and dad’s names and his birthdate.

He knows that a C-130 is used to transport cargo, and that an AC-130 can be called in for close air support.

I’ve gone over various scenarios to make sure he’s ready.

“OK,” I’ll say, “what if a stranger offers you a piece of candy?”


“What if a stranger wants you to help look for a missing cat?”


“What if a stranger offers you a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter?”

But, last night, in looking over a list of things he’s supposed to know before Friday, it dawned on us that he doesn’t know his phone number.

Personally, I still remember the little tune my mom taught me before starting kindergarten in order to memorize our home phone number.

But that was a different era. We only had the one phone line.

Now, my wife and I have separate cellphone numbers and no landline.

Which one should we teach him?

Ironically, my parents now only have cellphones, too. I have no clue what their numbers are.

Why would I?

One touch of their names and my phone automatically calls them.

With a slightly better iPhone, I wouldn’t even have to know how to read their names. I could just tell Siri to call them for me.

The future is now.

So, I’m afraid our son isn’t ready for kindergarten on a technicality.

Go ahead and ask him about the effectiveness of the Christmas bombings of North Vietnam by B-52s.

Just don’t ask him how to get ahold of his parents.

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