Pretty School [The Draft Collection*]

[*From September 2011.]

Our Hen started preschool last week; ‘play school’ as he likes to call it. (True.) Or ‘pretty school’ as the Gort consistently, somewhat inexplicably, calls it. Another in a long-line of malapropisms chez nous. Pretty school, holetell (hotel), commercianal (commercial). Pretty school might be my favorite because our oldest says it so sincerely, entirely unaware that it sounds slightly ridiculous.

But back to the Hen. In preschool.

Other than refusing to speak in his teachers’ presence, he is happy to be at preschool; to be a ‘big’ kid. Because that’s all he talks about. ‘When I’m gonna turn 5?’ ‘You just turned four,’ I sigh, reminded – again – of that one flaw that consumes us: never being satisfied with what we have – always looking towards the next ‘thing’. Or age in this case.

At 7, 4 and 2 I feel like these boys are big enough already. I’m in no hurry for them to be even one more year older. We peek at them when they sleep and the Gort takes up most of his bed. Suddenly, his face looks so mature and how is it that a little boy with blond ringlets turned into a lanky boy-child; a face that already hints at what he will look like as a boy-man. And the Hen, who it’s easy to dismiss as ‘little’ is not so little. Not when you really stop and study him. Taller every day, I swear he’s wearing shoes his oldest brother wore in Kindergarten.

The bond those two boys have right now is mostly precious. ‘Mom, Henners wants me to go to pretty school with him,’ the Gort told me as the first day drew near. The oldest convinced his presence would make the daunting less so. I considered taking him to school late that day just so he could escort his younger brother to school. But decided against it – ever mindful of trying to let the Hen have experiences that don’t include his oldest brother.

Even if it’s just going to preschool for the first time.


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