The kids are alright

It’s three days into the school year and each day brings its own set of revelations.

At the end of the first day, as I was driving like a maniac to get to the Gort’s school fifteen minutes late, I concluded it was in the best interest of all involved that we sign the 10 year old up for the bus. I envisioned a heart attack in my future, along with a broken relationship with the Hen (courtesy of the ‘Hurry, we need to go, hurry, we’re late!’ greetings I’d have to bestow on him every afternoon) and promptly marched into the office at the Gort’s school and asked if it was too late to sign him up for the bus.

As luck would have it, the bus stop is a 5 minute walk from our house and he is the last to be picked up and the first to be dropped off, meaning he’s sitting on the bus for the same amount of time he’d have been sitting in my car.

In other words, the best $330 I will have spent this year.

On the second day, I picked my oldest blond-wonder up from the bus stop. He was a fount of information.

‘You know how Adam’s family is ‘healthy’, like us’, he began. ‘Well, the kids in grade 8 and 9 can leave the school at lunch-time, so Adam’s brother went to Mac’s [convenience store] and got a huge froster [freezee, slurpee, iced-beverage-containing-vast-amounts-of-food-coloring.] So he gave Adam a piece of candy so he wouldn’t tell their parents.’

Let’s review: off-limits food, brotherly collusion and parental defiance. All on day 2.

And then, ‘some of the girls wear shirts that don’t cover their bellybuttons.’

Oh dear. It’s been bad enough, trying to avoid the Victoria’s Secret-La Senza-Pink ‘lingerie triumvirate’ next to the Gap at the mall, now I need to think about school too?!

It may be the only time I ever say this: winter, come quickly.

Day three brought another tale. ‘I got kind of embarassed today,’ he began – after telling me he’d lost his coat. ‘Our teacher was telling us that we could get something like yellow cards for being disruptive in class, like if we dump out a box of pencils on purpose. And then right after she said that, I knocked over my pencil case and broke it. ‘It was an accident,’ I told her and the whole class laughed.’

The Hen returned from his first day of grade 2 with little in the way of news, other than confirmation that his teacher did indeed have brown hair and braces as his older brother had predicted. ‘She’s kind of strict,’ the Hen declared, ‘but not as strict as [last year’s teacher].’

This statement gave me pause, since ‘strict’ would not be one of the words I’d use to describe his former teacher. ‘We did Zumba,’ he sighed. ‘I don’t like Zumba.’

Day two brought more news. It had been raining when it was time for the Hen to go to school, so I insisted he wear his rainboots. In keeping with my underpreparation for the start of school, that was the moment I learned his rainboots are two sizes too small. He wore them anyway and reported at the end of the day ‘they were really good for playing soccer. I’m going to keep wearing them even if they’re too small.’

‘Well, your dad is always telling you guys you need to wear smaller soccer shoes, I guess he’s right.’

‘And we did Just Dance today, no Zumba,’ he added, in a tone that suggested a preference for the former over the latter.

Day 3 brought a visit to the music room. ‘We did drums today, and we learned there’s a rule: no peeing on the carpet unless it’s an emergency and no barfing on the carpet unless it’s an emergency.’

Oh boy.

Percy only had to attend school on two of the three days. On the first day he brought home the requisite traced hand with a little poem about The Kissing Hand. I remembered one, or both, of the other boys coming home with the same things on their first day. What I did not recall from brothers 1 or 2 was the less-than-stellar finished product.

‘Wow,’ I gasped, ‘this is really not your best work.’

He shrugged. ‘Coloring is hard for me.’ In a manner that suggested he cared little about both the act of coloring and his proficiency with it.

I stuck the little green hand to the front of the fridge, ostensibly as a visible reminder that I had failed, thoroughly, in preparing my ‘baby’ for Kindergarten.

Later that evening, while the professor stood in the kitchen, I stared at it again. My eyes landed on something they hadn’t noticed previously. Something akin to scratch marks made by a raccoon holding a pencil. ‘Is that his name?’ I despaired, causing the professor to succumb to laughter.

‘Yeah, I thought that’s what you were so upset about.’

‘No, I was upset about the coloring, I hadn’t even noticed his name underneath it.’

‘Yep, it’s terrible.’

In an effort to compensate for my lack of attentiveness pre-Kindergarten, Percy and I are  doing a bit of of Kindergarten boot camp every day. Until one or both of us loses interest.

Day 1. Writing

Day 2. Puzzles

Day 3. Reading


photo courtesy of [a laughing hysterically] jsj

I don’t worry the lad is less intelligent than his brothers, it’s just the Hen raised the bar a bit where school readiness is concerned. I’m fairly certain the Gort went to school and I got a note from the teacher that ‘his coloring needs work’ and there was something about his inability with a pair of scissors. But the Hen spent his preschool years mastering puzzles and dedicating himself to the art of learning how to read and write. When he learned several months ago that he’s not allowed to watch a movie until he reads the book, he decided to read the entire Hobbit. Archaic language and esoteric vocabulary be darned.

I guess I just assumed some of it would trickle down.

You know what they say about assume.


4 thoughts on “The kids are alright

  1. I love this! Oh the third child. I assume as much with William. It’s so good to “listen” to you again. It’s been too long since I visited your blog. We miss you here in Muncie!

  2. Yes Roberta, we must have coffee! Molly,ah the plight of the third child. All we expect of them is to be cute and babyish for as long as possible. My mom said she saw you and William at the children’s museum – that tells me, right there, that he’ll be perfectly ready for Kindergarten!


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