School has been a fun topic for Bird lately, though noticeably less fun as the first day approached. Let me clear – that kid is never quiet. Ever. But she was this morning. Even if she was talking I don’t know that anyone could have understood her. Probably the thumb in her mouth and little green blanket covering her face would have made it difficult. But then things changed on the way to her new school. All the fears she’d mentioned – like about not being ready for math (?) and missing her sister percolated up until she broke into tears as we drove into the parking lot at Shawnee Early learning Center. But at least she made it inside, though not without a struggle. She even left her blanket in the car which was a big shocker to mom and dad. Maybe all that psychological voodoo we’ve been throwing her about keeping it in a safe place so it’s there when she needs it is really working.
Boy, it couldn’t have been more clear which kids are used to being around others and which are not. You’d have thought some of these kids, particularly the boys, actually lived there given how comfortable they were throwing chalk across the room, yanking things out of each other’s hands and rolling all over the floor in a schizophrenic mess. I took a big sigh and looked down at my big girl, still wrapped around my leg. Like me, she was taking it all in and trying to make sense out of it. I squeezed her head. She looked up. I smiled. She looked down and squeezed my leg harder. But then after a few minutes she started noticing things in the classroom and tugged on my shirt. “What Bird?” She just pointed. Then we started exploring the room together.
I made a silent note that some jackass I met at the country club was there too. Great. Another venue for superficial socializing with people whom which I have nothing in common. Usually I would smile and nod, maybe shake hands if we were in close enough proximity and then talk smack about him to my wife on the way home. But I was too nervous about my little girl starting school to actually give a fuck about that guy any more than I do on most days (see: not at all). Instead, I stuck to my baby and she stuck to me and though it pained me to do so, my focus was on helping her integrate into the reality that she’ll be spending time in that classroom, with those kids, including the one from that jackass, for the next several months.
Once we got home it was time to direct the focus to Lily who, by the way, was crushed when we left her at home to take Ava. She had been playing with Heather and was better, even interested to hear what all went on at the strange place called “school.” Later on she pulled me aside, looked at me squarely and said “I don’t want to have my cast taken off!” Wow. Watching her lug that thing around for the past three weeks and hearing that had me vexed. Granted, she has learned how to use it as a weapon so there is definitely some value added in her life. But keep the cast on? Really?? What’s that all about? I decided to ask.
“Why do you want to keep that cast on Lulu?”
“Because. Because it makes me special daddy.”