Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Big Yellow Bus of Doom
So...Nick is starting kindergarten.. That’s like... real school. Real school. And a real school bus. He has made it very clear that he absolutely doesn’t want me to drive him. He wants to ride the big yellow bus. Do you know how many innocent youngsters are beat up on buses? That's where all the bullies get their practice, you know.
And that terrifies me.
I’m sure he will be fine. I keep telling myself that he will be fine. Will I be fine?
I don’t know.
To a certain extent, I’ve always been here to protect him. I’m the one that kisses the skinned knees (not, however, in front of the neighbor girls) and I’m the one that soothes the hurt ego when the boys across the street don’t want to play with him. If one of the neighbor kids borrows Nick’s bike and takes an inordinate amount of time returning it, I’m the one that encourages Nick to ask for it back. I try to work from the sidelines; offering support and encouragement, band aids
and the blue popsicles. I break up the fights and tighten the screws on his bike seat. But when he starts school, I’m not going to be there.
As feeble minded as I am, I do remember how important some of those elementary school
milestones can be. I remember suffering the hurts and the ego bruises all kids will undoubtedly suffer. I remember how a teacher’s careless words can seriously impact a child. I remember learning to spell “shit” in my elementary school art class. (There was an argument as to whether or not there was an “e” on the end.) I was made fun of in 3rd grade for wetting my pants. I remember being so proud of myself (for something or other) that I couldn’t wait to tell my teacher and I remember that teacher, who shall remain nameless (Ms Schapps), popping my balloon, letting the air out of my sails, crushing me with her indifference. It was elementary school where I realized that the world didn’t revolve around me and that each small achievement
wasn’t necessarily going to be applauded and celebrated with ice cream. Nick, who is the opposite of modest (he’s really good at being humble; just ask him) came up to me a little while ago and told me that he was really, really good at riding his bike and his new friends were going to be surprised! I was torn for a moment. My first mommy instinct was to hug him and agree with him, but there was also part of me that wanted to introduce him to a little reality and tell him that other kids don’t like braggarts and that we need to work on some modesty if he was going to get along with those new friends.
But I didn’t. I hugged him and agreed with him. I decided there’s plenty of time to crush his enthusiasm and I don’t necessarily want to be the one that does it. I’ll leave that to the public school system. But until then, I’ll let the world revolve around him and his siblings, because for me, it does. Before I know it, the other two will be in school as well and I’ll be helping them with their homework. Which means I’m going to have to start reviewing that multiplication table. I always did have trouble with the nines. And dividing fractions. And anything that involved
adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, counting, paint by numbers...Anything with numbers, really...and then there was all that greater than/less than stuff. Oh, and if I have eight oranges, Sally has three and Spot had two, undoubtedly, the kids are going to want an apple...