While our nation's rich white oligarchs were grunting and sweating their hour upon the stage, a much more important event was passing here in North Portland: the Peeper's first day of school!
Tuesday afternoon he had his "graduation" from preschool, complete with paper mortarboards. diplomas and (best of all) cupcakes!All the kids, when asked to cite what the learned in preschool, replied "Nothing..." except the valedictorian, Henry, who said he did fuckall and played video games the whole time.So the Peep started on the first on-ramp to education with a paper hat and a sugary treat.
The next morning brought second thoughts, worries and lots of excuses; the jacket was too hard to take off, the shoes were wrong, the scooter HAD to come (and the prohibition of the scooter was taken bitterly hard). Plainly the boy was having cold feet.
The walk to Astor School with Mom and Dad (both of whom had taken the day off) was all too short, and suddenly there was a roomfull of strange kids, parents with babies, books, toys, papers and crayons and Mrs. Thomason.
Mrs. Thomason had the grizzled, competent look of a construction foreman or a paratroop sergeant. She took charge quickly and made it clear who was going to be The Boss. About a quarter of the kids were transfixed, another half were well behaved (the Peep was in the lower quarter of this group) while a full 6 or 7 of the 24 little students were completely wandered, gazing off into space, picking noses or kicking the floor.
And with the rules read and the parental duties outlined, it was time to for the parents to go.
Now the whining school-boy with his Spiderman satchel and shining morning face had crept like snail unwillingly to school, but this was another thing entirely. Mommy and Daddy were leaving him! Alone! In kindergarten!
The Peeper dealt with this new terror with all the cheerful patience of the weakest traveler slung out of a sleigh onto a frozen steppe full of ravening wolves.
The lip quivered. The arms clung. Possibly the most pathetic of all was the despairing butt-scoot cross the floor to the departing parents at the door.
It was a performance worthy of a Barrymore or a Crawford. We left the pathetic little waif being brave and clinging to his chair as if he was a sinner and it was Salvation. And walked Little Miss over to her daycare, where she giggled, chirped and hopped down to play without a sniffle.
Sigh.We had a lovely mid-day with a long bike ride, delicious lunch at the Little Red Bike Cafe, a leisurely lounge about the house sprinkled with housekeeping chores until the time came to reclaim our lad.
I got a chuckle out of the rind of parents fringing the Astor parking lot hovering to airlift their darlings away; not sure why I laugh - we were right there helicopter parenting with the rest.Our little man was there, rucked up and ready at the door, wearing a look that said plainer than words "I'm not sold on this kindergarten thing, it kinda sucks, you guys were foolin' with me again..."But the first day is over, the first step taken. And perhaps a rich chocolate Burgerville milkshake and a aimless hour with Daddy down by the river, plonking rocks in the water and collecting shells, helped return a little calm to a little boy's first big venture in life.