Thursday, February 05, 2004

This is Going to Go Down on Your Permanent Record

After our son started pre-school last year, it came as quite a shock to us to learn that he wasn’t perfect. We were sure that his pre-school teachers would thank us profusely for the honor of having him in their class. Certainly the teachers would talk in conferences about his brilliant wit and his clever manner. The other parents would blush with envy.

No. Pretty much his teachers started complaining about him the first day. The main problem is that he is too silly.

At some point during the morning, the teacher gathers all 18 kids in a circle where they are instructed to sit on their names. Then she tells them a story or sings a song or something for fifteen minutes. I guess Jonah finds this rather dull, so he instead tries to crack up the other kids by shouting out bon mots like “Mr. Poop-head” or “Butt-head” or some variety of those words. Last week, he expanded his repertoire.

After hearing that he was disruptive from his increasingly unhappy teacher, I asked him on the walk home, "What did you do, Jonah?"
Jonah explained. "I said, "buh, buh, banana-buhtt."
Ba, ba, banana-butt?
No, mom. buh, buh, banana-buhtt.

I’ve tried to tell him that Mr. Poop-head and his close cousins are not at all humorous or ironic, but I don’t think he’s buying it. After all, the 17 other kids laughed.

Another issue I’ve heard about is his tendency to daydream and bump into door frames, desks, chairs, and other children splayed out on the ground. His teacher came out of the room last week to seriously inform me of this character flaw. “It’s a safety issue.”

His teacher is also annoyed by his high energy levels. Only in pre-school is high energy, imagination, and a sense of humor punished.

I will surely hear about his abundant faults during our up coming parent-teacher conference. With all solemnness, I will hear how disruptive my child is, and perhaps this is due to some failings at home. And with this attitude, he will certainly be a problem in kindergarten and later end up in a trade school repairing old typewriters. Worse yet. He’ll probably go to graduate school.

Read This

The Wilson Quarterly has a few interesting articles this month on shopping and the American way of life. (Sadly, it's not on line yet.) What do our shopping habits tell us about society? Well, mostly women do the shopping. Men never buy their own underwear. If you put the makeup counter near the shoes, then women will notice the displays for skin creams while waiting for their shoes. Women really like those free give aways from Clinque. (Duh!) Sales at malls are suffering now that more women are working full time. Lots of good stuff in there. If women spend a good deal of their time shopping, should women's studies classes offer some readings in this area?

The Atlantic Monthly has a cover issue on the mommy wars by Caitlin Flanagan. I'm right in the midst of it, but it's excellent so far. It is also not available on line yet, but it will be soon. And then we're going to talk.

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