Tuesday, September 06, 2005

First Day of Kindergarten

When General George Patton's father dropped him off for his first day of school, he turned to the boy and sadly said "Son, henceforth our paths diverge forever." My words of wisdom were more practical - "don't pick your nose, otherwise we'll have to move to another school district." Yesterday marked the start of a new era in the Hatcher's household with the twins starting kindergarten. No tears were shed by Wife of Hatcher as we dropped them off, instead she remarked simply to me: "Damn them kids for not letting me cry like all other moms."

They already went to some kindergarten camp for a month this summer at their school, so they are familiar with the place. One day I dropped them off there, and Billy was very explicit about how little hand-holding I needed to do. "Dad, you didn't need to get out of the car. You should have just said goodbye to us in the car. We can walk to the classroom by ourselves." I think he's doing drugs.

Sure, there was an element of sadness in seeing them off to formal book learnin, but in the same way terminally ill patients living in constant pain feel a twinge of sadness at parting this life - their sorry to see all of the good memories get left behind, but they know the pain of their current state and the inevitable downward decline makes now the right time. Like a cancer that has progressed beyond a reparable point, all boys reach that stage where the ratio of pure obnoxiousness to little kid cuteness crosses a tipping point, and worsens at an accelerating pace. How do I know I've reached this point? Here is a typical conversation:

Hatcher: "Hey Billy, what do you say we go out back and toss the football around."

Billy: "Hey Billy, what do you say we go out back and toss the football around." Giggle

Hatcher: "All right, if that's the way you want it."

Billy: "All right, if that's the way you want it." Giggle.

Hatcher: "I cannot wait until your the father of an obnoxious little five year old boy."

Billy: "I cannot wait until your the father of an obnoxious little five year old boy."

Hatcher: "What about you Joe?"

Joe lifts his t-shirt, places his left hand under his right armpit, with his right arm up in the air and bent at a 90 degree angle at the elbow, forces his elbow down to his side causing the air in his armpit to espace through the palm of his left hand, making a pretty convincing farting noise. Laughs hysterically and does not answer me.

Yeah, it's time for them to go to school. If a kid can teach himself the armpit fart trick, he's ready to read is what I say. So now they are at least partially society's responsibility, which is no small relief to parents who thought that disaster would strike at a time when we'd have to face the glare of the blame spotlight by ourselves, with no school system to point the finger at.

Patton recalled his fathers words for the rest of his life: "I have never forgotten that but though we lived more and more apart our hearts and minds never separated." May it be so for me and my two sons.


Anonymous Jim O said...

Sounds to me like they have already learned everything they are going to need to know in order to thrive in the future USA - make fun of others and substitute farting noises for actual conversation.

Hey, it works for CEOs and politicians...

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Jim O said...

BTW, I really like your new spam-killer.

Have they figured out a way around that yet? Well, give it time...

7:39 AM  
Blogger Clupbert said...

My brother also just started kindegarten. He already got in trouble in class for screaming. May they never grow up...

1:34 AM  
Blogger John Wolfram said...

My son started Kindergarten too. Here is his first week:
Each day you get a green, yellow, red or blue star. Green is great, yellow is a warning, red is trouble and blue is Rod Kerr. At the end of the week, all greens and yellows get to pick a trinket from the treasure chest. So the second day he gets yellow for talking during rest time. The next day, another yellow for talking in the hallway. When we told him to start quieting down, his answer was simple: "Even on yellow, I still get to pick from the treasure chest."

I think he's going to become an economist.

12:28 PM  

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