“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kindergarten Screening

It came to my attention this week that Noah's preschool class is being screened for kindergarten. I love that Noah is already at his big kid school. When Joey was in preschool, he went to a different place, and I had to take a day off of work and bring him in at an appointed time to be tested. Since I didn't know anybody yet, I sat on a chair outside the door, feeling afraid that he'd freeze up and somehow, they wouldn't know that he is special and smart and wonderful. I kept envisioning them swinging the door open wide, irate, screaming, "How could you think this child is suitable for our kindergarten program?" and poor, sweet Joey would be standing there, a new nightmarish memory burned in his brain forever.

That didn't happen, since it's a lovely, cheerful place where everyone is quite nice.

Anyway, none of these fears this time, right? Because Noah's been at this school all year and has already made his mark. At his Christmas concert, it's been said that he "stole the show" because he infused his own, creative big finish to the song his class sang--he swung his arms out wide and carried that last note at least twenty seconds longer than any other kid. At the very least, his preschool teacher would have mentioned to me by now if she thought he wasn't ready for the kindergarten program with which she is quite familiar.

So, yesterday, Noah and I were enjoying the beautiful Buffalo spring weather by having a picnic lunch in the front yard, when I casually asked, "Hey, Noah, did you happen to talk to the kindergarten teacher yesterday or today?"

Noah didn't even look up from his turkey sandwich. "Oh, yeah. Today."

This is my second preschooler, so I'm used to having to prod for more info. "What did you talk about?"

"Oh, Mom." He waved a hand dismissively. "We did some projects. She asked me some questions. It was all smart kid stuff."

This could either mean I'm too stupid to understand, or how could I be so stupid as to have to ask. It was probably a bit of both. Still, I needed more answers.

"What kind of projects? What kinds of questions?"

Noah rolled his eyes and huffed. I was clearly ruining the picnic. "I built with blocks, drew some pictures, wrote my name, and talked about shapes. I told you: smart kid stuff."

"Did she ask you Daddy's name?" I pressed.

"It's Joseph," he said. "Joseph Bielecki, like my brother."

"Yes. And his job? Do you know Daddy's job?"

He frowned a moment. "He counts numbers all day and makes money." When he says this, he doesn't mean that Daddy is the bread-winner. He believes that Joe literally makes money--the green paper stuff that ends up in banks and wallets. I figured this was satisfactory enough, that maybe it was even better than the word "accountant" which I'd filled out on the preliminary forms, since it was his own interpretive definition.

"And did they ask you about Mommy?"

"I know your name is Mary Pat. I also know you used to work, but now you don't, so that's a little confusing."

My heart beat a little faster. "But you do remember what Mommy's job is, right?"

He blanked. "Not really."

"Noah! It's your thing! You tell everyone I have eyes in the back of my head because of my job! Why do I need eyes in the back of my head?"

"Because you're secretly a superhero?"

WHAT???? Now I really started to panic. "Noah, what did you tell your teacher when she asked you all these questions?"

"Oh, that," he said, once again becoming dismissive. "Well, the thing is, Mom, she already knows us because she had Joey. So I figured, she already knew the answers and didn't really need me to tell her."

So. All my calm and cool about the kindergarten screening this time around? Right out the window. Once again, I'll be the nervous parent who raises her hand half-way to get the teacher's attention, and I'll have to ask in my squeaky timid voice, "Did he do okay?" because this time, I have real cause for concern. That little punk!

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