|Bonnie and Clyde in their Pacer (all outlaws drive these, right?)|
I should have known kindergarten was going to be a whole new world the day Dylan got off the bus and said, "Dad, Joe called me a ... pause, sound it out ... fuck." Before the "k" sound left her mouth, I was headed for the truck, ready to go find Joe, or his parents, when I realized that Joe is probably six-years old and was just showing off a forbidden word he'd heard at home. I steadied my pulse, took a breath, and told Dylan, "Don't sit near Joe anymore."
The other part about kindergarten that Regina and I didn't expect was that Dylan has spent nearly as much time in the principal's office in ONE semester as I did in seven years at that school. Granted, I was a goody-two shoes and my offenses were a lot more on the delinquent side (which contradicts the goody-two shoes, I know), but, a kindergartner spending that much time in trouble? We worry.
So, now we have a Responsibility Chart, and we preach the gospel of Standing Up For Those Who Are Getting Picked On, and Making Good Choices. These are talks I'd imagined us having five years down the road, but sometimes the art of raising kids is no art at all. It's improv, which is sloppy, at best.
Is it working? We'll see. Grady loves going to school and, for the most part, quit letting the girls do everything for him. He's learning and loves to learn, so we're excited for his progress. Dylan's learning too. She's learned that she gets along great with both the principal and the school secretary. But she's also learning to be her own person. And, maybe the valuable lesson she's learned, is that sometimes it's better for her father's constitution to sit very near the bus driver than to sit next to little jerkwads named Joe.