Monday, February 05, 2007

Soup Rocks on the First Day of School

Exhausted. Physically. Emotionally. Financially.

This morning I took The Lawyer to his new school. We met his home room teacher and new classmates.

The whole home room ordeal felt a little like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, not that I'd know first-hand. I just happen to be halfway through Dry, Augusten Burroughs' memoir about sobering up for good.

"Hi. My name is Teo (tay-oh). I'm a second grader. My favorite color is azul. What's your favorite color?"

"Uh, Hi. My name is The Lawyer (of course he doesn't refer to himself by his blog nickname, mostly because he doesn't even know it). That's spelled ... He actually spelled his whole first and last name out. My favorite color is, uh, I dunno', green. Yeah green."

"More questions for The Lawyer, anyone? Questions?" Jose, the young home room teacher asked, scanning the surprisingly calm circle of kids on the carpet for raised hands. Amazing. Every single kid had a question for the new kid.

"What's your favorite video game?"
"What's your favorite animal?" The room hushed and oohs and ahs bounced around after he said "Cheetahs ... but they're almost extinct."
"What's your favorite movie?"
"Where did you come from? What school?"
"What's your favorite toy?" "That's easy. My miniature football guys set with the felt field. It's totally like a real game except I control the players. I've had it since I was two. Never lost a piece."

The Lawyer surfed the tidal wave of attention like seasoned pro, fielding questions one after the other with increasing ease and flair. I was impressed. He'll be fine. What the hell was I so worried about?

By his second class of the completely bilingual morning (hardcore Spanish immersion .. almost all the teachers wear a bracelet on the left wrist for English and switch it to the right when they switch to Spanish ... and they switch a hell of a lot), The Lawyer was already raising his hand to answer questions and being called on often. He was confident, sure of himself and ready for more.

We only spent about an hour and a half at the school together. Tomorrow will be his first full day there on his own. He didn't even need me there today.


Tomorrow his Language Arts class will make soup from the ingredients they hand picked at the nearby downtown farmer's market on Friday. Using two crock pots, they'll make one soup the traditional way. The other soup will feature something not typically on the menu -- rocks. Have you ever heard of Stone Soup, one of those old Caldecott Award books? I'm hoping the teacher strains out the stones. After sampling stone and non-stone soups, the kids will vote on which tastes better. Either way, The Lawyer is thrilled to experiment with rocks in his food.

Iggy, the iguana that hangs out and freely wanders throughout The Lawyer's language arts program, stuck her tongue out at me today when I stroked her scaly back. She's longer than my love seat couch.

I forgot to mention that the teachers call the students either by their first names or "friend." When The Lawyer first entered his home room class, he made a b-line for the basketball sized desert tortoises in a tank at the back of the room. Teacher Jose chimed in with, "Hi friend. I know it's sometimes hard on the first day, friend. We'd like you to join us on the carpet when you're ready. We'll wait for you to let us know when that is, friend."

"Friends, it's mui importante to respect others when it's their turn to talk ... "

It's reassuring to know The Lawyer is already surrounded by so many "friends."

Oh, and by the way, apparently The Lawyer's adventurous Language Arts teacher isn't the only educator brewing sanitized rock infused soups.

Finally, to wrap up our busy day of new beginnings, The Lawyer and his little bro' Cheeks had their first Jr. NBA basketball practices at the local Jewish Community Center. I wasn't even planning on signing Cheeks up but the coach noticed him dribbling away and managing not to lose the bouncing ball, even when running full speed ahead. She asked if he could join the 4- to 5-year-old team that practices directly after his big brother's practice wraps. I said yes. Now I know how to get my little Cancer to come out of his shell - organized/team sports. What a difference.

A couple of moms whose sons were also on the b-ball teams were chatting within earshot about their hopes of passing the exam and interviews to get into The Lawyer's old school, a prestigious, very exclusive, expensive private school. One of them asked The Lawyer, "So, where do you go to kindergarten?"

He looked at her blankly and replied, "Uh, I don't really know."

He definitely will tomorrow.


At 2:32 AM, Blogger mad muthas said...

that sounds like a fab little school. you must be so relieved that your decision is turning out so well. anywhere that uses 'stone soup' as a teaching aid gets my vote.

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent day!
I am so happy for (and proud of) you....

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Mary said...

If the class is having Stone Soup tomorrow you know it is a good school!!
Always a favourite of mine.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger you da mom! said...

wow, what a great program. sounds like fun.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please let me know the name of this new school- I live in Long Beach and am looking for schools for the fall- would love to check this out- sounds like there ios a waiting list?? let me know
one love

At 6:44 AM, Blogger crazymumma said...

The new school sounds fantastic. My girls love the cheetah as well, they are near obsessed....
I love that they make things at this school. Life skills. Sounds like he is going to do fine.

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