(Note: One word of not-genteel language may appear in this post — more than once. Adjust your screen, browser, expectations, whatnot, accordingly.)
Today Jonah had his other first day of preschool. We already went through the first day back in January where I’d packed his lunch and taken pictures, and we know how that turned out at the end of six months.
And then we had that pretend first day of this new school when it wasn’t really in session yet but he spent a few hours there and did fine. Great, really.
This school is different. For one thing, Jonah doesn’t beg me not to go.
This morning I dropped him off without incident or complaint. We put our broccoli and apples in the communal basket. He held my hand while we walked down the stairs to the sandbox where one other child was playing. He got into the sandbox and got straight to work, saddled-up on the ride-on digger, pulling the levers to work the bucket. I sat nearby for a few minutes. Then I got up and announced I would be leaving. He gave me a kiss goodbye from the ride-on digger and that was that.
Around mid-morning, I got an email from one of the teachers (there are two). She filmed the kids dancing around in a big circle with rings of streamers to “Singing in the Rain.”
Color me so freaking happy to get that email.
I picked him up at 1:45. He was back in the sandbox on the digger, though the teacher was quick to assure me that he had indeed done other activities in between. She’d listed them all on a piece of paper by the sign-in notebook – noting which child(ren) participated in which activity – play dough, grating cheese, pretending to be princes and princesses, sharing the train.
And an impressive list of all the food they ate – whole wheat english muffins, peanut butter, veggies, fruits… I don’t have to pack his lunch or snack. Yes, my bentos used to be pretty to look at and fun to eat, but having freedom from that chore is exquisite. Jonah claims he ate the broccoli, and I don’t particularly believe him.
We got in the car and drove down off the mountain (the house is so far up in the hills, it’s a different climate – the kids spent the morning playing in the “rain” from the fog that had condensed in the trees and was dripping down on them quite wetly – and hence the song choice for the dance class).
When we got to the stop sign at the end of the street, Jonah asked me to turn around and take him back.
“Does the car turn that way? Does the wheel go back that way?” he asked, indicating up the hill.
“You want to go back up the hill?”
“I want to go back to Heather’s house.”
The child was BEGGING me to go BACK to preschool. I explained repeatedly that he would be going back tomorrow morning, but he was tough to console.
He also looked tired, so I took the risk of trying to drive him to nap. Every once in a while I get stupid like that and hope he might become a napper again. But he foiled me as usual.
So we went to Fourth Street, which in the past has been the site of many a stupendous post-preschool no-nap tantrum.
I parked the car and gave him the rules: “When mommy says it’s time to leave, no tantrum.”
I’ll save you the suspense: There was no tantrum.
Despite his seeming exhaustion and our track record, he was a positively delightful companion. We spent the afternoon perusing the shops together.
First we dawdled with the blue fiberglass cow outside of The Pasta Shop. Next we bought Jonah a 12-grain bar and me an iced tea at Peet’s. Then we went to the toy store where he played with trains for a while. After that, The Gardener – an upscale home decor/goodies type store with the cleanest most beautifully appointed bathroom in semi-public bathroom history — where we admired an intricate black fish-shaped “welcome” soap-on-a-rope from Japan ($45) and had a potty success.
Next Jonah announced that he would like some tea.
So we went to the crazily upscale tea shop where people sit at a tall bar and beautiful young college students wearing vaguely Japanese-looking embroidered silk shirts and black trousers pour hot water over the most expensive tea leaves in town, beneath a giant red paper lantern. This is the shop where we usually just stop in to admire the koi pond in the floor and look-but-not-touch at the $250 teapots.
They do offer free samples of two types of tea each day, however. So we bellied up to the fancy bar and the ladies made Jonah a very mild pot of Jasmine. We passed about half an hour at that tea bar, what with him sipping his tea from a delicate white bowl, asking for sugar and getting a tiny, square, rock crystal and him daintily touching it with the tip of his tongue and then putting it in his cup and swishing it around and taking it out again to lick and so on, and stopping between sips to nibble on his 12-grain bar or comment on the beautiful semi-precious stones and bits of glass and and seashells embedded in the polished concrete countertop.
The tea-aficionados ADORED him. We’re welcome back anytime.
He’s so refined in some ways; that’s what makes it even cuter when he cusses.
Rewind to last week in Los Angeles. Nana and PopPop are not practiced in containing their enthusiasm when swear words rise to their lips. As we have seen.
So, the boy learned a new one while we were visiting. And used it properly in a sentence a number of times:
1) He’s pulling on a napkin, attempting to get it unstuck from the couch cushion, “I’m trying to get this napkin, dammit!”
2) Working on pushing his straw back into the top of his juice cup, “I can’t put this dammit straw in the cup!” (almost properly in this case).
3) We’re walking down the aisle of the airplane — it’s pretty full as we are boarding with group B. It’s also completely silent. I’m carrying Jonah in my arms. “Dammit!” he announces, midway down the rows. Heads swivel towards us from every direction.
“Jonah! Why did you say that?”
He replies, exasperated, “There aren’t three seats together!”
Giggles erupt all around us.
I guess we were going to have to have the grown-up words conversation with him at some point. The problem is, I really have a hard time being mad because when he says it, it’s pretty damn cute.