Wednesday, April 13, 2016

School Days Ahead

You all read about my cousin's wedding in my last post...between the wedding and rehearsal dinner (I read a scripture message during the wedding) we were occupied all weekend.  Occupied enough for me to forget that this week at Ben's preschool is the "Week of the Young Child".  I don't know who came up with this week but I feel like it is kind of overkill since those of us with young children know that every minute of our lives is about the "young child" but I guess it's fun to observe at preschools around America.  There are special theme days every day this week and Monday was "dress as your favorite book or movie character" day.  I remembered this at 5:00 p.m. when we were driving west on I-94 on Sunday evening.  Oh crap.  I thought of the characters he likes and couldn't conjure a way to make an outfit happen with whatever we have around the house.  I was thinking of hats and I remembered he has a plastic construction helmet.  Bob the builder?  It could work but he hasn't been really interested in that for awhile since PBS stopped showing it regularly.  Then it occurred to me...the Lego Movie!  Yaaassssss!  Emmet from the Lego Movie is a Construction foreman type guy. 

I found an orange fleece jacket that we received as a hand me down that has a broken zipper.  It is reversible to camo so I have kept it around for hunting season and we just pull it over his head.  I saw a picture online of a shirt with silver tape (duct tape!) to make a construction vest and Ben also happens to have a blue collared shirt!  I added finishing touches of a name tag and a pen. 

Unfortunately, we don't have any orange pants but even without them I think it works.  Today was "favorite hat day" and there was "art with parents" at the end of the day.  We helped them paint flower pots and then the rest of the day was spent playing in the classroom.  It was fun to see the kids interact. 

On the subject of school, last Friday the news went out around town that the elementary school in town that our street is assigned to has been recommended for closure as of the end of the school year.  The reasons given were because the building is old and not as good as the other schools in town and the classes are small (200 students in K-6).  Ben would be starting at this school in Fall of 2017.  We actually live closer in proximity to another school but there is a dividing street that dictates where schools feed to middle and high schools and we are in a location that would require driving or bussing anyway.  On the map, the district we are in is a rectangle which contains an older part of Bismarck and a long strip on the top which contains a few streets including ours so the district looks like a lowercase d.  The main neighborhood is made up of houses that are much smaller and older than ours and apparently the district is less desirable because of "socioeconomic disadvantages" (their words not mine).  There was a meeting last night at the school and I went to it with Milo because the people who have kids there already and who live in the neighborhood are not very happy about this and I heard accounts of crying children and kids who walk to school now who will have to be on a bus next year if this happens.  I felt like showing solidarity, I guess.  It's easy to let other people care about this stuff but something about schools always brings up emotions in me (and to a lot of people at that meeting last night).  Also, every other school in town is overcrowded so everyone knows, although it's not being said, that if this happens a new shiny school will be build in a "good" neighborhood in the next few years.  And the old neighborhood will go downhill fast without the school. 

As soon as I walked into the gym I felt my stomach clench because the gym reminded me (on a smaller scale) of the school where I attended, complete with an old fashioned stage with velvet curtains and a little scoreboard suspended in the corner.  Why is it so bad for something to be old?  I can't be the only one who feels like this.  They said it would take too much money to make it "equal" but why does every building have to be the same?  There was no specific examples about why it was not equal, it was just too old.  They eat lunch in the gym, which doesn't upset me as a parent at all and there are no elevators (but there are stair lifts).   So who knows what will happen.  I think I have a feeling though.  Like a parent asked last night, does it even matter what they want or is it already decided?

After the presentation and a brief outburst of arguing and fighting the plan was for parents and neighborhood people to gather around various easels with large notepads manned by a school board member to write down questions so they could talk about concerns without the whole room erupting into a yelling match.  I was standing in a group talking about how sure they could be about their demographic projections for the neighborhood and trying to sound like the educated woman that I am (with every step of that education obtained at all levels in old buildings while living in an ancient house and old dorms and a old sorority house and old apartment building none of which were newer than 40 years old) when I realized my hand was wet and it was...gulp...something unidentifiable leaking from Milo's diaper.  Ugh.  Oh my stars.  I tried to be casual about it and waited for a change of subject and then a nice teacher showed me to their secret teacher bathroom to clean it up. I sometimes feel like, since I don't have a job outside the house, I should be doing something to make myself useful in the community so my resume isn't a complete dead zone in a few years.  Also, I wasn't raised in a household where my parents kept to themselves and let everyone else care about stuff.  But I was reminded at that moment...being active in the community in anything more than a very small way just isn't going to work right now unless someone wants to babysit for free so I can go work for free.

It's hard to believe I am becoming a "school age" mom.  Ben's baby years sure flew by.  It's a new chapter where I am already meeting new friends among the other parents and it's really great to see Ben entering school without hesitation or anxiety.  Hopefully it stays that way!