Monday, August 17, 2009

First Grade

Tomorrow HH enters the first grade.

Last night he let it out; his energy level over the last few days had built to such a peak that we thought it must be the product of a growth spurt coupled with some hormonal abnormality and topped off by a measure of Jet-Lag. Seems the issue was what he was going to wear to school.

For those of you, like me, who thought that five-year-olds had a limited concentration span and remembered only those things related to chocolate, Lego and Pokémon, not necessarily in that order, we were wrong.

Last year HH was required to endure a number of admissions interviews. We looked at three schools and each of them had its own form of interview/test to determine if the child in question had the goods to make it at the respective school. He did fine, was accepted to all three and in the end chose the school he wanted to attend. During the course of one of these interviews he was shown a picture of the boys’ choir. The boys were dressed in long black robes with white collars as they stood in the choir loft of the Dom Cathedral in Cologne. Last night before falling asleep, HH explained that he was not ready to go to school – it was just too much trouble – and the primary reason was because he did not want to wear one of those black robes to school each day.

I didn’t even remember the robes, or the picture for that matter, but HH had kept that image tucked in the back of his mind for the last eight months. Now, I’m not sure he was really so worried about having the wear the robe to school, or that he had even given it a moment of thought before last night. It is just as likely he was digging deep to find an excuse, any excuse, to delay the start of school, much in the same way that he will come to the table and tell me that he won’t be able to eat the broccoli that’s sitting on his plate because he wasn’t allowed to watch the last installment of Bob the Builder. But it was impressive nonetheless that he conjured up that fleeting image of the boys in black and slipped it into his argument against going to school.

First grade. Now the fun begins; peer pressure, new friends, sports, helping him with his homework (in German no less!) after-school activities, girls, dating, driving! I’m getting ahead of myself, I know, but as I look back on the last few years, the HH years to-date, it seems like not that long ago he was just a toothless bundle in a Baby Bjorn, nodding and cooing as I carried him from place to place. HH is setting off on his own now, a bone-crushing school bag strapped to his back, and I must get used to waiting, waiting until the end of the day to hear the stories he chooses to tell.