This one starts preschool next week. We visited his classroom and met his teacher this morning, and by "visited" and "met" I actually mean "ransacked" and "terrorized."
His teacher is a Nice Young Man (SAYS THE DECREPIT OLD LADY) who just moved here from Portland and introduces himself to his little students as their "teacher...or guide, whatever you want, you know?" Another mother thought that was a beautiful way to look at things, while I was all, hippies! Awesome. It's high time somebody taught these resource-hogs how to compost.
The school is Montessori, so the classroom is filled with impeccably ordered shelves of wooden blocks and shapes and flashcards...and then lots of weird shit, like antique metal bells and a towel-folding station. It all has A Point, of course, and is Deeply Educational. The children wash up in an old-fashioned water basin and are expected to be be gentle with breakable plates and vases. The atmosphere is serene and peaceful, like something frozen in time from a gentler, simpler age.
So of course Ezra barrelled in at top toddler speed, all WHERE MY GARISH PLASTIC DISNEY-PIXAR LICENSED CHARACTER CRAP BE AT?
He shot around the room like a pinball on speed: HEY LOOK AT DIS LOOK AT DIS HEY LOOK AT DIS WHAT DIS HEY LOOK
His teacher tried to trail behind him, torn between answering the endless rhetorical questions ("WHAT DIS IT'S AN EGG" "Actually, that's an ellipsoid, and..." "I EAT DAT EGG FOR DINNER WHAT DIS") and frantically trying to preserve the perfect order of the shelves and straighten up the path of destruction Ezra was leaving in his wake.
I mostly just stood there, trying to pretend that something totally out of the ordinary was happening here, and I think I may have managed to say "He's not usually so..." but couldn't finish the sentence, because 1) LIE, and 2) Ezra had found a pair of scissors and was headed towards the bead wall with them ohhhhhhh dear.
His teacher finally backed off and announced that perhaps it was best if we just "let Ezra get all the exploration out of the way now, before school starts." I eyed Ezra (who at this point had decided it was "snack time" and was placing wooden rulers on the tables as stand-ins for granola bars) and calculated the odds that he would, AT ANY POINT IN TIME, decide that yes, indeed, all the exploration was "out of the way" and settle down. I put those odds pretty squarely at NO, NEVER, but you know. I didn't go to a Montessori preschool with fancy "fraction circles" and "ellipsoids." My math skills probably suffered as a result.
"You know, I think I'll start Ezra off with dusting," his teacher decided. "The kids just love dusting all the things!"
I nodded my approval at the idea of manual labor right as Ezra upended a small metal bucket containing about 200 tiny paper fraction cards. The remainder of the visit was spent coaxing him into cleaning them up, which he did, finally, after I threatened him in a most un-Montessori manner with never coming back to school ever again in his whole life.
Whatever. It worked. And then he even went around and retrieved all the rulers off the tables and put them away without being asked.
"See you next week, Ezra," his teacher said. He looked a little scared, yes. He handed me an 'About My Child' form to fill out and send back in. It asks parents to write a short paragraph on the back; I'm thinking of doing something interpretive, like a doodle of a tornado that shoots laser beams.
Before we left, I had to find the school's director and turn in a huge stack of OTHER forms that I'd already filled out -- forms that I think were due a few days ago, but whatever, Ezra is my second child, and my first kid was threatened with expulsion, therefore the Imaginary Preschool Authority Figures no longer scare me. When it's Ike's turn for preschool I'll probably fill out the forms in a yellow highlighter sometime over Christmas break.
The director chatted with Ezra for a couple minutes and then cooed over the baby, who had spent the entire visit conked out in his carseat in a corner. She asked his name.
"Ike," I said, and she reacted with resounding approval.
"That is such a great name! Like from South Par..." She caught herself and looked at me in alarm, worried that she'd just insulted the brand-new family by comparing their preshus snowflake baybee's name to an R-rated cartoon show.
"DON'T KICK THE BABY!" I said, probably a little too loudly. "Yes! Exactly. We may have done that on purpose, a little."
"That's awesome," she nodded. "I freaking love South Park."
Yeah. I kind of freaking love this school already.
I hope Ezra freaking loves it too.