29 August 2005

My kid is a kindergartener!

Suddenly I know what they're talking about when they say children grow up so fast. My daughter is being subsumed into the rituals and rhythms of school. She will do so many new things that I won't see every time. I will no longer be there when she learns a new song or comprehends the notion that specific words have meanings. I won't be with her when she figures out how to copy a picture or write the next new word.

What a shock!

It still pulls at my heartstrings that this tender little shoot of a child is already In School, daily mixing it up with the other kids, at a big neighborhood school. (I once went to school across the street from her school, and we played chess with the kids from my daughter's school.)

Now there are probably four or five Indian kids in her grade in school, plus some Hispanic kids and some white kids. I can't tell how much she notices skin color or how she sees herself. I was stunned hearing my Asian-American friend say she was quite surprised to realize growing up that she wasn't white and blond like Farrah Fawcett and half the girls in her class. But there are lots of brown kids around this girl of ours, so she's not different. And she has the amazing crib sister connection to sustain her. It's a new world, different from when we had 1 black kid, 4 hispanic kids, maybe an asian kid, and everyone else was white, including the vast majority of the teachers.

Gone are the days when I wondered whether she was ready. She is so ready in a way I may never truly be -- surprise, surprise, surprise! She's even ready to take the bus from school to the park, without me being at the school. And she's loving and curious and engaged, ready to play and willing to have adventures.

It's as if a mantle of fiveness has settled atop her shoulders. She suddenly has this self-posession she's never had. An Idea of her Self in Space and Time. Or even just a glimpse of this new idea of herself.

She's learning about manipulation. We have to watch out that Grandma doesn't always say yes, overextend herself to her granddaughter. She is in no way the little girl's slave, yet The Girl has treated her as if she is her personal, life-sized plaything. We must set the little one straight. Her Grandma is precious and deserves to be respected and cherished. Grandpa, too.

In other news, I'm looking forward to my latest publication on Movie Habit, discussing Gimme Shelter and a film about an African pop star. I am about to go to the Telluride film fest, so it will be fun to have something new posted.

Speaking of Telluride, I am thinking I can collect little Telluride stories -- 100 words about you. Or what you brought to the festival. Or something you have learned since you arrived. How could my friend's bear story get included? She wanted to go to the festival and all of her friends bailed, so she camped in the wilds near town. All night she heard animals grunting near her tent, and heard talk in a cafe of a seven-foot bear seen rummaging in a Dumpster at night. Two days passed before she realized she could shower if she paid her $1.25 for three minutes like all the other campers. Life improved dramatically, and she never got eaten by a bear. But of course she had to pee outside the tent six times that night.

'Night all. Sleep well!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the idea that "a mantle of fiveness has settled atop her shoulder."

When I was in grammar school -- a Catholic grammar school -- we had all white kids until Janet Clay arrived in second grade. She was the only child of color I saw until that point. We divided the class by the Italians (A friend of mine ruled her own fifth grade "mafia." She went around swearing in Italian and telling people "I will have you shot -- just kidding"), the Irish, and everyone else.