Saturday, February 7, 2009

School daze

After a month of not spending all my non-work hours (and many of my work hours) visiting potential kindergartens for Benny, I returned to action today, starting with feeding and bathing the boy. Christine got him dressed, and he brushed his teeth. Then Benny and I headed toward a sort of kindergarten interview at a Catholic school:

Wait for 6-bus ... wait ... check cell phone for next bus. One minute? It said 'one minute' five minutes ago! Argh!
Board 6-bus.
Reach the N-train line.
N-train arrives.
Arrive at church ... school ... Where do I go? Head around corner toward the school.
Benny: 'Can we go home?'
Get to school, wonder if this is the place. Spot sign: 'Kindergarten Testing: Please be seated until your child's name is called.' Walk in the door and immediately get intimidated by a statue of the Virgin Mary (?) looking over the shoulder of a little girl, pointing out something on a roll of paper. I wonder what the role says -- VM doesn't necessarily look into it.
Benny wants to keep his coat on as well as the water bottle on a strap that he got for Christmas from Yoko.
Benny spots kids going downstairs to playground; he wants to go.
Daddy relents, though worried about missing the all-important 'be seated until your child's name is called' moment. Wonders if all the women hanging out in the hallway are nuns, ready to slap my hand with a ruler for not obeying a Commandment or the commandment to sit and wait.
I call Benny back to the top of the stairs. He seems nonplussed by the playground. (Actually it's an asphalt parking lot with a few basketball hoops.)
We look at all the trophies and ribbons in a case in the hallway. Hmmmm, no Piston Cup.
Benny takes off the coat; maintains possession of the water bottle. We sit on two of the chairs lining the hallway. Benny wants to see momre of the school.
A woman comes over to a family down the hall, takes a little girl by the hand and leads her through glass doors into the library. Ah-ha, I think -- The Interview. The Test. ... The Future!
I point out this scene to Benny, and just as he starts to ask something ...
An older woman calls from down the hall, "Benjamin?" I jump up, Benny in tow. The woman tells Benny that I'll be right here, presumably to put him at ease. Whatever!
The woman leads him down the hall, and I return to my seat. I look back to see a silhouetted Benny hand-in-hand with the woman, walking into the library.
I feel like crying.
The first little girl comes out. Benny can't be far behind.
'Give me back my son!' I start to yell inside my head.
Benny emerges, and the woman tells me how wonderful he is. She says he needs to work on gripping a pen for writing and on his finger skills. Otherwise, she says he's wonderful. (I said that already, didn't I?)
We walk out on the playground. We hopscotch and run up and down the asphalt. We walk down the street and find a store with an ice cream.
He eats 85.7 percent of it. I get the rest.
We see one of Benny's friends from last year in the post office. I ask her what kindergarten she attends this year. She says it's the school we just visited. I ask how she likes it. She says the playground is 'ugly. There's bird poop all over the benches.'