Thursday, September 14, 2006


Tristan's first day of school

There's so much going on in the world that I could blog about right now, so many things that I would like to blog about right now, that I think my head might burst. Everything from the tragic, incomprehensible shooting in Montreal (again? How could this happen AGAIN?) to Sean Penn getting busted by the smoking police in Toronto, to the amazing things happening 500 kilometers over our heads on the space shuttle Atlantis and Canadian astronaut Steve McLean who was born in the city I live right now. And of course, the unfortunate choice of Lukas Rossi in last night's Rockstar Supernova... am I the only one with a serious crush on Toby Rand?

But no, there are things in my heart and my head more important than all of these things. Not only do I (finally) have my ultrasound later this afternoon - stay tuned for results! - but I absolutely have to tell you about Tristan's first day of school.

The good news is, it rained. I didn't seem like a bad mother who forgot to buy indoor shoes for her son, I seemed like a well-prepared and thoughtful mother who didn't want her son's tootsies to be soaked by the torrential rain. (Apparently, a 40% chance of rain means that 40% of the total rainfall for the year will fall on that given day.) And I was only in a little bit of a panic getting out the door and over to the school on time, just enough so that I completely forgot to take the obligatory First Day of School picture.

The other good news is, his fever broke. What fever, you say? He started acting in a way that I can now readily identify as 'pre-fever' early the day before, and sure enough, we spent the day feeding him tylenol and ibuprofen to control the fever. (After he had a febrile seizure a couple of years ago, we don't mess around with fever!) It never amounted to anything more than a fever and a runny nose, and I used to get sick before every holiday and family special event when I was a child, so I wasn't overly alarmed. Sure enough, he was bright-eyed and cool by the time we pulled on his rubber boots and headed out the door.

He showed no hesitation whatsoever heading into school. Quite the opposite, in fact. He was practically dancing as we walked through the drizzle toward the school, and I pointed out the crossing guard, the unloading schoolbuses and all the other kids making their way to school with my heart in my throat. How did we get here already? So soon?

He never looked back as I stood leaning in the classroom door, watching him as he went directly to the hook beside his name tag, carefully hanging his coat and hat. It was only when the teacher caught my eye with a meaningful glance that I realized I should probably stop darkening the door and move along. I think I could have lingered all day on the threshold, content to watch from a distance.

When I went to the side door of the school to meet him a quick two and a half hours later, the children were already lining up in the hallway. They keep the side door of the school locked to the outside, and so I (and the ragtag group of other beaming parents lighting up a drizzly day) peered proudly through the window. The teacher finally opened the door and the children tumbled out into waiting arms, suddenly seeming years older than they had been just hours ago.

Again I had forgotten the camera, but at the last minute I realized I had my fancy-ass cell phone in my pocket, so I managed to snap a picture after all. This is in the schoolyard, just before we left the premises.

Tristan occassionally tends toward the stoic, and when I peppered him with questions about his day, he answered my excitement with a casualness bordering on blase.

Did you have fun? Yep.
Was the teacher nice? Yep.
Did you play with the other kids? Uh huh.
What did you do? Oh, you know. A craft. I made a school bus.

A school bus. He made a school bus. My son, the artist.

We had fallen into step beside another mother and her little boy, and Tristan was far more interested in talking to the little boy than to me. After a few steps, the mother and I introduced ourselves and our progeny, and we determined that the boys were in the same class together. We chatted amiably as we all walked through the rain, she and Johnny on their way home and Tristan and I on our way to his daycare provider's house. As we chatted, the boys lagged behind, caught up in their own rehash of the day's events. I looked back over my shoulder to see them arm in arm, sharing Tristan's umbrella.

The only thing I forgot to account for was Simon. Poor Simon - his sibling isn't even born yet, and already he's suffering the fate of the middle child. I guess he spent the whole morning wandering disconsolately over to look out the front door at the daycare provider's house, keeping watch for his absentee brother. When we finally arrived, he was overjoyed, only to melt down spectacularly when he realized I wasn't there to pick him up but to leave Tristan behind with him. The daycare provider had to peel him off me as I made my own teary get-away into the rainy morning.

Hey, one out of two isn't bad, right?