Kindergarten is now at full throttle, finally, after a few fits and starts. "Starts" because of the four days of abbreviated schedules, so the little darlings can acclimate to their new lives in this capacious, gray fortress. "Fits" because Robert already finds school "boring" and "awful," and he spent yesterday counting the hours before the four-day, Rosh Hashanah respite.
There are rules, you see. Rules that must be followed. From now until then you will do this, in this place. Then you will shift your place and do a different thing, for another prearranged period of time, with these strange people. You will obey your teacher, who at first blush strikes your dad as a tiny-minded, cap-toothed yenta. You will eat, pee, and think according to a specific schedule. You will either get busy livin', or get busy dyin'. Talking out of turn? That's a night in the box.
You will provide several bags of school supplies that your father spent hours tracking down among the myriad drug stores, office-supply centers, and stationery purveyors in the neighborhood. Your father will also make the rookie mistake of going to The Office Superstore That Rhymes With Maples at 7pm on Sunday night, the day before these supplies are "due," and find hundreds of millions of thousands of other parents all searching for the same shit and denuding shelves faster than a cloud of napalm. Your father will also thank said superstore for having the foresight to staff four cashiers among the 14 registers, so that the exit line will stretch around the corner, and up and over and through and back again, weaving a desperately grumpy scrum of humanity that just wants to pay for its blue Z-Grip retractable ball-point pens (!) and get the hell home and take three showers.
It's early, I tell him, and we're all adapting to this new stricture that has so rudely supplanted our free-form summer fun. He is trusting, but skeptical. Then we head to the playground for a few thousand innings of baseball with his friends. We use the big ball, the one about the size of his teacher's head. Line drives are scorched into the outfield, and homers are celebrated with screams and group hugs.
He is free to do what he wants, for a day at least, and he's learning not to take that for granted.