Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Apologies and Biography Night

This morning is the first morning of quiet I've had since last Tuesday. All the children are at school and it's wonderful. I have reading to do, commenting to get to, whining to engage in. I can't believe I haven't blogged all week. I've spent some time this week working on my photography hobby, ordering a new lens for my camera. My birthday is coming up. I'll be 41. The thought makes me tired. Anyway, my apologies for being a bad blogger.

Last night, we attended "biography night" for my son, A, and his second grade class. My husband, D, and I sweated the entire afternoon because A had been struggling with the report. He had to go in early in the morning before school to work on it and had to stay after school to finish it. Everything is so hard for him at school. And our struggling baby was going to read his report in front of the class and all the other parents. Was he going to be humiliated? Were we?

We sweated and sweated. We waited. We asked, "Are you ready for tonight, honey? Are you excited? Brush your teeth. Are you hungry? Tell me about George Washington Carver. Are you ready, honey? Darling? Mijo?"

"It takes 525 peanuts to make a jar of peanut butter. One jar. Mom, can I have macaroni and cheese?"


I took my camera, I wore a heavy coat. A storm had come in so it was raining like hell by the time we got to the school near 6:30. The room was packed. My hair was frizzy and sticking up in places it probably shouldn't. I patted and patted and took pictures of the kids milling. The teacher announced it was time. She thanked the parents and kids and began.

Ten children read their reports and showed off their posters. M kept licking me. She said to me she was a cat. J hid behind a table. I shook my head when A looked at me and made faces. I was trying desperately to grab some modicum of control over my child. The one who would display for all to see his reading and public speaking abilities. D and I were sweating. We watched the clock. We listened to report after report. One child informed us that Lee Harvey Oswald was executed for shooting the President. Two days after the execution, Oswald was shot, too. Just like the President. Then he died, too. Another student read his report about Frida Kahlo and towards the end, was happy to tell us he had only five more words to read. A man behind us slept. A mother and her daughter in front of us had a laughing fit after the stomach of one them grumbled loudly.

Then, A's turn. He stood...and read his report. He smiled most of the time but we could understand him. My god...he did a great job. He didn't even need any help. He smiled and was proud. We clapped like mad. My daughter licked like mad. J flirted with another 6th grade girl.

The birds are chirping, my coffee is hot and milky. Life is good.

Reading in Public


narrator said...

What a perfect description of this whole ritual. The kid being grown, well, I never thought I would but I do sometimes miss these clumsy rituals of childhood education. I totally loved the paragraph with all the presentations running together.

Happy quiet morning to you. Thanks for the congrats: there's such great stuff there that I'm just totally honored to be part of it.

dayna said...

Happy Birthday (almost?).
I think everybody is taking a blogging break. Its so nice out where I am, I just have to get outside and enjoy the sun.

I am really glad my kids are all teenagers now, but every once in a while I want to go back in time to them being children and mother them all over again. Better this time.

Adriana Bliss said...

Thanks, narrator, and you're welcome. That journal is a good one. As to the rituals, they're something special. Today, my sister was rather brokenhearted at losing pictures of her own kids' experiences at school. An accidental opening of the camera when the film hadn't been rewound. Ouch.

Yeah, Dayna, last week was lovely. Great to get out. And don't we always wish we could go back? As a parent? There's always something to have done a bit better.