As I sit in front of the Mac listening to my younger one singing "twinkle twinkle" from her crib into the baby monitor at the top of her lungs, while the wife rests comfortably upstairs and the elder child snoozes with her Little Mermaid book perched atop her snoring nose, I figure it's a good time to catch up on a few things. As I mentioned in a recent post, Natalie has started Kindergarten this month. It's a new world, people. gone are the simple worries, like who's gonna be snack mom, or is she going to poop at preschool, or will she catch a sniffle from a fellow classmate. Now we're into the real stuff. Is the bus going to make it to the school without spontaneously combusting? Will her classmates accept her? Do we really have to sell all that freaking holiday wrapping paper and overpriced stale popcorn to our unsuspecting neighbors just so her class will have the funding for that fabulous class trip to Cleveland?
As Natalie gets into her kindergarten groove, I am starting to see obvious traits of my own passed down to her. I'm also starting to see ways she's as different from me as peanut butter is from, say, sidewalk chalk.
There are the regular reports of her visits to the school nurse. Yup, that's a piece of my DNA double helix. So far, the most minor visit was for a raging case of chapped lips. The most urgent was for a bleeding hangnail. Again, just like her dad. I always was a bleeder.
She's different from me in one very, obvious way. After attending "dessert night" at the school tonight, which is sort of a kids/parents social hour to meet the teachers and other families, I realized that main difference.
My daughter isn't a nerd.
I mean, okay, maybe I wasn't the biggest nerd in the world at school (Guys, you shut up now - there was worse, you know there was!), but I was by no means a member of the A-list. Oh sure, being the token Jew of the school I had some notoriety, and I was one of the select few that the potheads would come to asking, "um, duh, so you're smart 'n stuff, right?" But heck, the only varsity letter I got was for golf team. Really. But I DID have a solo once in choir. And I was one of the first to come to class wearing parachute pants. Does that count for anything? No? Anyone?
But as I watched Natalie interact with the other kids, I realized she's quite the little leader of her posse. A couple of kids came in pointing and mouthing to their moms, "there's Natalie over there!" as if she was some sort of a cool version of Condoleeza Rice. I realize now that if and when she brings any sort of social concerns to me, I will be completely out of my area of expertise.
Throughout the evening, Natalie and her gang expended the usual energy running in circles in the school gym. I suddenly had flashbacks to "Blockades".
Blockades, a game that was often referred to as "Kill Scottie", was what my own group of friends played every day at recess. Within seconds after the end of third period we were outside, and without debate were immediately separated into two opposing teams. The object of the game was simple.
Scott, whom I remain friends with to this day, was the non-elected defacto leader of our our own little schoolground government. But it was a government with little in the way of politics, few if any issues, and no opposing forces to protect ourselves against. Each day was spent with one simple goal in mind. Half of us would chase our leader in an attempt to beat the crap out of him, while the other team tried to protect him by putting up a blockade. It was simple. It was pure. There were no referrees. No instant replays. No out-of-bounds. And rarely any injuries. Just good clean fun. And perhaps it was the reason we all did so well in Social Studies class.