The Brat takes after his father where change is concerned. And I don’t say this with a heavy heart. Easy going and goodnatured – he’s nothing like me. I get mad if my cheese is moved.
The Brat and the OA on the other hand, take it in their stride and it’s fascinating to watch him turn into this little person with hints of his father’s nature.
A few days ago we told him he was going to a new school.
X school ? says he, meaning his first playschool.
No, I say.
Y, he asks?? the summer camp
Z? -the school he just left.
No… a new one.
Okay, says he nonchalantly and turns back to the imaginary aircraft he’s steering around the room. (I think we’ve also changed so many schools that we’ve broken down his resistance and his spirit! He’ll go anywhere we tell him to!)
I wonder if he really has got it and let it be. A few more reminders and then before you know it, the first day of school arrived.
Cranky as hell I chickened out of going to school with him. I knew I’d start crying and I didn’t think I should upset the Brat if he was fine with it.
And so it came about that the OA took his son to school. We got up bright and early and I dressed him in his uniform. His first uniform. The straps on his dungarees were too long and I’d re-stitched the buttons, feeling rather maternal as I undertook the small task. Little feet put into black shoes, hair brushed, school bag slung on his back, I took a picture of him at the door.
As he walked away grinning eagerly and excitedly, I stood by the door watching him turn the corner and disappear down the stairs. The little voice chattering eagerly with his father, all the way down the stairwell until there was silence.
I called the OA in 15 minutes when I was certain that he’d have dropped the Brat off. Apparently he asked the OA if he’d be left ‘alone’ in class and why the OA couldn’t stay.
Because I have to go to office, baby…said the OA.
The answer satisfied him and he hopped out of the car and holding the OA’s hand walked trustingly into the huge building, the sprawling grounds and the huge thundering teenagers milling around him.
They entered the class and 15 out of the 20 children there were bawling loudly. Uh oh, said the OA – this might set the Brat off.
But the Brat just looked around wonderingly and then turning to the OA said – ‘Why are all these babies crying?’
And then he found himself a seat and settled in and began to steer his imaginary aircraft …
The OA getting a chance slipped away, informed the teacher and rushed off to office. I was a little worried when he told me that. I thought he should have told the Brat he was leaving. But the OA was positive the Brat would be fine.
Sure enough, when he went to pick him up, the rest of the class was still bawling while the Brat looked up and grinned wide. Then throwing his bag and bottle at the OA he said he wanted to go on the swings and before the OA could respond, was out of the door in a flash and on the swings.
This morning was his second day and I wondered if he would put up a resistance. Not a word did he say about his old school – just waved me a cheerful goodbye and went off holding hands with his father.
The OA says today he was stopped at the gate and relieved of the Brat. That bothered me because the classroom is quite a distance from the gate and the route is quite complicated. But apparently the teachers told the OA to sling the Brat’s bag on his back, hang his bottle around his neck and let go. Then patting him on the butt they said ‘Off you go.’ And he did. I guess he found his way despite having gone there yesterday for the first time, because he was in the right place when the OA went to pick him up.
I just heard this from the OA and I am so glad I didn’t see it. The sight of a little figure with a bag on its back and a bottle around the neck, trotting off down the dusty path breaks my heart. Not once did he turn around to look back says the father who sounded proud when he said it – while I smiled inwardly at the thought that the OA had stood there until he’d turned the corner.
It’s a good thing I tell myself. Maybe he knows we’re always standing there looking out for him. Maybe he knows we’re always watching his back. But whatever it is – there’s a little twinge I can’t explain away.
Bye bye little bird… Mama’s going to be waiting right here when you walk out….