Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's 1967, Again

Ron appears to have difficulty in following conversations and thus answering questions.

So says the neatly written note from Shadyside Elementary, Prince George's County, Maryland. This was written in 1967 by my kindergarten teacher (who shall remain nameless). Well, they did promote me to first grade, anyway.

Why do I bring this up? Prodigal Son #1 (PS1), who is about to turn six, just started kindergarten. He was slow to learn talking, but then again, so was I. He is a bright kid with a great, if silly, sense of humor.

Last week my wife was called in by PS1's teacher for a conference. So what does she hear? PS1 doesn't follow directions well. He drew six apples instead of five on an assignment. He sat daydreaming instead of joining the other kids in circle time.

He drew a face and put the eyes way down. What's the matter? Don't they like Picasso? Even better, they asked the kids to draw a person. PS1 did so, the usual childish stick figure. Ah, but his was somewhat, er, "anatomically correct." I guess he's a literal kid, but his teacher was not amused!

What can I say? He's a loner, a smart kid who doesn't always want to show it. He's pretty well behaved; we can probably take him to the symphony! My wife is already somewhat disillusioned with public school teachers, and it's been only a month or so.

For me, I feel like some of my childhood is playing out in front of me in slow motion again. I feel a strange sense of understanding mixed with fear. Then again, I turned out OK, and so will he.

We are all our parents' children, aren't we?