It took me a long time to be able to write last night's post. It's easy to blame--school, people, the system, chance--but so hard sometimes to know what to do in real life, where everything has real consequences.
And then, out of nowhere, a couple of five-year-olds give you a sign.
I brought Isaac to school a bit early today. We waited outside the classroom while the teacher finished up a meeting. Finally we went inside, and moments later, the kids arrived.
"Isaac, why don't you say hi to the kids when they come in," I suggested gently.
"That's Joseph's dad," he informed me, looking at a man shepherding his son into the room. He's pointing out the parents lately.
"Well why don't you say hi?" I repeated (casually, I reminded myself. Don't push).
"Hi Violet, hi Joseph, hi Gavin," he said softly as the kids came in. One of them, Joseph, came right up to him. "Hi Isaac," he said, and hugged him. Isaac stood there, a little uncertainly.
"Isaac, I bet Joseph would like it if you hug him back."
Isaac put his arms around the boy. They sat down on the circle time rug together, and Joseph scooted close to Isaac. They looked like a pile of puppies, a tangle of hair and legs.
And with that, class began.
I got home late tonight, and we all just fell into a sleepy tangle onto the bedroom floor. "Tomorrow there's going to be an earthquake," Isaac informed us. After a while, we managed to prise a few shreds of information out of him; apparently there had been an earthquake drill at school, and he was anxious about what it meant.
After a suitable interval, we began playing again, and Isaac started singing "Bingo":
There was a farmer / Had a dog / And Bingo was his name-O
And on to patty-cake:
Patty-cake, patty cake, baker's man
"Baker's WOMAN!" Isaac shouted. (Do we have a budding feminist in our midst?)
"Okay, then, baker's woman," I answered, and continued:
Patty-cake, patty cake, baker's woman
Bake me a cake as fast as you CUMIN!
Roll it, and pat it, and mark it with a Q!
And put it in the oven for Isaac and YOU!
Oh the hilarity. We repeated it until we were all hiccuping with laughter. They probably heard us in Philadelphia.