Willem was a little anxious about starting Kindergarten, but now he cheers when he asks me if it's a school day and I say yes. I think he was worried about liking his teacher. But, in his words, "I got used to her right away."
The biggest impediment to Willem's happiness at school seems to be girls. "Mom, today was horrible," he told me one afternoon when I went to pick him up. His head was down and he dragged his feet as we walked.
"What happened?" I asked.
"We added up how many girls and how many boys in the class. And the girls won. They were laughing and smiling over at me. It was horrible."
He was thoroughly disgusted with those awful girls.
Here's a picture of the principal chatting with the boys at the Birthday Table. Once a month, the PTA decorates a big table and all the kids who have a birthday that month eat there and get ice cream afterwards (if their parents have signed a permission slip first.) Each child has his picture taken with the principal and hung on a bulletin board.
This year they invited the parents as well, so Willem and I joined Nels for lunch. It was my first experience in the school cafeteria at lunch time. Talk about sensory overload. I didn't have the nerve to ask Mr. Parman what was going on with his hair.
They're really big on positive reinforcement at the school, so Nels already has a big pile of certificates that tell him he's doing a stellar job, and Willem got to sign the Baller Success Book for adding a word bubble that said "YOU CANT CACH ME" to his drawing of a gingerbread man, all on his own. At one point the two boys almost came to blows arguing over who was going to be the first to tell me about the praise he got from his teacher for his good behavior. Ah, sweet irony.
I'm proud of how they're doing, but there's plenty of humility mixed in with that. Nels came home last week with an in-class assignment in which they were supposed to "stretch" a sentence with added details. Here's the sentence:
We can have one.
Here are the details that Nels added in response to the prompts:
What? A spanking.
Why? Because he hit me.
Where? At home.
The next step was to rewrite the sentence with all of the changes, but Nels didn't make it that far. Which is just as well. The fragments were bad enough without seeing "Willem can have a spanking because he hit me at home," all spelled out in its entirety. I'm really looking forward to that first parent-teacher conference.