Portraits of the artist as a 1st grader

As of noon yesterday, the school year is officially over. Truth be told, we’ve been phoning it in for a couple weeks now. Even though this June has been cool and wet, the sun still stays up late, and that’s enough to make it feel like summer vacation.

Besides, with all the field trips and special events that end the year, it’s hard for anybody to concentrate on homework or any straggling, late-year tests. The birds in the trees say it’s summer, and who should know these things better than them?

The boys have spent the last week cleaning out their lockers and desks. Our house looks like a paper recycling plant with a year’s worth of schoolwork dumped from their backpacks in daily doses. Most of this rubble of their educations is going straight to the real recycling plant, but there are a few gems that merit saving.

Big Brother is old enough to realize that if he throws it out at school, he doesn’t have to carry it home, so most of the reams of school-year detritus are supplied by Buster. In 1st grade, you dutifully bring it all home, hand it to your parents, and it becomes their problem what to do with it. Your problems are over until fall.

Of all the things Buster brought home in the final cleanout frenzy, this is my favorite.

Nothing quite captures the melancholy passage of time and turns it into a model prisoner like regular self-portraits from elementary school. Here are a few highlights:

He came into 1st grade with the maniacal smile of a comic book villain. He was also suffering from a lack of sleep, or maybe pink eye. The colored pencils had not been distributed yet, so it’s hard to tell.

By December he’d gotten his color back. A few months of solid rest made him bright-eyed, and even perhaps a little dilated. In preparation for a cold winter, he’d grown a nice pair of warm eyebrows.

Now, at year’s end, he looks like such a nice boy. He might be a little dizzy, but the end of a long year will do that to you. He’s been crowned and earned a star, which are both great confidence builders for a six-year-old. I struggled to figure out what “6 set” meant for a while before I realized it was his disordered spelling of “best”.  He is the best 1st grade graduate. I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m extremely proud to learn he earned that honor. I’m sorry to all the other 1st grade graduates that they did not win this award, but 2nd grade, and another chance, is right around the corner.

But for now, enjoy the summer, and maybe help Mom and Dad bundle up papers for a trip to the recycling center.

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23 comments on “Portraits of the artist as a 1st grader

  1. ksbeth says:

    I love the progression of young children’s self portraits, they tell so much

  2. floatinggold says:

    I enjoyed your interpretations.
    The eyes make me see madness.

  3. Gibber says:

    I wonder what a pic of his parents would look like by the end of summer vacay?! lol So cute.

  4. What a metamorphous! The transformation from the First grade to the Second grade was astounding—and a lot of fun. Nice post, Scott. :O)

  5. GoofyEd says:

    Very insightful, dad…a delightful prose.

  6. Just Joan says:

    Snoozin, if you hadn’t told me these were self-portraits done by your son, I would have guessed:
    1. The Hamburglar
    2. The Joker
    3. Barney Gumble from the Simpsons
    4. Chuckie, having a birthday party at Burger King

    I wholeheartedly agree, Buster, the best part of school is recess. And I will be very disappointed if any of these precious works of art ends up as recycled toilet paper. 🙂

  7. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Awww, those self-portraits and your interpretations just adorable, Scott. Sprinkled with only your type of humor, I totally enjoyed another post from you. Your sons are growing up so fast!

  8. The combination of Buster’s art and your comments is outstanding! Enjoyed all.

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