Big Man graduates from preschool tonight. It will be a proud and happy moment for his parents. Proud because it’s another step completed on his journey to becoming a man of substance. Happy because it means the end of tuition payments. Big Man is learning on your dime for the next 13 years, Dear American Taxpayer. He’s a public school boy now.
That’s not to say we’re turning him completely over to you. We will continue to work with him to master riding a bike and tying shoe laces. And we’ve already done all the nasty potty training stuff. All we really need you to do is teach him Calculus and whatever other sundries he needs to get a full college scholarship. We’d like to make a habit of this not paying tuition thing.
Big Man is mentally prepared for Kindergarten. He’s a boy full of curiosities, who is slowly being disappointed to find his father does not know everything. He is coming to understand that his pathway to knowledge runs through Kindergarten, and then high school. Any information gleaned from Daddy is supplemental at best.
The other day, for instance, Big Man and Daddy were observing a Roly-Poly (a.k.a. Pill Bug) in its travels along the length of a twig. “What do Roly-Polies eat?” Big Man asked Daddy.
“I don’t know,” Daddy naturally replied. Daddy knew the fascinating fact that Roly-Polies are crustaceans, but he didn’t know the mundane facts of what they eat. Children never ask the right questions.
“How do you not know what Roly-Polies eat?” Big Man asked. (“How do you not know?” is becoming one of his standard questions as he discovers how many basic curiosities Daddy is unequal to.)
“How do you not know?” Daddy asked in rebuttal.
“I never went to the high school,” Big Man asserted. “You went to the high school, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” Daddy confirmed. “I went to high school, but not to the one where they tell you what Roly-Polies eat.”
Big Man shook his head at yet another of Daddy’s maddening ignorances. “I’ll ask Mommy.”
Now, Mommy is pretty smart, but her knowledge of bugs revolves around how to neutralize them before they bite, sting, or burrow into an ear canal. “Mommy may not know,” I told him.
“What?” Big Man asked in exasperation. “She didn’t go to the high school either?”
If we have many more of these conversations, Big Man may become convinced he is the first generation in his family to graduate preschool.
And since he’s in the first generation of his family that didn’t jump straight into Kindergarten, that little son of gun would be right again.