Photo: My new Le Creuset arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Actually, two Le Creuset arrived in the mail this week! I, honest girl that I am, sent the second one back, as it clearly was a mistake. I must say, it’s beautiful. I’m looking forward to christening this pot with a big ol’ batch of curry chicken this weekend. Minor is requesting roti, so might as well do it up big!

 

I think they had me at “French Onion Soup.” The third graders were in the multi-purpose room making it from scratch with parent-volunteers as I and two other parents toured the very last school. They were also baking bread. The smell of it permeated through the entire building.

I finally found our school, Dear Reader. I promise that I didn’t choose it because it smelled like good soup. I’m choosing it because I finally found the perfect intersection of warmth, rigor, reflection, responsibility, progression, technology and diversity. I found people who spoke my language, who answered my questions thoughtfully and who didn’t flinch when I asked them about boyhood and diversity:

“It’s clear that there is a pattern of selective grouping in town. I think you’ll find we’ve got the most eclectic mix here. I’ll also tell you that we’ve got the highest concentration of IEPs in town and we’ve got a staff who is trained to handle it. So, while it’s true that you will see less visibly brown faces among the students here (though I know that we have quite a few students of multiple backgrounds here), there is a great diversity of thinking, experience and ability here and all of our kids are in it together,” said the principal.

“But I hear you thinking about what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a boy in school, and I want you to know that we are very proactive about playful learning, kinesthetic learning. We understand that children this age need to be moving, and we know that children this age aren’t built to just be sitting all day. I think you’ll find that your boys and their energy will be welcome here,” added the assistant principal.

“I can think of at least four families who are also bi-racial, just off the top of my head. That’s just Black/Caucasian. I think there are quite a few Asian/Caucasian couples here, too! There are also same-sex couples here as well. It’s a community that is laid back and progressive. We understand that ‘normal’ is a spectrum, we’re giving everyone the opportunity to learn about that here,” said the parent who gave the tour.

Yes. Yes!

Bonus is their integration of art into everyday classroom activities, their excellent and knowledgeable music teacher, their full integration of technology from kindergarten until 6th grade and their complete inclusion and integration of children with special needs into most classes. My boys will learn and grow alongside all sorts of different children, they’ll do it with teachers who are specially trained to differentiate curriculum for each individual student, and they’ll do it in a dynamic and beautiful learning environment. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that students call teachers by their first names.

*sigh*

Why with the first names for adults, ya’ll?

The woman who gave the tour told me that many parents won’t even step in the building for a tour simply because of the school norm of calling teachers by their first names. Lordy, I didn’t even know until she told me about it at the last minute! I’d fallen in love and then there was the kicker.

Good thing she told me that last. It gave me an excuse to quickly get over it.

Sorta.

The boys are going to have to learn how to code-switch anyway. This will be their first lesson!

It’s a great reminder for me, too. Nothing is perfect. Flexibility is key.

Registration starts next week and I’ve gotta turn in physical paperwork two weeks from now. Then, we wait. I think that there is a high chance that we’ll get in but, still, I’m nervous.

Of course, after I left the building, I went in search of some French onion soup! It is the perfect day for a big bowl of it! Alas, I had to settle for beef and barley instead. I think I am going to have to make a pot for myself next week. Meatless Monday, perhaps? The beef and barley certainly filled me up and warmed me up, something I needed after what has been a draining week.

I’ve been doing my best to do a bit of jar-filling after Tuesday and Wednesday. It started with getting up yesterday, making cinnamon buns and opening the house up for a playdate. That was the first time I’ve baked bread in weeks and I’d forgotten how good it feels to have dough in my hands and the scent of it baking in my nostrils. I think I’m committing myself to baking a few loaves next week. Maybe the smell of yeast and butter is what I need to start writing again. I haven’t seriously written fiction in almost three months, Dear Reader. I’ve lost all motivation and discipline. It’s really starting to get to me! Maybe I’ll get up early tomorrow, sit here and peck something out…

You know what else is getting done this weekend? Painting! Finally! The wonderful Miriam Joy and Tikeetha T (wonderful readers and writers of fantastic blogs you must read) are totally right: yellow for the accent wall, blue for the rest. Our consultant suggested the yellow be for the wall that the bed will be on. “The blues and grays of the bedding will pop against it,” she said. She suggested red for curtains and the rug. Might be a while for the rug, but I do have curtains, I think. I’ll have pictures for you on Monday! The bed doesn’t arrive until next weekend though, so you still have to wait for the complete and final result!

Call me a Libra, Dear Reader, but I’m feeling very balanced this Friday afternoon. There were moments of extreme frustration, but there were moments of supreme joy as well. Where just a few words from a stranger can devastate and destroy, the smile of a child with a cinnamon roll in his mouth can build and bring light to an entire week. I’m reminded that a warm hug from a good friend, a kind note in the inbox, even a little fresh-squeezed juice and a sprinkled cookie can bring you back to a good place. Every little thing can fill your jar! I wish you some time to do a little jar-filling this weekend, Dear Reader. Seek some spring popping out of the cold winter ground or breathe in some crisp air with the first notes of thaw at your favorite little thinking spot. I wish you the opportunity to read a little poetry or make time for an extra chapter this weekend. Find a good quote, a moving stanza or a photo of something you notice and make sure that you share it. Make it a point to fill someone else’s jar too, Dear Reader! You have no idea how filling just one little act can be. Share a photo with a friend, give a relative a call, open your door to a neighbor, share a meal with someone special. To fill someone else’s jar with a loving gesture or good deed is also to fill your own, Dear Reader. Your gifts matter and they are worth giving. They are part of what makes you so wonderful, so loved by so many. I tell you that every week. Do you believe me yet? I hope you do. You’re worthy of being told. Don’t forget to tell someone else in turn.

Until Monday, my Dear Reader, take care.

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12 thoughts on “[Quiet Thoughts/First Impressions] Yes. Finally.

  1. Your colour consultant suggested red curtains? Told you so! You’re going to match my bedroom at this rate! (Well, if 90% of the room ends up being books, at least.)

    So glad you’ve found a school that suits you. I can’t imagine calling teachers by their first names. At my school a few of the music teachers would get called by first names because they led ensembles outside of school that some students went to, but I was in a different borough. So all the Greenwich kids would say “Laura” while I was a Bexley kid and not in her ensembles, so I’d say “Ms Swadkin”. Heh. When I went to work there last summer it was weird to start calling teachers by first names, and even weirder to be allowed in the staff room… But, at uni we mostly call staff by first names, partly because our department is full of odd names that no one can pronounce. It’s a lot easier to say “Maire” then to try and remember how you pronounce “Ni Mhaoinaigh” (and I’m 95% sure I spelt that wrong), which is her surname. Anyway, I’m sure the names thing is a pretty minor thing.

    • There are so many reasons why the first-name thing drives me crazy. It’s funny, too, because I think that my rage comes from the fact that New Enganders are happy to tell you how progressive they are, and that rules that are commonplace in the South simply don’t mean anything here but… there IS a rigidity to society here. Race, class and geography matter in a way that I’ve never even seen before. So anyway, they parade this first-name in schools nonsense as the most wonderful, most progressive thing you’ve ever seen and I just want to rage against all the things. And I’m worried that the boys will turn into haughty little so-and-sos, feeling themselves equal to the adults in their lives. It simply isn’t so! Blarg!

      This is gonna be the most unAmerican sentiment I’m ever gonna write but, here it goes: Titles matter, man!

      • That’s interesting. Although it would be weird for me to call teachers by their first names, that’s because of convention and what I’m used to — it doesn’t feel less respectful or whatever. That said, when I was at school we’d mostly refer to teachers just by surnames (not to their faces) so it’s be like, “Ugh, have you done the Bartlett work?” “Nah, I only finished Pearson’s last night.” So we somehow knocked off titles anyway. This was particular from about year eleven onwards (age sixteen), but like I said, we didn’t do it to their faces. Mostly.

  2. Big *Yay!* on finding the school!
    I’m in with the eyebrow up & huh? with the whole first name thing, but I guess in the long run, with fluidity of genders & all of that, perhaps it’s paving the way.
    Gladness in my heart for finding a place that works
    Did you give yourself a little pat on the back for all the time & energy you put out there?
    *pat, pat* good going.

    • Haha, thank you so! I’m feeling so relieved. I really didn’t think we were going to find a place that really hit me in the gut as THE place. I thought I was going to feel like I was settling for something, that I wasn’t going to feel any ownership of where we were going. I feel like I’m fully bought in. I’m excited and looking forward to getting started. I think he and I are going to have the same mixture of emotions when September rolls around.

      HOW IS THE WEATHER!? Is it amazing where you are!?

      • It was way too warm for March!!!
        But engh. Just hoping it won’t cause suffering to the budding fruit.
        I know, I know, most people were thrilled with the day
        But 80?!?!? In March?!?
        Too warm too fast for this critter.
        It was nice to be outside in the shade.

        • Yes, 80 is a bit much in March… it’s true. The house is hotter than it should be. There isn’t enough true shade to justify the hot sun… but it is SUUUCH a contrast from last year, I can’t help but celebrate! 🙂 Ready to get a little closer to normal. It rained here all day yesterday and the smell of the thaw and the warming, wet soil is actually wonderful.

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