Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


We are on approach to kindergarten - today is T minus four days and counting. PJ is getting excited - and, inexplicably, describing his excitement in Jane Austen-speak:

"Tomorrow I shall return to visit my new school, and next week I shall be a student there. Together with the other children, I shall learn so very many things."

Aw, sweet. Weird about the speech pattern - guess "shall" is the word of the day - but sweet, nevertheless. And then:

"One of the most important things that I shall learn is . . . karate."

Um, yeah. See, a couple of years ago, we acquired a librarian from Fort Worth Country Day. In addition to being a top-notch educator, Mr. Duke is, well, Mr. Duke. No doubt many of the little girls have innocent baby crushes on him. (I remember being over the moon for my swimming instructor at 7 or 8, and - as my mother enjoys reminding me - I was SOOOOOOO in lurve with him that I would GRIN while swimming, the water would pour into my mouth, and I would start to drown. I would like to think that I did all of this on purpose - simply to set up a situation where Cute Swimming Instructor would have to rescue me - but I wasn't THAT smooth. I just REALLY loved Cute Swimming Instructor and was THAT HAPPY in his presence.)

The boys at our school, on the other hand . . . well, the boys think that literacy is made marginally cooler by the fact that their librarian is a guy, and infinitely cooler by the fact that their librarian is a macho guy. Because, back at Country Day, Mr. Duke taught wrestling. And, on his own time, Mr. Duke studies a variety of martial arts disciplines. And Mr. Duke wins a lot of titles.

Hence, the Martial Arts Club at our elementary school was born, to my great delight and to the delight of other MOMs (Mothers of Males) who had been wondering when something would be offered as a counterpoint to the school's Ballet Club. (Not that I would have a problem with either or both boys being in the Ballet Club, but Son #1 - yeah, HE stared at me like my hair was on fire when I raised BC as a possible extracurricular option for him.) Son #1 was a founding member of the MAC, and Son #2 assumes that, because he will be attending the same school, the MAC magically will open itself to five year-olds - or one five year-old in particular.

Not sure about that, but it's looking like he will be playing golf in the fall, as will his big brother. That's assuming that the online schedule isn't lying to me, classes for both age groups are being offered in the same time slot on Saturday mornings, and two spaces truly are available. Dad wants to participate in a Saturday tennis league this fall, and I want to see that become a reality for him, but everything hinges on the kids' schedules. Thus, the prospect of having both boys in the same place at the same time on Saturday mornings had me turning handsprings - but also made me deeply suspicious, because the loose ends of my life so rarely resolve themselves so flippin' neatly. So, we'll see - paperwork completed, waiting for confirmation that we are locked and loaded.

Speaking of handsprings . . . Son #1 is less than enthused about the golf thing, but he has agreed to participate in exchange for his parents' agreement to enroll him in gymnastics. Before you point out that his desire to participate in gymnastics is somewhat at odds with his earlier anti-ballet stance, rest assured that this is not your daughter's gymnastics class. No giant hair bows, no facial glitter. It's boys only, taught by the North Texas Elite men's gymnastics club, and the end game, from Connor's perspective, is improved technique going into diving season. So I guess that means that he's planning on continuing with diving in addition to swimming . . . . Sorry, Nana - I know that you cringe every time he goes off of the board, particularly when he's doing an inward. You'll just have to get used to it, like I did . . . ish.

Anyway, Connor is so excited about the gymnastics thing that he has blocked out of his mind the fact that Mom (AKA "The Wicked Witch of the West Side") will also be enrolling him in Cotillion this fall. All too happy to see him throw down with the karate-chopping librarian and the handspringing men of the North Texas Elite, but would it kill him to learn the foxtrot? And, maybe, shake the "elbows on the table" thing, once and for all (and with the pressure coming from someone other than yours truly)? I have visions - nightmares, really - of my child at his first job interview lunch, leaning back in his chair ("SIX LEGS ON THE FLOOR, CONNOR. SIX LEGS ON THE FLOOR!"), ordering a plate of macaroni and cheese as his entree, and eating some portion of it with his hands. Hopeful that the Cotillion people will helps us make some inroads. The likely (high) girl-to-guy ratio also is an attraction - well, not an attraction for Connor, yet, but an attraction for me. See, I already have my eye on the ball: foster and maintain those friendships with the girls from church/swim team/Cotillion/etc., and when you need a date for a school function but can't work up the nerve to ask the classmate that you really like, or you strike out with said classmate, well, then you have your short list of go-to dates who don't attend your school and therefore are likely to be available to attend the event with you.

Yes, that's right - I am proactively pimping for my ten year-old. It's one of the many services that I provide. My partial inspiration? Guy from college who took me to his frat party, zero sparks flew (at least, not on my end), and in mid-November, I am walking out the door to go to the football game when he calls. "Hey, Kathryn, what's up?" "I'm going to the game." "With a date?" "Yes, actually." "So, who's the guy?" I told him. "Oh, isn't he a ZBT [an exclusively Jewish fraternity on my campus]?" "Um, yeah, why?" "Well, if you're going to the game with him, then you probably don't have a date to a Christmas formal yet. Wanna go to mine?" I had ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSE. At the time I was irritated, because I felt like he'd outmaneuvered me (which, in fact, he had). Now, I marvel at the sheer genius and chutzpah of the guy. And wonder if he ended up in law school, because the dude totally had the makings of a great litigator. And, yes, I went to his Christmas formal. Once again, zero sparks flew, but the evening wasn't a total waste. I got a really great sweatshirt out of it - one of the best party shirts of my college career - and also an important big guy tip to pass on to my little guys. Learn to play the angles, boys - you have to play your angles.

So, lots of great fodder for future blog posts - life through the eyes of a kindergartener; karate chops, golf swings, and dismounts off of the still rings (but NO trips to the ER - gosh, it's hard to type with my fingers crossed!); and, no doubt, much Cotillion awkwardness. Will miss our days spent poolside, but I'm starting to really look forward to fall.

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