He’s a mini rock star, wears his jeans with a bit of a sag and there’s definitely some swagger in his gait. His long hair is salon fresh; it tucks neatly behind his ear with a casual flick of his hand. He’s a bundle of energy, this kid, and the sort of boy who’s used to getting attention, good or bad.
No sooner did my two-year-old start daycare that I began worrying about another boy in her class, something I didn’t think was going to occur for at least another few years. Nevertheless, there I was, profiling the other kids in my daughter’s class like an L.A. cop when this boy moved into my periphery.
He’s called Gunnar, and the kid appears to have more energy than a ferret on crack. As my wife spoke to the teacher, Gunnar proceeded to gyrate on the floor to the sounds of Michael Jackson’s beloved “Billie Jean” that came from what appeared to be his very own smart phone. Yes, that’s exactly what I said.
“Gunnar get off the floor, please,” the teacher asked politely.
Sure, the kid got up off the floor. But not before doing the worm and letting out a fart that would put my father to shame.
Side note: Could it be that the louder the fart the more people (or strangers, at least) try to play it off as if nothing happened?
Anyway, I was the only adult that laughed, which meant that I was the only one who acknowledged hearing the sound, which then made me wonder whether this would upset my wife. So I stopped laughing, but not before Gunnar turned to me and, like all males do, gave me the almighty Look Of Acknowledgement. Amazing.
My daughter, on the other hand, adapted to being at daycare with very little trouble, which I have to say brought a huge sense of relief for me. As a kid who’s had the luxury of being watched under the safe and loving confines of her grandma’s house thus far, I thought she’d have a rough go, especially on her first day.
It turns out I was more worried than she was. In fact, I feared the worst. Here I envisioned my daughter emotionally distraught and feeling betrayed at being dropped off at a strange and scary place. I’ve seen kids on their first days of school; sometimes they have to be physically held back so that the parents can make a getaway.
Side note: I once lost my younger brother, Mike, on his first day of school. True story. I don’t remember what happened to him when we got off the bus, only that he was eventually found in some fourth grade class when he should have been in Kindergarten. I was 8, what do you want from me?
Ava didn’t need to be held back nor did she break out in tears on her first day. On the contrary you would have thought that she had arrived at Disneyland. One glimpse at all the toys and the potential friends she could be making and my wife and I quickly became yesterday’s news.
“Bye, Ava, be a good girl,” we reminded her before leaving to work that morning.
The fact that she ignored us was telling. It was abundantly clear that being in daycare with other kids her age was the right thing for her. Oh, and that my wife and I were cramping her style.
On the ride home, I could see Ava’s head moving from side to side in sync with the music.
“Did you have a good day at school, baby?” I asked her.
She responded in tired gibberish that I couldn’t make out. She’d soon fall asleep. But not before all the excitement that filled her day exited her body in a Gunnar fart of her own.
And I wondered whether this was now the in-thing at her school.