Six weeks into Kindergarten, this is already a school year of firsts: first Squiggly and/or Frowny Face on behavior chart, first successful boycott of carpool, and now, as of yesterday, first call home from teacher.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am, of course, surprised. Mrs. W. just wants to make us aware of An Incident that happened after school on the way to the bus. Mrs. T.’s second grade class was outside, releasing their Monarch butterflies. (Not butterflies AGAIN.) (You know where this is going, right?) I need to call her in the morning; in the meantime, she suggests we ask McDiesel to tell us what happened.
At first, McD prevaricates. What? Mrs. W. called? Butterflies? What butterflies? But he’s grinning a devilish grin and his voice is climbing into the upper reaches of the atmosphere with each question. (This tactic might have been more successful if his Big Bro Typ were not jumping around in the background, yelping in equally shrill octaves that McD massacred the Second Grade’s butterflies.)
Then McD pleads the Fifth. He has no idea what happened and will not incriminate himself. Can he please just have some milk, already??
After thirty seconds of our stony stares and frowny faces, he cracks. He can’t take it. He needs his milk. Fine, fine. He hurt the butterflies. But he did NOT kill them. He sticks to this story. (Get the milk!)
Husband Number One consoles us both (I mean us, McD is invincible) with text, reminding me that schoolboys cruelly pulling wings off [butter]flies is nothing short of Shakespearean (Cf. Gloucester, King Lear)–and he provides relevant passage.
This morning, I am probably as nervous as McD—who won’t get out of the car—about talking to Mrs. W. about The Butterflies. Like his Big Bro Typ, I have never really been in trouble with a teacher. (Maybe I can dazzle her with Shakespeare allusion?)
In the classroom, McD is all Shrinking Violet, hiding behind me and tugging my shirt over his head as we discuss The Incident (how she wishes they were her class’s butterflies and not another teacher’s—not that that would’ve been good, but you know what she means. Second grade had been working on that project since school started. Yesterday was the big day, and right in front of those innocent and excited seven-year-olds’ eyes, a delinquent Kindergartener (mine) starts dancing on the butterflies.) She kneels to talk to McD. She’s so good at what she does. McD appears to understand and looks appropriately chagrined. Discipline a success (thank God). Then she gives him a hug and half to him, half to me says, “I just never would’ve expected that from you, McDiesel! From some of these other boys maybe, but not from you!”
My son has danced on butterflies, maiming (if not worse) beautiful and delicate creatures. He is undoubtedly already making a name for himself in the primary grades and teacher workroom (and perhaps beyond). But Mrs. W. doesn’t expect McDiesel to dance on butterflies? Good Lord, I feel like we’re doing something right!
(But who are these other boys in his class??)