by mimi


First Day of Pacific Primary

First Day of Pacific Primary

I think my son is going to grow up to be a lawyer.

The other day, Walker was at school playing freeze tag with his friends. This is not a complicated game and it’s understood that as a participant, you will be chased and FREEZE if you are TAGGED. Walker adores this game and plays it frequently. He’s clear on the rules. But, the other day, he was tagged but he kept running. His friends reminded him that he was indeed tagged and therefore, it was incumbent upon him to be frozen until he was tagged again to be unfrozen. Nonplussed, Walker responds, “I’m made of fire. I CAN’T be frozen.”

Well, this sort of thing has happened enough that Larry has nicknamed our son Mr. Loophole because he is able to find the one way to create an exception to the rule and exploit it.

I’m looking forward to this year. Walker is now attending Pacific Primary — a preschool founded in the mid 1960’s which helped shape the lives of my brother and sister. It’s an extraordinary place with truly fabulous teachers and an incredible desire to create a tight-knit community. I’ve been amazed by the energy and skill of the staff who have taught me so much and I’M only there a few minutes a day (I can only imagine what a full day will do to shape Walker’s mind). For example, during the first week, Walker made a best friend and they played together constantly. They are really similar — both boys love robots and superheroes and running outside. But one day, Walker came home and said the little boy told him he wasn’t his best friend anymore. He was crushed. The next day I left Walker playing with his friend and they were having a great time. But when I picked him up, the same story — Walker wasn’t his best friend and he didn’t want to play with him anymore. Now I was crushed. I had a chat with his teachers who told me that the boys play with each other all the time but when one gets tired and wants to do something else or perhaps play with another friend for a moment, they don’t have the nuanced language to say “I want to play by myself” or “I’d like to play with this other friend and I’ll play with you later.” They only have the general language of friendship which translates into something like: when I’m playing with you I’m your friend and when I’m not, well, I’m not your friend. Apparently it’s very binary being in preschool and thankfully, we all now have more nuanced language and Walker is happily playing with a variety of boys (who all enjoy robots and superheroes and running outside).

Walker with teacher Bianca and new friends Jonty and Vanessa at a Pacific Primary picnic.

I have been able to spend more time at school because I’ve recently started Cheesehouse Consulting. Clearly I have lost my mind and have ventured out on my own to provide marketing consulting services in one of the worst economies that I can remember. I’ve been enjoying the variety of work that I’ve been able to take on and I really love the ability to get to know Walker’s friends and teachers. Of course, it’s good I have some extra time because now that Walker has settled in to Pacific Primary, it’s time to start the horrible KINDERGARTEN SEARCH that only parents in San Francisco can truly appreciate. Our city has a lottery system for school assignment and that means that you may live next door to a school but your child may be assigned to another school across the city. While there have been changes made recently to the lottery algorithm (which seems contradictory) so that if you put your “neighborhood” school at the top of your list of SEVEN school choices, you MIGHT have a better chance of getting in. The good news is that the school near us is supposed to be quite good. It has a highly respected principal, an active parent community and despite the horribly inadequate budget for the SF school system, provides a diverse curriculum that includes academics and arts. Regardless, I know we’ll be spending lots and lots of hours visiting schools, talking to staff and parents, and pondering what will work best for Walker. We know that wherever he goes, we will need to augment his school with additional activities to ensure he gets a well-rounded experience. And as I drive Walker through the fog to Pacific Primary where it’s bright and sunny, I realize that should he get in to the neighborhood school, it’s possible the primary augmentation will be to go to Marin to ensure he sees the sun a few times before he’s in middle school. (And yes, I jest. It’s been beautiful and sunny and warm in the Sunset.)

I should also mention that there has been some adjustment with attending Pacific Primary. When Larry was at the Maintenance Day before school opened, he learned that “character” clothing was not permitted. Um, seriously? No Batman, Superman, Captain America or Star Wars shirts? Thankfully they turn a blind eye to shoes (his are Boba Fett) and socks (most of his have Spiderman on them) but we did have to go out to get a few character-free shirts. The thinking is that they can be overwhelming for some of the smaller kids (his school is about 80 kids ranging from 2.5 to 5) and that it provides an environment that’s more conducive to imagination. Well, it hasn’t stopped Walker. For the last few days he’s claimed to be a radio active spider (um from Spiderman) frost giant (and this would be from Thor). Additionally, kids are not allowed to pretend to play guns at school. Walker goes to Expressive Arts frequently and constructs things out of toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks, and colored tape (which he selects from among the hundreds of other really cool craft supplies). These often take the shape of “binoculators” but they will also look a lot like a something that might shoot a laser or bullet. Today he was telling me all about the piece he made. At school it’s big flying elephant but at home, it turns into a BLASTER.

Thank you Mr. Loophole.

One of Walker's outfits that would NOT be OK at school.

Tracing Walker for his school nap time sheet
Tracing Walker for the nap time sheet for school.
The end result.
The end result. I like the gloves and the spots.

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