Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm Miserable.

Here's a good parenting moment for you if I've ever had one.

So last week, I took my darling boy to Target to get some new jeans (only $4.99 and cute, too). This is a special journey, made this time out of desperation, especially because we needed not just jeans but diapers, and especially because of the impending yom tov.

In the checkout, my son makes polite and adorable small talk with the older gentleman who was ringing us up. The conversation went something like this:

75+ friendly, bearded African American gentleman: Hello, son.

almost 3, excessively friendly, nearly bald from a pre-Army haircut little Jewish boy: Hi.

Gentleman: Are these jeans for school?

Boy: head nods eagerly.

Gentleman: What school do you go to?

Boy: (guttural chet pronounced perfectly) I go to Chabad.

Gentleman: Haven't heard of that one. Do you like it?

Boy: I am miserable.

It was so cute, so precocious that I almost started laughing. Then I looked at this super nice guy who was checking us out, and I thought, jeez, when you ask a polite, small-talky question like that, you're not really looking for a kid to unload on you like that, right? And then I panicked. Before I ran my credit card through. I totally panicked. My son, after his 4th session of school, is miserable.

At least he has the vocabulary to name his emotions, right? And yes, later, just to be sure, I asked if miserable meant happy or sad, and he correctly responded sad.

I don't want him to be miserable, I want him to LOVE it. Nothing else. Of course, we start fresh tomorrow, a week with no holidays, and I hope that it gets better, easier and more routine. For the record, his teachers say he loves it. And when I peek through the classroom windows and door, he's having a jolly good time.

Only our checkout gentleman and I are left wondering...

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