Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Swimmin' in the Sea
I'm in preschool a lot these days. It's both awesome and dreadfully mind-numbing, a kind of live and germy oxycotin. I squish playdoh. I do really, really simple puzzles. I play pretend games with dolls that involve going upstairs followed by going downstairs followed by going upstairs (three-year-olds' imaginations bear a startling resemblance to the music of Philip Glass). Then there's snack (O glorious snack!), gross motor play (boogie desultorily; don't step on children) and sing-along (invent, out of desperation, mediocre harmony part for song about five little fishies).
In short, my thoughts have begun to drift belly-up. Though very occasionally one still has a wiggle to it, as I discovered today when the preschooler grabbed my ass.
Now, I've had my ass grabbed before. Mostly by drunk people. This, though, was the most thorough exemplar of the genre I've experienced: two-handed, perfectly centered, squeeze-and-release.
The kid is four.
First I was surprised. Then I was amused. Then, speaking in the Calm, Firm Voice I use to fake adulthood, I informed the kid that in preschool we keep our hands to ourselves.
By the time I finished my little spiel, though, I was just sad. It had occurred to me that the kid had to have learned that behavior from somewhere, and that that somewhere had probably been home. The grabber lived with his single mom, and I could only imagine the kind of boyfriend who'd grab a woman's ass in front of her kid. Moreover, I could only imagine what kind of adult that kid would become.
Somewhere in the depths of the overgrown aquarium, a single fish flipped over, uncurled its fins, and shot into the treasure chest. The truth had finally dawned on me: KIDS WERE LITTLE ADULTS. Oh my God, how appalling.
I starting eyeing my charges suspiciously. One girl was placid and obedient. Would she march placidly off to the altar? One boy was smart but silent. Would he turn into one of those brooding teenagers all the girls fall for? And what about the little boy who didn't like loud noises, who cried when things got too busy, too overwhelming, or too new?
Oh wait. That's me.