Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hurrah to JFK!

Lily was glowing when she came off the bus yesterday afternoon -- a free school bus at the end of your street is a very nice benefit to attending your local school, by the way -- and charged home, talking a mile a minute. She had already memorized her locker number and combination and knew how to open it -- the biggest worry. She had three email addresses from new friends -- avoiding icky kids being the second-biggest worry -- although she had to tell them she wouldn't email them until Monday, as she's been kicked off the computer as a penalty for lying to us about brushing her teeth, and was busted by the dental hygienist at her new dentist last week (!).

(Does it make it more palatable to say "penalty" instead of "punishment"? I am so opposed to punishment in general, and especially as a parenting tool. But I really wanted this lesson to sink in, and I was very disturbed that she lied to us. At any rate, that's the consequence.)

She didn't know the names of her teachers yet and she had no homework except to bring in colored pencils today. She found her classes pretty easily, and was really excited about her new friends. Unfortunately the band doesn't have many experienced players so there's no intermediate group, just beginner. But she'll be okay there, I think.

Last night the school had an open house "cookie social" to let parents come see their kids in their new environment. I was highly impressed that the teachers showed up too, and we met most of Lily's. We didn't have much time to chat, but I told them to work her hard, and they promised they would. They seemed to be getting a sense of her already. We met other sixth grade families, including her new friends. She opened and closed her locker about a thousand times, and rearranged the stuff inside over and over. She was very happy to be back in school, I think! and she loved showing us her new digs.

She wants to join the drama afterschool group, and I think she'd like to work on the school newspaper. She will be taking chorus and flute and theater improv, like last year, so she'll be busy! Wednesdays at least she can walk over to improv with the other middle schoolers, and I won't see her until we get her at five.

Just a slight worry, what with that guy who was just arrested for kidnapping an 11-year-old and keeping her as his sex slave in his backyard for 18 years. I guess she was snatched at the bus as her step-father watched, and I gotta say, I know this stuff doesn't happen often, from what they can tell, something like 100 kids a year. But still, it gives you pause. I'd feel much safer if she were in Brooklyn, with tons of people all around. I guess I'll have to meet her bus every day. It's just going to make me feel safer, at least for awhile. Now that's an illusion, right? Safety. Bah!

Oh, and I am going to be editing the PTO newsletter! Some things never change . . .

Oh one final, final thing: We have gotten a couple of nice notes from some people at Bement, and I really have no hard feelings there. There are some very fine people there, and they are trying hard to be the best school they can. But I do think this fits Lily better. I hope JFK makes her work hard -- I know Bement would be more rigorous, right off the bat. But I think socially we will all be much happier. I felt much more at home last night, looking at all the other families, the kids, the way the administrators interacted, it just seemed so familiar, all the best parts of what we've been missing about PS 261. I guess at heart we are a public school family, and while Bement was the right choice at the time, I think this is the right choice today. Lily just seemed so relaxed and at home. Can't buy that feeling, ya know?

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