December 15, 2016 10:26 am Couldn’t School Just Be Enough? Part 2 (Republished by Request)
In case you missed Part 1
Quinn slept all night. His father had carried him up to his bed without awakening him. As the sun came up, Quinn was just beginning to stir. His father looked into his room just as Quinn sat up.
“There’s my boy! I missed you last night, sweetie. You must have been zonked.”
“Oh yeah. That’s right, I fell asleep on the couch. I had a terrible afternoon with a crabby man named Mr. Baxter.”
Tightening the knot of his tie, Neil asked, “Why was he so crabby?”
“I think he was maybe born that way. He just likes to be bossy. Do I have to see him today?”
“Quinn, I’m on my way out. I don’t know about Mr. Baxter, but I’ll call Mommy from work. We’ll figure it out.”
“Okay, Daddy. Mommy wants Mr. Baxter to help me be smarter, but he makes me feel sad and a little scared. I want to go to the park after school or just come home.”
“Smarter, huh? You’re pretty smart already.”
“I know, Daddy. I didn’t need Mr. Baxter to learn about ducklings or trucks having a beep beep sound when they back up.”
“I’ll talk to Mom, Quinn. Don’t worry about Mr. Baxter. Just love today.”
Quinn reached up to give his father a hug. “I love you Daddy. See you tonight.”
“I love you too, Quinn. Hey, say hi to Rosie, will you?”
“Okay. Tonight I’ll show you what she taught me.”
The door shut quietly. Quinn heard his mother getting out of the shower. He hoped she had forgotten about making him smarter.
“Good morning, Quinn. You must be hungry. You were asleep before dinner last night.”
“I’m starving. Daddy said he carried me up to my bed,” Quinn said with a smiley yawn.
“When you get used to Mr. Baxter and doing more work, you won’t be so tired,” she assured him.
“Mommy, I don’t want to get used to Mr. Baxter. He is awful. Going to him is not good for me. He is a crabby man. He never smiles and taps his pencil all of the time.”
Lorraine went down the stairs to make breakfast. Quinn took a quick shower, dried himself off and dressed himself in no time. When he came into the kitchen, scrambled eggs were on his favorite bunny plate. The toast popped and Lorraine buttered it and spread strawberry jam on it.
“Thank you, Mommy.”
Lorraine sipped her coffee while looking at Quinn’s cute wet hair. He had attempted to brush it. He had chosen a navy shirt with white stripes. He was wearing white shorts and had put his green crocs by his school bag.
“Quinn, you look so cute! You’ve done so much this morning all by yourself. I really am impressed.”
“Thanks, Mommy. When we play Mommy and Daddy at school, we all teach each other stuff. Rosie teached me to put my school bag and shoes by the door. Philip was wearing white and dark blue and I liked it. We learn in school by watching and pretending. It’s fun. It’s just what we do.”
“That is pretty amazing learning, Quinn.” Lorraine was suddenly wondering if she had made a big mistake.
“Mrs. Randall said we’re the best class at teaching each other she has ever had. Robby showed us how to clean up by color. All red things, then all blue and we all got faster and faster and kept laughing and in minutes everything was put away. Rosie counts by twos now. She learned that so fast. We teach each other so much. Today I want to play a guessing game. I’ll give little clues and see if Rosie can figure out what I am thinking about. I was thinking of clues when I was in bed. She is going to teach me how to meow.”
Lorraine looked into her coffee cup. She was startled by what she was feeling. Just then, the phone rang. It was Neil.
“Lorraine? What’s going on with Quinn? He seems so put off by that Mr. Baxter. I’m not sure what you hope to accomplish. He is plenty smart for his age now.”
“I know, Neil. I just want to help him. Other children are being tutored too.”
“Lorraine, he’s four. Let him enjoy his life.”
“I guess I’ve been foolish. I can see now that he is growing and learning more every day. You’re right, Neil. I’ll cancel Mr. Baxter.”
Hanging up, Lorraine looked at her little boy again. She knew he had just given her a priceless lesson, one that would make their lives more full, happier and infinitely simpler. Filling his days with lessons would take away from his natural development and make him miserable.
Quinn found a small bird book that Gaga and Pop had given him and put it in his canvas school bag. Then he ran to find his yellow colored pencil. “Everyone wants to draw bird beaks now. There will be one more pencil to share.”
As they drove to school, Lorraine said, “Would you like to have a picnic at the park with Rosie today?”
“Really, Mommy? What about Mr. Baxter?”
“I’ll tell him I am not interested in his after school class. I now know, thanks to my little teacher, that school really is enough.”
“I wonder how big the ducklings are now. I hope they are all still there. There were seven boys and three girls last time, right?”
“Whatever you say. You paid much closer attention, Quinn.”
As Quinn and his mother walked in to school, Rosie was hanging up her sweater and bag. She heard Quinn say, “Hello, Mrs. Randall. I don’t have to leave early today.”
“Good, Quinn. We might go on a treasure hunt out by the trees behind the school.”
Rosie and Quinn wrote each other’s names on bright construction paper and put them in their cubbies before running to the dress up area. In no time the class heard the most authentic meow on earth.
Lorraine’s change of heart was almost a miracle. Quinn’s natural love of learning showed his mother who he was. Their bond strengthened in a deep way too.
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 40+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
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