We went to Paige's end-of-school-year program the other night. The kids sang and danced and, to her ultimate delight, Paige's class got to tell knock-knock jokes. (Paige is the queen of Laffy Taffy-esque zingers, always making up her instant classics, e.g., "What kind of ghost does a football squad like? Team spirit.) I loved watching Paige sing her little heart out (she's the kid that sings about 20 decibels louder than everyone else), but my favorite part was at the end.
The theme of program was "Because I Knew You." Each of the first graders wrote a little paragraph on the theme. They were hanging on the back wall. Paige wrote an ode to Curtis:
"Because I knew Curtis I can always know when to laugh. It makes your life a more joyful thing. Laughing makes others lives more joyful and it makes you happy. Because I knew Curtis I am filled with laughter."
Pretty sweet. (When we read it to Curtis, he simply shrugged his shoulders, as he tends to do.)
She also made this self-portrait, holding her favorite book, which is (apparently) High Tide in Hawaii.
We were happy when we found that Paige had tested into the Advanced Learner program after kindergarten. But we were also a little apprehensive about sending her to a new school.
We shouldn't have been nervous. She loved first grade and it's been good for her to be surrounded by other little nerds who love reading and spelling and telling their parents that they are smarter than them (probably true, but still not okay to say).
We only had one little problem. Always worried about Paige's social world, I tend to ask her more about who she sat by at lunch than what she's been learning in class. In the winter, I could tell something was up.
"Paige, who'd you sit by at lunch today?"
"Um, I don't...exactly...know."
"You don't know who you sat by? Who did you play with at recess?"
"I mostly just played by...myself."
[The sound of my heart breaking] "Really? Why?"
"I...just wanted to."
"So what did you do exactly?"
"I just played in the snow."
"With the other kids?"
"No. Just by myself."
We went through this for several weeks. She went out of her way to tell me that it was by choice that she was all by herself, and that she really didn't mind being alone...and that she didn't really want me to keep bugging her about it.
We couldn't tell if she was being left out or she'd been mean to the other kids or she was being weird to be weird. But I didn't like it one bit. Traci and I talked about all different approaches we could take to the problem--from calling other kids' moms to encourage their kids to play with Paige to sitting at recess with her so she wouldn't be alone. We finally decided to talk about it with her teacher. (Which was the approach we should have taken in the first place.) But right as we did, the problem corrected itself. She was back to playing with friends and we haven't had any problems since. (We never found out what the original problem was, though.)
It's been a good year. Though she (regularly) drives us crazy, we've got a pretty great, smart, beautiful little girl.