The Politics of Yard Jumping
Mini is about to switch yards. This is about as big as shit gets for a three year old.
The yards at Mini’s educational institution are arranged as such: the two classrooms situated closest to the previously discussed gate house the “twos.” One room is for those kids with second birthdays closest to the beginning of the school year, and the other for those with second-and-a-half birthdays at the beginning of the school year. Both are named after small and cuddly land mammals. I would imagine this is a practice replicated in many preschools throughout North America, but rather than tempt fate I will simply let you know that Mini’s birthday could have landed him in either class but he was put in with the smaller of the two animals and, as it happens, the only one that is found native to countries north of the equator.
He has enjoyed his time in that classroom, but at the end of the month, it will come time to move into the Big Boy Yard. This yard is further along the trajectory of the school’s geography, where they name the classrooms after aquatic-dwelling mammals. We found out today that Mini will be placed in the classroom named after the less-intelligent of the two medium sized sea mammals which were possible namesakes for his homeroom. For me, this was merely a momentary setback, as I quickly identified several names on the list of his classmates that I had hoped to see included, and was happy to see others had been excluded that I was sure I wouldn’t miss.
But all of this is nothing compared to what Mini has told me about what it means to move to the Big Boy Yard.
Because they have been taking the kids over a few times a week to try out the new yard, with the big kids, to see what it’s like. And Mini has apparently been making his own set of assumptions based on his time over at the new yard. And one of those things has to do with whether or not he will be bring his lovey, “Buzz,” with him to the Big Boy Yard and the new class.
“Mommy, the boys in the big boy yard, they don’t have Buzz,” Mini told me the other day in the car.
“What do you mean? They don’t bring a lovey to school, like you bring Buzz?”
“Yeah, no Buzz.”
“How do you know, buddy?”
“”Acause I go to that yard, and they, only girls. Only girls have them.”
“Only the girls bring loveys to school?”
“Yeah. Only girls bring Buzzies.”
“Oh. Well, do you mean you don’t want to bring Buzz anymore?”
“No, I bring Buzz. ‘Acause I bring Buzz.”
“I think you can bring Buzz whenever you want, Buddy.”
“Yeah, ‘acause, I go to my yard. I don’t go to the Big Boy Yard.”
“Well, even if you go to the Big Boy Yard, you can still bring Buzz.”
“I go to my yard.”
Now, I’m no parenting expert, but my preliminary assessment of the situation suggested that this was Mini’s anxiety speaking. But just to be sure, I checked with Mini’s teachers, and sure enough, this was something he had decided on his own, I guess based on the fact that he had not seen any Big Boys walking around the Big Boy Yard carrying a lovey. Not that he carries Buzz around His Yard, either, but it’s clear that he had seen a few of the Big Girls openly carrying a lovey, whereas the Big Boys had been more quiet about the use of their loveys, at least while he was around. And from this, Mini had discerned that loveys weren’t something that Big Boys brought to the Big Boy Yard.
As usual, there’s a little bit of ambivalence mixed in with the excitement of the new step. On the one hand, Mini likes the new yard because he can ride his bike way faster on the hills over there, and there is a whole new climbing structure to explore. On the other hand, he has spent the past ten months making this yard his own. I think right now the indecision is being played out on the body of Buzz. I’m a little impatient and nervous to see what happens, to be honest.