Oliver + School

Oliver went off to pre-school this morning for the first time. At the Holland College Child Development Center. By lucky happenstance, the daughter of our friend Lowell (Oliver’s middlenamesake) is taking Early Childhood Education at Holland College, and so will be in and around Oliver and his peers a lot this year.

Catherine reports that Oliver ran all the way to school this morning, and didn’t bat an eye when she left. I take this simply as a determined effort on his part to rebel against my own anti-schooling feelings. No doubt he will start wearing a tie soon, and will insist on eating porterhouse steaks for dinner.

Beyond the usual “our little boy is growing up” sorrows (and their equal and opposite “our little boy is growing up!” excitements) this event has inspired, it’s personally daunting for me for an additional reason: my own first memories are of going to nursery school. I don’t remember nursery school clearly, but I certainly have strong impressions of the room and the routine and the people. It’s when my memory of life begins.

During the early years of Oliver’s life it was possible to console myself about my defects as a parent with the knowledge that his memory, at least his conscious memory, wasn’t compiling yet. If his experience mirrors my own, though, the “record” button has now been pressed. There are no do-overs left. And my performance as a parent will now officially become part of the record that will later be recalled over thanksgiving dinners when Oliver is 22 and wondering why he ended up the way he did.

Even as I type this, I can picture the grins of glee on my own parents faces as they read this. Turnabout is fair play.


Sandy's picture
Sandy on September 13, 2004 - 17:26 Permalink

I’m glad to hear that things went well for Oliver this morning. Riley is starting preschool tomorrow and is already feeling stressed about it. We had to make a visit to the Victoria Schoolhouse today so she could meet her teachers and see the environment. It seemed to help as she is now saying that she will go tomorrow. I am hoping that Riley will be as comfortable when I leave, as Oliver was today. I should get her to call Oliver tonight for words of wisdom.

steve's picture
steve on September 13, 2004 - 18:51 Permalink

Nursery School is the beginning of the memory loop. I am an alumni of Benjamin Bunny in Waterdwon Ontario. I have two vivid memories:

- once a policeman came to talk to us. We asked if we could see his gun. He pointed to his holster on his belt and said “That’s not my gun, that’s my sandwich.” Then he pointed to his little pack of bullets and said “This is my cheese and crackers.”

- Once I forgot my slippers. In the winter I would bring a little pair of slippers that we bought at kiddie kobbler ina plastic bag and change from my boots to the slippers for the day. I felt such shame and regret at forgetting my slippers that I stayed sitting alone in the cloakroom until a nice teacher came and talked to me.

Nursery school is where the triumphs and sorrows of life begin to imprint themselves on conciousness. There are tough times, but great leassons learned and great victories as well.

art's picture
art on September 13, 2004 - 20:52 Permalink

There’s something both gratifying and terrifying about realizing your child has reached a stage where they will have life experiences that reflect your own. Mark Twain wrote about how his parents seemed to become more sensible and understandable as each year passed. When you start hearing music that you remember liking coming out of their room you will know that things have come full circle, or you may wonder if you ever really grew up in the first place.

Will Pate's picture
Will Pate on September 14, 2004 - 00:58 Permalink

The Early Childhood Education department at Holland College is right across the street from my new apartment. I’ll keep an eye out for Oliver whenever I can.

I hope his first day at preschool is better than mine. I was late (of course) and my mom brought me into class. She said

Hello everyone, this is William” to which they replied

Hey Willy”.

This was soon alleviated by the fact that there were girls, I guess I was an early starter. The damn name stuck for a good while though, before I finally graduated to Will.

So here’s hoping the kids don’t call him Olivy, and if they do at least he finds a girl he likes.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on September 16, 2004 - 15:08 Permalink

Congratulations to Oliver. I hope he continues to have a great time with school.

He could not be in a better Early Childhood Center. The CDC is a wonderful place and I can’t say enough good things about it.