I had my first parent-teacher conference last week. Mbot’s teachers and I sat at a miniature table while I read a three-page report on thirty-nine month-old Mbot and his progress in skills like Pouring Work and Following Verbal Instruction. It’s more sophisticated than but not dissimilar to the report cards I got in grade school, that had a list of stuff in which I could be “outstanding,” “satisfactory,” or in need of improvement. Kids in sixth grade used to get “needs improvement ” a lot in the hygiene department.
In preschool, Mbot only got one “needs improvement,” and that was in Use of Time. Mrs. Pursell, Mrs. Doll, and I looked at each other over the miniature table and said simultaneously, “He’s three.” Not worried.
The next morning, I got an email notice that my Alma mater was celebrating Mountain Day. It’s a Mount Holyoke College tradition: One morning a year, usually at the height of fall colors, the bells in the tower peal at 7 a.m., signalling no classes that day, and both students and faculty flee to the hills. They climb the actual Mt. Holyoke, they bike to Atkin’s farm stand to buy donuts and cider, they generally celebrate not spending three hours cooped up in a chem lab sucking on pipettes. It’s a very civilized tradition, like the siesta. I’ve always thought Real Life should feature one.
However, I never was very good at Mountain Day. I wasted them–every one of them. I prided myself on being able to guess, with 100% accuracy, when Mountain Day would be, and then not doing the work that would otherwise be due that day.
The result was that I’d have to spend all of Mountain Day doing the work I’d put off. While the Massachusetts hills were alive with the sound of students, I was lying on my stomach in the grass in the amphitheater with a half pound bag of M&Ms and an unfinished lab report.
So I see where Mbot might have gotten his retarded growth in Use of Time. I do hope he figures it out before I did.
In the name of redemption on all of our behalves, I am declaring Mountain Day today. Husbot called yesterday and suggested we meet up in the mountains near Flagstaff for a weekend of leaf-peeping, playing outside wearing puffy coats, and trying to make the Midgets wear hats. So while it’s not exactly a day off, what with last-minute packing up of Midgets and Midget Gear and teaching my niece how to give the antique cat his insulin injections, at least it is good Use of Time.
See you tomorrow.
Have you given yourself a Mountain Day lately?