Pre School Juvenile Delinquent

December 22, 2007

Last week, I went out to my car at work and discovered it had a flat tire. As I am a mechanical dork and the sky was raining in torrents, I called the Auto Club. I figured they would put on the spare tire, and then I would have time after work to take it to the tire store and they would have time to repair the tire before they closed.

Usually the Auto Club takes an hour to arrive. Wednesday, they took three hours, so it was too late to go to the tire store. In the old days, spare tires were real tires; now they are inferior tires that should not be driven faster than 50 miles an hour or for long distances.

I felt sorry for the tow truck driver as he removed the flat tire in the pouring rain. I felt vindicated as he discovered one of the bolts on the tire was frozen and he had to break the bolt off to remove the flat tire. I thanked him effusively. I took down his name and the name of the tow truck company. I promised to send a letter to the Auto Club about how helpful and gracious he was.

I decided to crash for the night at the barely extended family’s house. I drove the long distance to their place at 50 miles an hour, enraging many people behind m on the freeway. By the time I got there, Random Granddaughter was asleep. My daughter fixed me a trout dinner and told me that RG had been a juvenile delinquent at pre-school for the last two days.

“She has been hitting other children and having tantrums.”

“What do you think is going on?” I asked. I was worried. I could envision the headlines some day in National Inquirer. Former pre-school star on trial for murdering her teacher. Grandparents bankrupt themselves paying legal fees.

“She doesn’t take naps at pre-school any more. We think she is not getting enough sleep. We are making her go to bed earlier now. That’s why she is asleep even though she wanted to see Grandpa tonight. Perhaps you could take her to pre-school tomorrow?” my daughter said.”She would really like to spend some time with you.”

“Sure. I am going to use some vacation time to get my tire fixed. I will add a little extra time to take her to school.”

When RG got up the next morning, she was in a good mood. After her mommies left for work, she looked at a photo album. She looked pictures of Mommy pregnant with her. She looked at pictures of herself as an infant, sometimes saying “She” about herself, sometimes saying “I” about herself.

She looked at pictures of Mommy holding Sebastian, the late cat. At the time Sebastian died, I wondered what RG made of it as her first experience with death.

“What happened to Sebastian?” I asked her.

“He died. We buried him,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone. I am still not sure she makes of her first experience with death.

She put on her coat. I picked up her school bag, which contains enough supplies for her to cross a desert and Antarctica as well. One pocket of the bag contained five different types of snacks. “I’m not supposed to bring nuts for snacks. Mia is allergic to nuts,” she explained.

We set off for school. After we had walked past three houses, RG said, “I would like a snack.” I wasn’t sure if she was supposed to have a snack on her way to school, but I decided not to argue about it. I wanted to bring a little girl to school in a good mood.

“What snack do you want?” I asked, opening up the snack pocket for her to rummage in. She rummaged. She pulled out a plastic bowl. I removed the plastic lid. She began eating the snack in a the bowl. The bowl contained nuts. (Cashews, not peanuts, but still…) I figured, Maybe RG knows what she is doing here if she is eating the nuts before she gets to school.

She finished her nuts. She started skipping. I skipped with her. She seemed in a good mood. Maybe I was going to bring a little girl in a good mood to pre-school. Maybe I would go down in the Grandparent Hall of Fame as the Grandpa who brought a little girl to pre-school in a good mood.

We got to the pre-school. I took her key card out of the pack. She held it up to the card reader with practiced ease and we entered the pre-school. What kind of world do we live in where three-year-old girls know how to use a key card to get into their pre-school? I wondered.

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4 Responses to “Pre School Juvenile Delinquent”


  1. It is indeed a strange world when preschoolers use a keycard to get into their school. Next thing you know, she’ll be changing your tires for you, and you will be learning to finger-paint (if you don’t already know how).

    It has always been very mysterious to me the ways in which children do and do not comprehend death. How can one even convey the concept? My uncle-by-marriage died last year, and one of his grandchildren, at the age of eight, still didn’t understand what death was. It was extremely painful for the family to try to explain it to her.

  2. modestypress Says:

    It is hard indeed to know what RG thinks of death. A few months after Sebastian died, the Barely Extended Family was walking RG to the playground and we saw a dead squirrel (run over) on the street. She stood staring at it intently for several minutes, but she didn’t say anything.

    She is obviously thinking about the topic, but not saying much. After my one brief question, I decided not to poke any more. I suspect when she feels ready to ask more questions, she will let us know.

  3. Average Jane Says:

    I am pondering your last question too.

    Today my father told me happily that my four year old niece who was deeply attached to her grandmother who passed away six months ago, doesn’t ask about her anymore. I am wondering about the happiness.

  4. pandemonic Says:

    Key cards? My word, the world is a different place today. And I was thinking the nut situation was bad enough.


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