Today was Rowan’s turn to present at “Bring and Brag,” or what in my day used to be known as “Show and Tell.” In my day, though, we were allowed to bring toys, which are now verboten. The official line is that kids will fight and get jealous over toys, but I think the real reason is to make parents’ lives more difficult. I mean, how many meaningful, non-toy objects can there be in a four-year-old’s life? The first time, we racked our brains and sent Rowan with his rock collection. The second time we came up with a papier-mâché cat he had made, accompanied by photos of our own felines. Today, we completely forgot about B&B until approximately five minutes before it was time to leave for school.
“Here,” I said, pulling a book off the shelf and a solution out of my ass. “You can tell the kids all about earthquakes.”
Recently, we were gifted a shelf full of hand-me-down books that includes a series on natural disasters: Rowan is now fascinated by all manner of plagues, including earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and the like. We went through the book quickly, marking a couple of pages of great interest, going over a few talking points, doing up a quick PowerPoint presentation, and rushing out the door.
Turns out, it was a banner day. Not only was Rowan on for B&B, but he was also Special Person for the day, which is a big deal: the special person gets to sit in the Special rocking chair, be first in all lineups, in charge of the weather chart, and all kinds of other great stuff. There’s a Special Person poem, where the kid fills in details about his or her favourite food, thing, book, etc., and then all the kids recite it out loud.
I asked the teacher how the earthquakes presentation went. “Fine,” she said. “Except that he couldn’t really answer the question, ‘What is an earthquake?’”
Then I looked at the Special Person poem. Apparently, Rowan’s favourite food is crackers. No real surprise there, although I would've put money on roast chicken. His favorite book is about earthquakes, which makes total sense. And his favorite thing?
“Horses?” I said.
“Something there surprise you?” said his teacher.
Um, no, not really, unless you count the fact that I can recall no instance in which Rowan has ever even mentioned horses. He doesn’t play with horses, unless you count a rocking horse in the basement. Last time we were at a hobby farm, he refused — by which I mean screamed in terror — to go on a pony ride. Or a horse-drawn sleigh ride. If you had asked me, I might have said trains or hide-and-seek or the camera or making slides out of Isaac’s toddler-bed railings, but never horses.
Which begs the question(s): Am I clueless about my son? Does Rowan really love horses? Or was he merely pulling the answer out of his ass? I suspect we’ll never know.