He is so excited and, in turn, I'm eager to see what he's got to share. These last eight days (he's so precise about quantifying how long he's been a kindergartener), getting information out of him hasn't been easily. I'd been warned this would happen. That's OK. I respect that he's got a life of his own. But I'm so curious. I try not to bombard him with questions but I'm trained as a journalist. I probe: Who did you sit next to on the bus? Did you play with new friends? Did you have art class today? He's actually quite generous in his answers. But offering unsolicited info about his time at school has been rare.
So this "something" had to be good. He's shuffling his backpack, his lunchbox, trying to find what he's looking for—and here it is:
A pamphlet full of prizes—we're talking Jelly Eyeball Flashing Rings, Sneaker Key Chains (for his all of his keys, natch). Prizes you win for asking relatives to give you money in exchange for expensive cheap-looking wrapping paper and "fancy" bad-for-you packaged foods and magazines that you can get for free because you work for them. (Yes, yes... I am a bad parent. I promise I'll make up for it by happily baking cookies for soccer tournaments and handing out water at fundraiser runs.)
"You show this paper to everyone you know," he tells me, waving the prize pamphlet. "Like your Grandma and your Papa and everyone. And then they get things and you get things."
"Yes, a special guest came to our classroom and told us all about it."
At this point, Julian's stuff is all over the floor. He's talking with his hands, excited, waving the paper under my nose. I try not to rush him—he's really into this—but I'm getting antsy. Jon's stuck at a job site, so I am on (unexpected) double pick-up duty. If we don't leave, um, now, Kai will be standing solo on the playground with the preschool's director. Even though I left the office half an hour early—rushing out of of a meeting, ironically, about how to meet next year's aggressive sales goals—I am somehow late.
We hurry to the car and I try to see it all through his eyes: it's a win, win. You get this, and I get this. I really should adopt a good attitude: I mean, who doesn't need a mini sandwich maker set, or a peanut butter and jelly spreader? But I can't get past that the fact there's someone—a special guest—out there who's selling my kid, age 5, on selling. I can't quite nail down, in words, just how I feel about that.