Last night was the potluck for Nora’s new class mates and their families. We met in the park across the street from her school. Hyper-punctual, as always, we were the first ones there. When Nora saw her teacher, she broke into a sprint and started yelling, “Waldorf school! Waldorf school! Waldorf school!”
Being early gave us a few minutes to chat with Nora’s new teacher, Miss E. While Nora was off playing, we talked about Nora being the youngest and the smallest in the mixed age kindergarden class and the best way to approach that. I said we had almost no reservations, after talking to Nora’s current teacher about it. Miss E. said that Nora’s teacher had written a beautiful letter for Nora’s admission application (he mailed it directly, so we didn’t get to see it.) Again, I felt so thankful that Nora has had such a terrific teacher for a year and a half now.
Slowly, other families began to arrive. The oldest boy in the class is approximately eight times larger than Nora. She quickly made him her pawn by asking him to push her (very fast) on the merry-go-round. The mother of this boy reassured me about the aftercare program. She had many opportunities to observe the aftercare group on the playground after school. She said the kids were always excited to go to aftercare and were happy and content on the playground.
The kids were mixing nicely, some on the play structure, some running about with sticks, but it was time to haul them in to eat.
First, all the familes formed a large circle to hold hands and say a blessing. I tried to manuever my socially phobic husband between Nora and me, but he ended up holding hands me and another dad. Later, in the car, he said he was scared he’d accidentally squeeze the guy’s hand when he meant to squeeze mine. This gave me the giggles.
The food was exactly what you’d expect to find at a Waldorf potluck. There were bean croquettes, veggie trays, goat cheese, rice and bean salads and apple cider. And some killer mac-n-cheese. I need to find out who made that mac-n-cheese. I didn’t see any meat, I’m sure everyone was being conscious of the fact that many of the families would be vegetarian. We are not vegetarians, but I brought a quinoa tabbouleh with pistachios that’s my new favorite recipe.
Everyone brought blankets to sit on. Nora thought this was silly and chose to sit at the picnic table by herself and quickly commandeered a bag of tortilla chips as her own.
We struck up a conversation with the family next to us. I asked how long their oldest child, a third grader, had been attending (many families send their kids their for early childhood programs and a few years of kindergarten). The father joked that in the car on the way over, they had been discussing the possibility of parents estimating length of attendance by the amount of tuition they’d paid. When asked how long your child had attended, you could reply, “Long enough to spend $54,000.” We all laughed freely at this — in the way you laugh at an uncomfortable truth with someone who completely understands.
After a leisurely meal, we decided to pack up and head home before a meltdown, as we were already a half hour past bedtime. Though Nora was thoroughly enjoying herself, we managed to get her back to the car without a tantrum.
Ben was tired, Nora was getting there, and I was giddy. Great people, healthy food, a beautiful setting. It’s a great start.