L. and my Boy-o are, as I type, out at a school 'interview.' Not a parent-teacher interview. An interview to get into a public school for the arts for their kindergarten program. A kindergarten entrance interview. I can barely type it because this feels so wrong for so many reasons. I can almost hear my Winnipeg peeps teasing me for being "bougie" (that's bourgeouis, for those not fluent in Winnipeg). It is bougie. Terribly, terribly bougie. It's also weird. And kinda wrong. Weird and kinda wrong to expect a 4 year old child to be thrown into a new situation, in a new space with strangers (and other kids because it's a group interview) and give any accurate reflection of who they are, what they're all about, what they can do. Especially a 4 year old like mine, who for better or for worse, like his mama, has anxiety and a tough time with new situations and people.
So then. Why the bleepity bleep am I sitting here kvetching while my kids out there doing said interview? (After filling out a ridiculously extraneous application form, complete with references, art work and a 'statement' from Boy-o, and a letter from us explaining why we 'support' his application?) The thing is this: Redneckville has a shortage of schools where, in my perspective, the child of queers will be anything more than tolerated. (I've said it once, I'll say it 100 times. Tolerance is not a goal.)
So - he currently attends one of the two schools I like in this city. It's great. He loves his teachers, he's thriving and happy there. But - it's also expensive. It's also also far from our house, so Girlio spends an inordinate amount of time in the car. And a few of those private school parents kind of freak me out. It's preschool, not pre-Yale folks. (Though you can bet your bottom dollar L. and I make a few of them pretty bleeping nervous, too). Anyhoo...
And so when we found an alternative, a school for the performing arts no less, with music and dance and drama built into the curriculum. And it's public school. And it's closer to our house. And it goes all the way to grade 12, so if it works out, we won't have to consider another school for him. And it's apparently full of queer kids. And talks about inclusion (not tolerance) right in the curriculum. And it has a kick-ass anti-bullying policy. When we had talked about the school to Boy-o at first, he was steadfastly against it, insisting he would stay at his old school. And then we went to the open house. Where there were big kids busking with guitars in the hallway. And people singing in a choir. On a stage. He danced to the busking. He danced in the aisle while the choir sang "Pocket Full of Sunshine." And then he decided that maybe this new school might not be such a bad idea, after all.
So that is why I'm sitting here, trying to keep an open mind about this interview business. While feeling anxious on my Boy-o's behalf. And feeling stubbornly indignant about the whole acceptance process, which as I have already mentioned is 'bougie,' weird and kinda wrong. And wondering if my kid will be 'accepted,' and what that acceptance will mean for all of us.