Ryan graduated from preschool. (I will ignore for now that the very next week he returns to the same class, with the same teachers and most of the same kids, for extended school year.)
The class spent an entire month preparing for the graduation ceremony. Knowing that these kids need lots of time and repetition to learn, Miss Jillian drilled them daily on their songs and movements. They practiced in front of an audience made of teachers and school office staff. They made little construction paper mortar boards with yarn tassels on top.
The kids marched into the classroom and sat in tiny plastic chairs in front of the adoring audience. Now, not that I’m biased or anything, but it was clear to me (and Stu, and my parents) that Ryan was by far the highest functioning kid in the class; he’s also one of the oldest. He was the only one who did all the hand movements to Wheels on the Bus, and he sang most of it.
Then Miss Jillian read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the kids took turns velcroing laminated representations of the illustrations to a board at the appropriate points in the story. Ryan went first and was the only child who did not need adult intervention to put his pieces on the board. He even recited some of the text along with the teacher.
Finally, when his name was called, Ryan jumped right up and got his “diploma” (Miss Jillian handed each boy a rolled-up blank piece of paper tied with a gold ribbon). Nobody had to prompt him when to get up or to sit down.
They say that in a room full of blind men, the one-eyed man is king; I am so proud that my baby was the one-eyed man at his graduation.