Posted by: gdevi | February 28, 2010

Fourth Grade Casanova

All names have been changed to protect the innocent. GD.

Hermia has a boyfriend, Dayani announced today at dinner. Oh, yeah? Who is it? Anyone we know? I asked. Yes, it is Lysander. Lysander, I asked? The kid with the perpetual runny nose? Yes. Hermia and Lysander are in love, she said. I used to volunteer in Dayani’s classroom from kindergarten to third grade. (Fourth grade does not have parents volunteering.) And in every grade the home room teacher used to ask me to sit with Lysander and help him with class work. Lysander was a cute-looking little blonde haired boy but he was unkempt. I don’t think he brushed his teeth, washed his face or changed his clothes before coming to school. His eyelids were always caked with sleep-crud and he used to have food-stains around his mouth. He had a perpetual cold and his nose ran all the time. In kindergarten I used to wipe his nose and in the older grades I used to give him tissues and ask him to wipe his nose. His shirt collar had a ring of dark dirt running around and when he leaned forward to concentrate on his class work I could see his pale skinny and bony back. Even in cold weather he used to wear just a single polo shirt; no t-shirts no undershirts, nothing. His shoe laces were untied most of the time and I used to tie them for him. I used to feel very worried about him. He was a very slow learner. He had been held back a year already. While other kids were making three or four letter words, he could hardly hold a pencil. He could not spell his name. I used to spend hours with him helping him put a picture together at their “centers” or write a sentence. And now the same kid is Hermia’s boyfriend. Well, how is he doing in class? I asked D. He used to be such a quiet little boy. Oh Lysander is a bully now, D said. Really, I said. What did he do? Well, he does inappropriate things. Such as what? I asked. He kissed Helena when she was taking a nap in the Medieval Castle. (Medieval Castle is an after school daycare.) Hermia is so happy, D said; she says Lysander is my boyfriend! So exactly what does that mean, I asked D. What does it mean in fourth grade to say you have a boyfriend? Well, D said, they sit together; they have not kissed. Lysander only kissed Helena. Oh, how interesting, I said. Hermia runs around and tells us that Lysander called her on the phone and left a song for her. Really, what song, I asked. “Battlefields,” D. said. Are you sure, I asked. “Battlefields” does not sound like a love song. It is a love song by Alicia Keys, D said. Lysander left a love song for Hermia on the phone. Sounds very weird, honey; a love song called “Battlefields” portends trouble, I said. And Hermia calls Lysander during recess like this: here Dayani fluttered her eyelashes, folded her arms across tilted her head and said, “come here my sweetie pie.” Oh my God, I said. Are you sure? This all sounds so weird. Love is blind, dumb, and perhaps you are under general sensory anesthesia I guess. Hermia saw in Hannah Montana how you have to jump up and down when there are boys around so now in the gym if there are boys around Hermia wants to jump up and down, D. said. That is what Hannah Montana does when she is happy. Amazing, honey. Finish your dinner and go to bed, I said. Run along. Lysander — the fourth grade Casanova. I shook my head. A love song called Battlefields by Alicia Keys. How interesting. I felt relieved though; I heard D getting ready for bed singing the new Michael Franti and Spearhead song Say Hey I love You; I have no idea who that is either but that is her new favorite song and she listens to it on YouTube all the time. She showed me the video; it is very sweet. Kids!


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