Thursday, August 23, 2007


Luke starts Kindergarten in three days, and I'm preemptively beginning to mourn the peer pressure that I know he will feel. He will be going to a small, reputable public elementary school--a good school. I don't think he's going to be pressured into smoking weed after school or chugging a beer behind the playground equipment. But I did get a glimpse, just a few days ago, of the way he will begin to feel some pressures to conform.

In swimwear, Luke does not stand out from his cohort of five-year-old boys. We were at a local park with a "splash pad" a few days ago, and Luke was wearing his spiderman swim trunks. He fit in. But, when we emerged from the changing room, Luke had on his homemade batik, bug print cotton pants, his swirly blue crocs, and no shirt, since we were about to climb into our "project" car that doesn't have an air conditioner. A little boy who had been splashing with Luke asked, with a bit of a smirk on his face, "Are you wearing your pajamas?"

"No," Luke replied.

"Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" the boy continued.

I felt my breath quicken. What was this little boy implying? That Luke isn't cool? That Luke's clothes aren't sports- or superhero-centric enough? My Luke, who, other than his love of superhero T-shirts, couldn't care less about what he wears. Who likes bright colors, fun patterns, and who has worn his homemade Peter Pan costume to school (including green tights) on more than one occasion.

I calmed myself down and casually yet brightly (read: with an undertone of hysteria) replied, "These are his pants that his friend's mom made! Aren't they cool? And Luke doesn't have a shirt on because we are about to ride in our hot car without air conditioning!"

Of course, I probably don't have anything to worry about. Luke will likely be able to stand up for himself, even in public elementary school. When I looked over at Luke, to see if his feelings were hurt, I saw him place his hands over his ears and squeeze his eyes shut.

Then he shouted, for the whole park to hear, "I don't want to hear another word out of your mouth!"

I know he'll have to leave Neverland eventually. But I don't want him to yet.


Dove Knits said...

I think he'll start a trend for wearing bug print pants, instead!

Anonymous said...

Even if Luke has to leave neverland when he goes to school, I hope he can still always go there when he comes home. Somehow I really relate to this blog, having seen the school/peer pressure impact on you kids as you grew up. It seemed that you always needed a little space after school to sort of "come back". I hope that isn't discouraging-I think it is just a part of kids growing up-weather they are in public or private school.....or even just around other kids much. Honestly, I think homeschooled kids seem to have less of this impact. I don't know if it is good or bad....just part of life in our current culture. Mom