Kindergarten Reflections: The Bailey Year, Charm School Shock and Awe

(Originally posted March 28, 2010)

Even two weeks shy of 5 years old, Miss Bailey Elizabeth Norsstrum arrived in Kindergarten with an arsenal of Charm School Shock and Awe tactics guaranteed to wrap her new teacher around her little finger and lure unsuspecting classmates to do her bidding well into the next Millennium. Or so she thought…. why wouldn’t the quick and easy charm-getters continue to impress, or traffic stopping pull-out-the-plug, Academy Award worthy drama stints bring things back around to “Bailey’s Way”? They had up until now…

Early on, I do believe that first morning, began my introduction to Bailey’s arsenal of “coping skills,” to be compared with the progressing severity of the Richter Scale rating earthquakes.

Tactic #1– Batting eyelashes; tilting head to one side; baby talk feigning helplessness.

Tactic #2– All of the above with a big hug and “I wuv you, Mr. Creel!”

*Note: In days past, it was apparently rare that anything above #2 was needed, save the interchangeable name of said perpetrator.

Tactic #3– Pouting, lower lip extended just enough for baby talk to still be somewhat understood; a hint of eyebrows in early furrow.

Tactic #4– Pronounced Pouting, lower lip in full extension; eyebrows at full furrow; arms crossed in defiance; turning back on perpetrator/public at large, but only so much that a watchful eye might detect a foe becoming weary of the dramatic spectacle.

Tactic #5– All of Tactic #4, with words of demand bellowed through clenched jaw at full volume; tear ducts begin to well onto lower eyelids.

Tactic #6– Tears turned on full force, accompanied by wailing to denounce the total and unrelenting mistreatment from the world-at-large, throwing her lifeless body onto the floor with continuous wailing at full throttle should worse come to worse. (Worse often came to worse.)

*Note: At any time, from Tactic #3 through Tactic #6, should the party offending Miss Bailey Elizabeth Norsstrum give in, she immediately performs Tactic #2. (Batting eyelashes was later found to be difficult when Tactic #6 wailing had ensued for a lengthy period.)

Perhaps another child picked up one of the red crayons in the crayon tub, yet the ONE that she wanted. Perhaps it was time to listen to directions from the teacher and she wanted to play with the dress up clothes. Maybe it was Wednesday and she wanted it to be Saturday. Any innocuous tidbit of the day or well intentioned action of a classmate could transform our dear Bailey from a tap-dancing Shirley Temple to a green-eyed Linda Blair levitating off the bed.

Four years old.

Yes, children we had best fasten our imaginary Kindergarten safety belts. It was going to be a bumpy year.

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