The wheels on the bus, they look like sloppy joes

Yesterday was the Critter's first day at her new school here in the U.S. She was remarkably calm about the whole thing. Me, I was a mess.

After the whole ordeal of selecting a school, I still had (have) some amount of trepidation about where she is and where she's going into. This was not helped by the fact that she sat in my lap the night before, reading a book fluently and with inflection. All I could think about was how many of her classmates coming into first grade here will be still learning the sounds of the alphabet. I am sure that I am underestimating the local kindergarten system, but I remember being a bored kid in class. The Critter still loves school.. I'd really like her to keep that feeling. At least until she hits Trigonometry or something.

One of the things we've been trying to build up in the past weeks was Riding On The Bus. It's great to Ride On The Bus. Gee, I wish *I* got to Ride On The Bus. Aren't you a lucky girl, to get to Ride On The Bus to school? Excuse me while I stop the bus here to take thirty or so pictures of my little girl getting on, backing up morning commute traffic for an indeterminate length of time. This is important, you know.

The truth is, I loathed riding the bus as a kid. And my Bride never rode the bus at all, but has to rely on media imposed images of giant testosterone-ingesting eighth graders smashing the littler kids into first-grade pancakes in rear most seats, unspeakably distant and out of sight from the senile/half-drunk/angry bus driver whose only desire in life is that those damned kids be quiet for once. Just for a minute. Just long enough for the voices to stop.

To keep our minds off the fact that we were voluntarily hurling our little girl into the waiting jaws of the schoolyard bully, we distracted ourselves by going shopping for school supplies. Which are, reassuringly, the same bunch of stuff that we needed as kids. Backpack. Notebooks. Pencils. Things to decorate your backpack/notebooks/pencils with.

We also received a list of items required by the school. Most of which were expected (ruler, paper, etc.) Some of which were not. Rolls of paper towels, for example. OK, I went to private school for the first 9 years of my education, but I've seen our property tax bill. Really? Paper towels? This is considered an "extra" by the school district? Surely the school can get a better deal on an industrial sized order of paper towels than I and the other parents can in going and picking up a roll or two of the quicker-picker-upper.

What else hasn't changed? The fact that kids end up carrying an insane amount of stuff in their backpack/otherwise.

See this face? This is the face that says, "You want me to carry all of what?"

When she got off the bus at the end of the day, I pelted her with questions. How was it? Do you like your teacher? Were the other kids nice? How was the lunch room? Did you get recess? Did you read today? How was the bus? Did you sit with somebody? Where is your homework? When do you start on Calculus and the advanced robotics studies?

She shrugged, and told me it was good, she sat with our neighbor on the bus (also a little girl in first grade) and that she liked her teacher, and the other kids she sat near, and that she forgot their names, but ask her tomorrow. Maybe she'll remember then.

And Dad, they're going to have sloppy joes at the cafeteria tomorrow, so make sure to give me lunch money, OK, Dad? In fact, why don't you give it to me now, so you don't forget, and I'll put it here in my bag so that I have it for the sloppy joes. I love sloppy joes.

That's our Critter. Never mind that learning stuff. Let's talk about the quality of what's on the menu.