Just in case you didn’t already know this, first grade turns you into genius. During the course of your first year in elementary school, you will in fact become an expert on many topics, thereby learning that your parents are idiots.
(The subtitle of this post is: Why I want to kick Grant’s science teacher in the knees.)
Thanks to Grant’s science teacher, our first-grader has become an environmental vigilante. Never mind that we already have a fairly well-coordinated recycling program in place. My recycling garbage can is always at least as full as my actual-garbage garbage can, we trade in our printer cartridges for refills, use rechargeable batteries, and replaced all our lightbulbs with those twirly-whirly- save-lots-of-money lightbulbs that I can’t remember the name of. If the tree-huggers could look past my compulsive paper towel use and occasional paper plate use, I think they might be kind of proud of us.
I do not know if Mr. Science Man has a program in place where he bribes small children with treasures untold if they can confiscate half of their family’s belongings and bring them directly to him to be disposed of properly, but I have my theories. Several times, Grant has tried to grab all our printer cartridges and convince us that he needs to take them to his science teacher, along with all our batteries. That same self-proclaimed genius cannot seem to comprehend that I will recharge and refill them on. my. own. (thank you?) and thereby save our family some money. “But Mr. Science Man says we have to bring them to him!” No matter how I try to make him understand that his teacher’s intention is to keep those items from being thrown away, and we are NOT throwing them away, he still thinks I’m ruining his life as an activist.
Today he came from school and enjoyed his after-school snack for a few seconds before he jolted, quickly remembering that he is a man on a mission.
“Mom! Do we have milk cartons or boxes or things that we can use to make other things?”
“They’re in the recycling bin, Grant.”
“No, mom! We’re not supposed to throw them away. That’s a waste! We can use them.”
“Grant, when they are recycled, that means they can be melted down and use them again. We are not wasting them.”
He began digging through my garbage. I began picturing his science teacher in that torture machine from The Princess Bride.
He grabbed a ziploc bag and held it above his head, victorious. “Do not throw these away, mom! That is a waste.”
I rolled my eyes, “What? Do you want to wash them out?” “Yes!” “Fine, you can do it.”
He kept digging. “I need a bottle or something for my agates (small rocks designed to make your mother curse when she does the laundry).”
“Grant, the bottles are in the recycling bin which means they are going to be re- … never mind.” I give up.
Anyway, I think educating our children is severely overrated. I offered him this box from the garbage to carry the rock collection he’s accumulating so he can impress Mr. Science Man. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled when he sees how resourceful we are in our family.