Friday, September 08, 2006

You Say You Want an Evolution

So this morning I was talking with the latest mom-friend who is "against" homosexuality and we were talking about buying reading books for kids, either through the school or regular bookstores, or just checking them out of the library. She said someone gave her about 200 used books, which was a wonderful gift, although she did have to go through them and weed out a few that were inappropriate. Were they violent? Sexual? Anarchic? No...

They were about evolution. Which her family simply doesn't believe in.

I'm getting plenty of opportunities to learn to be tolerant of others' beliefs. I am soooo used to thinking in terms of Catholic school, since the kiddo's school experience is triggering a bazillion memories of my own school experience, which was (obviously) Catholic. I don't recall ever being taught not to believe in evolution, although we did study the Bible, but as far as I can remember, the general thinking was a.) that both theories can co-exist, b.) that the story of Adam and Eve was a metaphor, or c.) that God created evolution...but not that evolution flat out didn't happen. Generally speaking, most people's beliefs were similar when I was at Catholic school, but now that I'm dealing with a public school, I'm trying to remember that I will be encountering all sorts of beliefs and backgrounds. I thought I was open-minded before, but I'm being challenged a little now. It's good to stretch, and I'm really trying.

But the conversation this morning reminded me of a Kathy Griffin performance in which she talks about Scientology: "You know how you can be talking with someone and really enjoying the conversation and really liking them and totally into it, and then they say, 'Oh, by the way, I'm a Scientologist,' and you're like, 'Okay, that's over'?"

It was sorta like that (the other day, too), except I know I'll be seeing her all the time. She said she knows her kids will "hear about" evolution in school, and there's nothing she can do about that, but they just don't believe in it. I wonder if they've ever gone to the Museum of Natural History. I mean, holy Louis Leakey, Batman! How does she explain the gigantic dinosaur skeletons right when you walk in the museum door? My personal belief is that God (or the supreme being or force of your choice) is responsible for the Big Bang and subsequent evolution, and I really don't understand how anyone can maintain a Genesis stance in light of all the scientific evidence that exists. For that matter, I don't know how anyone can maintain a strong Old Testament stance in light of the New Testament, but I digress.

In other news, I went to Back-to-School Night yesterday, along with the kiddo's dad. The kiddo himself stayed in the childcare room and had a blast with all the other kids. Remember the kid my son called a troublemaker? Well, J.'s mom is now our class parent (she said she volunteered without knowing what it entails) and I offered to help her if she needs help. She was totally into it, so I gave her my business card. She also called me by the wrong name, probably because she saw the creationist mom's name written on a card in my card case. Presumably she discovered her error immediately upon walking away and glancing at my card; today she was embarrassed. Eh, no biggie.

I thought J.'s mom might've thought I was stalker-esque last night, since I kinda glommed onto her during the PTA introduction. The truth is, though, she looked a little lost and seemed glad to see me (and meet the kiddo's dad, who was standing with me), to have someone to chat with. Her next youngest just started college, so she's been out of the elementary school loop for quite a while. The kiddo is still very keen on telling me J.'s behavior rating (usually red, but yesterday was yellow) at the end of each day. J. sits at the kiddo's table at school, hence all the J. stories. Maybe he's fascinated by someone who acts up in school, or maybe it's just interesting because it happens right next to him every day. Who knows? After the PTA introduction, J.'s mom and I viewed photographs of the school principal getting hit with whipped cream pies by kids as a reward for getting their parents to join the PTA. J.'s mom looked a bit pained and said, à la the low talker from Seinfeld, "And I've been telling my son we don't throw food at the big girls..."

Inside the kindergarten classroom, I sat in the kiddo's tiny chair to listen to the teacher speak during class visitation time. She seemed more relaxed last night than she did on the first day -- possibly that's just my own projection, I realize. She talked about herself a little, which was nice, and she was happy to answer questions, and wished we had more time. She also talked about homework, and specifically said to me, "Oh, and [the kiddo] will LOVE this because he's been DYING to have homework!" It's true.

The kiddo seemed to have fun in the childcare room. I was very pleased to see that each kid had to be signed in and out -- by the same person, of course. The kids got to play with the toys for a while, then they got to sit down and watch a video of "Cinderella," which the kiddo enjoyed. When I picked him up, the room was dark ('cause they were still watching the video) and the kids were calm, which was amazing. It was great that the kids had a chance to settle down toward the end of the evening, right before we took them home.

I signed up to volunteer in the kiddo's class on Sept. 14, which is my 40th birthday. I picked it so I could remember the date. :-) Also, I signed up for the parent-teacher conference in October. The kiddo's dad handed me the signup sheet and said to just pick what worked for me and he would do his best to make it. Of course, I appreciated being given precedence like that. (It's the small things, right?) The kiddo's dad, by the way, was on his most charming behavior. When he's like that, I miss him. Then I slap myself until I remember everything else.

Oh, the creationist mom keeps calling the kiddo's dad my husband. She was slightly incredulous when I mentioned in passing that we were never married (I was for it, he was against it), so she knows, but she keeps referring to him as my husband. I find it amusing in a way, although I suppose it's an understandable mistake (?), given her beliefs.

We visited the book fair after the talks, and the kiddo's dad bought two books for him. I wasn't planning to buy any, but the kiddo's dad decided to buy them, and he told the kiddo he could take them wherever he wanted (Mommy's or Daddy's house), which I thought was very nice. Then he threw a ton of books on my deck later. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OH NO HE DIDN'T! THAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS! NOBODY DOES THAT!

Oh, you mean I didn't tell you about that? Maybe another time.