Writing lesson from Liam’s yellow pages

These are just a few of the yellow-painted sheets my son has brought home from school during the last two weeks.

I’m not talking about the phone directory. I’m talking about what my son brings home, without fail, from his Montessori preschool each day: a small rectangular piece of white paper completely covered with yellow paint.

The first few days he brought home the yellow page, I thought it was cute. Then it started to seem a little weird. Liam’s school has this slightly big-brother feature of a one-way mirror that lets you observe your child in his or her classroom (not that that factored into my ideas for The Knife and a Butterfly, ahem…). So we watched and saw that painting the white page yellow was the first thing that our son did every day. Not the only thing, mind you. But the first thing. A first thing that inevitably opened onto many other tasks which changed from day to day. 

It seems that this yellow page is a kind of starting ritual for our son, something he does to settle himself into being at school. And it’s pretty damn smart, actually. I’m thinking maybe that I need to start painting a page yellow at the start of each day as a way of saying to myself, here we go, let’s get down to writing, you’ve got some shit to accomplish. Maybe not literally painting a page yellow, but establishing a ritual and preserving it’s definitive significance: Now I Am At Work.

He’s a smart guy, our Liam.


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