November 18, 2008

Revisionist history

At the kids' school, Thanksgiving brings the annual Pre 1/Pre 2 Thanksgiving Feast to life. The Pre 1 and Pre 2 classrooms take turns participating in the big feast either as Pilgrims or Indians. (Yes, I know that the proper term is Native American or something even more up-to-date, but this is the traditional Thanksgiving terminology and we're going with it.)

It's Pre 2's turn to be the Indians this year which is delightful to Andrew because for three years now he's somehow gotten caught in the middle of a Thanksgiving nightmare in which he has only been part of Team Pilgrim. The first year it was such a fun activity that he didn't really care. Plus, he was little and he didn't know the difference. In subsequent years he has really thought it would be more fun to be part of the Indian delegation but it's just never worked out for him. Pilgrims are alright and all, but the draw of the Thanksgiving feast is not in eating turkey or stuffing but in the lead-up. The kids spend all week learning about the first Thanksgiving feast and creating their outfits to attend their own version.

The Pilgrims spend hours crafting construction paper Pilgrim hats and little collars that they wear to the luncheon. Any kind of hat is fun but a Pilgrim hat does require only black and white paper and last year he pronounced the collar "uncomfortable." This is, after all, the kid who asks for tags to be cut out of his shoes because they bother him. And also, Pilgrims are, well, refined. I think that Andrew is starting to understand that there's a time and place for decorum - even if he doesn't put that understanding into practice - but when given a choice, being a Pilgrim just isn't all that exciting.

Being an Indian, on the other hand, is full of promise. There's the headdress to start. It's got feathers on it. Lots of them. And, they're not black and white but every color that's availble in a construction paper multipack. Then there's the part where the Indians weren't British so they weren't - at least in the version that he's buying - nearly so stiff. He's definitely of the opinion that he's on the cool team this year. He's so excited about it that he made an extra headband today for Thomas which he's way more pleased with than his brother is but we'll not break that news just yet.

On the way home from school today I asked him what he was learning about the Pilgrims and Indians and our normally totally-obsessively-into-the-details child relayed this:

Me: Can you tell me about the first Thanksgiving?

Andrew: Yes. The Pilgrims came here and wanted to eat a big dinner but the Indians didn't know how to cook so the Pilgrims taught them everything about cooking and they taught them how to cook corn.

Me: Are you sure that the Indians didn't already know that?

Andrew: No, but the Indians did have fancy houses so they taught the Pilgrims how to build those.

Me: OK. I think we might need to talk to Erica about the story you're hearing.

Andrew: No, I've got it right, mommy. And the most important part is how they were all very, very thankful.

Me: What were they thankful for, do you think?

Andrew: They were thankful for each other just like we're thankful for each other.

So much about that wasn't quite right but yet I somehow think he's getting the point.


Anonymous said...

Andrew could preach to those Pilgrims and Indians. What a good message for all of us. Thanks, as always, for sharing this neat glimpse of personality & perspective. I'm looking forward to the pictures from the big event.

Stephanie said...

Okay, so next year you need to come here for Thanksgiving and we'll drag him up to Jamestown. Then he can see how thankful they were for one another, what with all the musket fire, fort walls and "fancy" teepees.

Or maybe you could just catch a flight on Wednesday?