Saturday, May 12, 2018

Maria Montessori is Helping Isaac Find His Inner Bro

For reasons that are too boring to explain—preschool machinations, public school lotteries, conflicting educational theories—Isaac goes to Montessori public school, and Paige goes to regular public school. Which probably explains why only Isaac has ever come home having cut the sleeves off his shirt with a pair of scissors.

Maria Montessori has a sort of cultish following, the complex rules of which I still don’t fully understand after all these years; but from what I can tell, it’s a child-guided thing where you learn math with beads, follow your dreams of “abiding curiosity,” and eschew cartoons and talking animals. Like you can cut pickles, wash windows, and brew Kombucha all day, or you can invent a new form of calculus and write a Russian novel. 

It’s all the same to Maria. 

So I can see why Isaac followed his “inner dudebro” last week and ended up looking like Danny Zucko from Grease or the Fonz. 

Isaac has long been guided by his inner-dudebro. Even before he could talk, he loved dinosaur teeth and shark jaws and anything involving wheels or sports. As you can see from the photo collage below, these heteronormative tendencies have endured into his childhood, and now encompass his hair and clothing.

I can imagine exactly how this went down. He was hot, he told me. And the number one rule of his classroom—which is a great rule for life in general—is “you are responsible for your own happiness.” I’m sure his teacher asked him how he was going to solve his temperature issue, and in true Montessori fashion, Isaac derived a hands-on solution.

I’m all about choosing my battles, and hair and clothes are two battles that I categorically reject. Fortunately, almost all of Isaac’s clothes are rags already, so what’s one more shirt full of stains and holes? Aren’t the sleeves of a stained and too-small shirt a small price to pay for pedagogical purity?

Maria Montessori says yes.

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