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Five-year-old Russell goes to nursery school and has various adventures which show he is growing up, but sometimes he wishes he could still stay home ...
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Five-year-old Russell goes to nursery school and has various adventures which show he is growing up, but sometimes he wishes he could still stay home like his baby sister.
In September of the year that he was four, going on five, Russell Michaels began going to the Sunshine Nursery School. He was not sure that he wanted to go. Of course, he had heard all about school from the other children who lived in his apartment building near Riverside Drive in New York City and were older than he was. There was Nora Resnick, who was seven years old, and her little brother, Teddy, who was five. And there was also Eugene Spencer Eastman, who was eight years old. These friends often played with Russell, and sometimes they even played school. Nora and Eugene Spencer took turns being the teacher and telling the others what to do.
Playing with his friends was always fun for Russell. But attending a real school was not quite the same. True, knowing that he was big enough to go off to school every morning just like the others made him feel grown-up. Still, many mornings as his mother helped him get dressed, Russell wished that he could stay home with her the way he did when he was little.
He looked at his baby sister, Elisa. She was only a few months old, so she didn't have to go anywhere. How lucky she was to stay home alone in the house with Mommy and do whatever she wanted. She didn't have to listen to the teacher and remember all the nursery school rules like clean-up time and no-pushing-on-line.
"Russell, you're a big boy now," his mother reminded him when he said that maybe he would stay home too. "Only babies stay in the house with their mommies all-day long."
One of the problems with going to school was that Russell always seemed to be losing things. On the very firstday of school, he had taken his favorite little car with him.
"I think you should leave that at home," said Mommy.
"No," Russell had insisted. "I'll keep it in my pocket where it will be safe." He felt better knowing that he had his car with him. If he got lonely or sad during the morning, he could take it out of his pocket and play with it. He ran the wheels of the little car along his arm.
"It might get lost," his mother said.
"I'll be careful," Russell told her.
Somehow, during the morning, the car did get lost. Russell didn't even notice it was missing until he came home and was eating his lunch. At first he was very upset, but his mother said that perhaps he would find it the next day. So the following morning Russell returned to school hoping to find the little car. He looked for it in every box of toys and in each corner of the room, but he could not find it. It was lost.
The second week of school, Russell had worn a red baseball cap that his grandfather had sent him in the mail. He was very proud of it. Eugene Spencer had a baseball cap that was blue, but Russell liked red even better. He wanted to wear his hat in class, but Mrs. Lane, who was the teacher, said that a gentleman never wore a hat indoors.
"I'm not a gentleman," said Russell. "I'm a boy."
But Mrs. Lane had insisted, so Russell put his cap in the cubby in his classroom. Later in the morning, when the children went to the little play area on the building's roof, Russell proudly put on his baseball cap again.
Up on the roof there were swings and a slide and even a sandbox. The playground was just like the one in the park except it was high above the street. There was a tall fence all around the roof so that even if the children ran and jumped about, they were in no danger of falling. Russell liked to swing high and look at the rooftops nearby. It was much more fun than swinging in the park, which he had been doing since he was a very little boy. Suddenly, as Russell was swinging, a gust of wind blew his red baseball cap off his head. The wind carried the cap through the air, and there was no way to chase it.
"Look! Look!" the children shouted to one another. They thought a hat flying in the air just like a red bird was funny. Russell didn't think it was funny at all. Losing his baseball cap made him cry.
When his mother came to pick him up, Russell told her what had happened. "Let's look while we're walking home," she said. "Perhaps it landed in the street and we'll find it." But although they walked home very slowly, looking all over the sidewalk and at each curb as they crossed the street, they could not find Russell's cap that had blown away. It was really lost.
One day in October, Russell lost his temper. He punched a boy who kept coming too close to him while he was building in the block corner. "Go away," shouted Russell. He was afraid the boy would knock down his building.
Mrs. Lane saw him. "We don't hit people in this class," she said. She made Russell put all the blocks away and sit by himself for a few minutes. Russell was very angry.
The next day, when Mrs. Lane was busy...
|Lost and Found||7|
|Why Russell Was Late||59|
|Staying Up Late||75|
Posted April 14, 2008