Okay, Tegs, I'm gonna have to ask you to explain the 'getting asked to leave preschool' thing
Preschool was a weird time for me. I was one of those horribly precocious children- I’d taught myself to read before I was three- and so while my classmates were learning their ABCs, I was reading chapter books I’d brought from home. It was honestly a total waste of time, and I acted out a lot because I was bored as hell. It was really more like day care, but understaffed- for the entire three and four year old class, there was only one teacher. Her name was Sister Ida and she would play us songs on the guitar and sing. But this wasn’t enough to mollify me; I had been SO EXCITED about school because that’s where you get to learn. The kids in books all went to school- my mom says that the summer before I started pre-school, I’d get out of bed and wake her up in the middle of the night asking if it was time to go to school. But then school turned out to be an utter disappointment. A lot of preschool is really about socialization; learning to share, learning to get along with other kids, learning not to be pushy- but I would shut down around other kids because I just wanted to read books. I’d throw a fit when my books were taken away, so Sister Ida just let me read. What else could she do? My parents didn’t want to move me up a grade because I was bad enough at talking to children my own age and they really didn’t think I’d thrive with kids older than me. I wasn’t more mature emotionally than my age cohort- I was just academically quicker, and that was a recipe for disaster if they’d bumped me up.
My parents could never get stuff done with me around, because I was always asking a million questions, so they turned to that old standby, the electronic babysitter. If I was out of books to read, I could turn on the TV; my mom just left the one in the living room tuned to the Discovery Channel. This was old school Discovery Channel, not the reality show network it is today, which meant that I was watching animal documentaries all the time.
One day, I saw a documentary about sea turtles. Specifically it was a program about the miracle of sea turtle birth- how they have so many eggs and how they don’t all make it to the sea. There was a segment on how the sea turtles find mates and how the males hang onto the females for up to twenty-four hours and how mating is violent but then she has all those eggs… I thought it was amazing. It seemed like some kind of magic trick- insert magic wand, presto change-o, baby sea turtles. I decided that I would take this in for show and tell- I would demonstrate (drumroll, please) mating.
I had these little plastic turtles that I put in my schoolbag. Show and tell came around and when it was my turn, I stood up in front of the class and said “I’m going to show you how sea turtles mate!”
Sister Ida was not fast enough to stop me. I started talking about how the sea turtles entered a mating bond and stacked the plastic turtles on top of each other and then talked about how the eggs came out of the female’s cloaca. It was upsetting to the other children because I was using big words they didn’t know and it was upsetting to the nun because I was teaching three year olds about sex. When I started talking about how the male enters the cloaca and stays there for as long as a day and how the female sea turtle tries to bite him because his claws hurt, well… they’re just lucky I didn’t have visual aids beyond those two plastic turtles because male sea turtle genitals are enormous and horrifying.
This all led to a conference with my parents where the principal explained that 1.) I wasn’t learning anything; 2.) that my boredom was actually diminishing my burgeoning social skills; 3.) and that I was introducing material that wasn’t grade appropriate to kids who didn’t understand. Really, it was the best thing for me- the principal thought that I’d be better off at the public school where they actually had resources beyond a singing nun with a guitar. So when it was time for kindergarten, that’s where I went.