Bugsy Goes to School

All this week, Hadley’s been recognized by her class as the “star of the week.” Every kid in the class gets a five-day run — bringing special snacks, sharing photos from home and talking about themselves. It’s a week of extra attention.

When I was in elementary school, birthday cupcakes were the extent of any special treatment. But this past year we’ve encountered the “star of the week” phenomena in both public and private school. 
Early in the week, I helped Hadley with her poster, and packed pudding snacks for her classmates. That took us up to Wednesday — the mid-point which involves a class activity, orchestrated by the star’s parent. Something like a craft project or a tea party or games.
That’s how Bugsy came to school. The pony was Hadley’s activity. 
It took a bit of effort — bathing him, brushing him, loading him on the trailer — but at school, Bugsy did all the work. Just by being himself.
I knew he’d be swarmed by kids who knew nothing about horse handling. There’d be screaming children who’d run up and pounce on him, who’d stick their sneakered feet right in his path. But kids have always been his specialty. His preferred audience. And at school he looked content, loitering by the playground and dutifully following kids who wanted to walk him on his “leash.”
Bugsy didn’t bat an eye when a pack of gleeful middle schoolers rushed forward, practically swallowing him up. Even I suffered a moment of claustrophobia but Bugsy just stood there, snuffling around for possible treats. (During his visit he lightened up several lunch bags. Many kids disposed of apples, fruit snacks and granola bars via Bugsy.)
Overall, Hadley was thrilled to share her pony. I was relieved that I didn’t have to host a tea party. The only losers on this day: the parents whose kids will be pestering them for a Bugsy.