First Grade Underground

The first grade barter system has gotten more interesting in the last few days. Let me back up a step. Since the beginning of school, Justin and his friends from his class and on the bus have engaged in a thriving trade of trinkets, cards, and toys. Every day he comes home with something new he’s received from a friend. I know he gives stuff away too, but he usually doesn’t tell me. Once in a while he’s mentioned that he’s given his friends football cards, coins, McDonald’s toys, or little squishy characters, but other than that I don’t really delve into this network. It seems to be self-policing in that there is enough back and forth that no one feels shortchanged, and the items exchanged are always of nominal value.

First grade boy treasures.

First grade boy treasures.

This illicit market (and it is illicit because Justin very seriously explained to me how they have to sneak stuff to each other during class or his teacher will take it for “THE REST OF THE YEAR”) has picked up this week. Today he has a container of some “Mexican” candy. It’s some red powder pop rock-like substance that tastes like cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It’s truly awful, but he seems to have acquired a taste for it. And yesterday he produced a shell casing. He was quite proud of that.

“Mom, guess what this is? It’s from a pistol!”

I don’t really care that he has it, but I am confiscating it because I just found it in his backpack after I explicitly told him NOT to take it to school. I don’t need to risk any “zero tolerance” shit coming down to bite us in the ass.

He’s brought home baseball and hockey cards, candy, fancy rocks, Lego guys, a golf ball, erasers, a comic book, little action figures, Pokemon and other trading cards, gum, a rubber bracelet. It’s kind of funny. I think it’s pretty cute because the stuff he comes back with is ALL boy. It’s an interesting peek into the mind of a seven-year-old boy’s idea of “cool.”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2013


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