Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Living with a Kindergarten-er

I didn't shed even the smallest tear when our #1 started Kindergarten last week.  Not one.  There...I said it.  I don't have it in me to be "that mom."  I can sympathize with those who do, but I'm not hiding it any more.  I don't have many of those prototypical mom emotions that seem to bedevil many a friend. 

I've never once gotten squeemish or sad when watching my kids get shots.  Nope.  Hand me those chubby thighs.  I'll hold 'em down, no problem.

All kids get fevers.  They'll get over them, and they often don't mean much of anything.  Suck it up, buttercup.

It's my baby's first day of school.  Those aren't tears of melancholy welling up; they're tears of anxiety that she's going to alienate her classmates by telling them how they're playing wrong.  I exaggerate.  But still...not much.  In fact, I wasn't there for either drop-off or pick-up on the first day, and it bothered me not a bit.  It's not like I won't be doing it the other 181 days of the school year.

It strikes me how big and grown up she seems when she's in my car as we drive to/from school, and she's chatting my ear off with every detail she can think of about her day ("We had recess two times today, once with everyone and once with just our class, but I don't like it as much when everyone is out there I really just like it when our class is alone and I only sit on the swings when everyone is out there because it's too crowded but I go down the slides too when it's just our class and I was on a swing beside Anna and Conner goes down the slides too...").  But then as soon as she melds into the mass of kids being disgorged from the school buses, she just seems so very tiny in frame and stature.
 But, she walks with a purpose and is learning that her space is just as valuable as anyone's.  She doesn't shrink back but presses on to her classroom, a place of enjoyment and interest for her.  She has a cubby there and a space to store some gym shoes.  She knows where her hook is and has some measure of comfort that she has her own supplies, which are hers and hers alone to use.  She delights in earning "pennies" for good deeds and "staying on green all day."  She is a part of a group, which is still something of a new concept for her, and we appreciate that she has the chance to learn in this manner of building relationships and working cooperatively.

Admittedly, my educator's mind keeps flashing forward to what this group of littles will be in 2027, their graduating year.  Which one will she be crushing on when she's sixteen?  Which one will be her stand mate in band class?  Which one will we roll our eyes about when they're best friends?  Which ones will fall by the wayside, either moving to a new school or simply moving on with their individual lives?

And how did this little sprout, so shy and wanting to hold back and observe before taking action or speaking to others,

turn into this verifiable kid, who seemed ready for the new challenge in all regards from day 1?

There wasn't a single part of this whole full-time Kindergarten show that I was at all looking forward to prior to last week.  The whole thing felt like a soul-sucking endeavor from beginning to end, 18 years later.  Seven days in, I'm tentatively going to pop my own mopey bubble and admit that there are a couple of things that are nice about it.  The kid-who-likes-me-best is a pretty sweet little nut to hang out with alone all day.  She's up for any errand, any time.  And we have the best conversations, though there is no break in them when big sis isn't around to take over. 

We're still not in love with a few things about this whole full-day Kindergarten with iPads scenario, but when the final bell rings each day, they've been good ones so far.  And that means I don't have to gnash my teeth about making the wrong choice for her...yet.   

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