Kindergarten. I see this word, I write this word, I read this word and I am not fully grasping it’s meaning. The day is sure to come when all the sobs come flooding out, and all the years of being a non-grader flash before my eyes. And trust that I’ll do my best to grab hold of them all, dig my chipping nails in deep, and shove them down into the genie bottle for eternal storage.
But for today when I think about prepping for Kindergarten, I experience zero of the feelings, thoughts or emotions that other parents in my situation seem to be facing. I don’t know what that means exactly. What I do know is that in a few weeks from now, our son will be enrolled in school, and our lives will be ruled by an alarm clock and a school bell for the foreseeable future.
My husband and I made the decision not to ‘red shirt’ our son. He will be 5 at the end of August, but he showed signs of interest in going to school — and we wanted to act on that. Also, if he began to fall behind, there was always next year, right?
Well, now as the time to set his sails to sea grows nearer, I am battling with our initial decision. And this is really only for selfish reasons. We know he’s ready, and he’ll be just fine finding his way down the new hallways, but I didn’t stop to think whether or not the family (i.e. this lady) was ready. There is just so much unknown. The ‘control hold’ is being disbanded. The time available with our tot is being (drastically) shortened. And the new things he’ll learn will be taught by other adults. (With that being said, a HUGE thank you to the teachers that work SO hard to make sure our children are thriving. It’s a job that is massively under-appreciated, and something I would never have the patience to attempt.)
So here’s why this mama isn’t ready to say, ‘Hasta Luego!’ just yet. I mean, we almost missed Kinder Round-up because, well, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Essentially it’s a pre-registration meet and greet that you attend with your new student. They (and you) get to meet some of the Kindergarten teachers, see the school and be given forms that need filling out. More often than not the school’s marquee will notify you about the dates for this event. That just means you need to drive-by the school more often during the summer months and pay attention to the changing announcements. And if you miss Kinder Round-up, it’ll all be ok. At some point you’ll need to submit proof of residency, doctor’s forms and your child’s birth certificate to the main office, but you can likely schedule a tour for another day, and fill out the paperwork online (Says the Mom who has never sent a kid to school).
Then let’s talk about how unlikely it’ll be that your child will be entering Kindergarten with someone you or he/she knows. That’s comforting…not. at. all. Sure, there are neighborhood kids and children that have already friended your child, but it’s rare that they’ll end up in the same classroom either way. o, if I make an effort beforehand and meet some of the parents and kiddos entering our school with my son, it’s likely that when my son comes home talking about how ‘friend’ showed him how to dissect his green bean, I’ll know exactly how that dissection went down and act accordingly.
So what did I do? I started a Facebook group for the parents of incoming Kindergartners at our school. We haven’t had a meetup yet, but it’s a start. This also helped with getting notified about important events (like the actual first day of school which I was <gasp> wrong about) and the ever-changing school supply list.
Then there is attending school and the start of school. One day I overheard a parent say how their child is at school early, in their classroom, and working on things most mornings before the first bell rings. And apparently this isn’t just his child, but the norm for the entire student population. Excuse me, but did you say your child is at school before actual school? And not only are they there, they are working on something school-related? Now I just need to inquire about sleeping in the classroom, add ‘cot’ to the supply list, and ask if any janitorial personal have experience with bedtime routines.
And since we’re on the topic of sleep, I also understand there will be no more naps. There is not even a quiet time?! So you’re telling me that I have to wake my 5-year-old child when the sun comes up, you get to spend the majority of the happy portion of the day with him and then return him right as he is slip-slidding into a major state of sleep deprivation and attitude? That, too, sounds appealing.
Another super difficult part of my letting go involves the unsettling of our current schedules. For me, this includes the use of a single stroller once again. Our son was the reason Trotting with Tots started, and now he won’t even be there to experience the runs and the playground fun. And then I’m going to get so accustomed to pushing the single that I won’t have any desire to push a double in the super stifling summer months. #Iknowitsoundsridiculous #butitsmyoverheatedreality
And then of course, there are the personality concerns. How will I know that he’s being a nice kid, and he’s not that kid? Will he say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when he should to show that he really is appreciative and that your act of kindness did not go unnoticed? Will he ask for help when he needs it or will he shy away and miss an educational moment? And clearly, most important of all, will he wipe his butt efficiently? The itching. Bleh.
So, yeah, Kindergarten. We are both eager and resistant to see what lies ahead, what fascinating things he will learn, what friendships will be built and of course how much artwork can fit on any one given wall.