It is hard to believe that I am 10 days away from reaching the event I wished would come on so many tough occasions, yet dreaded equally as much and even more so on the good days. The first day of Kindergarten...also known as Kinde-pendance Day. This is the day I put my trust into the school system and wish with all of my might that they are worthy of that trust.
It's been 8 years since Eldest went to Kindergarten. I don't know why it didn't scare me as much - maybe because I was younger, I was working full time, and he had been in daycare due to my work schedule. He only knew a daily 9-5 routine with someone else. He was resilient and confident, and our time together in the morning and evening was absolutely precious. Middler and Youngest were fortunate to be home with me, and I with them this time around, so I am feeling mixed emotions. Most of the time, it's like a chokehold that has me around the neck, holding back tears of fear, excitement, & anxiety - you know the usual adrenaline fueled stuff that keeps you up at night. Then there are the days when they are fighting over a Lego piece, wrestling to the ground, pleading their case to me on why something isn't fair - and I'm ready for them to get back to the glorious routine of the school year.
I vividly remember my first day of Kindergarten. I wore a pink tshirt and shorts and had a small Snoopy backpack. Now my boys have these ridiculously oversized (go-figure) Batman and Superman backpacks equipped with a long flowy cape and pocket for that cape. (WHY didn't I think of that?) My first day of school was heartbreaking. I did NOT want to leave my mom and get on that bus. My OCD kicked in and I started to sweat and get teary at the bus stop. What if he doesn't know the way to the school? What if I'm late? What if he runs out of gas? Will my mom find me? Will he remember to drop me off at this bus stop at the time my mom is expecting me? How will my mom feel if I don't get off that bus because I got on the wrong one? Panic. Neurosis-fueled, irrational panic. At five years old. ( I think there is a pill for that now.) The bus driver, I remember distinctly. His name was Pete. He chose one child each day to come up and sit next to the control panel on his left -hand side to 'help' him drive. I never got picked for that. Today, I am certain, he'd be called a Pedophile, or worse. Bad choice - yes. That was 1978. Things were different then.
|My Kindergarten Photo. Rocking and Rolling the Garanimals like a damn boss.|
I arrived at the school. I went into my classroom. An overwhelming feeling of fear took over my body. My teacher, a 60-something-approaching-retirement-woman who had the patience of a 2 year old, quickly announced that we should find a center and not 'dilly dally'. What? How am I dilly-dallying I just got here! I shut down. I went to the nearest desk, put my head down, and cried. And cried. And cried. Until suddenly, I had what I thought might just be a friendly tap on the shoulder from a classmate. Tap Tap Tap.
I looked up with my big chestnut eyes, hopeful that someone was there to ask me to play.
This bright blue eyed, red-headed, freckle-spattered boy looked at me quizzically and asked, "why are you crying?"
I answered between the jerky-type breaths from whimpering, "I just want my mommy.."
He threw his head back and cackled as he pointed to me...'YOUR MOM'S NOT HERE..HA HA HA HA HA (SINGING THAT AWFUL TEASING TUNE THAT KINDERGARTNERS SPECIALIZE IN..)'
I immediately threw my head back down on my desk and cried some more until Mrs. W. came to console me. She didn't have much by way of nurturing kindness, but she did say I'd see my mom when school was done.
I did manage to survive school and so will Middler. He's tougher than I could've ever dreamed to be. He's a natural leader. He talks too much and doesn't listen enough - but Kindergarten is the great equalizer - so I know it will all even out by October 1st. Kindergartners don't suffer fools. They don't put up with nonsense. They are a jury of peers, ready to judge and sentence faster than any court case in the history of the US. They chew each other up, decide what doesn't agree with them, and quickly regurgitate the unwanted. There is no sink or swim on the playground - it is swim, swim, swim. Whether this is with a school of other fish, or by being a barnacle to others, latching on to someone safe, or by being an independent shark, it's all swimming skills. I have seen what Kindergarten can do to kids. There is no life lesson quite as harsh - or helpful quite like Kindergarten.
Let's take a look at the key players of a typical Kindergarten classroom:
1. The Jerk: Oh we all know this guy all too well don't we? The rules to every playground game change to suit him. You tag him, he says you tagged just his shirt not him, he never loses, ever...he can dish it but can't take it. See also: Bully, Your Future Housepainter, Zero.
|These 'annoying childhood friend' memes are so relatable..they crack me up. (www.quickmeme.com)|
2. The Tattler: This one cannot let anything slide. Absolutely no breaks are given. This one adheres to all classroom policies and rules and expects everyone else to 100% of the time. This is one of the most annoying class friends the teachers have to deal with. Total amount of yearly class time lost on Tattlers- 6 hours.
3. The Drama Queen: This one is used to being the boss of her family. She either gets her way, or everyone suffers from the high pitched, all out hysterical scream that comes from the pit of her diaphragm. You will learn to either tiptoe around her or steer clear of her. She will also be the one that gets a cell phone for Christmas at 5 years old, 3 American Girl dolls for her birthday, and a pony- just because. (See also: My Sweet 16 on MTV and Toddlers in Tiaras).
|Girls are always saying "sorry I'm saving this seat..or swing..or bench..or SOMETHING!" (pic from www.morguefile.com/picmonkeyDG)|
4. The Crybaby: I guess I could put myself in this category since I lost my shit the first day of Kindergarten. This little one is sensitive, has trouble with daily drop off, pines away for his/her mom, and dreams of playing in the comforts of his/her home. It will take time, but eventually the crying will subside in exchange for smiles and giggles.
5. The Nosepicker: This one. Ohhhh this one is a sore spot for me. This one has an affinity for the taste of mucus, long fingernails, earwax buildup, and an overall Ogre-like existence. He/she feigns washing hands at restroom break and infects the classroom with germs. He/she also likes to french kiss the water fountain, lap water up from the pool of water in the fountain when there is a clogged drain, and put his dirty fingers on the opening where the water comes out. He/she is a teachers' nightmare, and every parents' worst enemy. See also: Contagion, Lice Breakout, Strep Breakout, etc. Has guaranteed perfect attendance as he's Motrin'd up and sent to school with 103 fever.
|Actually, the case has been solved. All fingers point to the Nosepicker. Thanks, Buddy. (motifake/DG)|
6. The Town Crier: This little one has an embarrassing, personal tidbit from his/her family that parents would be mortified if they knew was shared. He/she likes to talk about inappropriate things such as finances, politics, religion, things they overheard parents say about other parents/teachers, etc. See also: Things Teachers know about Parents that they shouldn't and may or may not be used against them later in the year.
|True Story of a Town Crier. (someecards/DG)|
7. The Constant Interrupter/Disruptor: They simply cannot help themselves. They have an unrelated interjection for every occasion. In Math, if someone has 2 apples, and they pick 3 more, leaving them with 5 apples total, the Interrupter will feel the need to add that his mom makes delicious blueberry pie and lets him put his own whip cream on - this will cause classmates to feel the need to tell their story about their favorite dessert. Total amount of diverted class time per year due to the Interrupter - 4 school days.
8. The Shy One: The poor little thing. The painfully shy one in the corner that has trouble making eye contact, breaking out of their shell, speaking, participating...anything. This one is a secret stealth bomber in waiting. He/she will end up being President one day. Just leave them be....they'll come around.
9. The Independent/Defiant One: You have to tell this one 3 times to do something because he's/she's used to getting away with not doing it at home. They are always the one talking and touching others in line for recess, swinging their lunch box in the hallway, causing confusion and delay. If you are fortunate enough to only have one of these in class, you're doing well. This is the same student who will tell his/her parents of any wrongdoings or unjust punishments, causing a meeting with his/her parents and the Principal by Day 3.
|Most annoying thing that the Defiant one does to others while in line for break. "Teacher said not to touch you, and I'm not..." (picmonkey/google images)|
10. The Fidget: The fidget has ants in his pants...asks to use the restroom 5 x a day, needs a constant drink of water from the fountain, his pencil perpetually need sharpened - and visits the nurse at least 2 times a day. He misses any and all important goings on in the classroom, and has a two minute attention span.
Personally, I think Middler will be a combo of 2, 6, and 7 with a sprinkle of 8, but only time will tell. If you are getting ready to send your little one to Kindergarten, I am wishing you well and hoping that they have a wonderful first year of school.
Cheers to a great school career with as many wonderful memories their little hearts can hold! Happy Kinde-pendance Day!