When I was pregnant with Natalie, I got a lot of advice…most of it useless but occasionally there was a nugget of wisdom. “Having children is like having your heart walking around”. It sounded cheesy at the time, but now it makes so much sense. Watching Natalie walk in to Kindergarten on Tuesday felt much like my heart ripping out of my chest and walking in to that school.
There’s no way to prepare yourself for that feeling. You are allowing veritable strangers to take care of something so precious, you have spent essentially every minute of their lives with them. If you don’t have kids, imagine that the car of your dreams is in your garage right now. You worked every day for 5 years straight to get this car. Now, drive that car to a garage you’ve only been to once before, park in a random spot, leave the keys in the car and walk away. Maybe they give you a ticket, maybe they don’t, but they “assure” you that your car will be fine. See you in 7 hours. It’s hard for me to let go of anything and there was honestly a split second where I felt like snatching her and running home. I’ve never been one for homeschooling, I like the social aspect of regular school and I also believe that most teachers are under appreciated. I’m pretty sure I’d be a terrible teacher too, I have zero patience. That said, I’d be super happy knowing that they were in my care, with me, until they go off to college. Or maybe I can homeschool college too? Of course I didn’t snatch her and run, but I wanted to. I sat in my car and cried, cried for the little girl she is, the baby she was and the amazing woman she’s growing up to be.
Incidentally, she loved it. Every second. Recess, learning, teachers, new friends…her world is getting bigger and mine seemed just a little bit smaller.
Remember that whole thing about me being worried about N going to Kindergarten? Nevermind…I take it back. I can’t get the girl there fast enough.
Now, it’s not because I’m not worried anymore, I am. In fact, I’m kind of petrified and excited all at the same time. It’s summer. Don’t get me wrong, we’re having a lot of fun this summer. The girls are close enough in age (19.5 months apart) where they play together well. They’re both pretty independent, so they don’t need me quite as much as they did last year. BUT DEAR LORD N DOES NOT STOP ASKING QUESTIONS!!
Example: I’m cutting up stuff for dinner and I cut my finger with the knife. There may or may not have been a swear. N (who is for some reason drawn to drama) runs in and says “MOM! What happened?” I respond with “I cut my finger”. Here is the rest of the exchange:
N: You cut your finger? (Q1)
N: Which finger? (Q2)
Me: the ring finger on my right hand (I show it to her)
N: It’s bleeding!
Me: Just a little bit
N: Just a little bit? (Q3)
Me: Yep, I don’t even need a band aid
N: (quiet for a second, staring at nothing – we call this her “processing” face. It means that more questions are coming so put your helmet on)
N: Does it hurt? (Q4)
Me: It stings a little, but not much
N: What does sting mean? (Q5)
Me: It means it hurts a little bit in a sharp way
N: What does sharp mean? (Q6)
Me: The opposite of dull
N: What does dull mean? (Q7)
Me: The opposite of sharp (as you might be able to tell – by now, I’m getting a little annoyed)
And this exchange continues for a few minutes. Within the span of maybe 5 minutes, N has asked me 10 questions or so. Now, you might think “what’s the big deal? Kids are curious and curiosity is good”. I agree. Her questions are great and usually, surprisingly insightful. It makes me happy that she wants to learn and questions what is going on around her. But imagine this: you’re at work and there is someone who is within 2 feet of you for 90% of your day. They ask questions. About anything and everything. For 14 hours. What I’m trying to say here is that it gets OLD. QUICKLY. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I’m not the most patient person in the best of circumstances, but these questions would test the patience of the Pope, I swear.
So now? Bring on Kindergarten. Sept 2nd can’t get here fast enough.<p>
This is the year where N will be going in to Kindergarten. For a few months earlier this year I was really worried about it, she’s my baby after all. Sending her out in to the world just seemed like such a big step, she’s only 5 for crying out loud. Eventually, I became more at peace about it, especially after talking with a friend who taught Kindergarten. Everything that she’ll learn, friends she’ll make, things she’ll experience. She’ll love it and will be a better person for it.
Last week the school sent us her supply list. And while that excitement about what she’ll be learning and experiencing was still there, doubt started to creep in. Is she ready? Will she be able to handle being gone all day? Of course, the biggest worry (for me anyway) – what will we do when/if she gets bullied or picked on?
All I can do is hope that we’ve made her confident enough to handle herself in those situations. She’s already asserting herself where usually she would just ignore things or laugh it off – she’s a very easygoing kid. At swim lessons, there’s an older girl who does everything she can to get everyone’s attention, much to the chagrin of her mom who, once the girl is dropped off with the instructor, buries her face in her phone until the very second our kids are released from lessons. Anyway, this girl has a tendency to splash the other kids, yell in their faces, etc. I’ve said something to the girl, the mom, the instructor etc but it continues so I decided to just re-iterate to Natalie that when it happens, it’s her job to tell the girl to stop. Yesterday, the girl was yelling in Natalie’s face and splashing her. Natalie looked at her and said, “please don’t splash me or yell at me, I don’t like it”. And you know what? The girls stopped! I almost did a cartwheel right there on the pool deck but somehow managed to restrain myself. Not only did Natalie stand up for herself, but she made the girl see that she was making someone uncomfortable…and she stopped!
So, while I’m still concerned about all of the obstacles N will be facing in school, I am once again excited for her to get started on her adventure!