The Truth About Kindergarten: Mommy Won’t Be Driving The School Bus

At her kindergarten visit.

At her kindergarten visit.

Since she read the story “Kittengarten” in her High Five magazine last year, The Princess has been interested in kindergarten.  But she chose her words carefully. “That would be fun, but I’d miss you.”

How sweet.

But as the start of the school year drew closer it was increasingly obvious that she REALLY needed to go to school.  There was no question that this kid needed to have some time apart from her mommy, whether she thought she needed it or not.

Let’s be frank, mommy sure needed it.

Oddly enough, the “first” day of kindergarten here is a half hour long.  There are two shifts that parents can come in with their child and help them tour the school.  There were activities and stickers and muffins and orange juice.

I hated to break it to her that there would not ALWAYS be muffins.

Part of the visit included the kindergarteners getting to go all over the school to find where all of the different rooms would be located:  Music, PE, Art, etcetera.  The very last stop on the tour was a school bus out front of the school.  She was a bit put out with me that I would not drive her home in the bus.

This short little visit to school did nothing to convince her that I was not going to be at her school all day every day.  We even talked about it that night,  I’m pretty sure that she thought that I would be right across the hall or hiding in the closet.

(As a rule I don’t like to hang out in closets because I’m claustrophobic, but whatever…)

Her first “real” day of kindergarten she picked out her fancy purple sparkle dress  to wear and chose leftover veggie pasta to put in her pink thermos for lunch.  Such a contrast to her brother, who wanted to wear a superhero shirt and begged for hot lunch because he really wanted corn dogs.

The Princess was excited, but once it sunk in that mommy would not be getting on that bus with her (or driving the bus to school), she panicked. Luckily The Professor was quick on his feet-he was able to distract her, first with the “secret” passage by the school and then with stories of how much fun it was to ride the bus.  It worked I was really, really proud of that boy that morning!

Getting ready to get on the bus.

Getting ready to get on the bus.

Then the bus arrived and off they went.  I didn’t get any actual pictures of them getting on the bus like the 43 others moms with fancy cameras that didn’t have dead batteries.  And surprisingly I didn’t cry-probably because I got it all out of my system with my last post about kindergarten. 

It was a bit surreal spending the day by myself.  I can’t say that I did much.  I didn’t lay around in a bubble bath eating bon bons.  Instead I spent it fighting off a wannabe migraine and running errands.

And The Princess did just fine without me.  She came off the bus and ran to me with a great big smile, so excited about everything she’d done that day.  “Mommy, I learned that there is an invisible bucket and we all have one.  When people say mean things your bucket gets empty.  When people say nice things your bucket gets full.  And sometimes, when your bucket gets too full it EXPLODES!”

When asked hat she did in kindergarten she announced:
“We had nap time for just FIVE MINUTES!”
Me:  “Five minutes?  Why?”
“Because that’s how Mrs J wants it!”

Of course the first week of school one of her classmates had a birthday.  The Princess was so excited, because they got cupcakes!  She’s since been totally obsessed with the snack calendar.  Sometimes she comes downstairs from her room more than once to make sure that she knows who is bringing the next snack, and to make sure there are no changes.  I had to inform her, however, that the reason her friend brought so many cool things was because it was her birthday, and that we would not be supplying cupcakes until her birthday at the end of the school year.  Sorry Charlie, it’s fruit snacks or crackers for snack when we have to bring it.

She’s had a lot of fun planning for school.  She lays out her outfits and coordinating jewelry the night before.  The only issue she has really had was with the black mary janes I bought for her.  She doesn’t want to take them off, and they are supposed to wear tennis shoes for PE days.  She sadly informed me that bringing the athletic shoes to change into at PE time simply wasn’t an option because “Mrs J doesn’t want fancy shoes on PE day.”

Fortunately my daughter hasn’t forgotten me yet.  She’s still very much wanting me around.  As a matter of fact she begged me to join her for lunch every day.  I finally gave in and came for pizza the second week of school.  They have the very same pizza and chocolate milk that I enjoyed at school as a kid, except that they get to have chocolate milk every day.  We could only have chocolate milk on Fridays.  Kids these days have it so easy!

So kindergarten?  So far, so good.  And Mommy has had very little time to miss her little one-good timing with the new job!

Both kids on the first "real" day of school.

Both kids on the first “real” day of school.

Ready or Not Kindergarten, Here She Comes (And Mommy Tries Not To Cry)

Five years ago... and now she's ready for kindergarten.

Five years ago… and now she’s ready for kindergarten.

I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who lost it when their youngest went off into the great world of public education.  And yet here I am, bawling my eyes out at all hours of the night. And she hasn’t even started yet.

When my son started kindergarten it was a joyous occasion as well as a bit of a relief for us.  FINALLY he was going to be in an environment when he had to listen to someone else.  Maybe then he would finally have the challenge and the help that he needed.  And the best thing was that I was going to be right across the hall.  That backfired on me later, but at the beginning that was very nice to be near enough that he could see me.

He never worried, he did ask a lot of questions, but there was never any doubt that he was going and he barely looked back.  And the nightmare began shortly after that.

I have mixed emotions on The Princess starting kindergarten.  On one hand I know that she is more than ready.  But I’m also hearing things that I never heard from The Professor that are breaking my heart.

IMG_2175“You’ll be right there with me, right?  Right there in the room?”

“Mommy will you still remember me when I go to kindergarten?”

“Mommy I will miss you when I’m at school.”

We’ve had our moments, but she and I have always had a special bond.  When I went back to work after having her, it was short-lived.  I ended up taking a part-time job so we could share daycare between the two of us while Evil Genius was in school.  Even the year I worked full-time we never were very far apart.  So the idea of me not being right there is somewhat new to her.

As the time for school drew closer she asked for something simple.  She asked me for a picture of the two of us.  Two copies-one for her and one for me.  That way I will remember her while she’s at school and she can have my picture there in her backpack for reassurance.  While very sweet, she can’t take all the credit for that because she saw it on a tv show.

IMG_2308

The picture I had Evil Genius take of us at the fair for The Princess.

What’s breaking my heart right now is that I don’t know if I can deliver.  My printer is down, and I have spent quite a bit of time trying to get my computer to behave to get everything put back on it.  My printer, as you might recall, forgets who it is.  It also has been jamming up and eating paper and ink.  Unless I find a place here in town to print it out, she may not get to have her picture after all.

She’s always making up songs about how much she loves her mommy. How sweet is that?  I also have a pile of artwork that would put any artist to shame.  Every day she draws me pictures.  They are always the same scene, of the two of us standing together, holding a heart.  I have so many of these sweet pictures that I don’t know what to do with all of them.

Now this one is a little different.  We are wearing crowns.

Now this one is a little different, we’re not holding a heart but we are wearing crowns.  I guess I’m “fixing” her crown in this picture.

I just don’t get why she loves me so much.  She loves me, she really does.  Sometimes I wonder why.  I’m not a particularly good mom.  I try.  I always have good intentions.  I give an ample supply of hugs and kisses and let her sing her songs for me.  I just hope to continues to love me this much, even after she discovers all of the cookie-baking Pinterest moms who can take their kids to Disneyworld.

Tomorrow is not the actual start of Kindergarten.  Just a short amount of time where she can go in, meet her teacher, and see where everything is.  Then the real fun begins on Thursday.  Remember that this is the child that the pediatrician said that kindergarten would have a problem with her.  We’ll just have to see what comes of it.

Will I cry then?  Maybe not because I’m crying now.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

She calls it our house of love.

She calls it our house of love.  Indeed.

She Got “Rounded Up”

All ready to be "rounded up".

All ready to be “rounded up”.

Preparations began for the next school year these last couple of weeks.  One of these things was my son’s IEP meeting where we reviewed his education plan for the next year.  The other thing that took place was the long anticipated Kindergarten Roundup for The Princess.

One day back before Christmas I happened to be at the school and actually happened to remember to give them her information (a good parent probably would have done this a long time ago). At the end of February I got a letter in the mail about Kindergarten Roundup.  Then me being the fabulous Mom that I am I forgot to sign her up.  Luckily they know me all too well and were sure to call me and tell me which day and time they could fit us in.

This is a good thing.  She has been home with me for the most part this past year.  She’s bored, though she would never admit it.  She needs a challenge.  Mommy can only do so much to get her interested in learning.  Sometimes I feel like if I could jump into the TV she might be more interested in something besides playing Hello Kitty legos.

As it drew closer to the much anticipated day of Roundup, she experienced a whole range of emotions from excitement to total fear of what was going to take place.

First she was just bubbling over with excitement.  “I get to go to KINDERGARTEN in a couple of weeks!”  She thought she would get to start going immediately following the roundup, but I had to keep reminding her that this was only a day to go in and visit.

Later on in the same week she changed her mind and informed me.  “I don’t think I want to go to Kindergarten anymore, I just want to stay home with you.”
This surprised me.  “Why?”
“Because I would just miss you too much.”

Then a few days later she said “I guess Kindergarten would be fun.  I’ll go.”
Again I’m surprised.  “What made you change your mind?”
“Well you’ll be there too.  In my room, just like Preschool.”
“No honey, I won’t be in your room.  Most likely not even in your school.”
“OH.  Never mind.”

Then The Professor came bringing his artwork home from the Art Fair.  Since he’s on an IEP, we didn’t have his conference until the meeting and naturally I forgot all about the whole fair thing.
The Princess could not take her eyes off of the art.  “You have Art in school?” she asked curiously.
“Yes!”  He replied
“And you had it in KINDERGARTEN?”  She asked, excitement creeping into her voice.
“Uh-huh.” He answered.
Apparently that settled it.  She ran over to me all excited “Mommy, I want to go to Kindergarten and do ART!”
Just to be sure she’s still with the program we have displayed the artwork predominantly at the top of the stairs.

The Professor shows off his artwork.

The Professor shows off his artwork.

The day of the round up arrived and she was ready to go the second she bounced out of bed.  All I heard all morning.  “When are we going to Kindergarten?  Is it time for the round up?  When do I get to be rounded up?”

I really wonder if she thought it was going to be like cowboys rounding up cows or something.  It’s more like herding cats.  I know because I’ve done it.

She was also very put out that I had to brush her hair.  At this point she almost changed her mind about going.  Yes honey, when you get ready to go to school you have to have your hair brushed EVERY DAY!  Gee mom, say it ain’t so!

When we arrived at the school, she bounded in.  I think she was thinking that she would come to the door and they would announce her presence.  “PRE-SENT-ING her highness Princess Tantrum!”  Other little girls would appear and they would run off together and play in a pink castle.  No-she had to go with her mom, to the school library and WAIT.

This was where she got cold feet.  She found her nametag, let me put it on her dress and that was that.  She climbed on my lap and wrapped herself around me like a boa constrictor.  “I’m not going, I’m going to stay here with you.”

CRAP!  Where is a tea party set and willing playmates when I need it?

Luckily for me, the teacher that The Professor had in Kindergarten was helping with the round up.  I thought that was nice since she is retiring at the end of the school year.  While the principal was starting her spiel to the parents, she came in and started talking to The Princess. This calmed Princess Tantrum down, and when it was time to go down to the classrooms she practically skipped out with her.

An hour and a half later, I went down to retrieve her and was informed with a wink from The Professor’s former teacher that she was indeed ready.  Like there was any doubt.

And just in case there was, we got the letter in the mail that she will be a Kindergartener in the fall.  Sorry kid, there’s no turning back now.  I hope someone is going to warn the art teacher.

All rounded up.

All rounded up.