Monday, September 6, 2010

Kindergarten Jitters

Thing 1, the boy around here, has been, as the expression goes, "acting out." He may only be five and three-quarters, but he might as well be a teenager given the attitude he's suddenly acquired. There's been some "I hate you"'s to Late Blooming Mom and Dad, some "I'll never play with you again!" to his sister, and a lot of throwing small objects across the room. There's been defiance -- "I won't eat chicken for dinner again!" -- and attempts at negotiation -- "I'll put my toys away IF you let me watch TV." And there has been some kicking, though the victims have generally been the wall next to his bed, or the floor (sorry yet again, downstairs neighbors).

But there have also been some "I need a hug"s, and some teary, "I'm going to be shy" moments when Thing 1 confesses he is afraid to be in a kindergarten classroom without his sister, Thing 2.
Thing 2 has been his companion for three years of preschool. They share a room. They are playmates every morning, afternoon and into the evening. And I never forget they began as womb-mates.

So I ascribe the new attitude to kindergarten jitters. It probably hasn't helped that for weeks now, Late Blooming Dad and I have been on top of the kids every morning to get dressed faster, to finish breakfast quicker, to brush their teeth and put on their shoes already. We keep telling them that kindergarten is going to start at 8:05 a.m (really, Los Angeles Unified School District, what are you thinking with 8 a.m.? Santa Monica schools start at the civilized hour of 8:30; why can't LAUSD get with that program?). But they have no concept of how time really works, or why it's necessary to get to school on time.

Preschool began at nine a.m., and being late was never a big deal. So this new time is going to be a serious adjustment for all concerned in Late Blooming Mom's household. (Maybe we should've moved to Santa Monica JUST for the later start.)

We've moved bedtime back, so the kids are in their room and ready for books at 7:30, though still rarely asleep till a little after eight. They've been rising at about ten of seven each day. Yet I still don't see how we're ever going to make that new morning deadline. My colon's in a knot in anticipation, and school doesn't officially start till next Monday.

I must admit I haven't been on my best behavior either. Much like Thing 1, I'm liable to blow my stack with little provocation. And though I'm much better able to tolerate not getting exactly what I want, when I want it, I'm NOT that way at all when it comes to the kids. I want them to hop to it, chop chop, whatever I ask them to do, because NOW it's kindergarten, and somehow that just feels so ... serious.

Maybe it's all those articles in the mainstream media about how kindergarten is the new first grade or something.

I know I need to lighten up about the whole thing: we'll get to school when we get to school. And teary-eyed though I may be, I'll survive dropping Thing 1 and Thing 2 at their respective classrooms. No doubt they'll survive without each other from 8:05-1:40, making new friends, and fending for themselves. After all, they've been separated before: Late Blooming Dad and I have each taken one kid, one day per week, for the majority of Saturdays this past year. The boy managed Little Dribblers (soccer) and Little Base Runners (baseball) without his sister; the girl sailed through Pre-Ballet without her brother. So I know they can do it.

I'm just wistful about the whole separation thing. (Mind you, I've got friends who're sending their youngest of to college this fall, so I know this is small potatoes. But I still feel it.) And though Late Blooming Dad and I have tried hard to reassure the boy, I know he's got to handle this big change by himself, one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

In the meantime, maybe I can try to chill a bit the next time Thing 1 throws a toy across the room. I remember once writing, at a much younger age than I am now, but still an adult, that "growing up means learning how to deal with uncertainty." So as the boy struggles to learn this ... and begins to grow up, just a wee bit, as kindergarten commences ... I need to be there with fewer reprimands and more hugs. We've both got the jitters. We both need a little reassurance.

1 comment:

Karen said...

All will be okay. Trust me. :)