7 Ways Kindergarten Both Sucks & Rocks at the Same Damn TimeSelena Mills
The life of a toddler. What a crazy time. One of which I have no recollection, personally speaking. I mean, I know I was a toddler once, but I have no memories of that time. Do you? I find it fascinating to speak with people who have memories stemming that far back, but then again, I’ve blocked out huge chunks of my childhood, so.
I don’t have much to relate to, or reminisce about.
All I know is that this kindergarten thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or the amazing, stupendously wonderful thing that I thought it would be for both Wyndham and us. Indeed there are/were other parents who were not so naive as me, those who have been down this road before.
Which, to all of you – where were you before Wyndham started school? Why was I led to believe that full-time school for a 3 year old would be this earth-shattering, magnificent thing? Oh that’s right – it’s because I’m selfish. I was all excited about the daycare we wouldn’t be paying for. (Obviously that wasn’t all I was excited about, I was also excited about our little guy starting school, the new friends and experiences he’d make and have, the awesome teacher he was getting…I was excited about all of that too!) We’ve had our highs and lows these past two weeks. Which usually I can handle, but it’s the lows that Wyndham is embracing and exhibiting with particular fervor and gusto. In that, holy-hell-I-might-tear-my-eyeballs-out-and-move-into-a-bottle-of-amarone-tonight ways. In the very least bite/scream into my arm in the bathroom.
Such apocalyptic panache! Such agility! He really has perfected the art of the meltdown as though it were a performance art, I’ll give him that. You know I feel empathy for my darling, young, vamp toddler. I really do. I also feel sorry for myself. And his dad. And his sister watching in bug-eyed wonder (or, you know, joining him in his brilliance just for kicks).
It’s got to be hard. Like take your world and turn it upside down hard; him starting school. I honestly can’t imagine what must be going on inside of his exhausted little brain and heart. It must be complicated, that much is clear. It’s all I can do to keep my patience, support him and love on him instead of joining the mad meltdown jamboree. Really it is. (I am, after all, NOT THREE). Maybe I suck, maybe I’m just human, but man alive, the past couple of weeks really taught me yet another tough lesson in parenting. That is to say – while my partner and I have been doing little jigs about how smoothly things seemed to be going, we got the wake-up call…
Kindergarten happened. There has been some good too. Good as in I can see something resembling less clenched-up fear of how the day is going to go in the (*insert undeterminable, dramatic amount of time here*), distance. I can see that this is just a stage and it’s going to get better, almost kind of good. The past couple of days, I’ve noticed a difference. I’ve jumped through hoops and gotten into a better groove. Call me the routine ninja – ain’t no one gonna mess with our routine right now. Below are my current love-hate euphemisms on kindergarten. Talk to me in a month, perhaps things will be different.
Currently. 1 of 8
If you're there, you have my sympathies. If you're not - may you be forewarned!
Pro: Having An Earlier Start To My Work Day – Con: Getting Up & Out The Door 2 of 8
So we have to be out the door a good hour earlier now than we used to, which doesn't sound like a big deal and I certainly didn't think it was going to be, but yea. It's like moving heaven and earth to make that happen, because all of a sudden my toddler likes to sleep in. (As if I couldn't have been rewarded with that before school started!) The bright side? Once the actual kerfuffle is over and the kids are out the door, I can start my workday earlier. ZEN.
Pro: More Time With My Boy – Con: Shorter Work Days 3 of 8
A hard one. Try fitting an 8-hour workday into 6. It's not happening. I'm putting some time in most evenings after the kids go to bed, but the bonus is that we're spending more time with our son and not spending money on daycare. I think it's really important, especially this year, that he gets to come home straight from school and spend some quality time with either his dad or me. We're lucky to be in a place of privilege (as in working at night instead of chillaxin'?!?), to do so, since we both work from home.
Pro: Packing Lunches – Con: Packing Lunches 4 of 8
So there is a definite love/hate thing going on here. I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to cook, and finding ways to get my kids eating healthy elicits a strange sense of competitive joy in my soul that I just can't shake. So every day I make my kid a BOMB-ASS lunch and every day he's been coming home having barely touched it. His favorite foods. Awesome. It's no wonder he's turning into a puddle-of-hot-mess toddler as soon as he sets eyes on me at his school door come 3PM everyday!
Pro: My Secret Dream To Be on The PTA – Con: All of The Scheduling 5 of 8
SO MUCH PAPERWORK. So many forms to fill out, so many dates to add in the calendar. Gym days, hot lunch days, popcorn days, library days, show-and-tell, field-trips, picture days, holy hell. I've got to get my act together like, seriously...because we totally missed the Terry Fox run last week. EPIC MOM FAIL right there. Yet also, I secretly can't wait to volunteer with Wyndham's school to go on a field trip, to help out once a week at lunchtime (I've got to get in on that action somehow!) and join the PTA. You know I have grand ideas of starting a school garden. (Thanks Em.) Danger Bay.
Pro: It Gets Better? – Con: The Meltdowns 6 of 8
The only reprieve I have is the quiet state of ZEN that occurs after Wyndham finally walks through those school doors, except I can't shake the feeling of rocks jumbling around in my stomach, rolling up into my chest. The chest, the heart - oh, it feels heavy and clenched up in an anxious ball on the mornings where things went exceptionally craptastically. I have to fight the urge to play hooky with him all day.
Pro: Early Bedtime – Con: No Naps 7 of 8
There are NO NAPS in kindergarten. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but really there's not a designated naptime. Wyndham can have a nap if he's absolutely exhausted and beyond all reasoning. He can curl up on one of the bean- chairs in the reading area. Since he's one of the few youngest ones in his classroom because of when his birthday falls, the other kids are out of the napping stage. So the rest of the class is still doing their thing with the lights on. By the time I pick him up, he's molten lava. The kind that sparks and oozes and erupts and simmers and spats. The only benefit to this is that bedtime is 7PM.
The other night he in fact passed out at 6 PM talking some sort of smack about goldfish being an unhealthy snack compared to carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus. (We were talking about the importance of eating at least more than 3 bites of his lunch.) The little guy woke up SO HAPPY the next day. Lesson learned: what may seem like a ridiculously early bedtime to us…they need it and it makes a world of difference with their mood and coping skills. It is rather wonderful having more time in the evening to spend time with Trev AND fit in the work I need to catch up on.
Pro Thought: My Brainiac Is Getting Everything He Needs – Con Thought: Is It All Too Much, Too Soon? 8 of 8
I fluctuate between these two platforms. On the one hand, I wonder if it isn't all too much too soon. After all, this is the first year in Canada where full-time kindergarten is even a thing. Many of the other moms on the playground are wondering the same things and having the same woes. On the other hand, Wyndham is pretty advanced with reading and language (not bragging, it's just the way things are). He's reading at a grade 2 level and his teacher is AWESOME. We're so lucky in having her. He's already charmed the pants off of her and he's slowly starting to build friendships. The past couple of days, he has actually gotten bubbly when talking about school instead of freaking out about the mere mention of going. So that's something.
Ultimately I know he'd rather be with us. Thus, I have these far-fetched dreams of dropping everything and home-schooling him, (because, ultimately I'd rather be with him too somehow), but then I give my head a shake because we're not those people. Props to those who are and make it work, we're not conditioned that way. Honestly? I want a career. I also want my kids to feel safe, cherished, loved and nurtured all day, everyday, so. Pickle.
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