I can hear her little sing-song voice all through the house…
“Kindergarten here we come,
and we will have lots of fun.
Reading, writing, numbers too.
Kindergarten, we love you!”
I stop listening at “Kindergarten here we come.” The rest of the song is lost as my internal Momma voice screams “Noooo! Not my baby!”
The Young One is rehearsing for pre-school graduation. Actually, she has been practicing for over a year because technically she graduated last year when she was five. The Hubs and I, however, made the decision to wait…to *gasp* “hold her back”. We put off the inevitable, and now as a six-year-old, she will walk the commencement exercises of the Kids Academy Pre-K Class of 2013.
We thought one more year would better prepare her…another year to mature…another year to grow…another year for Momma to keep her baby close.
Some well-meaning friends warn us she’ll be bored in Kindergarten, and kids who are bored in school find ways to get into trouble. Others praise us for offering her a better chance to succeed as the oldest child in the class, and still other more sports-minded acquaintances pat the Hubs on the back and congratulate him on red-shirting his daughter in preparation for a bright athletic future.
With the Older One, we never considered not starting him in Kindergarten at five-years-old, even though with his early August birthday, we would have been more than justified. We were younger then, less financially secure, and weekly daycare expenses were a strain to the budget. We were ready to move to the next phase of child-rearing, and away he went. Just a week after that milestone birthday, I packed his lunch, helped him load his backpack, and put him on a bus to spend the day with strangers.
Flash forward 14 years, and I’m dreading August when I will send my daughter into that fanciful Kindergarten she sings about. What if she’s not smart enough? What if she can’t make friends? What if the teacher doesn’t like her…or me! What if I fail in my fashion sense and send her to school in last year’s early elementary school trends? What if her hair isn’t right? What if her shoes aren’t tied? What if she comes to the conclusion that the words in that song are all lies?
I’m either smarter or more paranoid than I was the last time, or maybe times have changed. Stranger danger is more ominous. Violence in schools is making headlines that have me wanting to hold onto both of my kids forever. Plus the Young One is a girl, and everyone knows they are just plain mean to each other in a way boys aren’t. Even though I’ve been here before, this is brand new territory.
Then again, maybe 19 years of parenting have altered the way I remember the prior Kindergarten experience. I love the Older One just as much as the Young One, and my fear for their well-being is equally strong. So I imagine I was most likely just as anxious last time as I am this time. I’m sending my beloved child into the big, bad world.
I suppose she’ll survive the trauma. The last kid did, and now he’s at the US Military Academy at West Point making friends and scoring A’s in physics and statistics and foreign languages I didn’t know existed back when he marched from pre-K to K. He is a Division I athlete and will one day soon be a leader in the greatest Army on the planet. I guess Kindergarten at five didn’t hurt him too much.
I think I’m going to start singing another song…
“Kindergarten here we come.
I hope you think it’s so much fun.
Momma’s crying, worrying too
Because she loves and cherishes you!”
If you’ve done the Kindergarten thing already, what are your best/worst memories? If you haven’t, what are you worried about? What are your thoughts on holding kids out of Kindergarten?
***I started this post in response to today’s Five Minute Friday prompt, “song”, but after I got started, I found I had more to say than could be written in five minutes flat. So, I broke the first rule and wrote for more than my allotted five minutes, but it was worth it. If you think you can get it all out in a measly five minutes, join us at Lisa-Jo Baker’s site every Friday where a great group of bloggers say a lot in just a few minutes.