Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At least one of us got a gold star today

Another special day, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

You slipped into the shower with me this morning, wanting your first kindergarten experience to be clean of preschool dirt, no doubt.

You dug through your dresser looking for the shirt a friend had given you because you'd decided to wear it to the big interview: kindergarten registration day.

You were sure the bright yellow hand-me-down was a "Kindegarten" shirt, since it was bequeathed to you by a kindergartener. But when you pointed to a word and I read it as "Preschool," you put it back and selected an alternate.

"I want to wear jeans, mama," you said to my surprise. "Big girls wear jeans," you explained.

But you didn't have any jeans; I'd long ago stopped buying them since you prefer soft, stretchy pants. You settled for a pair of purple corduroys with riveted pockets that were wadded up in the back of a lower drawer, one of last children's apparel purchases I made without your approval.

We were just about ready.

Your father had left the paperwork up to me. I'd collected the information - immunization records, birth certificate, registration forms, proof of residence - the previous night.

We were all excited.

You were going to be great. We all knew it. Lori even told you you'd be the best kid in the whole world, and everyone would see it.

Of course, when we arrived in the office and met the principal's assistant you were all hello and how-do-you-do ... "Will I meet my teacher today?"

When a woman came to get you and bring you to your screening, where you would play some games that would decide your future class placement, you never looked back. You are not so much brave as you are confident.

As you were reciting numbers and letters (and getting gold stars for showing the nice ladies with the clipboards how you could cut with scissors and catch a ball) we were getting sent to remedial parenting school in our minds, and likely the minds of the school's administrators.

I'd missed half of the forms that needed to be turned in, and had to quickly scribble them out as your dad tried to cover by cracking jokes and asking questions.

We look on sheepishly as the mother behind us received praise for getting all the forms filled out properly. Our shoulders slumped forward just a little bit more.

When we are brought together again, the three of us, to meet the principal, we became THOSE parents; the one's who are afraid you won't be seen for who you are; the ones who are afraid you will be molded into student who repeats information by rote. We have no idea what we don't know.

I admitted to the smiling woman behind the desk that we have no doubt that you are ready for school and that you will do well. We are not worried about your abilities at all. I tell her we are the ones who are scared. We are the one's who will have trouble fitting in.

She nods her head with something in her face that says she knows us better that we know ourselves.

With love, and promises to work on getting more gold stars,



Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this. We just did this with Caleb, and we are 'those parents' too. Annabel will be great, and so will you.


Anonymous said...

Actually, this made me cry, right here at my desk. Happy Kindergarten to you all.

Robin said...

Complete sweetness.
The purple courdoroys made me cry.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

What a big day! It sounds like Annabel is so excited! =) I'm sure she did well - and so did you two.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Annabel! I'm one of those parents too... now my son's daycare teacher won't just leave forms in the bag, she personally hands them to me, says the deadline and makes me repeat it, twice.

Amy said...

crying here too. I love the way you think and feel, Siobhan, and in turn how you write. Thank you for sharing this all so beautifully.

jessica said...

yep, crying here. this is beautiful. you are the best.

down side up & right side in said...

Lovely post. This has me snuggling a little deeper with my babe and wishing I could keep her on my hip forever.

Whirlwind said...

Aww what a great post. You'll do fine! When Einey started Kindergarten, I was the same way. I remember how comfortable she was at her screening and then again on her "first day" (in June to meet the teacher and spend a day with the kids she'd be with in the fall). She was upset to learn she'd need to wait the whole summer to go back. I remember I was the one who stood there holding back tears. As Binky- I was sooo nervous!

Now, my youngest starts kindergarten in the fall, so it's a whole new set of emotions.

Anonymous said...

I did not know one was tested on scissor skills before being accepted into our public school system???

When I was a young lad being able to tie ones own shoe lace was the hot skill to have...I clearly remember tying my own shoes and leaving for home as others stood in line waiting for our teacher to tie their shoes...I used the double loop method.

Later, Kcoz

gina murray said...

Such a big day for a special confident little girl - i've got tears in my eyes reading that and i'm sure we'll be "those parents" too when our time comes. Gx

Binky said...

Kindergarten! ARGH! It's sure to be a learning experience for all involved. Here's to the growing you and Jed will be doing right alongside Annabel.