It's Kindergarten not brain surgery

Last week we attended Open House at the newest Kindergartener’s school. As she is my first child, this was my first Open House as a parent and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My husband clearly didn’t know what to expect either because he went in his typical wrinkled cargo shorts. Imagine his surprise when he noticed all the other fathers in slacks. Several were even wearing suits most likely leftover from the work day. Hello.

My daughter enjoyed showing us around her classroom pointing out where she sits and all her displayed work. I enjoyed the part where her teacher told us how intelligent she is and what a pleasure she is to have in class. She described her as focused, interested, observant and good at following directions. When she picked assigned seats for the kids before school started, she asked each kid's previous teacher to describe his or her personality. My daughter was described to her as, “An angel. So sweet and helpful.” She said she agrees completely. I’m pretty sure I’m ready to die and go to heaven now. I guess I should hold off though in case she goes on to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It would be a shame to miss that.

Not that I’ve been fretting about her doing okay in Kindergarten. Even though she’s a little young for Kindergarten by state age requirements, I never once thought she wasn’t ready. But my husband and I occasionally wonder whether our complete over bias as parents prevents us from really seeing our children clearly. Like when your child is a baby and she smiles and you think she is the cutest baby in existence and that there has never been a cuter moment in the history of time. Which is how you end up with so many photos of your kid. Because each moment just seems like the cutest ever and what kind of fool wouldn’t want to capture the single cutest moment in recorded human history.

So then you start to wonder if maybe your baby is really an ugly troll baby and you just love them so much you can’t see it. Like maybe all your friends and relatives are just agreeing the baby is cute to be nice to you. My husband and I have had that exact debate three or four times. We always conclude that our kids really are cute. Duh.

As they get older, we've discovered other idiotic topics to debate like whether or not our kid is really smart. You know. Like when the hag at one of the Kindergartens we looked at wanted to know if my kid was reading yet. Should she be? What exactly do you mean by reading? Maybe my kid’s way behind and I don’t realize it? Or maybe you’re just a hag over exaggerating about what your Kindergarteners can already do.

So anyway, it's good to know we're not insane. It's also good to know that her teachers take the time to notice her.

We also went to our two year old's preschool classroom while we were at the same open house. We got a kick out of his scribbles on the wall next to those of a classmate that was actually forming stick figures. No really, our kid took a black pencil and just scribbled everywhere and the other kid had actual stick people.

Because we are both certifiable wackos, my husband quickly utilized the birthday display on another wall to cross reference the stick figure kid’s name to figure out the stick figure kid’s age. He came back over to report to me that the stick figure kid was three months younger than our little scribbler. So then, just to make sure the entire world knows we're certifiable wackos, my husband and I laughingly pointed this out to his teacher. We're not worried about him. He's two. Scribbling is fine by us. We just found it entertaining that he's in class with Picasso.

As an example of why his teacher is able to make a living teaching small children and we are not, she immediately smiled at our son and said as sweet as can be “We all have different gifts.” The cult either prepped her with that answer or she’s just still trying to convince me that she's genuinely the nicest person ever. She went on to claim that our son had a stick figure coming along nicely but that she turned away for a second to help another kid and he got carried away scribbling everywhere over it. As "carried away" is currently the story of that kid's life, I suppose her story holds water.

Later that night in bed, my husband subjected me to a "maybe we should work on his coloring" discussion. I entertained the topic not because I think we need to work on his coloring but because, dude, my husband pays his dues. Last month, after the newest Kindergartener's teacher announced that they'd be assigning kids to reading groups in November based on reading level, I made my husband listen to me confess that my immediate reaction to the announcement was, "I hope she's in the top group." Okay. Fine. So maybe it was more like, "She better be in the top group." I know. It's hard to decide which is worse. Making someone else listen to you be the annoying super competitive parent or temporarily becoming the annoying super competitive parent.

I talked myself down from the competitive parent ledge by reminding myself that not everyone can be in the top group and that trying hard and doing your best is the most important thing. Then I stitched that on a pillow and sold it at craft fairs so I wouldn't forget. Because it’s Kindergarten not brain surgery. It’s sad when you have to remind yourself of that.


Anne said...

Do you have an extra pillow? We have all done this; I worried when all the other kids in my son's preschool class were drawing bodies on their people, while my son's just had one big head and feet. The reading group stuff would stress me out - are kids reading in Kindergarten when they start?

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jerseygirl89 said...

I need that pillow too. Even though I used to teach small children.

Paper Dolls for Boys said...

I just clicked on from Green Jello and so happy to have found you.

I really enjoy your writing style and your honesty. I can totally relate. We too have had similar debates in our house. Funny how we talk each other into it, "Nope. They really are the funniest kids ever."

Looking forward to checking out more of your blog!

Deanna said...

Keep reminding yourself of this simple fact: all the kids basically even out by grade 3. All of them! Let your sweet, smart, creative little ones enjoy school. Learning is supposed to be fun, not competitive. There is plenty of time for that later.

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