Adjusting to Kindergarten

Everyone makes a big deal about little people starting Kindergarten; reporting for duty at the institution that will hold them hostage for thirteen years.

‘How’s he liking Kindergarten,’ they’ll ask, or ‘how has the adjustment been to Kindergarten for him?’ Nice things like that.

But no one asks the parents how THEY are doing with Kindergarten.

Kindergarten takes some getting used to, let’s just say. First of all, it’s every day..well, for most people, anyway. Every day is a rude awakening when you’re used to the ‘breaks’ provided by a  two or three days a week preschool schedule. A pill that has been equally hard to swallow for mother and son.

Gone is the freedom of only going to school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Or even the flexibility to skip preschool.

Now, on a Monday, as I’m hauling three kids to Kindergarten for drop-off, I’m saddened by the realization that I’ll be doing it again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Now, if I plan an outing in the morning it’s within the parameters of the Kindergarten schedule: ‘we have to be back before noon’ or ‘we’ll have to take his backpack and snack along so we can drop him off at school on the way back.’

And that’s just the time issue.

There’s the matter of other stuff too. Like ‘mail’. The kid brings home some sort of newsletter, form to fill out, or fundraiser to partake in almost every day. Now I actually have to remember to look in his ‘mail tube’, read whatever is in there, and respond appropriately. By the required date. So the teacher won’t think I’m a loser parent.

For example: parent teacher conferences. We got a note in the ‘mail tube’ that parent teacher conferences would be held on the 23rd and 24th. And, sign up for a fifteen minute face to face with Senora, would be done on-line. And the website for signing up would only be activated at 6am on September 17th.

Well it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people were going to set their alarms for 6am on September 17th to get the prized time slots. Which, I already learned at parent information night, are the morning slots…on the first day. So people can leave town immediately afterwards and do something fun.

So on the 16th, I literally went to bed with my laptop underneath the bed. And the sheet with directions and the URL sitting on top of it. (No small feat, considering I had to find the piece of yellow paper in the midst of the chaos.)

I figured chances were very good that I’d be awake at 6am to sign up for a coveted Thursday morning time slot. Not that we have plans of any sort to leave town and do something ‘fun’.

My brilliant plan was foiled. I was awake from 2.30am to 5.45am. Basically continuously. And the mere thought of trying to stay awake for another 15 minutes so I could get online right at 6, was unbearable. So I relinquished ‘the dream’ and went to sleep. Around 6.15, Jason got up with the boys and took the laptop with him so he could sign up for the conference.

By 6.45am, when he got online, all of the Thursday morning slots had been taken. We were ‘stuck’ with Friday at 9. For fifteen minutes [only], the email reminded us.

I guess we’d better formulate some questions so we can look prepared and interested. After all, I don’t want to sit there for fifteen minutes with awkward silences! But what to ask, really? Call me a loser parent with low expectations, but mostly I just hope he’s making a friend and not acting like a total insane kid in the classroom. The scholar can already count to five in Spanish and knows how to say ‘hola’.

Como se dice ‘genius’?

2 thoughts on “Adjusting to Kindergarten

  1. Just ask how she is enabling little man Tate to reach his potential. And then sit back for the rest of the 15-minute slot and listen.

  2. My conf. experience – the more seasoned teachers know what they want to tell you and have a routine set – certain papers and test scores to give to you in a certain order – parents are in and out – not much time for questions – and don’t interrupt their routine. I stay in touch w/ the teachers once a week or more if needed via email – they are very receptive to it and it has even eliminated the need for a few in-person conferences which means less vacation time that I have to use. I prefer the teacher who gives you a heads up early when an issue arises, rather than the teacher that saves the details of the issue until the conference and drops it on you like a bombshell. Lesson learned, no news from the teacher is not always good news. Always fun taking younger sibs to the older child’s conf. and waiting in the hall on the tiny chairs while the parents ahead of you go over their allotted 15 minutes. I forgot to turn a permission slip in last week – received a call at work from the very unhappy teacher who used a tone w/ me – just stamp “Loser Working Mom” on my head. 🙂


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