My mom is going to kill me.
I kind of want to kill me.
Sam and Lily went off to their first day of school last week and I did not take a picture.
Sometimes I just kind of WANT to let these milestones in late slide by. Because time has sped up a bit, and if you don’t acknowledge it, you can just kind of pretend that everything is the same, and always will be. That this is not another school year, but just a continuation of the last school year.
Or maybe I just forgot.
In any case, I did not take a picture.
I did take a picture of Rory: the oldest child in the preschool’s kindergarten this year!
And one of Wyatt, oldest kindergartener in HIS class (that’s just a fluke, because he’s not at all an old K). He’s also convinced that means he will be the tallest, but I think he’s in for a surprise there.
It’s an easy year to pretend nothing is changing. Same schools for everyone. Great teachers who suit them all ’round (I hope). This year, knock on wood, we can enjoy how far we’ve come and be the big happy family we thought we’d be. And then Sam will go to middle school, and…well, let’s not borrow trouble here, people.
I love school. I loved school for me. (I would go back to school right this minute if I could…clear goals! gold stars! an endless array of possibilities!) But I love school for them even more.
Rory, for example, cannot count to twenty. Frankly she simply refuses to learn to count to twenty, the number fourteen being one she does not approve of. When we try to teach her to count to twenty, she weeps and dissolves into a puddle of grief, and I, guilt-stricken, am reminded of all of those times when I did not comfort her in her first months home when I was so freaked out about how hard it was for both of us to adjust. I embrace her. It’s ok! You’ll learn! Oh, poor sweetie!
Not surprisingly, this does not result in her learning. But her teacher–this woman will tie Rory to her little wooden chair and get out those little wooden Montessori counting whatevers and by God, she will teach Rory to count to twenty! If it kills her! If it kills them both! I love this woman. By the end of the year Rory will be doing every single academic thing she’s capable of, and I won’t have to Kumon her or coach her or do any of the things that really do not have to be my job. I can just love her. There was a time when she had a teacher who was much better at loving her than teaching her, and that was not such a good situation. But now we’ve got everything right. Plus, the teacher loves her, but in her own special you CAN remember the number fourteen! You WILL! kind of way.
Lily feels that her teacher has underestimated her reading ability. I’m not good at reading out loud! But this book is too easy for me! I do not want this easy book! I will not read this easy book!
Well, I say, read it and prove it to her. She just wants to be sure you understand.
NO I WON’T I WON’T READ IT I WON’T ITS DUMB I WON’T!
Ok, then tell her that.
Once again, this teacher can handle it. If she thinks Lily should read this book first, Lily will read this book first. (Sam had this teacher; she’s fantastic, and I have no doubt she’ll have Lily doing just what Lily should do.) And Lily will LIKE IT. And once again, she will save all of her worst explosions and tantrums and what not for me. See, nothing has changed!
And Sam’s teacher will fill his days with all kinds of things, and because Sam finds everything interesting, he will be constantly interested and will not be sitting in my kitchen saying things like “can I do an experiment with soda and baking soda and the coffee maker?”
And Wyatt’s teachers will love him and prod him gently forward, dealing capably with the fact that he’s well beyond kindergarden in his abilities but not in his personality, and every day he will shout “I hate school! I don’t want to go!” and then when I pick him up he will shout “NO! I am NOT READY TO GO HOME!” Wyatt does poorly with transitions. But for a blissful 7 hours a day (which really seems like rather a lot) that will be someone else’s problem.
I love school. I love teachers. I love feeling (even just for the moment) like all’s right with the world.