Category Archives: Kindergarten

The Sound of Silence

In August 1992, my parents dropped me off in Iowa City. It was my freshman year in college and once they were done getting me settled into my crowded, not fancy or decorated like the kids today, dorm room, it was time for them to leave. My mom, not usually a very emotional person, started crying.

I vividly remember thinking “Why is she crying, I’ll see them at Christmas.”

Yep.

This is how emotional of a person I am. Frankly, until I had kids, I made sport out of making my younger sister cry because I was that kind of big sister.  You know, the crying is for losers, kind of older sister.

#DoYouWantToBeFriends?

I think I remember thinking “why is she crying” so clearly because in my own totally self-centered teen way – I still could recognize that this was totally normal – for a parent to be upset about leaving their child – and so it stuck with me.

Are we laughing and snickering at me just yet?

So fast forward 22 years to this past Monday, on a street corner in Maryland, when my little baby, my youngest, boarded the bus for Kindergarten.

I didn’t just tear up, I was a snorting, sobbing, wretched mess. It was an ugly ugly cry.

Eventually I collected myself. Tuesday was better, yesterday was even better. But there is still a heaviness hanging around me as the clock nears 1pm and I’m used to picking her up from preschool.

I realize I have THREE MORE HOURS.

What?

THREE HOURS?!?!? MORE?!?!?

For the last several years, I’ve built my own social media business from my kitchen table. I’ve crammed, jammed and raced through work in between preschool pickup and drop off. I’ve cut through and tried to ignore the guilt that weighed down on me each afternoon when I had my precious afternoon time with my youngest, yet I still had work to do, and often relied on TV shows, snacks, movies and bribes to get through that time because for the working world, it was still business hours.

I felt the weight of “Should I put this computer down, she’s going to Kindergarten” pushing me down. Meanwhile on my other shoulder, my dad’s sage advice of “Don’t buy a ticket on that (guilt) bus” echoing through my ears.

I knew I was lucky that my business was growing to the point of no longer being part-time but I couldn’t very well say “Hey, could you put this project on hold until September 2014 when my baby starts Kindergarten?” At the same time, I also knew I couldn’t walk away from the projects because I deserved to have work that fulfilled me, I deserved to have work to challenge me when they go off to school, you know, I matter too. Even though my things were conflicting with my kids’ time.

Getting ready to board the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. My tears were flowing.

Getting ready to board the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. My tears were flowing.

And now here we are. She’s in a full day of school and I have almost a full day to get work done.

Even so, the passage of time and the cliche of how the days are long but the years are short, overwhelms me this week.

Turns out, these confusing, conflicting feelings that come with parenting, keep coming back. I am both deeply sad and almost lonely that she’s gone all day, my sweet little buddy, and at the same time, I relish the sound of silence through the house and the hours of uninterrupted time.

I think it’s safe to assume I will definitely be crying the big, ugly cry when it’s time to take her to college.

 

From Cliches…to Kindergarten….to Cribless…

For everyone with a rising Kindergartener, this post, now two years old, is for you. But wait – everyone else – it’s also for you.  Turns out, for me at least, shedding a few tears behind my sunglasses when they board that bus the first day didn’t end after Kindergarten, here we go again as she heads off to 2nd grade.

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“They grow up so fast!” – does it not seem that everyone preaches this to you when you are a bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, hormonal, chubby, cranky new mom?

What does that mean, I used to wonder. I would stare at my baby wrapped like a burrito and swear with each passing minute that I would never again sleep uninterrupted. I wouldn’t shower with ease. I wouldn’t know what an impromptu night out on the town would mean. I would be trapped by this small cute blob that basically always needed something but didn’t give much back.

“Oh, she’s so adorable. Enjoy it now! It doesn’t last…”

I know, I know, I would snark in my head thinking of cruel things to bark back at this well-intentioned stranger….I  know….they grow up so fast. They all do except  mine, who won’t sleep and really fusses at inconvenient times.

I hated that cliché. I hated it as much as I hated “Sleep when the baby sleeps”

You know why I hated that one? Because I TRIED but she didn’t sleep LONG ENOUGH….where could I get the kid who slept when mommy slept? Why didn’t someone put that one on the menu? Aren’t they supposed to obey and respect their mother’s wishes?

But then came Monday. When my sweet smiling baby went from this:

Will she really ever grow up?

to this:

I never agreed to this happening so fast

In the blink of an eye.

I swear it was like someone pressed the fast-forward button times 5 and there went my sweet girl, proudly wearing the fall 2011 kindergarten accessory, the pinned on name tag identifying her name, her teacher and the color of her bus. With barely a glance back, she boarded that school bus and was off.

I totally cried behind my sunglasses, cursing that stupid cliché for being as right as it is annoying.  And then what did I do? It was like I was out to torture myself on Monday. I should have just gotten out a knife and taken up cutting.

On Saturday, pre-over-hyped (though we did lose our power) Irene, we went out and purchased a full size bed for our 2.5 year-old. I noticed her in the crib last week and realized how ridiculous it was that she was still being imprisoned. So big girl bed delivery was scheduled for Tuesday.  So what made more sense than to head to Babies’R’Us on Monday and purchase a side rail for the big girl bed.

Does that make sense to you? If it does, then you probably haven’t been in that store in a few years, like I hadn’t.

Immediately after crossing the threshold, I was drowned and suffocated by sweet baby smell, small cute baby onesies, little tiny size N diapers, cute little Halloween costumes….and there I was to purchase something to render my  home cribless…..a mere 24 hours after my oldest started Kindergarten…..the extra small baby things were mocking me. They were cooing and giggling and smelling good….

Could I get pregnant just standing there, I wondered? How could I not realize that going from Kindergarten to Cribless in the same week is just too much for a gal to take? What will the nursery look like without the beaver-chewed up sides of the wooden crib anchoring the room?

How did this happen?

(Friends…don’t forget to “Like” Wired Momma on FB to keep up with my rants and raves…I usually am not so emotional!)

Sabotage: The Substitute Bus Driver

A friend emailed in this morning noting that they have a substitute bus driver and his two minute early arrival is making kids miss the bus. Ahh yes – sabotage in the form of the substitute bus driver. I know it well. Read on for an older post – but one about the delicate art form of the morning routine, my guess is you all can totally relate:

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One day in the late fall, the school bus pulled up to our stop about  90 seconds early. Behind the bus peeled up 3 cars and a bunch of kids none of us have seen before piled out and into the line of kids boarding the bus.

“You are early again today!” exclaimed one of the dads leading the caravan of cars tailing the bus. “You have to quit doing this to us!”

“Another parent said the same thing to me yesterday,” laughed the substitute bus driver in response.

“Every second counts” the father dead panned.

I’m always late. Always.

I was the parent who noted this to the substitute bus driver the day before.  Every minute counts. Especially in the morning. Clearly this new driver guy didn’t realize that none of us are kidding and we’re not amused. 8:06 means 8:06. Not 8:04:33.

A few years ago, I would have been puzzled over how a 90 second early bus arrival could send so many parents into orbit but no longer. Just this morning as I was still in my bathrobe and we were one minute out from the bus arriving, I was barking at my Kindergartener to stick her head out into the bitter cold morning air to make sure she couldn’t see the bus.

Kind of  like it’s no surprise that Christmas is December 25 every year, why does it surprise me that I need to have the kids properly dressed, lunches packed and out the door to the bus stop by 8:06am every day? It shouldn’t but it does, especially when my husband is on extended travel and I am flying solo for several consecutive weeks. Morning routines are especially difficult when you don’t have a partner to help with the flow, which really is an art form.

Partly to blame, in my view, is the propensity to daydream that afflicts elementary school aged children.  Case in point: this morning, as I’m horrified to realize it’s 7:52am and both girls are still in their PJs, I asked the older one to get herself dressed while I blow dry my hair, wisely delegating duties and using our time efficiently, I think to myself.  Naively, of course.

Somehow what she instead hears is “Slowly take a leisurely walk to the other room and glance around until something sparkly for your hair catches your eye or some useless watch set to the wrong time, beckons you, and try to affix that watch to your wrist. Don’t worry about getting dressed. It really isn’t important.”

I know. I should love the day dreaming, life soaking, happy-go-lucky view of a Kindergartener. I really should.

But sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes it is like nails on a chalkboard.

Like in the morning when I know there is yet another substitute bus driver who could pull up 16 seconds early and therefore wreak havoc on all of us as we come peeling out our doors and bolting down the street, barking at our kids to move faster.

One friend says she holds the gummy vitamins hostage each morning until her daughter gets herself dressed. I can see that might motivate my oldest one. And I’m sure barking orders at small children and holding vitamins hostage until they fulfill their assigned duties is what the experts would laude as amazing parenting.

But 2012 is the year of I am Awesome, right? And well, I’m not sure that always being late makes me awesome, but it certainly makes life intense.  In the meantime, how to get the children to focus in the morning….and to get the new bus drivers to appreciate that every second really does count. We live by the scheduled arrival time of that creaky old yellow bus.

Frankly, I’d prefer for it to be late. Or maybe I should start using a whistle and rule by intimidation?

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