Yo Mama: Ready for school, the second time around

Written by on April 13, 2012 in Fort Mill, SC, Yo' Mama - 10 Comments

I love school. I love it so much I spent six extra years with it. I went into mounds of debt to pay for it, and still think of seasons as semesters and summer sessions.

I love school because I know exactly what to expect from it. It is a system that is easy to work within, once you know the rules.

So when I took my five-year-old to register for kindergarten, I was as excited as he was. Possibly even more so.

I wanted to skip and kick up my heels as we walked into the school, but  to teach my child appropriate school behavior, I walked in normally with excitement teeming from my pores.

Some other prospective kindergarteners were not as excited. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth from one end of the room, refusal to cooperate with a hearing screening from another. Wide eyes and nervous jitters from abounded. Fears abated when familiar faces of preschool friends appeared.

Wiggly bodies fought to control themselves while parents completed a stack of paperwork. Writing my son’s name instead of mine on the “Student Name” line seemed like a trick question, but I caught it and aced that section. The essay question at the end posed more of a challenge, as it asked if there is a way my child learns best and if I have any specific concerns.

Was answering that I want someone to love him like I do (not too much — he’s still mine) but be better at teaching him math so he won’t struggle like I did asking too much?

How about suggesting that he be praised for creativity and imagination instead of only worrying about  test scores? What about requesting that he be protected from bullies and kids toting guns to school and burnt out teachers  – was that over the line?

As my boy was led off to his assessment, nervousness caught in my throat. Would they see how smart and adorable and sweet he is? Would he remember his phone number that I taught him by singing it to the tune of “Happy Birthday”? What about the obscure body parts we named because friends with older children told me some of those questions stumped their kids?

With my heart beating loudly in my ears minutes later, I shook the tiny, soft hand of the impossibly young teacher who assessed my precious baby boy who was also just born the other day.

Because she is obviously a child genius and mature for her age, she recognized his superior intellect and appreciated his bouncy boyish nature. She assuaged all of my fears that he somehow had not been prepared enough to enter the labyrinthine system that is public school.

My baby is going to kindergarten in August. He’s ready — and so am I.

This piece was originally published in the April 11, 2012 edition of the Fort Mill Times

10 Comments on "Yo Mama: Ready for school, the second time around"

  1. Elizabeth Horsley April 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm · Reply

    I loved this. It brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe our little babies are going to Kindergarten! It seems like yesterday we were propping them up on the sides of the same chair to take a picture of them. They are both going to do great ( and we will too)!

    • Tricia April 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm · Reply

      Thanks, E. xoxo

  2. Jennifer Pedersen April 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm · Reply

    Lump. In. Mah throat.

    • Tricia April 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm · Reply

      I kept thinking I would cry when we were there, but I was just so excited…I did get a little teary when I wrote it, though.

  3. Leslie April 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm · Reply

    Wait-they do an assessment? We better get to singing that birthday song with our new phone number and move to a street with consonants and vowels in the right places. I can’t believe this is the beginning of school life for our boys (and us again). I’ll just hope they have as much fun there as we did and meet awesome friends they will keep into adulthood! I think I just threw up.

    • Tricia April 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm · Reply

      Leslie, it is an assessment to make sure they have the basics down like colors, letters and numbers, and to make sure they are physically and emotionally ready. Nothing too in-depth.

      It does produce some anxiety for me, though. This is just the first of many steps of letting them go.

  4. Kim Engel-Hughes April 16, 2012 at 12:49 am · Reply

    I felt the same way you did when Elly went to kindergarten! I’m afraid Everett is going to look straigt at the teacher and refuse to answer. Perhaps he’ll scrunch up his nose, shake his head, cross his arms, or simply kick her leg hard under the table. : ) At least we have another year of preschool! Go, FOO!

    • Tricia April 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm · Reply

      These kids never cease to amaze me with their reactions to things. I’m sure E will do great!

  5. Andrea April 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm · Reply

    This brought a tear to my eye..FOO is getting so old and so is Henry. I’m not ready to let go, so thank goodness I have one more year.

    • Tricia April 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm · Reply

      I can’t believe how grown up these little guys are getting. Thanks for commenting, Dre!

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