Lulu started school a couple weeks ago (two weeks before labour day for some reason, because California is crazy like that). I feel like I blinked and poof, I have a school-aged child! She suddenly seems so grown up too! Here are the five lessons for kindergarten parents from the first two weeks of school:
1. You WILL tear up
Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I thought all those memes and videos of first time kindergarten moms crying at kindergarten drop offs didn’t apply to me. After all, Lulu’s been in various daycares and preschools and drop off programs since she was one. I’m used to dropping her off and picking her up at the end of the day. But no matter how prepared you think you are, something will catch you off guard and all those feelings will crash down on you.
The first day of school came and I was anxious thinking about all the things we’ll need to get done in the morning to get everyone out the door. Husband worked from home that day so he could be there to help with morning stuff and see Lulu off. We managed to get to school on time, yay us! We met some other kindergarten parents, saw the cute excited kindergarteners hanging their backpacks on the hooks, helped Lulu line up in front of her classroom door after a hug and a kiss. I wasn’t phased by any of it. But then as the line up of children began marching into the classroom I heard their teacher say “From this day on, once you enter this room you will be kindergartners!” and the emotional floodgates opened up.
2. Your school kid will fit a whole day’s worth of misbehaving into just a couple hours
You’d think that with your kid at school most of the day, you won’t have to deal with as many power struggles and negotiations. You’d be wrong. This is a tough lessons for kindergarten parents everywhere. I hope that it will settle down as we all get used to the new routine. As soon as my kid sees me walking into the school yard to pick her up, a switch is flipped inside of her and she turns from a well behaved angel to a menace who does the opposite of everything I say or just ignores me altogether. The sass and attitude I get have quadrupled. I miss her while she’s at school all day and it can be frustrating to feel like I need to be in battle mode for the few hours we do spend together.
3. You will be shocked and proud at how quickly they are learning
Attitude aside, I am so proud to get a glimpse of the person Lulu is becoming. I was worried that she’d be a shy, sensitive wallflower at school because she tends to keep to herself in larger groups. But I see her making friends and standing up for herself when need be. I see her including kids that don’t seem to have as many friends yet, leading the charge when it’s time to clean up, wanting to do well in class. That’s another important lesson for kindergarten parents to learn: don’t underestimate your child.
She’s also been learning so much so fast. She comes home with all these new ideas, new stories and knowledge. Even new words, big smart words and some not so nice words. One of my favourite thing about being a stay at home mom has been that generally, I knew where she gets her ideas, her words, her knowledge. Much of it from me, but even the other stuff I was usually privy to. But now I get surprised when she knows something I haven’t taught her or says something we don’t say at home. She is spending her time with many more people than ever before and now they are helping shape where she gets her information and who she will be as a person. It can be a little unnerving.
She’s recently taken to saying that her sister is “cray cray” and it cracks me up every time.
4. You’ll feel like an outsider in your child’s life
Or a big part of their life anyway. It’s weird to not know what your child has been up to all day long. We only get the bits and pieces that they are willing to share. Somehow in daycare it wasn’t as much of a mystery, especially in a home daycare. It was small with only a handful of the same people every day doing the same things. But now at school she has a whole big world that I’m not really a part of. New activities and rules that she’s discovering without me. Playing with kids that I am unfamiliar with. Friends and teachers that she already admires. She loves her teacher, and loves going to school and I am really glad for that. But I do miss being the one in charge of her whole life. Even though that does mean more free time for me.
Check out this Ed Sheeran video from Sesame Street about kids living in two worlds.
5. It isn’t as much free time as you think
When your kid starts going to school, it seems like they will be gone for so long every day. Many moms think “what will I do with all this free time?!” But turns out it isn’t as much free time as you think and school pickup will be here before you know it. Between dropping the kids off in their various schools and daycares, cleaning up after the morning whirlwind and finally getting some breakfast for yourself, half your morning’s gone. Add chore or an errand and you’ll be wondering where your day went.
Of course, it’s still much more free time than none. You’ll find ways to enjoy it. It’s definitely nice to sit down in a quiet home with a hot cup of coffee and actually drink it while it’s still hot.
These are just my first lessons from two weeks of kindergarten. I am sure that there will be many more lessons for all of us in the coming weeks and months (and years) as we adjust to having school kids. We are still figuring out our morning routines, fitting in breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
More kindergarten adventures? Read all about my kinder getting new glasses!
How about you? What surprising lessons did you learn when your kids started school?
Don’t forget to check out this related post about sending my toddler to daycare.