My baby went to Kindergarten this year. Well, he was supposed to be my baby. Then I had the surprise of my life, and that’s why I still have one more ‘baby’ here with me.
For a long time we called them “the babies” just to simplify our lives. We’d be piling in the car and say, “Did you buckle the babies?” or heading to bed and say, “I’ll check on the babies.” At 13 months apart, they were truly one and the same, or so it seemed. And then this year we sent H off to Kindergarten and suddenly there was only one ‘baby’ left.
It’s been a strange and awkward year, which is not to say I haven’t enjoyed this time alone with my daughter. It’s just that I sense she is missing her other half; and also that she is counting down to next August when she can enter his realm once again. There’s just one problem: she may not be ready for Kindergarten.
My friend Kim has been very encouraging on this front and gave me the idea of holding a mini boot camp to prepare the illiterate little thing for the big step up. Hey, Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the play kitchen sets and blocks. Now these kids have to be reading at a 3rd grade level by Christmas or they send a note home not-so-gently suggesting you hire a tutor. (okay, slight exaggeration. slight.)
I’ve been putting off the chore of actually teaching her anything because, well, I hate teaching anyone to do anything. (just ask my 8 year old, who can’t tie his shoes yet). I did go to the huge effort of digging out the ABC fridge magnets from an old box in the garage. Sure, we’re missing a few letters, but as long as she knows most of the alphabet she’ll be fine, right? How many words actually start with the letter ‘P’ ? Then today I decided to get serious. I thought I’d start by seeing how far behind she really is; the preschool teacher could be wrong, couldn’t she? After several strained moments where she tried in vain to recognize basic shapes and numbers and I tried in vain not to scream in frustration, we called it a day.
I should clarify that I do not think my daughter is stupid. I think she’s lazy, a little bossy, obsessed with all things pink and any new technology; But not stupid. There are many skills needed to enter Kindergarten and as long as she gets points for being coordinated and can bring along an iPhone (if there’s an app for that, she’s got it covered), she will be just fine. In fact, I would wager that whether I conduct this boot camp or not, she will surprise us. She always has, right from the start.