Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Bigger Sandbox

Last week, Shorty was just beside herself over her assessment for kindergarten. It was last Thursday afternoon, but on Monday she was already using the word liberally, throwing it out at anybody who would listen. "Have you ever had an assessment?" She asked her thirteen year-old cousin. "I am going to my assessment today," she told grandma, and then her dad, "I will call you as soon as I'm done with my assessment." I, on the other hand, was apprehensive. After all, this was really my assessment, isn't it? Because Shorty didn't go to pre-school as I was home anyway. Naturally, I felt the need to fill up that little brain with information as much as I can. I put her in classes but had to decide which ones, how many, how often and which ones we could afford. Of course, I taught her the practical things she had to learn, but the most recent, and ones of which I'm very proud, are teaching her to read, write, count and do some very light math (because I suck at Math, but that's a dirty, little secret I will keep from her for as long as I can).

So there we were, Thursday morning, greeted by one of the teachers. She instructed me, very nicely, that I was to wait 'here', she gestured at the seats they had lined up for parents at the hallway, while she and Shorty went hand-in-hand into the classroom. I obliged, but as soon as they were out of sight, I dragged the chair just short of parking it in the doorway itself. Sitting in that too-little chair made me feel very large and incompetent, so I pretended to check my email as if I were a very busy mom with other things more important than laundry and dishes, and the kid inside that classroom.

I strained to hear the Q and A. It was punctuated by 'Excellent', and 'Good job!', and 'Beautiful handwriting. You practiced, didn't you?' I glowed and beamed in that hallway until I was invited in. Mama did good.

After a review of what they covered, and the very few things she missed (not sure why she always skips 'fifteen'), the teacher said proudly '"She is definitely, absolutely..." I held my breath, "ready for kindergarten." What? She's not going directly to first grade? Hey, you can't blame me. Every mom would love to hear their kid is brilliant. And maybe a little 'good job' for me. Then again, I was in first grade when I was her age, and look where that got me now. Neither coming up with new scientific theories, nor finding the answer to life (Sorry to disappoint, Mom).

Later that day, I asked a question, but wasn't begging for an answer. "What do I do while you're in school?"(Which is in five days, I might add.) Honestly, I've racked up quite a few ideas since I had to wake up for her 2 am feedings. Shorty replied "Awww. You can get a job that you really like, Mommy." She thought for a moment and said "You can be a scientist. That's fun, making experiments all day." She gave me a smile and a reassuring hug. She's ready for kindergarten. I'm not.