Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kindy Kids


This post was originally published in Practical Parenting Magazine, December 2012. Reading over it, I am struck by how lucky we have been. This little community school we are blessed with has given Ivy a beautiful start to what I hope will be a lifelong love of learning.    

‘I done a fart!’ announced three-year old T-Bone at the dinner table last night. It’s the kind of sophisticated remark we trade over the sausages around here. ‘That’s not right, T-Bone,’ said 5-year-old Peanut, with the older-sister trademark of kindly condescension. ‘It’s actually called a Pass Wind.’

News to me.  But we have been learning a lot of things at dinner this year, because Peanut has started kindergarten.  There’s general information, like ‘Did you know Jesus Price had to wear a crown of bindies?’* but the gossip is fascinating too. ‘Jenny and Sarah got sent to the Planning Room at lunchtime,’ she’ll offer over the mashed potato. Keith and I try to act as if we’re not that interested. Actually, we are hanging on every word.‘They were in the toilet and Sarah tried to look and see what Jenny was doing in the toilet and then they accidentally banged heads and then they were so mad they pulled each other’s hair until they cried.’ E Channel, eat your heart out. It does not get more rock and roll than that.

I am relieved and thrilled with how school has turned out for my eldest child.  There were a lot of nerves before this kindy year began.  Not from Peanut. She was totally excited. I was the basket case. What if they don’t understand her? I worried. What is she doesn’t fit in? And the terrible fear of every parent: what if she is – gasp – BULLIED? I read books on home-schooling and consoled myself that in the event of a problem I would take her straight out of school and teach her myself.  I ignored the fact that I cannot multiply two-digit numbers and I hid my home-schooling ideas from Peanut who was wearing her little blue uniform for six months before kindy began.

I look back now, as my daughter has thrived and blossomed in the world of school, and I am grateful that I resisted that desire to keep her at home; an urge born from my own anxiety about letting my biggest baby flee the nest.  When Peanut trots through the school gate, she is part of a culture and a society that her family at home don’t know or understand.  Back around the table each night, she gets to share that new world with us, and she has grown and matured so beautifully with this experience.  

Yes, little Peanut, so far, is on top of this primary school life. Her mother, however, is taking a little longer to get it right. Twice now, Peanut has told a story that involves her sitting alone in the covered area at lunchtime while she bounces a ball or watches the others play. ‘Why were you sitting on your own there, darling?’ I ask, heart in my mouth. ‘Because you forgot my hat, Mum,’ she says. Oh, the shame.

Still, I’ve got a few years to sort myself out.  T-Bone starts pre-school next year, so by the time one-year old Pudding makes to kindy, I will be an old hand. I sometimes imagine those future times, when three kids are off living their independent lives, and bringing their experiences home to share around the table.  Dinner table conversation at our house may never be sophisticated. But as the first of my three little chicks starts to tread her own path, I can see that over the years, it will just get more and more interesting.  

* True confession: this quote belongs to my niece, who started school this year too. I stole it. I could not resist. Thanks Belle!

3 comments:

  1. I love this! And am sure I will soon relate to the finding it hard to let go xx

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  2. Thanks Elisa. Best of luck with the kindy year x

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  3. I'm forgetting more hats (and library books and sausage sizzle days and...) as we go along
    Thank goodness the eldest is starting to remind me of what I need for the smallest!!
    My baby starts kinder next week and I'm certainly not ready!

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Thanks for talking to me. I don't got cooties. Oh, except for when I got cooties.