Friday, May 23, 2008

Last day of school

This is Sophie on her very first day of kindergarten.

And here she is at her kindergarten graduation program.

(I tried to include a video, but after 3 hours of Blogger trying to upload it, I gave up. p.s. Am I not an excellent French braider?)

I can't believe how the time has gone by, and how much she's changed. It's uncanny what a different little girl she is now compared to 10 months ago.

Frankly, making the adjustment from being the mom of a toddler to the mom of a big kid has been a little rocky for me.

In a lot of ways, it's great--definitely less time consuming. I can take a shower without rushing and listening with bated breath for a crash/wail. I can say, "Get your jammies on and brush your teeth" and she can do it on her own. I don't have to monitor bath time. I drop her off at school, and she walks in by herself. She can pour cereal and put on shoes and put straws in juice boxes and wipe her ass and find her crayons and pick up her messes (in theory). There are a million and five things that she used to need me for. That now she doesn't. And I love that. And I hate it.

I hate that now I'm on the outside of so many things. I don' t know what she's thinking. I can't always sooth the hurts because they are much bigger boo-boos. Kids have started their nasty kid stuff. Calling one another names. Forming clubs that leave others out. Commenting on size and shape. The world has begun to open up in scary ways for her. She's beginning to see the ugliness and meanness. Two of her great grandmas have died--and so questions about death--questions that I do not know the answers to--pop up a lot. (Although she did inform me that as Great Grandma Tee-Tee has been dead for a year now, she is up in the third level of heaven with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus now. WTF??)

She watches and listens and so many of the things that freak me about about life, the universe, and everything are beginning to freak her out. I feel guilty about this. I've tried to keep my fears to myself, so I don't know if it's me, or just life.

This is a huge topic, and swims around in my brain constantly, and I'm not articulating it very well. So I guess I'll stop trying for now.

Comment whore wants to know...

If you're a parent, how are you making adjustments mentally as your child(ren) grow(s) older? And/or, if not, what's one thing you wish your parents had done differently in your early elementary years?


lonna said...

Don't get me started on my parents. Maybe they shouldn't have hit me so much and told that I was absolutely horrible, but that's my parental baggage. As Dermot is growing I am struggling with teaching him self control. It's the most important thing for kids going from toddlerhood to preschoolerhood to kindergartenhood, and we're doing a lousy job at my house. Dermot is getting self-sufficient in many of the ways that say Sophie already is, but he just can not follow a single direction, and it's getting worse not better. It scares the shit out of me that it's going to get even worse. I am struggling with understanding if my son is exceptionally horribly behaved or if all 4 year olds are miserable little shits. I don't have enough experience around other kids his age since we still don't have many friends around here, and most of my work colleagues are old, childless, or they have kids under 2. I hope that Dermot can grow up to be as in control of himself as Sophie seems to be. I remember when this blog started that you were talking about similar issues with Sophie and her strong will. I really hope that we see similar improvement at our house. Sophie looks great, BTW. Fantastic french braids and such poise and confidence. I really hope she can keep her sense of self and not let the other kids wear her down.

JJisafool said...

As hard and at-times-soul-threatening as it has been to stay at home with Liv and to send her to a co-op preschool, where I work in the classroom and know every child and every adult she interacts with, it has also been a blessing. I've been so invested in every part of her journey that the big transition for me is letting go, allowing her to have a life outside of me.

She started an additional preschool program at Seattle Children's Theatre in January, and that really opened my eyes. It is totally drop-off, even though I'm usually at work in the same building. I don't know many of the kids, and perhaps half of the other parents at all, only one well. CAST (Creative Arts for Small Thespians) is entirely her world.

And I struggle with it. It's great, positive, wonderful, but could easily bring tears were I to ponder it whilst in my cups.

I'm working a couple monkeycage shifts this week, and plan to write about this other way I've noticed it - books. Liv's reading chapter books on her own, like Junie B Jones and The Rainbow Fairies and the like. We've read some of those together, and are reading the Narnia series (currently on Dawn Treader) together, but we picked up a new fairy book last week and I realized the moment she had it in her hand that she wasn't going to be waiting for me, she was reading it herself, alone, buzz off. There are actually now books in the world Liv has read that I have not, she owns whole literary worlds now, without me as the guide.

I'm becoming obsolete.

JJisafool said...

Oh, and Lonna, I choose to believe all 4-year-olds are miserable little shits, at least until next Monday, when I will begin believing all 5-year-olds are miserable little shits.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we become obsolete as our children grow older. Our teens are going to want us to think that sometimes in the course of their search for their own identities, but they will actually want us and appreciate us MORE later.
Right now, in my ten year old daughter's Spoiled American Child mind set, I am actually an obstacle to her happiness. But I get out of bed on the hope that when she is making her own decisions out there, she'll think of me fondly before she chooses the opposite of what she thinks I'd want!!!

Stine said...

As a non-parent, I wish my parents would have been consistent. It was very hard in my early adult life to teach myself that I couldn't work it to get the things I wanted. In addition, I wish that they would have put aside some of their religious trappings and be a little more upfront and honest with me about sex, sexuality, and how those two things can really relate to anger.

Off to call my shrink.

Stine said...

PS - Sophie is a doll, and you are a KICK-ASS French braider.

reddirtgirl said...

I noticed and was impressed with the french braids before you even mentioned them. WOW!

I wish my parents had helped me identify something that I was good at and then just praised the crap out me for doing whatever that thing was. Or praised me up and down for ANYTHING. They were pretty good parents but I think I would have liked to feel like I was THE BOMB for them. I try to do this with my kids (and I yell at them a fair amount too). I think it helps them feel secure and confident (the praising, not the yelling. Although I think its important to be yelled at more than a few times, builds emotional callouses).
I saw an interview with Beyonce and her mom once (how this happened I don't know) and Beyonce said something about her mom always believing in her and being her biggest fan, etc. Anyway, something about that struck a chord with me. And it seems to have worked for Beyonce. It also seems that if you are the one telling your child the good stuff that they will come to you when they are down and need to hear it.

I also wish I had been given a few more lessons in the "You get what you work for" philosophy.