Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kinder Report

Kindergarten sucks.

OK, it doesn’t SUCK-suck. But it’s an uncomfortable adjustment. We were in such a great groove—even through a summer of swimming lessons. All three kids went everywhere with me. I was like a Mama Hen with my chicks. And now Chiara goes to Chabot for kindergarten, a day that is too long for a five-year-old and not long enough for a mom who wants to write and go to yoga. The boys don’t want to go to daycare without their sister. They’re crabby when they wake up to find she’s gone already. Then on days when they stay home and we have to pick Chiara up from school, I have to wake them up from their naps and that makes them crabby, too.
These are small adjustments, I know. But they’re still irritating.

Chiara is doing well enough in school. Every day she “gets on blue” which is the teacher’s system of giving the kids’ feedback on their behavior. At the beginning of every day, all the students “start on green” and move up and down through the colors depending on whether they are little angels or little five-year-olds.

“You mean the kids get red cards?” my husband whispered during orientation. The color system made him think of soccer. It made me think of the Defcon colors. To Chiara, it was just a rainbow.

Last Tuesday Emerson “got on yellow” for putting a plastic triangle in his nose and pretending it was a booger.
Everyday Chiara gets bumped up to “blue.” This is partly because she is a well-behaved little girl who is fairly socially-advanced and has good self-control and partly because she is very competitive. She is fighting to get more stars than ANYONE. (I can’t keep track of the star system. It’s like credit card reward points for kindergartners.)

It’s been an adjustment—kindergarten. All this learning. Not so much playing. Last week Chiara burst into tears when we got in the car.

“I wanted Chenille to be my friend but she won’t talk to me. I think she’s decided that Mavis is her BFF. Mama, I don’t have any friends! I just play by myself and then I don’t feel like playing.”

I have to fight the feeling that I have to do something. Set her up with play dates. Talk to her about how it takes time to make friends.

I never tried to make friends in school. Since my dad was in the military, I always started at a new school in the middle of the school year and by then all the clumps of friends are already set. The teacher always pairs you with someone to show you the ropes, so you’ll have an instant friend. But even at six years old I knew what was going on—the teacher pairs you with the other loser in the class who doesn’t have any friends. She thinks she’s killing two birds with one stone. So now you have to shake the person who’s trailing you, stalking you, clinging to you and you STILL don’t have any friends.

Even now I don’t try to make friends with strangers. The other parents cordially introduce themselves or seem to know each other already. I just drop my kid off and leave. Not anxious to make new friends.
So I might not be the best person to give Chiara friend-advice.