Kindergarten Thoughts

(this is last year's "First Day of Preschool" picture)

With exactly one week until my oldest child heads off to Kindergarten, I've been thinking a lot about how I feel about this milestone. Here's what I've got so far:

*He is soooooo ready for kindergarten.
*He will be challenged (hopefully) in school and they'll know how to help this too-smart kid.
*Social interaction with his peer group that I don't have to organize or host.
*Structure to his day, which he needs. 
*All day Kindergarten means I have time to actually do something before he comes home.
*Not having to buckle three kids into the back seat of my Passat all day. 

*I will really miss him. 
*I'm not sure I've taught him everything he needs to know to fend for himself at school. What will I do if he gets picked on? Gut reaction: beat the other kid up. 
*I feel like I need more time with him before sending him off into the world of kids, school buses, and the things other kids might teach him (language, birds and bees misinformation, annoying habits, etc.)
*I'm now governed by the school calendar and can't go on vacation whenever I want (though in Kindergarten, I still might pull him for the mid-year Disney trip, we'll see). 
*This is the beginning of lots and lots and lots of years with kids in school and all that goes with it (PTA, fundraisers, teacher gifts, birthday celebrations, holiday celebrations, HOMEWORK, etc.). And I'm not sure I'm prepared to be the taxi cab for years to come. 
*I debate whether five really is old enough to go to school all day. At Kindergarten orientation, those kids sure looked really young, Palmer included.

So there are my thoughts. Not very conclusive, but that's how I feel.  I'm excited for him to go and yet I can't completely deny the motherly instinct to keep him home and protect him. But our job as parents isn't to shelter them from the world, it's to teach them how to thrive in any situation.

Random side note: Is it mean of me as a mom to say that if this was Portia starting Kindergarten, I'd send her off with a party and celebrate my freedom for the next 13 years?

A friend had a great idea to have a family theme for the school year. I'm leaning towards this idea because it might help us be a little more focused during the school year. I think I'm going to do something about trying new things or "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Any suggestions for less trite sayings?


Heather - said...

I had a lot of the same feelings last year when Matthew went to school. All of the sudden it hit me that I didn't use my five years at home with him wisely enough - was he really prepared to face everything?

That being said, kindergarten was awesome. Good luck!

Chantalle Bishop said...

Still laughing about the Portia comment.
We are going to wait till Zach turns 6...cause his bday is first week of Sept. So is Elizabeth's. So he will turn 6 the week after he starts, so in 3 years. This makes me feel a little better that hopefully he is more prepared for all the social aspects by then. Although other kids and their annoying things and misinformation already scare me, I can't imagine sending them off to be with other people all day yet. Also, Nie Nie had a theme for her girls when they went to school, I remember reading about it in previous school years. Maybe look through the archives to see what they are, but I love that idea.

Fowler family said...

Briawna, this post really tugged at my heart strings. I feel exactly the same way about Jimmy going off to school. I'm excited for him, and looking forward to having one less kid to buckle up in the car and run errands with during the day, but gosh, my heart aches thinking about how I really will miss him and wondering too if I've taught him everything he is supposed to know.

The comment about Portia makes me chuckle. Johnny too is at an age where he isn't always super helpful, and still throwing tantrums. Jimmy is at the age of being very helpful and he actually is starting to really mind and be easy to parent. So I'm going to miss having that little helper and having someone that gives me a little more mature interaction during the day. Johnny on the other hand, has a little more training to do ;)

thepalmierifamily said...

Is Portia 3? Because Aaron is and I might have similar feelings at the moment. I can't believe your baby is going to be gone all day. It's a preview for what I'll be going through in 2 years! Spero che vada tutto bene nella casa nuova e una citta` nuova. -Julie

Woodbury Fam said...

I can so relate to those feelings! When I sent Emma to school it was a glorius day. When I sent Ben I was so sad. But regardless of which child I always wonder, are they prepared to face the world without me by their side? It is scary to send them off for several hours outside your sphere of influence. And then they come home with that first question that makes you want to freak out, but you have to remain calm. I guess this is the way things have the be, but I kind of wish I could keep them close a little longer.

The Lindsays said...

I think every mom goes through the same thing sending kids off to school. I struggled a lot last year with Madi going to kindergarten and now with her going to 1st grade (all day) I feel like my time with her is going to be so limited now.

Also, I totally get the "beat the kid up" feelings. There's a neighbor that has been teasing Madi lately and I totally want to go "have a word with her"! McKay always says it's the "momma bear" coming out of me...ready to defend and protect my babies!!! If only we could always shield them from things that hurt?!

I LOVE your idea for the theme, "If at first you don't succeed..." I might steal it from you! I've been trying to decide on one for this year, but none have grabbed my attention. I better decide soon since school starts in just over a week?! We've also been considering, "Honor and Obey" since our kids seem to constantly ignore us, but I like yours better!

Good luck with school...Palmer will THRIVE and by the end of the year you'll be loving it too! :)