Everything I need to know about life I learned in Kindergarten… yesterday



In the haste of Monday Morning, we forgot my daughter’s sleeping bag for her Kindergarten rest time. Having the luxury of working close to her school, I ran it over at lunch time and decided to stay for a few minutes to see what life is like for her in her mini chairs eating the lunch we packed with the friend she always talks about.

One four year old sitting to my right started quizzing me immediately. “What’s your name? Where do you work? Why are you here? Are you the one that named her? Did you pick out her clothes today?” I answered some politely and ignored others to talk to my own daughter who was quietly eating and singing a song from their morning music class. My daughter’s teachers came over to tell me what a glorious job she’s doing.

The four year old didn’t stop.

And at this point I turned in to one myself thinking, “Hushit! I’m trying to listen to teachers brag about my daughter you little blabbermouth.”

I am SO mature.

Her teachers told me how great she is doing in reading and writing and the knack for language my daughter has. She’s creative! Expressive! Self Confident! And the only one in school that can speak Spanish with the correct accent and all the kids look up to her.

Both literally and figuratively since she IS the tallest one in Kindergarten.

The four year old continued, “Why are you here? Why don’t you look like her? Why is one eye bigger than the other one?”

I stopped trying to ignore her and looked right at her.

She almost gloated.

Kids are like dogs, they know our sensitivities. And the lunge for them.

“No, really, why is that eye bigger? What did you do?”

“I don’t know” I replied, honestly. “It’s my pirate eye. RRrrRRRRR

At this point her sister, sitting next to her, gets up and looks directly at me as she whispers something in her ear.

The four year old looks at me and says, “Whatever. You’re weird.”

And then I decided that little shit will never hang out with my daughter in my house.

It was at this time I realized how harsh school kids still are. My daughter’s sandwich is different because I make homemade bread. “Why is your sandwich ugly,” she asked. My daughter is tall and clumsy from her long body, one that girls will hate one day, but now can mock, “she’s too tall,” the four year old declared.

Little four year old bully.

My daughter is comfortable there. She is strong and confident and flourishing. Even though she doesn’t turn six until October, her teachers are confident she will do well starting first grade this fall. She is a leader, a gentle spirit, a love of many boys. She includes new children in to her play and creates art hourly with hearts and flowers of her family.

She’s well adjusted and happy.

I’m unsure now what to do.

Yesterday I learned two very conflicting lessons: On the one hand, my daughter is growing and excelling and “ready to move on” and on the other hand there are going to be twice or three times as many bullies when she enters first grade in a glass three times the size she’s in now, in the luxury of her private Kindergarten. I have the option to hold her back academically, giving her another year in this space she is excelling in, or I allow her to move on to continue to be pushed as she reads at a 2nd grade level and strives to challenge herself.

I realized I can’t comfort her against a bully. But her environment gives her the power to let it wash over her back.

I wish I had the same power. I wish I knew the answer of what the best choice for her is. I wish I could see the future to know if she would struggle too much with peer pressure in her teens being one of the younger students or if she’d grow too bored if I held her back and open her up to idle time and temptations to stray.

I wish I knew what to do. Either way we have to choose soon.

The future starts next week in registration.

What would you do?

Posted: 9/3/2010