Monday, September 08, 2008

a rite of passage

Today was Lucy's first day of kindergarten. She'd been dreading it, but her school is well-schooled in overcoming the objections of five year-olds. An ice cream social held last week and two letters, one from the head of lower school and another from her teachers, did a lot to soften up her objections. Indeed, the ice cream social persuaded her so much that she put on her school uniform the day before school started and wore it all over town.

In the event, Lucy was shy but resolute, moving away from her doting mother when the time came to start class.

On the way to school, Iris took the same haranguing tone every feminist of my acquaintance takes: "Mom, now that Lucy is in kindergarten, aren't you going to get a job?"

I shared that with other stay-at-home mothers at the kindergarten parents' reception. "I WILL work again. I swear that one day I will once again become a capitalist and an earning, tax-paying member of society! I'm just not ready yet."

Another mother agreed. "I want to clean out my closets before I get a job."

But another frowned, who has been trying to return to the workplace for the last six months, and looked away.

In actuality I felt fortunate not to be employed, as Lucy's class will be attending from 8:30 to 11:30 only for the first week, while Iris is excused at 3:30 after today. Additionally this school starts later than the local public school district, adjourns earlier, and has longer, differently-scheduled vacations during the school year, so the "camps" for school-age children don't fit. Only homes containing a stay-at-home parent can handle those logistics without quailing. I frequently end up helping out the families where everyone works by taking a child for a day now and again.

I was displeased with the Sober Husband, who blew off Lucy's first day of kindergarten in favor of a meeting at work. "Can't you email everyone and tell them it's your daughter's first day of kindergarten?" I urged, but he didn't listen.

Afterward Lucy had little to say about her initiation into the ways of school.

"Did you like kindergarten? Was it good?"


The children fought so bitterly in the car on the way home that I became stressed out and upset. Later they pushed for ginger ale, which had been purchased against my wishes by the Sober Husband (I don't keep soda around the house, reserving it for special treats). I allowed them a ginger ale apiece only on the condition that they hug each other and attempt to be nice to each other (a welcome change from the prior throwing things at one another and such remarks as "I will hate Iris even after I am dead"). Lucy pretended to be an alcoholic hobo slugging her ginger ale, and Iris attempted to be kind to Lucy. "I like it when you are gone."


hokgardner said...

I wasn't able to get many details out of my new kindergartener during her first week of school. When I asked her questions, even very specific ones, I'd just get a shrug. But she's loosening up and we're getting more information. Unfortunately, she's missed two days of school this week due to illness.

thi said...

We were very fortunate to get "it was good" out of our kids on their first days.

The principal at the new school our kids are going to (rezoning this year) was offering advice for Kinder parents:

"Stop, Drop, and Roll"

... on out of there and not to linger. The kids cry when you stay (and cry while watching them). The kids do what the rest do if you split cleanly, follow the teacher.

That, and also they had a Cry Room for parents with coffee, OJ, muffins.

Sadly, I missed the first day of school this year for the first time for our kids - I had to work in Denver. I did get to see Obama at Invesco. But, still.

Amy said...

I was just kidding about the little brother.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Hok, I'm glad your daugher is liking kindergarten; sorry about the mistimed illness.

Thi, you gotta fill us in on your Obama moment.

Amy, no worries, I wasn't offended. It's funny that you were actually on point because I was campaigning to adopt a child. I know a woman who has adopted children from an African orphanage (I wrote about it here a long time ago), and I wanted to follow in her footsteps and add a third little child. The husband was opposed on the grounds that he wouldn't feel the same about a non-biological child (I'm rolling my eyes here, because the man is so good with little kids and bonds with them instantly, no matter the degree of DNA-similarity). I've dropped it after a financial setback.

Amy said...

OMG, okay, that's kind of scary.