Bug hasn’t had an easy time of it this school year. Starting kindergarten is hard enough. Having your new sister be born on the first day and your mommy be in the hospital for the whole first week of school makes it even harder.
We had fully expected that Budha would be born the beginning of October, not the end of August – and certainly not the first day of school. Bug dealt with things like a trooper, but it hasn’t been easy for him. He started off going full-days, but after the first month or so switched to 3 half-days a week at the teacher’s suggestion. I do my best to let him get a full night’s rest; and I know he sleeps well. Every night we pack his bag, make sure his uniform is ready, and snacks and/or lunch is ready. Yet every morning it’s a race to get him to school on time. Every morning I’m continually dragging him out of bed and threatening every type of punishment under the sun to have him get dressed and eat something. I do follow through on the punishments, but the need to get up and get going just doesn’t get through to him. But on days off, he’s the first one up and will even get dressed if there’s something he wants to do.
This week he started a new deterrent – “but Mommy, I’m sick. I can’t go to school.” Now I don’t know if this is starting all of a sudden because the rest of us have been sick with the creepy stomach crud that’s been going around, and he was feeling left out for not getting it. (He should be very thankful he didn’t get it.) Or if he’s just trying a new way to get to stay home. But as terrible as I felt (from the stomach crud), I did stick to my guns, made him get dressed each and every morning so far this week, and got him to school – only 5 minutes late one day.
When we got home from school yesterday, I put Budha down for a nap and sat down with Bug. I explained to him that Mommy was little once too, and had to go to school like him. And like him, I would tell Grandma that I didn’t feel good and couldn’t go to school. Bug asked “Why? Didn’t you like school?” I did like school. I had friends. I was a good student – A’s and B’s when I got older. I just didn’t want to go – even now I don’t really know the reason or remember it. When I asked Bug why he didn’t want to go to school, he told me it was because it wasn’t fun and they gave a lot of hard work to do.
I couldn’t very well argue with that. A lot of what I’ve been hearing in talking to other parents is that schools do expect a lot more out of kindergarteners now. He’s expected to begin to read by the end of the year and know at least one sound for each letter of the alphabet. He can count to 100 and beyond. He’s learning about addition and subtraction. He takes a computer class every week.
So I took a different approach, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a builder like Daddy. So I showed him ways that Daddy had to use math and reading in work. This didn’t work so well. He asked “Was Grandma mean and make you go to school, like you do with me?” I said, “Yes, she was. Grandma made me go to school all the time. But you know what?”
“I’m glad she did.”
“Because it helped make me smart. Mommy wouldn’t be able to work from home or help Daddy with his business, and do all the things on computers, and be able to teach you things if I didn’t go to school. Don’t you want to be able to teach your kids things?”
“That’s too far away, Mom.”
“Well, you need to start somewhere and you have a lot to learn.”
“You mean I still have to go to school for a long time.”
“Yes, dear, you do.”
“Well, I’m not going to college.”
“Well, we can discuss that later. Let’s do your homework.”