What I Learned in Kindergarten…..


As week 2 slows cautiously to a halt, I am ecstatic to have finished school day 9 before lunch.  I am still in awe (and more than a little suspicious) of those half-day kindergarten teachers’ ability to cover a multitude of critical material in under three hours.  With recess.  Most days for us run at least 5 hours.  (To be fair, there are many interruptions.)
            “This week in kindergarten I learned:” short ten minute breaks, conveniently coinciding with the dog’s bathroom needs,  allow for not only fresh air and vitamin D but a necessary energy boost after squirming in a chair for an hour.  I learned that I am NOT a kindergarten teacher.  I lack the patience required, though this detail is not a news flash.  I learned that my fiercely independent daughter is determined to write it all by herself – to hell with her less than proficient identification of lowercase letters.  This, I have to admire.  However, being her teacher, I have to also reel her back in to the State of Pennsylvania’s reality that she learn to identify them all.  This year.
            In her I have discovered an eagerness to write (just like her mama!), her frustration over what she doesn’t know (just like her mama!) and a very loud voice when things don’t suit her (hmmm… just like….???)  I’ve always said she is a fair blend of her father and me – many characteristics unfortunately the unsavory ones.  My own impatience melts away though, when I see her beautiful blue eyes meet mine for approval as she attempts the letters she’s still struggling with.
            My fourth grade son has finally decided he will give me a break, “at least until 5th grade,” and will remain in school, and I – after meeting his teacher at last week’s open house – couldn’t agree more.  I think she will be good for him, in her jovial dedication to these children after 37 years.  I admit I am not only excited for the curriculum this year but also grateful for such a large group of terrific teachers in our district.  Ava would be well-served here too.  The math wiz is just happy to have passed his second attempt at a timed facts test, so his self esteem is back up.  As parents I think we all struggle with that mysterious six hour block of the day our children are absent from us; this year I actually know where he is/what he’s doing throughout each day, thanks to a thoughtful copy of Ms. Snyder’s master class schedule.
            As for the dog, he has learned to lie down and behave during lessons but, like any intelligent living thing, he too likes to break loose on the weekends.  And that he did, from sunrise until sunset today.  He is, to his credit, “an awesome dog” as my friend says – he is so amazingly smart and so calm-submissive it’s difficult to stay mad at him for long.  He is still only a puppy, and prone to all those puppy-isms that get him in trouble, like gnawing on the wood trim halfway up the staircase (still don’t quite understand this) and wedging bones and balls in impossibly tight spaces and clawing the hell out of them to retrieve it.  The latter is a favorite game he is determined to engage me in, no matter what the cost.
            And so – I am so happy for Saturday, for my own neglected reading and writing, beautiful weather and…football.  Husband is over-the-top ecstatic over a whole former-football-player’s dream weekend of Penn State, the Eagles and a bucket of peel-and-eat shrimp.  I’ll be the one on the other end of the couch, one eye on the game and one in my new book, and a  bottle of Stella Artois in my free hand.

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