Kindergarten is an incredible milestone. In our state, it isn’t mandatory, but given that my kid just missed the “birthday deadline” by 16 days the year before, I knew she was ready to head off to school. Plus, there’s nothing quite like Kindergarten-it’s that magical time in between “real” school and preschool, and she was super jazzed to do stuff like pick out a backpack and ride the bus.
I was expecting all of her feelings on the subject; excitement tinged with a little nervousness all wrapped up in a little ball of wonderment. I don’t think she slept at all the entire week leading up to the first day. What I didn’t expect was what I would feel. You just can’t fully understand what it’s like to send a kid to kindergarten until you’re doing it yourself.
1. Saying Goodbye
The first day is a Very Big Deal, and you will experience a torrent of emotional highs and lows that begin with waking up at the asscrack of dawn and culminates sometime around 11 AM, when you get the phone call that informs you that you forgot your child’s lunch on the kitchen counter. This will not go away all year.
2. You Already Owe Money
Your child will come home from the first day of school with a nifty little packet that will detail the fall fundraising schedule, the fee schedule for class pictures, an additional list of supplies for the classroom, a bunch of crap the PTA wants you to buy, and a handy form that will help you garnish a portion of your wages directly to the entire total.
It’s due tomorrow.
Nothing sucks more than watching your child’s face fall when the project they worked so hard on has been one-upped by something that’s clearly been put together by an adult with a serious perfectionism complex and an enormous Michael’s frequent shopper credit.
5. When Did Children Get So Big?
The first time you end up walking through the hallways of your child’s school, you will likely notice that fifth graders these days are enormous mutant versions of the fifth graders you remember.
6. Backpack Of Doom
The pristine, adorable backpack that your child picked out will quickly become a pit of unspeakable horrors. There will be multiple unidentifiable objects affixed to a pile of overdue permission slips with a goo of indeterminate origins. There will be a smell.
7. Apparently, Nothing Ever Happens At School
Here’s a conversation you can get used to:
Q: What’d you do at school today?
Repeat ad nauseum.
8. The Name Game
Your name is no longer “Mommy” or “Daddy”. It is now Mrs. Kindergartenteacher’sname.