Two weeks ago, Stinkerelly graduated from PreKindergarten. I’m not really sure how I’m feeling about this. Well, that’s not true. I’m very sure how I’m feeling about it. It’s just a big jumbled up bag of emotion is what it is.
StinkerBell is moving from the 2-yr-old class to the 3s. Also a mixed bag.
First, I’m a little sad because I cherish my 6 child-free hours every week. I know that one day, I will long for them to be small again, but today, I am longing for my own outlets; be they creative or plain ol’ nap time. This year, for the first time in 5 years, I have regularly enjoyed a little bit of time to myself for coffee dates with girlfriends (very few coffee dates, but we’ve had them here and there), vendor meetings, haircuts, grocery shopping, and creative time. This is priceless to me, being an independent person. As much as I love my family, this time has allowed me to decompress and gather and refresh myself to be a better wife and mom for my clan. I am cautiously looking forward to having even more time to myself in the fall to further allow me to invest my time and energy in my creativity and business.
Second, I’m thrilled that they each have a thing that’s all his/her own. I have seen each of them take bold ownership of their individuality and I love that! I’m hoping that spending all our time together for three months doesn’t drive us all mad (even though it kinda already has). HA!
Third, I’m scared to face transition. More and more, I’m recognizing some of my child’s strange peculiarities in myself. One of those is trouble transitioning. I’m a planner. I’m a calculated risk-taker. So going with the flow isn’t my favorite mode. Granted, I’m really great at going with the flow in the moment; which is a strange dichotomy, but whatever. I’m trying, but sometimes, it’s just downright overwhelming and even paralyzing. This summer, we’re making the transition from preschool to kindergarten. New school. New system. New teachers. A lot of unknowns. GAH!
So far, we’ve been so blessed to have such amazing teachers who recognize what makes our peculiar child tick and enables his insatiable thirst for knowledge while helping him know himself better and learn to remain fully himself while navigating this world that may not understand him. They have seen him for who he is. They have loved him for who he is. They have never tried to make him something else. For that, I am eternally thankful. We may not have that next year; or the following year. That makes me nervous. But I’m trying not to let him see that. I want him fully embrace this next season and not assume my trepidation is supposed to be his.
Calculated risk and all, I’m still not a structured person. I’m really good at creating structure, but I’m a creative, so maintaining structure is really hard. Being married to another creative just makes structure impossible. I realize this is a recipe for wasting away the summer and looking back at having done absolutely not a single thing.
Now, up to this point, it has been supremely important to emphasize “free play” for our kids (which is why we’re adamantly against Common Core). There’s been a bit of research outlining the importance of free play for young children and the role it plays in adult’s ability to solve problems and think “outside the box”.
They’re coming to an age, though, where they need more. So this summer, I’m working to create a slightly more structured schedule. I’m incorporating the gym and one other activity out of the house into our weekdays. We’re adding the library, piano lessons (with my mom), and pool time to the mix. StinkeRelly has also asserted he’d like to learn cursive, so we’re working on that a little bit every day.
With StinkerBell still being 3, I wasn’t thinking about her academic acceleration until the other day. She was watching PBSkids.org and I realized she doesn’t visually recognize letters and numbers. First, I was taken aback because her brother at this age was well acquainted with these concepts. And then I remembered that he fully pushes himself and she might need some encouraging.
I have decided to add letters and numbers to the structure. Since we have a semi-regular writing/coloring time, I’m thinking I’ll be making sure we talk about letters and numbers during that time. And I’ll keep it structured by talking about a single letter and number for a few days and then move on. I’m not reaching for overachieving, so my goal is for her to recognize the letters in her name by the end of summer.
It’s going to be a good summer.