Okay some of you may be wondering what I mean by my title. I have learned that there is a huge difference from pre-school to kindergarten. It isn’t just one year difference it is the warm and fuzziness of the teacher just doesn’t exist. They have a job to do and they are going to accomplish come he_ _ or high water. Pre-school is to get them acclimated to the school environment. Kindergarten starts the actual earning process. At a high rate of speed I might add. Apparently they think they will learn to add, subtract and fractions by the end of the year. Well good luck with that.
My son came home last week and said that he lost a block. Ummm… I said.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I was talking loud.” He said matter-of-factly.
“Well honey you know that you are in kindergarten now, and you have to pay attention to your teacher.”
“If you know this, why were you talking loud?”
“Because I wanted to.” Honesty doesn’t always get you where you want to be.
Okay… I can’t argue with honestly but… if that doesn’t work for me it sure isn’t going to work for a five year old.
Needless to say he got one block taken away but there was no note that came home from the teacher. He told me about this of his own free will. Thursday night his teacher calls me at home just after 9:00. I see the number come up on the caller I.D.. Panic mode has now set in. Why would she be calling me at home and after she knows Walker would be asleep? She was merely calling to let me know that Walker was selected to participate in the extended day kindergarten. Okay… I was able to breathe again. I told her how much Walker seemed to like school. She agreed but added that he likes to be silly in class. Of course she said it in that firm teacher voice of hers that can give even a 41-year old the chills. First thought was, “Well there are worse things he could be”. No I didn’t say that but just politely agreed. Before Walker went to school the next morning we had a chat.
“Walker, you know you have pay attention in school and not be silly during class.”
Now mind you he said he understood. I figured I did the responsible thing as the parent and had the discussion. End of conversation. I was pretty impressed with this until I came home this past Friday.
Husband says, “Walker lost two blocks today.” In case you were wondering this is not a good way to start the weekend. I immediately go into angry mode.
“WALKER!! Come down here.” Yes my angry voice kicks in.
“Walker, I said come down here.”
“What happened in school today that you lost two blocks?”
“I dunno, ummm… let me think”. Visual - his eyes are looking up (because you know the answer is somewhere up there) with the finger tapping on the lower lip. Needless to say I was not amused.
“I think I was being loud.”
“Well… what else? You lost TWO blocks today.”
“I was telling secrets during music class.”
“Walker… you know you aren’t suppose to be loud and telling secrets during class don’t you?”
“Yeah.” We are working on making those “yeahs” into clear “yeses”. Obviously, this is a work in progress. To be in progress means we would have to be getting somewhere on this subject. Clearly this is not the case.
“Then why were you being loud and telling secrets?”
“Because I wanted to.” Visual – he is shrugging his shoulder at the same time.
Okay – he gets points for honesty. Needless to say the conversation continued to the point of tears. Tears on his behalf not mine. Remember I am still in parenting mode therefore I can say (without remorse) “Because I said so”. And yes people… it feels good.
We all want our children to behave and be mindful all the time but this can’t be achieved without bending the rules sometimes. Goals of adults and those of our children tend to be slightly different. This is not news to anyone. Our kids want to tell secrets and be loud whenever the mood hits them because you know… they want to. We, on the other hand want our children to behave because frankly it reflects on directly on us. Even as adults we want to be popular and head of the class and once we have children we achieve this through them. Yes we want our children to grow up and be successful because selfishly that means WE did a good job. Yes we want them to be successful… blah… blah… blah. My primary wish for my children is to be happy in whatever they choose to do in life. As long as their happiness does not involve breaking the law, I can live with that.
The story continued throughout the weekend as we practiced what he was going to say to his teacher when he saw her Monday morning.
“Walker, what are you going to say to Mrs. Teacher when you see her?”
“Walker, you need to tell her why you’re sorry”.
“Sorry I lost two blocks”.
Snicker from me as I replied, “No… I’m sorry you lost the two blocks but you are sorry because you were being loud and telling secrets”.
As of 6:45 this morning we were still practicing the apology. I signed the note and sent it back in his backpack. I have learned that negotiating with a five year old can be challenging because frankly they don’t play fair. They pull at the heart stings much too often and the tears seem to come in a very timely fashion. We all hope to learn something from this. Me… I have to admit that my children aren’t perfect and that is okay. Boy that is hard to say. Hopefully Walker has learned that being loud and telling secrets will lose him two blocks. In all fairness I only told him not to be silly in class. Darn, he got me on that one. And to think... he is only in his fourth week of school.