Thursday, May 29, 2008

The First Year of School

When I dropped my oldest daughter off at kindergarten in the fall of 2007, it was a happy moment in my life. I didn't shed a tear or panic that she had grown up too quickly. I was really happy for the experience she was going to get. She seemed ready to leave us behind at home. Things were getting a little dull for her around the house and she needed some new challenges, so I felt like I was leaving her in the place she needed to be. We were holding her back, she was desperate to learn.

The last day of kindergarten was another story. I was a mess. I had spent a good deal of time with her classmates volunteering weekly for the better part of the school year -This is why we need stay at home mom's! So I really felt that I was going to miss the students but I was really surprised over how attached I became to her teacher. Is this common for stay at home mom's? Seeking the adult interaction we all crave that we are willing to hang out with anyone over the age of 20, as long as they aren't an ax murderer? It was such a sad day for me, not only because I dropped my daughter off 9 months ago and she seemed so little, hardly old enough to ride a bus let alone walk through the halls and staircases of the school to find her way to the bathroom the next floor above. But really it was the same shock I had all over again when she turned three, I turned around from a world of working full time and suddenly had a three year old that I hadn't spent as much time with as I had wanted. This school year flew by so quickly and I missed my oldest growing significantly all over again.

I'm looking forward to the slow summer ahead where I can get to know her again and spend some time reconnecting. It will be fun going on nature hikes with her on the hot summer mornings since she is my most motivated hiker, next to the dogs of course. During nap time for the younger two she won't spend the whole time in quiet time (although she can happily spend hours in her room alone without a complaint) I have many plans to spend the time playing games and reading books together and giving her attention that she missed out on this past year being a big kindergartner. But something tells me even after our summer together, she is still going to grow so fast that I can't mentally keep up. I guess this might be why so many of her classmates had new siblings this year -a new baby makes it a little easier to swallow the reality that they just grow faster than any parent could want.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Free Range Kids

We all have our own fears for how and where our kids are going to get hurt. I personally have an irrational fear of my kids being in a car wreck while someone other than myself is driving. It took me a long time relax while my mother in law or husband drives my three little darlings around. But I'm finding the longer I'm a mom, the easier it is becoming. I still have a slightly uneasy feel in my gut while they are in a car with another driver, but it is no longer as debilitating to me as it used to be. They are allowed to go places with other people.

It is the law of our school that kindergartners must be with their parent or caregiver at the bus stop for pick up and drop off. After that, first-graders and on can wait out by themselves. For some reason I have always had a bit of an issue with it. At first it seemed like such a big step letting her ride the bus since I lived in fear of her not figuring out where to go when she got to school, but oddly enough, she figured it out. Then as the school year progressed, I started thinking it was crazy that I had to wait outside with her at all. She is a wise girl, or at least as wise as a kindergartener needs to be, so I thought, next year, she will be waiting alone. She will know to walk back home if her bus doesn't come. She will know not to get into a car if a ride is offered by a stranger. (Next year she will not have a bus option, she will have to walk since the school district is moving the school a few blocks away from our house.)

Standing out at the bus stop one morning I asked the other parents if they were going to let their kids walk to school. (I didn't mention that I was thinking my first grader was going make the short journey alone since their kids are in 5th and 6th grade) But they said no way, it's just not safe, any creep could have their way with their child as they walked to school. So I soon felt like the bad mom not wanting to walk to school in the morning, but really, I just don't think there is much that could go wrong and if there is I certainly don't think my child is going to be the victim of an unusual crime on her walk to school.

I will walk her the first month or so to ensure she knows the route, but after that, she need to do it alone. There will be crossing guards to make sure she isn't plowed down by people who are in haste to make it to work. So really, what could happen? Someone might steal her lunch, but chances are they will only do it once when they realize it's not as fun of a lunch that the other kids take to school. No lunchables or other pre-packaged stuff.

Check this out article if you think I'm being a little carefree. Suddenly a short little walk in the city of Cincinnati doesn't seem so bad. This mom is my hero! We can't keep our kids on such short leashes if we want them to grow.