Today I am filling out forms for Grey’s Kindergarten registration in the fall. I’m pretty sure what I’m supposed to be feeling is How fast the time flies! It seems like he was a baby just yesterday! It can’t possibly already be time for my preshus snowflake to go to school, can it? What I really feel like is You have got to be kidding me. Kid was more than ready THIS fall. It seems like he’s been a big, grownup-person forever… you sure he was actually a baby? Really? Huh, go figure. In point of fact, Grey is five and has been for several months now. He missed the cutoff by four weeks this year.
To say it succinctly: I’m ready. He’s ready. Let’s do this Kindergarten thing.
Since Grey will be attending public schools, I figured that Kindergarten would be my payola — the moment where huge chunks of change returned to my budget. Currently, child care is a bigger cost for us than our mortgage. And we live within 10 miles of Boston in a 4 bedroom house. This is to say… it is a not inconsiderable expense. So Kindergarten will be huge savings, right? Right?
It turns out that while there is free part day Kindergarten, ALL DAY Kindergarten costs money. $3500 to be exact. Ok, so that’s really not bad. It’s like 3 months of preschool. BUT, we’ll have to have after-school care. That (including transportation) is $500 a month. Oh, and remember school vacations? Those end up costing $56/day. So do snow days. So…. yeah. Not really saving anything there. First grade. First grade will be the payola…
Returning to the pastel nostalgia of Kindergarten! School! My child’s entree into education! I’m pretty excited. I think Grey is superbly prepared for it. The sitting still problem will be his biggest challenge of Kindergarten, as it is for so many energetic young children. I’m slightly concerned that his reading ability will pose some challenges for his classroom, but I figure we all have to worry about something, and that’s a good something. I will NOT accept from him complaints about being bored. In that case, the thing he’ll need to learn from his classroom is how to deal with boredom in a productive way. That’s a super-useful life skill that will come in handy in adulthood.
I had meant this to be a chance to talk about Grey, and how much fun he is. Because he’s super duper awesome. It was really fantastic to get to spend lots of time with him at Christmas. He’s got an active imagination and a wide repertoire of blowing-up noises. He can be tenderly solicitous (he likes to make little Lego “babies” which he says are “so cute!”). He can also be very rough and tumble. Over Christmas, he spent considerable time with his 8 year old cousin, and barring a few hungry/tired related meltdowns, he did an excellent job of keeping up with his cousin.
If you ask Grey what his favorite things are, he will tell you “Screens”. And he’s probably right. Although we attempt to limit screen time, Grey loves cartoons and tv, his DS (he only gets to play in the car/on airplanes/when we really need him to), Wii, the iPad, the computer and all manner of screens. At Christmas, I confess, there was significant brain-rottage.
It’s hard to capture the unfolding complexity of your child. He is striving desperately to tell funny jokes, poring over joke-books to try to figure it out. He is surprisingly patient and sweet to his younger brother… most of the time. They created this new game he calls “Ready Freddy” which involves hiding, having your brother find you, then screaming and running away to do it again. He likes to read, but usually only when there’s no more alluring option. He loves Legos and Bakugan and Pokemon cards. He could care less about cars and isn’t wildly interested in art or drawing, although he really likes mazes. He insists on having music playing at night while he goes to sleep. He sleeps with all his stuffed animals piled on his bed and makes special accommodations for Tigry and Puppy. He can play Blokus with actual strategy.
I find myself having more and more things I WANT to do with Grey. I want to play games with him. I want to take him to see the movies. I want to take him shopping with me. (He begged to go grocery shopping with me this last week and did a phenomenal job!) I want to read him books. I want to teach him how to ride a bike.
It’s much harder with younger children. I sometimes look at Mr. Two Year Old and think… “What do I DO with you?” But I can play with Grey in a way that’s fun for me, too.
He’s a fun kid. I’m glad he’s mine.
OK, I should probably disclaim that I have bronchitis and am hopped up on 300% more drugs than usual… usually I just abuse caffeine. So in case this doesn’t actually have any narrative structure (I, um, have my doubts) here are some bonus pictures to make you forget!