The Shakedown — Public school isn’t free. Still, I didn’t expect a shake down before school started. At an open house, we were bombarded by requests for lunch money, PTA dues, extended day fees, karate lessons, piano lessons, a classroom donation and a school donation. It was a bit too much for me. Can I get to know the school before I send my kid and all my money to it?
Transportation: I hadn’t decided how Simone would get home from school. Would she ride the bus? Would we pick her up? Would she attend the extended day program? I had a lot of questions that weren’t answered in the weeks leading up to the beginning of school. I suspect teachers and office workers knew I was new to the system because I looked confused.
Grumpy Kid: Kindergarten is hard work. Simone almost fell asleep in the car on the way home. When she wasn’t nodding off, she was cranky and needy and clingy. One day she threw herself on the couch and stared into the distance. On another day, she repeatedly asked to go to the park. There were tears, a lot of tears.
The Car Line: Those run like clockwork, right? Not exactly. I braved the car line on the second day and was in it for 30 minutes. I asked Simone’s teacher whether the line was that slow all of the time. Pretty much, she said. The car line also comes with a lot of policies and procedures. Pick up kids in these grades in this line; pick up students in these grades in that line. Put this on your visor. Children must sit on the right side of the car. Um, no. I will avoid the car line at all costs.
Riding the Bus: Simone asked to ride the bus, and we let her ride in the mornings. The first time she rode the bus she hopped on so quickly I didn’t have time to take a picture. Parents don’t like bus rides, but kids have no problem with them. Simone is on the bus for about five minutes and already has a bus friend.
As for me, I’m still adjusting.
What does Nadia think about kindergarten? Find out tomorrow. (Last installment.)