Friday, August 27, 2010

Milestones And Other Rocks

Oh, it's a big day around here.

It's the last day of summer camp, for one thing. This week it was Radical Reptiles. Jarrah seemed to learn a lot--she started describing everything as "endangered" or "predators." Also, there was a turtle in a bucket when I dropped her off this morning, and I said "Look! A turtle!" and she rolled her eyes and said "It's a TORTOISE." Oops, how embarrassing.

She actually missed most of the animal encounter today because first I took her to her "kindergarten assessment." I didn't really like the sound of that--"assessment." It sounded so academic. Which of course it is. And Jarrah doesn't know anything about that stuff. I've tried to keep her shielded for as long as possible, but now, the time is nigh for The Institution to shape her and turn her into a useful citizen. Just like it did me. And look how I turned out.

We met in the teacher's lounge and were greeted by one of the teachers--the one I've been told we want. She handed Jarrah a packet of papers and a separate card with a drawing of an apple. She said "Please color the apple, then cut it out and glue it here [pointing to the front of the packet] and then write your name above it in this box." There were various stations set up with crayons, glue sticks and safety scissors. I felt instantly nervous. Jarrah went right to work coloring, and was done speedily. Then she wanted my help with the cutting. But I gently said "No, I think you're supposed to do it by yourself, sweetie." I later noticed lots of moms not only offering suggestions but getting right in there and cutting for their kids. But I'm proud to say that Jarrah's apple was all her own doing, and it looked rad. She started getting distracted by all the commotion in the room and I had to ask "Now what were you supposed to do next?" Then she remembered to glue. But she got a wandering eye while she was writing her name, and the result didn't look much like letters. And her "J" was backward. I bit my tongue and didn't mention it.

Now we were instructed to get in line, and because I peeked I could see there were four tables--each with a teacher behind it--in the big room next door. I guess the assessment was being done in stations. I ended up waiting outside for about 10 minutes while Jarrah was in there. At one point, I peeked again and saw her laughing uproariously at something one of the teachers had said. That seemed like a good sign.

When she came out, a lady opened a big fridge and offered her a popsicle. We already knew this was going to happen since we'd seen other kids (and their siblings) getting them. But I had to conceal my amusement that Jarrah became totally overwhelmed when asked what flavor she wanted. All the other kids had been like yeah, whatever, hand it over, but Jarrah was really, really concentrating on making the right choice. I guarantee you that she thought much harder about her flavor than she did about any of the assessment questions.

On the way to the car, I asked--as lightly as possible--"So what did you do in there?"

"Oh, they asked me about the alphabet, and to sound out things."

"And did you?"

"Not really. Kind of. It was hard. I didn't know a lot."

My heart sank. Oh, she's going to be in THAT room. Then I realized I had no idea what sort of room THAT would be.

"How about numbers? Did you do those?"


"And did you know them all?"

"No, not really. I didn't remember a lot."

Hmmm. Readers, I must say, I had to really focus on breathing and not blurting out something like "For Pete's sake, you couldn't focus on 10 minutes of questions about letters and numbers? How are you going to get into college?" Because that didn't seem like it was going to be helpful. Even though I really, really had to stop myself from doing it anyway.

Then Jarrah said:

"A lot of the stuff I didn't know, but you know what? It's all fine, because everyone who tried got a popsicle."

I laughed. Because, really, what else mattered? You know stuff, you don't know stuff, but at the end of the day, the popsicle is the pie in the sky.

When I mentioned this to David, he said (so wise! always!) "Well, of course she said that. Because why would she think any different? No one has ever told her it's important to know letters and numbers. [Jarrah went to a developmental or "play-based" preschool.] Popsicles, though, she knows those are important."

All day I've been thinking about how weird it is that's she's going to school, and that people will actually try to TEACH her things now, and that--if all goes well--she will READ soon, and WRITE, and have all kinds of weird new skills that I don't associate with her. And the whole train of thought puts me a bit off-kilter.

So imagine how I felt when David called out from the bathroom tonight:

"Bottom teeth are loose!!!"

I came running. One--or both?--of the bottom two are wiggly. All of the sudden. I mean, I was rattling those babies just a week ago and nada. Also, our dentist told us it would probably be another six months or more before any movement, based on her x-rays.

Jarrah was thrilled. David said he'll take some photos of her baby smile tomorrow. And I just walked away, shaking my head, feeling like I might cry. Kindergarten and loose teeth in one week? What's next--she'll get a job as a cocktail waitress?



Caroline said...

Such a big, exciting time! She's going to love it. And, since they don't pay cocktail waitresses with popsicles, you're probably safe there. ;)

Robyn said...

OMG! We were just talking about this!! Jared and Jarrah are right on track to make their mothers even more wrecky than we were before! Congratulations! :)

Jen said...

Yay about the teeth!!! How exciting!!! And I'm so glad the screening went well. I was laughing to myself when you said you didn't help her cut her apple out--since you're a teacher yourself, of course you wouldn't!

She's going to be a star, I know it.

Jennifer said...

How exciting!! It's a big deal to lose your first tooth. Just imagine the exitement we have in kindergarten when they lose it at school!

I am sure Jarrah did great on the assessment. It's just to see what they know and what they need to learn. After all, that's what school is about...learning. :)

I love that you sent her to a developmental based preschool. I didn't realize that before. I think we push kids to learn so much now that they rarely have time to play and use their imagination...and that is SOOOOO important. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you my soapbox. When does school officially start? I just finished my first week. Yea for the weekend!!

Sam said...

@Caroline: Good point! :)

@Robyn: I know! Isn't that such a weird coincidence??

@Miss J: Oh, is that what I was doing there? It felt important. ;)

@Jennifer: School starts the day after Labor Day. Yes, I have a soap box, too. ;)

Stephanie said...

I was schooled in the fact that turtles ONLY live in water, (don't you know anything???) Tortoises live on land. (eye roll...)

EWR2SAN said...

Those screenings are a bunch of crap. Im sure Jarrah and Jared will do superbly. PFPS prepares them very well. Seriously I kid you not. Even the most challenging child in our bunch last year had a great year at a very good Kindergarten. Both Jarrah and Jared are right where they need to be, and will be fine.

My boys go back to school tomorrow. I wasn't worried till Friday when we had the back to school BBQ. A middle schooler and a 1st grader. The whole middle school thing is freaking me out a lot more than it is him.

Sam said...

@Steph: No, I didn't hear that! Now I am schooled. ;)

@Mark: Thank you for that support. I should remember I have Price in our corner. Of course! And yes, wow, a middle-schooler. Good luck to you. ;)

Paul and Heather said...

OMG I had the same sorta day. Totally a few years behind ya, but Hsin moved to the 2-3 year old room today at daycare. She needed a helmet, a toothbrush and toothpaste and kids go potty in that room. All of a sudden it dawned on me when I was dropping her in that room for the first time..holy cr#p..she is going to brush her teeth after she eats, she is going to learn to go in the potty and she needs a helmet to ride bikes. BIKES...that is big kid stuff. I DON'T HAVE A BIG KID! I have a baby...but I don' baby is turning into a big kid. GOD HELP ME when Hsin goes to kindergarten. Bless you strong woman for not completely falling apart.