Thursday, February 17, 2011

The First 100 Days

Today was Jarrah's "100 Days" party at school. That's right, Readers--she's been in kindergarten 100 days already. And not one tardy slip. What?

To celebrate, they made necklaces out of 100 Froot Loops. When Jarrah's friends were surreptitiously eating theirs during the Daisies meeting this afternoon, Jarrah wore a piece of yellow string around her neck. You get one guess why.

Today was also--just under the wire!--the Room 42 Chinese New Year celebration co-hosted by yours truly. Abbie's mom talked about her childhood CNY traditions and passed out slivers of moon cake and red envelopes, and I prepared little plates with peanut sesame noodles and Mandarin Cuties (yeah, that sounds like a Chinese burlesque troupe--I mean the tangerines.) I also read a couple books about dragon dances and CNY rituals. Every time I plan one of these "programs" for Jarrah's classroom I tell myself I'll never do it again because it's such a pain. Then the little darlings eat up all my cooking--and ask for seconds--and they melt my Jewish mother heart into a syrupy little puddle.

There was a moment when I was yammering at the front of the room and Jarrah made eye contact and expressionlessly lifted her fingers to her chin and rubbed. I mimicked the gesture and discovered a crusty little chunk of breakfast lurking there, which I swiped away as casually as I could. She nodded, stone-faced. Something about this little exchange freaked me out--it was just so...grown-up. And totally seemed like something I would do.

Speaking of things I would totally do, I am sore amazed at her new love of reading. I mean, she's taken to it like nothing else I've seen her do (except maybe scale tall buildings.) Recent faves include "The Lorax" (which made me cry--I totally didn't remember it) and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." No word is too long to sound out, no vocabulary too complicated to frustrate her. Even at bedtime, she will read to us for half an hour or more without going cross-eyed from exhaustion. Because it's not in my nature to be optimistic, I can't celebrate yet. I can only say, I hope this love affair lasts because it will give us something to bond over during her difficult teen years. Now, if we drag her to parties and she carts a three-inch thick paperback and reads it in the corner all night, growling at anyone who tries to make conversation "I'm reading," then I will be truly spooked.

So, besides all this reading, what else has kindergarten brought? The latest concept is "the BFF." One of her classmates told her about these. I wish they hadn't. Now she is obsessed with the idea of having one true BFF, and doesn't know who s/he is. I said she could have lots and lots of close friends, and that--in fact--she does, but this didn't impress her. She is also feeling the loss of her former (perhaps) BFF Addison--I saw the writing on the wall there. Addison is in a different class, and 100 days in, has friends from her own room. It can't be helped--just the circle of life. But Jarrah misses her. I wasn't sure what to say, so I said "You can't force anyone to play with you. But you can make as many new friends as you want, and you're good at that. Sometimes people move on, they change. We may feel sad about it, and it's okay to feel sad. But we have to move on, too." Too worldly and philosophical for a 6-year-old? I have no idea. I can only think about friends from my own perspective--I can't remember what hers felt like.


Anonymous said...

Your little girl is growing up! :) We too are big fans of Dr. Seuss in this house, although the parents still have to do all the reading. Also have a new love for Frog and Toad. Lix

Stephanie said...

Clearly not for your six year old!

I will forever smile in the grocery store when I peruse the citrus fruits, thanks for that.

Jen said...

So adorable! I love the part about her signal to you that you had crumbs on your cheek. :-)

And the reading thing? She's a chip off the old block--how could she help it?


Anonymous said...

"I'll be your best friend," was one of our refrains when we wanted to be chosen for something in our early years. Sadly, we very rarely meant it.

Jarrah is growing up in so many lovely ways. I very much enjoy reading your blog.

Paul and Heather said...

That is awesome that Jarrah non-verbally told you you had something on your face. That is the kinda smart they don't teach in school!

Michelle said...

"I can only think about friends from my own perspective--I can't remember what hers felt like." :) So perfect, my friend.

Is she fifteen? Precious about the food-on-the-face cue.