2.04.2011

Putting Your Own Cherry On Top!

Another parental milestone took place yesterday. With perhaps a small tear in my eye, I registered my son for kindergarten.   It is hard to believe he will grace the doors of public school in August.



Where has the time gone?   It seems like yesterday, he was crawling, learning to walk, going to pre-school for the first time. 





Now he’ll be in public schools.  I’m excited for the new step in our lives, but at the same time, I know I’ll never get these pre-K years back even though I say he drives me crazy at home about every day.





For the past three months, I have obsessed over public elementary schools in my county, and toured at least five schools, and some were toured twice.   My first tours focused primarily on magnet elementary schools where the schools offer extra curriculum in order to draw you to that particular school.   On those tours, it’s been mostly about what the schools offer and why as parents we should sent our children there for their elementary education.   It wasn’t until I started touring non-magnet schools that I got into the real nuts and bolts of what to expect in public school kindergarten, and how I should prepare my child.   In our county, we have magnet, year around and traditional calendar schools as part of our selection process. 

My husband has only been on a few tours, and I report back to him on my findings. I told him the other night that this entire school search reminds me of a waiter dangling three ice cream bowls in front us.   


The first dessert choice is vanilla ice cream with a cherry on top.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt


The second choice is vanilla ice cream with some sprinkles.


Photo by PanNan on Food.Com
 The third choice is just good old-fashioned plain vanilla. 

You may see the ice cream bowl you want, but depending on where you live in the county, you are assigned to a certain bowl.   In other words, you can’t have your real ice cream choice unless lady luck is on your side.   A random yet weighted lottery with a lot different variables will decide if you really get your final choice.   If we happen to get the ice cream bowl with a cherry on top then it will be a nice, sweet surprise.   It took me a long time though to get to the point where I was happy with plain, traditional vanilla for the upcoming school year.  Once I did though, the stress lifted, and I was happy to register him this week.  Now I can focus on getting him ready for the fall.
When I listened to one of the school’s principal talk about how to prepare you child for this coming year on one of my last tours,   I was feeling fairly confident that my son was ready.

Can your child dress himself?  Check!
Has your child learned to raise his hand in pre-school?  Check
Can your child go to the bathroom independently?  Check!   Does he know his ABCs, and can count to at least ten?  Check! Check!

But then we walked into the cafeteria, and looked at the self-serve line filled with the school’s lunch menu that day.  There were vegetables, burgers, and salad fixings. So many choices!   The principal said, “Can your child go through a self-serve line, pick his food, and pay for it?

My eyes got wide, and my mouth probably gaped open, and I felt a little squirmy.  I could not say, “check!"  I thought, “Oh, we’re not ready!” 
The principal advised the group that we should eat at some cafeteria-style places to help our children prepare.  

I came home and told my husband about our new eating assignment, and what we have to do.   Our son has been waited on like we are his servants for the past five years, and he does fumble around in the pantry sometimes for a snack, but that is about it.  We've served all his meals.  We've been in control, and it has been easier for us to make his breakfast than to deal with his messy aftermath.   He has never gotten his own bowl, poured his own cereal or milk.  UH OH!  I foresee some big changes ahead as we prep for kindergarten the rest of the year. 

We need to guide him toward more independent meal preparations,  and we also need to spend a lot of time at an Ice Cream Bar where he go down the topping line, and fill his vanilla ice cream bowl with sprinkles,  and a cherry on top all by himself.  

People may see us a lot at our favorite place, Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt Bar this Spring and Summer.  Once he masters the topping bar, he’ll be ready to start Kindergarten.

Until next time, I’m of to get a cup of tea!





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