Working in education gives you a small window of what a child will encounter in their lives. If you are an elementary teacher you get an idea of what milestones they should be hitting. You know what are “normal” responses. You know what the writing should look like and you come to accept that there are just somethings that your child doesn’t do well at like multiplication tables (me).
You learn what the appropriate response is when a kid kicks a soccer ball into the head of an unsuspecting kid far off in the distance (It’s to let the kid know that they can’t just kick soccer balls into a bunch of kids without warning them and then a time out). You also know that 4th and 5th grade girls in a tight circle means trouble. You also learn quickly that a free for all at the pencil sharpener means 1 inch pencils.
When I was teaching, I also learned that Kindergarten up to 2nd grade girls really don’t have an innate sense of “lady-like” and don’t sit properly in a dress so parents should always pair skirts with tights or shortcuts underneath except in the case of the too big tights that can really boggle the mind when the crotch part of the tights are down by the knees because they didn’t pull them all the way up. On second thought, I’m just going to dress my kid in t-shirts and shorts emblazoned with bold prints in dark colors to avoid the paint/marker/chocolate milk/dirt/grass/grubby hand stains.
What you don’t REALLY learn is what happens before they get to elementary school. My baby is heading off to preschool this week. And I’ve learned all kinds of things!
1- Always teach your child what their “real name” is. Or else you will encounter this instance;
Teacher: What’s your name?
The Iz: Izzy Noodle
Teacher: What’s your real name?
The Iz: Izzy Doodle
Now my child knows her name but she can’t seem to grasp the concept of last name and first name. She things her whole name is 1 name.
Me: What’s your name?
The Iz: LEIABEGAY (all caps because she YELLS it)
Me: What’s your first name?
The Iz: LEIABEGAY
Me: Leia is your first name.
The Iz: My name is LEIABEGAY
2- Pre-school kids need all kinds of supplies for their first days. A clean mat cover, a change of clothes and blanket. If you don’t bring these items, you feel pretty bad and you start to think about how your kid might have to sleep on a mat without a cover and how the plastic will stick to her face so you send her dad to the school to drop off everything.
3- Being the last to pick up your child makes you feel sad. We all know that there really is no contest for parents but if their was… I’m pretty sure ‘last to pick up’ would put you on the losing end. I know we’ve all done it before but it doesn’t make it feel any better. It’s feels like everyone’s looking at you and shaking their head and thinking, “Doesn’t she love her child? This kid has been here all alone with this adults.”
4- Early Childhood actually means learning toddler-ese. The language of any human under the age of 4 is pretty tricky.How do they communicate with all those kids? I can barely understand my own kid (see #1), I can’t imagine a team of 15 preschoolers!
5- The mystery of the backpack I forgot that there is actually important stuff in there. She just drops it by the door and runs to her room. I am so glad that it’s the beginning of the year and we have a nice clean backpack but one day that backpack will harbor a wet set of pee clothes 😦 And IF I forget, it will become one smelly bag.
6- The snack -My kid always seems hungry. I made the mistake of coming to pick up without a snack and my child said that she was “STARVING!” Me too kid! When are you going to start bringing me a snack.
Having a kid is crazy! Having a kid like mine is even crazier- my mom keeps saying, “Sounds like Tia”. So I guess I’m getting a taste of my own medicine.