The week before school was out for summer, we attended the first and final performance of the 3rd grade's interpretation of Rise to the Revolution, a play about the Boston Tea Party. Wyatt played John Adams (we are descendants of his, don't ask me how) proudly and there was only one on-stage emergency when one of his classmates got a bloody nose mid-scene.
Imagine the shock of his mother when they stopped everything, announced her name in the microphone and requested her presence onstage!
She's okay, I gave her a drink from my flask and it really helped . . . I kid!
Anyway, the whole school was there, including both of the boys' past and present teachers. When the play was over, amidst the chaos of loading 200 metal chairs on those silly chair holders and wheeling them into some secret storage in the cafeteria that served as our theater, we stood around and visited with the other parents of our kids' friends.
"I can't believe how tall she has gotten!"
"Oh my gosh, she has grown up so much since I've seen her last."
"Look how long her hair is!"
"You really are a big girl now Katie!"
"She is going to kindergarten in the fall, right?"
No she isn't going to kindergarten in the fall. Katie's birthday is in November, separating her from any reasonable reason to start early by at least 2 months. I remember having the same problem with Wyatt when he was this age, but tack on an extra month (he is an October baby) and it is magnified.
"But she is ready," said one well-meaning mom.
"She could just go into a split class and stay in it for 2 years," said another.
We don't have a split class option at our school, I'm not sure what she was talking about. It's not that I don't like to hear other people's thoughts on how my daughter has grown, but I wish sometimes that they'd not talk so openly about the fact that most of her friends will be attending kindergarten in the fall, without her.
She is aware, although I think the whole thing isn't very real yet, that her best friend and her cousin (both of whom she is especially close to) will be heading off to big kid school without her. I know I can't shield her from the hurt, but darn it, I wish I could. It was hard for her to see last years preschool buddies start pre-K without her - she waves at them from the 3-4's class when they go by . . .
"Hi! Hi! It's me, Katie!" she yells, and then goes back to watching her classmates pick their noses and struggle to form their letters.
She is smart, she can write all of our names and knows each letter of the alphabet (this must be a girl thing, no?). She practices adding on her fingers with her brothers and counts to one hundred, but in many ways she is still four. She is emotional - oh boy, is she emotional. And although I do not expect to get a reprieve from her emotions even when she is in kindergarten, I am very aware that they are definitely age appropriate.
I never took into consideration the struggles a fall baby has - being older than their classmates, or possibly being the youngest and constantly trying to compensate. I was a spring baby (like my first born), there was no questioning when I'd start school, there was no pondering making sure that I was challenged. I was always fine, stuck in the middle of mediocre, fine.
I know she will be okay. I know her friendships will weather this. I know she will be more than ready in 2009, when it is finally her turn and she can load her backpack up with all her school supplies and jump on that school bus without looking back . . .
But I just wish people would stop talking so much about the fact that she has one more year, in front of her, as if we didn't know that already.