Harper starts kindergarten in less than a week, and my anxiety level is at Defcon five. Back in June, when it was still three months away and my emotions ran the gamut from sad to hysterically sad, I dubbed it Kinderbreakmyhearten. But now that its mere days away and I’m having panic attacks about all of the changes that are about occur, I’ve switched over to Kinderpleasedon’tstarten.


It’s kind of funny actually, because I, myself, have actually attended several new schools in my lifetime, and beginning them has never really been a problem for me. I don’t remember starting kindergarten, but my mother assures me that I strode into the classroom, bright-eyed and excited to learn. But, like everything else they don’t tell you about motherhood, it’s just not the same when it’s about your kid. Because starting kindergarten this time around, my eyes are not so bright, and I’m not all that excited. In fact, I’m finding it to be totally overwhelming.


Let’s begin with the forty page mailing that I received from the parent’s association at Harper’s new school, complete with reminders about events occurring in May, as well as a four page list of committees which I am highly encouraged to join. And then there’s the prospect of having to get Harper out the door by seven fifteen every morning. Gone are the days of using my son as my seven a.m. alarm clock. Now, I’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn to get dressed and pack their lunches, and I’ll have to wake Harper, who is notoriously not a morning person, at six forty-five (today, mind you, she woke up at nine fifteen). And then, after I drop her off at eight, I’ll have to come back home, get Davis dressed, feed him breakfast, and have him to preschool by nine. So can you blame me for not being bright-eyed? It’s like a full day before I even do anything.
But the worst, by far, is the thought of Harper having to make all new friends, because none of the kids from her preschool are going to the same kindergartens. Again, not a source of anxiety for me when I was a kid. But as a parent, I am filled with dread. What if she’s left out? What if there’s nobody she clicks with? I’ve seen girls who are four years old do the Mean Girl thing. I’ve seen Queen Bees in preschool. The thought of my Harper being on the other end of that sort of thing makes me nauseous just thinking about it.


And yes, I’m glad that Davis is still in preschool, and that at least I’ll be in a familiar place with him this year. But there is nothing fun about going back to school with Davis, the king of inseparableness. The king of I-do-not-do-well-in-new-situations. I’m just resigning myself to yet another year of tearful, heart-breaking pleas for me to stay with him at drop off; pleas that send me into a tailspin for the rest of the day as I sit at my desk, continually reliving the crumple of his little face when I walk out the door. And last year it was only two days a week. This year, it’s four. Can’t wait.



As joyful as it can be, the reality is that it is hard! Good luck to all of you making the transition!


Although "they" say that kindergarten is about helping little ones adjust to school and prepare them for their full workload of first grade, I think it's as much about preparing the mommies as it is the kids! When my oldest started kindergarten last year, I remember feeling much more out of sorts than she was. Her youthful resilience and adaptability colored everything as a grand adventure; whereas I was in a dither worrying about doing things right and whether or not we'd dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's. She was just happy to FINALLY be a big girl and go to school.


It is amazing how anxiety provoking kidergartenpleasedon'tstarten is. Not only is it stressful regarding whether to send them or "red shirt" the fall birthday kids when you're in a state with weird cutoff's (i.e., CA), it is stressful to hide the anxiety from your kindergartener. PTA Committees, volunteering in the classroom, drop-off, pick-up, lunches (especially difficult with all of the nut-free schools), etc., and trying to find (or keep!) a job at the same time makes we tired moms so bleary-eyed. Oh well. It's just Kindergarten, I guess! Thanks for your great column.