Reality Bite – Why I Love Four Year Old Kinder

The problem with writing a post each week focusing on the reality of my life is that it could be easy to dwell on a few negatives – which I definitely will do at some point – and never mention the positives.  My reality is most certainly not all negative, no where near it.  I’ve got a very fortunate life of which I am well aware, but it is not perfect, there are things the drive me spare and times where I might normally smile and pretend all is fine when inside all is not really fine.  What is fantastic about my life RIGHT NOW is four year old Kinder!  It is a dream, a haven for us all and a day that could not have come at a better time.

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My Miss Four is actually nearly five and technically could have started kinder last year and been in prep this year.  Her birthday is eight days before the cut off.  It was a difficult decision to come to, because while she was more than ready academically (her language skills etc) she was fairly immature socially and emotionally at the start of last year.  The decision we made was the right one for us, especially considering we moved half way through last year – pulling her out of kinder and putting her into a new one would have been very disruptive.  Having said that, for the last four or so months Miss Four has been very bored at home and has expressed that boredom in a multitude of mischievous and aggravating ways.  She experimented with water…. by filling the bag of dry cat food and the big box of washing powder with water (an expensive trip to the supermarket later I had replaced what had been basically full items).  She experimented with colour….. by painting the white toilet using a full bottle of pink nail polish and by decorating the white upright freezer with permanent markers (which she had climbed on to a chair and rifled through my draws to find).  She experiment with her voice and language…. coming up with new funny names each day for each of us (Daddy McSnootyPants is a classic example) and using a EXTREMELY high pitched whiny voice as much as possible.  I could go on, I could fill a whole post.  Needless to say it has been trying at times, and very difficult to keep a straight face as I tell her off about the latest experiments.

In the end she started Kinder and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.  She was beyond excited, tore through the door on the first day ahead of everyone else and leaving Miss Two and I for dead, plonked her bag, fruit and drinks in their designated places and then sat straight-backed, legs crossed and bright eyed right in front of the teacher.  As she glanced around the room and saw her sister and I standing there, she gave us a brief wave and said ‘see ya Mum!’  That was it.  Although on the walk to Kinder two days later she said ‘Mum, do you think you could give me a kiss and a cuddle before you leave today?’  Um…. yep, reckon I could manage that.  Each session since she is just as enthusiastic, though we have the quickest of quick kisses and cuddles before she makes her way to the mat.

The fact that she was SO ready and SO happy to start is one reason I love four year old kinder.  There are others!  Firstly, craft….. I hate it, I hate setting it up when I know they girls will last a matter of minutes, I hate the mess that never gets properly cleaned up, I hate that every time I organise stuff it lasts an hours before being spread all over the house again.  Now she can do her craft thing at kindy and I can just display the efforts for a week before discreetly recycling the products.  I encourage her to do all the craft she can a kinder, pasting, painting, building things with cardboard boxes and feathers, and glitter, and crepe paper, and…. and…. and.

I love four year old kinder because for FIFTEEN hours a week the house is nearly quiet.  Not totally, but Miss Two on her own is a pretty quiet and contented kid.  Right now she’s pulled a pillow under the table I’m writing at and is quietly ‘reading’ a book to her teddies.  She loves this down time, time to play her own way, often outside and always on her own.  We do a puzzle together when we get back from the drop off, but I get the distinct impression she feels like she’s doing it to keep me happy rather than the other way around.  She can’t wait to get it finished before she’s out the door jumping on the tramp or in the study building with duplo.  There’s no princesses, fairies, palaces or handsome princes on white horses in her games.

Four year old Kinder over four days (3-4 hours each day) gives me a chance to run errands and do housework with the much more manageable single child.  A shopping trip with only Miss Two is actually pretty good, rather than being a torture exercise something akin to the death by a thousand cuts that shopping with them both can be (how do you do three?  Or four?)  You know those bloody floors, I can get the clean – briefly – during a four year old kinder session, with one helper rather than two.  I can get dinner pretty much done while Miss Two has a snack and a drink sitting on the stools at our bench watching me chop and fry.  Beds get made, sheets washed, bathrooms cleaned, it’s truly amazing.  It still doesn’t last long, but it feels a little less neglectful that they’ve actually been done at all.  It’s also possible for me to sit a write a blog post during the day instead of always at night, read a book or flick through a magazine.  In a couple of weeks time, when my Uni course starts I’m thinking I’ll be able to squeeze in a little day time studying too.

But there are two other really great things that make me love four year old kinder.  Firstly, I get to spend lots of time one-on-one with Miss Two.  Even though she prefers to play on her own and I tend to do lots of jobs when it’s just us home, we still chat to each other, sing and sit down to a puzzle or a few books.  It’s like when I was home with Miss Four before Miss Two came along.  And the last one, I am so much more patient and able to deal with the dramas four year old’s have on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, when she’s had four hours with someone else.  It’s a blessing for everyone and I can’t wait to see her blossom throughout the year.

Some mothers, I know, get teary with the start of kinder or school, I’m not one of them, I never will be.  I love seeing them venture off to discover a part of the world without me, to stretch the wings without bashing me in the face and knocking their little sister down, so to speak.  It’s a good thing, a great thing and I love four year old kinder for being the start of this journey.  How did you feel about your kids starting kinder, or school?  If you kids are younger, how do you think you’ll handle it?  Are you looking forward to that day, or dreading the letting go?

Again I’m linking up with Jess and her honesty column where she will be writing on the same theme.  Please go have a look.

 

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15 Responses to Reality Bite – Why I Love Four Year Old Kinder

  1. Liz says:

    For me the big plus of a second child going to 4 year old kinder is that they get something which is all about them. Home they share with their family. School next year he will share with his big sister but 4 year old kinder is totally his, and he seems to really enjoy that. And it has meant that his behaviour when is at home seems to be slowly improving, much to my relief.

  2. As a homeschooling parent which came about after we too kept Mr 5 down a year due to social immaturity, I can only sigh in envy of your down time. I don’t regret our recision but still… *sigh*

    As for shoppig with 3. Simple. I don’t! My wonderful husband swings into the IGA on his way home from work. Otherwise we have used online shopping in the past and I did all of my Xmas shopping online too. On the rare occasion I have to hit the shops with 3 (I can count on 1 hand how many times a year) it is, as you say, water torture. And, if I’m honest, 1000 cuts on top of it. 😉 In saying that, a friend of mine takes her 4 under 7 shopping or out and about frequently. Aside from the fact I think she is a true supermum I do not know how she does it but truly she has superpowers for sure. 😉

    Enjoy your quiet time.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Oh Jessie, I don’t know how you have the patience to home school or the drive for that matter… and that’s coming from a teacher. I love teaching and creating lessons but I have no idea how to move from Mum to teacher and to have my kids take me seriously and actually sit down for a lesson.

      You’re husband is good doing the shopping, we’d be eating ice cream every night for dinner if left to mine.

      • We won’t be sitting down to lessons, at least not for a while. I think the best home education system for us will be what fits more with free learning or unschooling, play based learning or natural learning. Conversations whilst we do things – garden, wash dishes or clothes, fold washing or just hang out will form the basis of our learning. Jas is a keen paleontologist already and also a budding and surprisingly gifted chef. He has cooked almost all of a quiche a few times, chopped and cooked bacon on the wood stove (with much protective clothing I might add) and more. He’s really quite skilled for a 5 year old. And what matter he learns to read with cook books or dinosaur books? 🙂 If things don’t work out then he will begin prep next year, having just missed kinder. 🙂

      • Barbara Good says:

        Well yes, he is a little young for full on schooling of any kind. Miss Four’s kinder is all play based, very loose routine – the only thing they HAVE to do is go outside, where they can then do whatever they choose, for about half of every session. Not assessment, no reporting, very relaxed. I’m just glad I don’t have to provide the craft or set up the stations everyday.

  3. Pingback: The Honesty Column: Why I Love Four Year Old Kinder | the stretched imagination

  4. narf77 says:

    I remember back to the-son-and-heirs first day at 4 year old kidergarten. I was blubbing and he was looking at me like I was foreign “stop crying mum, you won’t be able to see the gate so I can get in and I WON’T BE ABLE TO GO!” 😉 There was a very short period there when he had a case of jumping beans in his pants where we thought he might not be able to go to “big school” (birthday early in the year) but he managed to still his twitching trousers and not to much longer after that I had child number 2 and then number 3…number 2 had 3 preschools as we moved so much and number 3 just marched off to preschool and by that stage I was a seasoned dyed in the wool mum who sardonically enquired as to whether or not she would be requiring additional sandwiches (in the vague hope that they might keep her overnight 😉 ).

    • Barbara Good says:

      Haha, definitely no blubbing here on the first day. Just pure excitement. I might be different when it’s Miss Two going, she’s my last so perhaps that will sadden me more…. than again maybe not! She’s having her first solo ‘holiday’ at my parents’ place this week so I’ll actually have some time to myself this week.

      • narf77 says:

        Time…to yourself…you are going to love it! 🙂 Enjoy, and even if all you do is read 10 books I know it will feel delicious 🙂

      • Barbara Good says:

        Sadly not nearly as much reading so far as I would have liked. I had to force myself to go out for a long lunch and catch up on some Doc Martin as well. Tomorrow is earmarked for a good session with my book though, can’t wait.

      • narf77 says:

        I have never seen Doc Martin…is it good? I loved Martin Clunes in Men Behaving Badly. Hope you get some serious reading time in ASAP 🙂

      • Barbara Good says:

        Martin Clunes is fabulous in everything, but Doc Martin is particularly terrific. If ever there was a time to wrestle that remote out of the control of your husband, 7.30 Saturday would be it! Otherwise watch on iView on your computer or tablet. See if you can go back and watch the first series, might be on youtube or available from your library.

      • narf77 says:

        Cheers for that…I hadn’t ever heard of iView! Just whacked it into my favourites. Now I just have to work out how to watch “normal” tv! We have Foxtel here and the loungeroom tends to drown in crap American rubbish most of the time. Wresting that remote has never looked so tempting 😉

      • Barbara Good says:

        Oh and yes, serious reading occurred yesterday – finished another great book. Will post about it next week.

      • narf77 says:

        YUM! You have had good taste so far in books so this one shows promise 🙂

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