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.
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.