Kindergarten, where have you been all my life? You mean to tell me all we had to do to avoid the nightly bedtime tug-of-war with our daughter was send her to school? I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth here, but this just seems too good to be true. Most nights she’s in bed—and willingly—by 7:30 pm. Read it again: 7:30. Some nights she ASKS to go upstairs. Amazing. But when you listen to my daughter, it’s easy to understand why she’s so tired.
On a recent cranky morning ride to school she informed my wife that she wants to go back to daycare. Those were the days, I guess. “The work is too hard,” she complains. Turns out, learning is taxing on the mind and body. It’s a good thing they give her two opportunities to feed her mind and body, right? Wrong. If you ask my daughter, she’s not fed enough. “In daycare we had two snacks and we only get one in Kindergarten,” she protests. Poor baby.
Due to this unfortunate situation finally coming to my attention, I am starting a collection for under-snacked Kindergartners. No child should be forced to sit through an entire school day with just one snack. That’s an outrage and a tragedy. (And I’m joking, of course.)
Despite her proclaimed exhaustion, she loves all of the outdoor activity and running around involved in Kindergarten. We not only get a full report from gym class, the playground, and recess, we get a re-enactment. Dinner is often interrupted by obstacle courses and jumping jacks. A full play-by-play of that day’s physical education. And while she’s so tired, she still finds room to complain, “We don’t go outside two times a day.” Oh, the humanity.
I get it, child. I hear you and I feel you. You’re often too tired to focus on your homework but we manage to soldier through it. You’re yearning for the glory days when your teachers were more cuddly. When snacks were plentiful and playtime was seemingly endless. Please know, my sweet daughter, that I am struggling right along with you.
For example, in daycare your teachers packed your lunchbox back up when you were finished. It came back to me neat and clean. There was rarely any food left. Now? YOU are in charge of this task. As a result, I often must declare a state of emergency upon opening that disaster area you call a lunchbox. Leftover peas, the remnants of whatever berries I packed for you, and crust from your bread combine to form a tiny culinary crime scene in this small vinyl case.
And what is up with there being only one week so far this school year where there was actually school every day of the week for a full day? Is this some kind of sick joke? I am told this is how it will be until you graduate high school. That we will be perpetually scrambling for child care on days where we work because your teachers have a conference or it’s Flag Day. Great.
So I get it. We’re all making adjustments. You, your mom, and me. But let me tell you one thing about Kindergarten. It’s meant to prepare you for the rest of your life, with the hard work and the structure and regaling your family and friends with happy tales from playtime. It’s preparing you pretty well for what’s to come.
Justin is a husband, dad, and writer who also blogs about the tough road to Kindergarten at Daddy Knows Less.