Posted in Thor

In Thor News…

Since I have my blog back…

I walked away from Thor’s new school today, thinking, “We really did the right thing here.” I haven’t felt this good about his school since before the first elementary school misplaced him during the Kindergarten round-up. I haven’t seen him this happy about school since the abandonment in the bathroom. He is happy. He is chirpy. He is making friends. And, he tells us, his teacher made him Star of the Week.

This teacher has already responded to my introductory email by telling me, “He has already made several friends and the class has really responded well to him! He is such a good boy,” and saying the magic words I never heard from his first K teacher, “he is super smart!!”

I’m relieved, and happy, and…grateful. I am so grateful.

It does appear that he is going to get to stay in this class. At least, I haven’t been told anything otherwise. My metaphorical blood, sweat, and very real tears have paid off, and I am not a bit ashamed of having written that email begging the school to take him. Not a single bit.

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Don’t Make Me Wet My Pants

Kindergarten hasn’t even begun, and I am already that mother.  But, as all of those mothers do, I feel completely justified! 

I couldn’t find Thor for about 20 minutes after the parent part of the school open house was finished.  10 of those minutes, I was on a tour and looking for him idly as I was led around the school.  7 of those minutes I was looking for him with a low level of alarm that he might be worried about where I was.  For 3 of those minutes, I was pants-wetting horrified, and ready to call 9-1-1 from inside the school.

Today I thought about it.  What if something had happened?  The administration needs to know that there was confusion, so they can make it better.  Right?  You don’t have to agree.  Just pretend.  Smile and nod.  I sent my first mother-of-a-public-school-child-email and he hasn’t even stepped foot inside a classroom.  I hope I set a kind tone.

Dear Ms. Personincharge,
We met briefly last night at the Kindergarten Round-Up.  Thank you for taking the time to say hello, and tell us about the school.  B and I are looking forward to our son’s education, and this was a lot of fun for me.  I was happy to get a chance to tour the campus and see where our son, Thor, will be going to school.  He was excited by his visit, and is looking forward to Kindergarten.
After my tour of the school, I went to find him and had a few minutes of panic.  Upon arrival, we were told that Thor was going to go visit a Kindergarten classroom, and I would pick him up when I had finished all my paperwork.  When I went to the Kindergarten classrooms, there were no children there.  I walked the hallways twice, running across two tours of children, not finding mine in either group, meeting a few other parents with the same problem. 
After ten minutes, all I could think was, “Oh no!  One of the registered sex offenders from the neighborhood knew this was the Kindergarten Round Up, and…  Oh no!”  I was already surprisingly overwhelmed by the idea of “losing my baby” to school, and (being the dramatic sort) the idea of actually losing him made it a little hard to think clearly.
I realized that I had handed Thor over to a student, without showing ID, or in some way tagging myself as being his parent, and sent him on his way.  In all the excitement, anyone could have walked out the door with him.  Or, he might have walked out the door himself, trying to find me.  That was irresponsible of me, and I should have insisted on more information before letting the process take over my instincts.
I finally found the student who had taken responsibility for him, and she said I would find Thor on the playground.  There he was!  He was swinging away, happy as a lark.  I was happy, too.
I’m sure you can see how the process seemed a tad disorganized and disconcerting, especially as someone who doesn’t know the layout of the school very well and had to really search to find her child. I love the idea that kindergarteners got fifth-grade buddies to show them around.  That made Thor feel very important.  But I wonder if they wouldn’t also benefit from having an adult responsible for who belongs to whom?  If there is interest, I’d be happy to collect some ideas of how other schools do their orientations and present the PTA with some strategies that might help everyone get a little more out of it next year, and save another parent the bladder-wrenching worry that their child has vanished.
Again, thank you so much for your time!  The 5th Grade students were delightful, and gave a great tour.  I think Thor is going to be very happy at [the school], and I hope B and I can be helpful.
Best Regards,
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I took my son to register for Kindergarten today and among the myriad papers I had to fill out, there was one asking for an introduction to The Boy. The first question was, “What are 5 words you would use to describe your child’s personality.”

Just five? I only got five words to tell them how wonderful this child is? I tried to pick words that were all encompassing.

Delightful. He is a delight. Everything about him makes my heart dance. He is full of wonder and love, and he is young enough that he is still wide open to the world, showing his range of emotions with enthusiasm and without shame. And I ache a little knowing that when I send him to school, along with reading, writing and arithmetic, he will also learn to lower his voice when he is happy, hold in that laughter I love so much, and pretend he’s not hurt when he is. Right now, Elementary School, he is an open delight.

Easy Going. Thor is mellow and sanguine, and he rolls with the punches. More often than not, his answer to change is, “All right, Mama.” When he argues, I know he’s tired, or not feeling enough loved. He says tomato, and you say tomahto, and he’s cool with that. But he is not a doormat. He has a backbone and it is strong. He is a good boy, and he minds. I don’t want anyone breaking his spirit down–my job is to make sure he understands that his performance in school is important, but it isn’t everything.

Inquisitive. This child loves to learn and explore, but he likes to do it at a safe distance. He isn’t the kid in the cabinet, taste testing the bleach. We have never had a safety lock. Instead, we taught him boundaries. We wanted his obedience to come because he trusted us with his well being, not because he just couldn’t figure out how to pick the lock. All doors are open, but not all doors lead to good things. So he understands that it is okay to look, but that he needs more information before he should touch. He may not be able to name the steps, but he and I have been exploring through the scientific method since he was old enough to form hypothesis about what this or that might be, and experiment his way into understanding.

Sincere. Oh my word, this child can break my heart with how earnest he is. He wants desperately to meet our expectations. He has his moments, we all do, but his nature is to strive for approval. I think all kiddos want that, and seek it out. I am Thor’s mother, though, so I see his sincerity as something special and spectacular, and I wonder all the time, “Where did this amazing child come from?” Because I don’t think I was ever this good. In school, he may learn that approval from the teacher will get him teased. At home, his mother will be teaching him to throw a punch, to bust any mockers in the mouth. Not really. I’ll be teaching him to find his worth in himself, and teaching him how to put that backbone to use. (And how to throw a punch, just in case.)

Helpful. This was the last word I chose. I wanted to use a word that would let his teacher know that he was a boy who wanted to be useful. He is a boy who needs to feel involved. He wants to get his hands on things, and he wants to show you what he can do. When he gets to help, he feels proud of himself. I hope that school is a place where he can feel a daily sense of accomplishment. He’s got thirteen years of it ahead of him.

He doesn’t know it yet, but as soon as he walks through those doors in August, he is on a track. He will learn how to read, and communicate in writing, how to work sums and do algebra, he will experience sports, and art, and music, and science, and he will form friendships, and fall in and out of love, and he will have homework, and practice, and hopes for the future. My job is to see to it that in thirteen years he is still delightful, and easy going, and inquisitive, and sincere, and helpful.

Wish me luck.