Big Yellow Buses and Waterproof Mascara

I wrote something down on my calendar last week that made me aware of how fast Caitlin is growing up and it scared me a little.

Kindergarten registration.

It’s coming soon.

In April.

KINDERGARTEN.

How can this be? How can my sweet little chunky baby girl, with no hair to speak of at her first birthday save a few blonde wisps that defied all manner of girlish barrettes and bows, the baby with the delicious fat rolls and the penchant for the paci and the strawberry birthmark on her ample belly that has all but faded…how can she be ready to start kindergarten? Real school? Real school with a cafeteria and big yellow school buses and chalkboards and recess? (And bullies, and mean girls, and peer pressure, and cafeteria food…mama panic ensues!)

Thankfully we are zoned for a great public elementary school. And Caitlin seems genuinely excited about going to “big school.” Two of her friends are already attending kindergarten and her weekly fall soccer practice was held on the school grounds, so she’s familiar with the school. And I like to think that because she has been going to daycare since she was infant, the transition won’t be as tough. I think…I really have no idea. I hope I won’t be the psycho mom peeking in the window after drop off. I hope I won’t be the crushed mom whose annoyed child looks at her and says, dismissingly, “Mommy I am OKAY!” I hope I won’t be the sad mom who spends the first day of school gazing at her child’s pictures, sniffling and mourning the loss of her “baby.” (Note to self: Wear WATERPROOF mascara that day.)

I’m also trying to determine what we’ll do in the afternoons because “big school” is out at 3, and I don’t officially leave the office until 5. I really want to be able to pick her up at least two days a week, possibly three as I’m already off on Fridays. Between the hubby and grandparents,we should be able to work it out so that she does not have to attend an after school program. And my trusty manny (my dad) has an antique Lincoln Continental and I’ll be willing to bet at some point Caitlin will get picked up from kindergarten in style and then she’ll never want mama picking her up in her old boring SUV again. I’ve heard the local afternoon YMCA program is great, but I’d really like to pick her up and help her out with her homework in the afternoons. Yes, you can quote me on that this fall when I’m complaining about it.

Here’s an interesting article I found about a study on after school programs. If you are a working parent whose child is about to start kindergarten or who is already in school, what do you do or what do you plan to do as far as after school care? I’ll definitely check into the YMCA’s summer program.

It’s going to be a big change for all of us. Ready or not kindergarten, here we come.

Edited to add: Yes, the week is here. I submitted this post to today’s Carnival of Family Life at Lil Duck Duck. If you’re here from the carnival, enjoy! Click over on my “best of” posts on my sidebar to get to know me a bit better.

21 comments

  1. Charla says:

    I am trying very hard to forget that Chase will be in the big K come August…but you keep bringing it up! It’s bad enough that my firstborn will be 5 on Thursday, but now you bring kindergarten in the mix. (you know I’m just messin’ with ya)

    I think Chase will love kindergarten, too, but I do dread sending him off in the big, big world (or at least it feels like that). At least we have each other to lean on!

  2. Dawn K says:

    You will be all of those things and so will I. There were nose prints on the door of daycare and I cried the entire day. I can’t even begin to imagine what Kindergarten is going to be like and it is still four years away for me. Maybe Billy and I will have another baby so the chaos will make me forget the fact they grow up so fast.

    You’ll be great and so will she!

  3. RichieAnn says:

    My plan for that dreaded first day is to just take the day off and make my husband take me to breakfast. That way nobody but him will see me cry.

  4. Anne says:

    aww! Caitlin is one year ahead of Lily in the kindergarten department and I feel your pain already. I would do the afternoon session too but here in Australia I’m pretty sure kindergarten is a full day affair. wah wah wah!

  5. mayberry says:

    I just dropped off our reg. forms yesterday! We’re very lucky in that our beloved day care center offers before- and after-school care with drop-off & pick-up from all the local elementary schools. I’ll do after-care a couple of days a week, since even full-day K only adds up to about 25 hrs/wk and I work 28.

  6. Amy says:

    You can always tell the Kindergarten Moms. I was one (twice so far, one more to go). They are the ones with the big brave smiles as they march in a proud little one with an extra large looking backpack. Then they are the ones crying all the way to the car.
    I was also the crying mom among the smiling waving moms last summer sending Big A off to 4-H camp. He is already planning this years adventure. I am dealing much better…until E. gets to go in a couple of years!

  7. Bluegrass Mama says:

    Dare I confess that I was one of the moms jumping up & down for joy when I sent mine off to kindergarten? In my case, I was a SAHM and looked forward to those glorious 3.5 hours a day to myself (when our son went; it was full-day be the time our daughter started 10 years later). However, many SAHMs I know take it as hard or harder than the working moms. I know some who summoned all their courage to put their kid on the bus the first day, then followed the bus to school. I was running in the opposite direction.

    However, I will need that waterproof mascara this May when I watch that son graduate from COLLEGE. It will be here before you know it, Jamie. Trust me on this!

  8. thethinker says:

    I’m sure both you and your daughter will be fine. I remember my first day of kindergarten as being extremely fun. (And the mean girls don’t become a problem until high school. Trust me. I’m dealing with them right now.)

  9. Heather( Queen of the Mayhem) says:

    I was a mess when my daughter started kindergarten. Sadly enough, I was one of the loser moms who followed the bus, and peeked at her through the window! She was fine…..I took at least a week to get over it! Sounds like you are in a good situation. We are lucky enough to be in a great school system. Also, my daughter attends the school at which I teach. Makes it VERY easy to keep tabs on her.

  10. kelli says:

    I’m about to send my little one to FIRST GRADE next year. I don’t want to do it! Bus! All day! Older kids! Her Kindergarten this year is only 9-1pm and theres 10 kids in her class. I feel your pain! You’ll do fine though :0) I’m always over emotional about the school thing.

  11. Nicole says:

    I read an article in a magazine about a group of women who threw a “first day of school” party — for the MOMS. The veterans comforted the kindergarten moms and there were mimosas.

    That’s all I remember. It seemed relevant when I started typing. Huh.

  12. Liza's Eyeview says:

    I recommend you purchase the book “Kissing Hands” by Audrey Penn and read it to her on the first day of kindergarten.

    Since she’s already going to day care, she’s probably not going to be as clingy as other kids. Nevertheless that book is very very touching – a must have.

  13. Liza's Eyeview says:

    Thanks for the link to the “After School” article. My kids goes to YMCA (They call it A+ and it’s based in the school). We are satisfied with it. The director, Stacy, is great and the program wonderful. It’s a good option for us since it’s impossible for us to pick-up kids early (both of us work until 4:30) and we do not have relatives nearby.

  14. Charla says:

    Oh, I love that Kissing Hands book, too! I forgot about it!
    I had, at one time, read the article Nicole mentioned, but not really something I can do since I have to teach…mimosas and teaching – DO NOT MIX! It was a very neat idea, though. They get together every first day of school. Cool idea.

  15. Blonde Mom says:

    Dayngr:

    Thanks! It is a free WordPress template from http://www.geeksmakemehot.com. I just recently customized it with family photos, though, with help from my husband!

    Liza:

    Thanks for the book tip. I think she will be less clingy since she’s so used to going to “school.” Hopefully some of her buddies will be in her class, although they have several kindergarten classes.

    And Nicole, you had me at mimosas. 😉

  16. Mrs. M says:

    aww, bless your heart!

    have you checked to see if the school has an aftercare thing like kid’s place? it’s big here in knoxville and seems to be a great program. plus, the kids stay in the same place.

  17. Mrs. Flinger says:

    I wanna go to your and Nicole’s First Day Of School party for the moms! Even if mine isn’t there yet! And it’s 3,000 miles away!

  18. Stephanie says:

    My daughter starts kindergarten in the fall too. I’ve heard our school does it an interesting way. They start out with half days, but stretch them out by the end of the school year to full days so that the kindergarteners have some experience with that by first grade.

    Yes, I’m dreading it all. I work at home and my daughter goes to preschool 3 days a week 3 hours a day, but it’s still going to be so hard to let her start!

  19. Nancy says:

    There are several of us that will be in the same boat this year. Too bad we’re all in different locations — otherwise I’d invite you, Mayberry, and mothergoosemouse over for first-day-of-school coffee and consoling.

    Ah, can’t even think about it, I’m already getting teary…

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