Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Middle mojo

My middle child, a very recent middle child, formerly, obviously, the youngest child, started kindergarten a few weeks ago. And although I knew she was prepared for it both socially and, likely, academically, I still thought the first few weeks would be rough on her.

She attends a Spanish immersion K-8 school, so not only is she facing the normal kindergarten angst (more structure, more academics, more lines, less recreational time, etc.) she also has a teacher who speaks to the class only in Spanish for the entire 7 hours, and she shares her campus with kids who will be going to HIGH school the next year. There are about 650 kids at her school, so it's not a small intimate scene. Instead it's a very diverse public school that is sorely underfunded.

I didn't think my girl would get teary on the first day of school, and she did not. But I did think that she'd be bleary eyed and cranky when I picked her up after her first day, and likely after every day for the first few months.

But she has proven me wrong. She IS tired, there is no doubt about it, but she has adjusted to kindergarten as if she's done it before, and her grouchy is for the most part contained until bedtime is nearing. Part of the credit needs to go to Jacquie and her crew at the child development center she runs. They offer a very cool, very effective "kindergarten connection" class for 6 weeks, which my middle child participated in. That prepared her in myriad ways, but the credit still needs to go to my girl.

She came home the first day talking about her two new best friends, she may have only known the name of one of the two girls, but they were both her best friends nonetheless. She helped the teacher with paper towels and by accompanying other children to the bathroom. She acted as if she'd done it all before.

The second day when I picked her up I asked about her new girlfriends, and she said she only played with one of the two girls. When I asked why, she said, "Well Ava was sad today, she kept crying and wanting her MOM!" as if that was something unheard of on day two of kindergarten.

When I go to the kinder gate to pick her up after school, even if I'm late and most of the kids are already gone, she does not even know when I arrive because she is so engrossed in conversation with whatever little girl is sitting next to her. She is not anxious to leave.

When her step dad asked her if she missed her beloved preschool, she answered with a quick, confident one-word, "No."

But the activity that lets me know for sure that she is feeling confident and comfortable in her new surroundings is her trading ability. Yes, my middle child managed, by day two, to trade her grapes for a six pack of peanut butter crackers. She traded two chocolate covered pretzels for an entire bag of sun chips another day, and she pulled a bag of fruit loops out of her backpack that I'm still unsure of what she traded for. She's trading so much that I heard about it from another one of the kinder moms. "Devon was talking about Merrell last night. She was telling me how much Merrell liked Devon's jello." Yes, my cheeks reddened, but you gotta love that pluck.

Although it's against the rules, and I just yesterday asked her to stop her successful trading operation, I secretly hope she'll continue to get what she wants at lunch, and in life.


lunch swapper in Central PA said...

minds me of another chatty young student who was able to trade her ho hum sandwich on homemade bread for some great Wonder bead sandwich her friend Beth had.
Add to that the ability to get that same Beth girl to share her oreos, doritos, and apple pies, and you have a lasting friendship built on sharing and trading :)
I guess it helped that the Beth girl had a swell lunch-making dad who must have felt sorry for the chatty girl with homemade bread!
ps..tell Pat "hello" from me

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I'm thrilled to hear that she's doing so well!


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Aw, what a little pip! I love it. Next thing you know she'll be getting her friends to tell their parents what to pack for lunch, so your girl can get the goods. She'll soon have some intricate pyramid system in place.

Well done, M!


Kathi D said...

Wow, what a trooper!

doshimaitri said...

The best way to become proficient in English is throughEnglish immersion programs where the student is taught in English.You are right when you say that the best way to learn a language is through immersionAs a result, most English Quebecers are perfectly bilingual, and French Quebecers are stuck speaking only one language.