Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Chair of Calm

Not surprisingly as Big has started kindergarten I find myself surrounded by friends & offspring who have done the same in the past week. As we all navigate these alien landscapes and compare notes, definitely my favourite facet of kindergarten life is: the Chair of Calm. One of my friend's sons comes home every day and reports to her who was sent to the Chair of Calm. In my mind it is a very high chair, possibly requiring 3 or 4 steps to reach the seat, lined with pillows in navy blue and has a built in massaging function. Personally I would love to be sent to the Chair of Calm. As I led a meeting with 7 extremely pissed off people today (not pissed off at me per sey but perhaps peripherally pissed off at me) And I could feel my hands grow clammy and my heart pound, I thought about how very uncalming my chair was and wishes for a strict but kind kindergarten teacher to appear and order me into the Chair of Calm.

Kindergarten is perplexing to say the least. There are so many confusing rules to follow that I just cannot seem to keep straight in my head. To rattle off a few:
-the lunch bag cannot be in the backpack
-the morning snack must be in the backpack NOT the lunch bag
-the morning snack can consist only of fruit, vegetable or cheese I.e. ONE of those items, no mixing and nothing not included on that last so, for example, crackers and cheese would be twice verboten once for having two different types of food items and twice for the crackers which are not fruit, veg or cheese.

And I understand. Believe me I do. I know and appreciate that each kindergarten teacher is in charge of a pack of 18-20 wild animals with very little back up or assistance, very little funding and they are making do with the very barebones of just about everything so if they want the snack in the backpack then I will cheerfully oblige... Except when I don't out of sheer confusion, fatigue, disorganization.... I really hope that I don't screw the pooch on this kindergarten bureaucracy. I don't want to be the problem parent and also I genuinely do want to amaze life as easy as possible for the woman who will hopefully teaching Big a couple of useful things this year.

But I remain confused and always on the cusp of screwing up. I have about 5,000 questions to ask of the daycare, the teacher, the lunch people, the after school people (note these are all different entities to add to the confusion) but I don't want to overwhelm anyone with my ignorance so I am kind of dolling them out one at a time, slowly filling in the gaping holes in our knowledge. The onus is really on me; we chose French school which means that I am charged with all understanding and communicating. 

Big has taken to school with aplomb. She marches off each morning with out a backwards glance and marches out at the end of the day with her lunch bag empty, backpack full brimming with forms to be filled out and hand-outs to be understood and head completely empty of ANYTHING that transpired during the day enter the conversation I am sure every parent has with their kindergartener:

What did you do?
I don't know.
What was your favourite part?
What did you learn?
Nothing (actually to be fair today she said "helping others")
Who did you play with?
I don't remember.

It's a black box this kindergarten experience. I put her in in the morning and she emerges at the end of the day, fed, tired, hopefully slightly more knowledgeable and perhaps having spent some quality time in the chair of calm.

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