The whole year has been an added bonus to holding my child back from kindergarten. Not so much in my pocket, since i paid an extra year of daycare. However I have not regretted holding her back after finding out she scored significantly low in her evaluation scores in both communication and physical activities. I would swear my child is a genius because of her knowledge of the alphabet, shapes, all things ponies and cooking skills. Apparently those skills are not enough to achieve kindergarten readiness. Besides, having an ultra late November birthday like me, she would have been the youngest in her class. I was four with the fives. Five with the sixes. Sixteen with the seventeens. And seventeen while going into college. Her evaluation scores were not what psyched me out. What I thought about and said to the principal was “how will she feel when everyone gets their permit before her and her friends are all doing more mature things?”. He laughed but he was on the same wavelength. One whole year makes a world of a difference.
I have been coping with the idea of a new schedule for myself and my daughter. Going into kindergarten means that we both will have shorter days and a bigger work load. To help prepare, I have searched for tips on kindergarten readiness and talked with many parents. Since every child is different, I have tried to focus on how my child learns. Her obsession with horses has helped me find ways to teach her about animals, life, counting and responsibility. Her speech has come a long way in that her vocabulary has grown. I have managed to balance my homework and readings out with having a child by reading materials to her. Of course she has no idea half the time what I mean, but I am planting a seed. I have been able to write a lot about mothering in return for my assignments. The juggle has worked out in my favor.
While ignoring my own upcoming courses, I have been shopping for items for her school supply list. Of course I was eager to obtain it so I stalked the school website until I found the PDFs from last year. Figuring it was the same supply list, I got everything and then some. On the list were pony folders, extra glue, safety scissors and the coolest lunch Tupperware I could find. She was able to settle on a backpack and lunch box after much searching. I wanted her to pick out things she liked based on interest not gender. She originally wanted a ninja turtles backpack but was shy around the boys in Walmart all fighting for one. I explained to her that it did not matter which one she had as long as she liked it. The end result was a Disney backpack. Predictable but cute.
The funniest part about being a feminist and teen mom is that some people think I’m going through a phase. Or that I am trying to rebel against society. In a way I am. I stand up for what I believe in but I do not raise pitch forks and raise havoc on all things pink. I adore ruffles and flowers on my daughter. I also love that she rolls around in the dirt and gets rough. Why do we all assume that being dirty or wearing dusty denim is masculine? Think about it. We teach our daughters all the time to be submissive, ultra feminine and spotless. To cross their ankles and wear white socks. Girls are not expected to be wild or dirty. I raise my own child to just enjoy life. To take the time to stomp in the rain puddles and pick out black and green “boyish” toys. Its not betraying my gender to play with some trucks. And I won’t be betraying my feminism by wearing dresses and heels. Its knowing I can choose what I want and so can my daughter. So when she dresses up for kindergarten and chooses toy story sneakers to match her pink skirt, I will be proud to send her off.
What parents ignore is that society sets the precursor for gender identity. Having isles marked by girls and boys items helps pave the way for segregation in toys, lunch boxes, bedroom decor and later on in life careers and education. We don’t take it serious enough when we direct our kids to boy or girl approved things. We take for granted the ability to be an individual, a unique person. When my daughter steps into public school, my wish is for her to see people as people. I only wish other children could too.
With less than three weeks left I have bought everything I could think of. Aside from that set of stainless steel vegetable shape cutters on amazon. I have looked up fun and healthy lunch foods, gotten every supply I could and interested study tips til my eyes were hurting. I have coordinated outfits, purchased story books about moving up into kindergarten and even redid her bedroom to fit her new “change”. OK also to force her to like her own bed permanently. We are taking this new experience with extra excitement. She is my only child so I do wonder if I go overboard sometimes. Then I remind myself there is no such thing! 🙂