We are in Kindergarten Hell. My sweet, charming little Mooch left on the first day of school with a mere wave and what walked off that bus was a fib-telling, tantrum-throwing, rule-hating little demon, packed inside the shell that once was my son. What the hell. Where did my sweet, polite child go? He went to Kindergarten.
First there was the meanness to little Zook (whom I have no concern that he can hold his own) then there was the tantrum at soccer. Soccer. All was kosher until I whip around to seem my child (or what was once my child) stamping across the soccer field in the middle of the game sobbing and screaming. The screams were barely decipherable (my hope was that they were completely indecipherable), the tears were flowing, arms swinging wildly in the air. I hate soccer! I hate my team! I hate it! I hate soccer- and my team! Sob. Sob. Sob. After about 10 minutes of rolling, kicking (not at the soccer ball), drooling and snotting on the sideline, he finally was able to tell me what had offended him to this extent: He hadn’t yet scored a goal. Really?!
There’s been meltdowns over the order of tooth brushing, nightly book choice, “wimpy” [insert item of clothing or footwear here], getting out of bed in the morning and into bed at night. We have had hitting, pushing, pinching, throwing and fist-pushing (pushing your closed fist into someone’s stomach without the quick force of a punch- but with the same outcome). We have had arguing over meals and drinks and I’ve answered questions like Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast? Everyday. (Which reminds me, I totally need to do a Things I Wish I Could Say Part 2…)
My rationale is that he’s balking at his now-structured day, learning not only about numbers and letters but also about bullies and meanness. Hearing new words and phrases, new jokes and insults- and trying them out at home. On us. There have been a couple times in the last two weeks that I have looked into his eyes, pleading with desperation… Please send my sweet innocent boy home to me! Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, he seemed sad. What’s up Mooch? How’s school? Good. Is there anything you’d like to change about kindergarten? Silence and then… Sometimes at Morning Meeting, the kids tell me to scooch over and I don’t have room to scooch. Emma told me to scooch. And I scooched. And then Henry told me to scooch back. But I had no where to scooch back. Tears stung my eyes, my throat had that hard lump in the back. As my Mooch looked down, he picked a chip of paint that had dried under his thumbnail… I didn’t have anywhere to scooch. And then he leaned into me.
So much is happening for him right now. New friends, new rules, new words, new routines, new, new, new. And he’s having a hard time catching up. And I know he’ll get there but right now it’s really hard. Hard to know what to ask and how to respond, when to talk and when to stay quiet, when to play and when to listen. I can see that his behavior over the last two weeks has been a cry (okay, screaming tantrum) for direction, support and extra attention. So that’s what this Mama needs to provide. My dear Mooch, I will help you through this. And you will learn how to be a kindergartner; I will learn what you need. And we will conquer Kindergarten Hell. Together.