Nancy M. Silva, MD, FAAP
Our son just started kindergarten. It was really exciting! I didn’t cry, but was amazed by the flashbacks of when I was little girl in school. I loved to learn. It was great to be with other kids. Kindergarten was filled with playtime.
Kindergarten sure isn’t playtime anymore. And, everyone doesn’t have the same experience anymore either. Before, regulated day care & pre-K classes didn’t exist. As for my son, he has been in day care since he was 3 months old. You’d think he’d be prepared. But, it’s just as hard for him as the other kids who have stay-at-home mommies. He had to say good-bye to his old routine, his old friends, his old teachers, basically to the life he knew for over 5 years. Now, playtime is over; it’s learning time with a little bit of playtime. After school, there’s the bus ride to day care too. He has a long day. That’s hard on anybody.
Did I mention it’s hard on us too? No one likes change. And this was a lot of change. This house wakes up earlier. He has to eat breakfast within a certain time frame. Lunch bags need to be prepared. How is a 5 year-old going to carry a backpack, a lunch bag & a snack bag? How is he going to put it all up, repack stuff, coordinate all those little things? I don’t know; but others have done it for years. It’s just our turn this time.
Technology has changed in schools as well. My son’s teacher has his homework schedule on her blog, which is very convenient. She also offers communication via email. Remember when it used to only be notes and/or phone calls? Even the PTA is modernized. The PTA has its own website with many helpful links. They even have a Facebook page. If we want to know what the PTA school functions are, we must refer to the website and Facebook. For example, the PTA ran Family Bingo Night. There was no note in his folder, like there would have been in the past; instead, all the details were on the website. By relying on technology, a lot can be accomplished. I must say, I’m amazed that this school is using technology as a part of communication, not a replacement for it. It’s a public school that has family at its heart.
Despite all the changes, there is one thing that doesn’t change … the human experience. Letting go isn’t easy. Trusting others to teach your kids & care for them isn’t easy either.
Yet, somehow, we are surviving. He’s starting to make friends, but it’s not as easy as in day care. And he feels it. Positive affirmations and pep talks are given. Reviewing the day, homework, and coaching are done. Clearly, our roles have expanded. I must admit I’m feeling more tired than before. The great news is that he is excited. In the end, that’s all that matters.
So, this pediatrician, this mommy, is going through growing pains along with my patients’ moms. It’s nice to bond with families at this special time in our children’s lives. It’s nice to share in the difficult times and the joyous ones as well. After all, being a parent is the toughest and most rewarding job of all.