Less than a year ago – 46 weeks, to be exact – your mother and I held your hands and walked you to your classrooms on your first day of kindergarten.
There was apprehension and fear and even some tears. You were put in separate classrooms and would be apart for most of the day for the first time in your lives. I wasn’t sure if that was the right choice but the “experts” assured me it was and I put my trust in the fact that being out on your own would be a good thing for both of you.
It turns out, it was definitely the right thing to do. Both of you have grown so much as individuals over the past year. You can count beyond 100. You can read most children’s books with only minimal help. You can write complete sentences and short paragraphs with correct punctuation and proper capitalization. Your handwriting is better than mine. But best of all, you seem to have found a confidence in yourself that wasn’t necessarily there before.
Swee’Pea, you were so shy and quiet before entering kindergarten. I feared you would get lost in the crowd and wouldn’t get the instruction you needed because you wouldn’t demand attention. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, as the year progressed, you came out of your shell and talked excitedly of your exploits on the playground with your girlfriends and the little boy who lives down the street. You found a good friend who, thankfully, is an excellent student and likes to draw just as much as you do. I’ve enjoyed watching you cultivate this friendship by exchanging notes and pictures that you two made for each other. Having someone to be a partner makes everything so much less scary. I’m so proud of you for what you’ve accomplished.
A favorite memory of the last day of school was you telling me, along with mommy, that you won a prize for getting the most blue and green behavior cards along with the most books read over the year. The look of pride in your eyes as you explained this accomplishment was something I hope never to forget. And as I hugged you and asked if you were proud of yourself, your “uh-HUH!” in your little-girl voice made me squeeze you just a little harder.
As for you, Monk, you formed a strong bond with your teacher as I suspected you might. You are a rule follower and you really seem to love learning new things – which I’m sure made you a favorite of your teacher. You are a good boy who soaks in everything and enjoys all aspects of school. Your ability to do math and read stories is very impressive and I marvel at your willingness to read your sister a story in the morning after you’ve awakened. You’re a good brother.
My enduring memory of your kindergarten year is how much you loved performing in the kindergarten musical. You learned the choreography of all the classes’ songs as well as the lyrics. You would sing the songs you learned, in perfect pitch, many times over. Your musical ability has really shown itself at home where you have learned Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Row, Row, Row Your Boat on the keyboard we have in your playroom. You can start lower or higher register and play the songs perfectly. You’ve added in the chords to play with the melody and can even change the tempo depending on the percussion track you play on the keyboard. I’m very jealous you can do this and I hope it’s talent you continue to develop as you grow older.
Forty-six weeks ago, we watched you two board the school bus for the first time with Swee’Pea bursting into tears and TheMonk being nervously quiet. Yesterday, as you boarded the bus for the last time as a Kindergartner, the bus driver called out, “First Graders get on first!” And, Monkey, you froze in your tracks. Then, you smiled as you continued onto the bus and replied, “I’m not a first grader yet.”
Yes, you are. And it went by so fast.