Will I Ever Be Ready For Kindergarten?

My little boy is so ready for kindergarten.  But, I. AM. NOT!

Due to overwhelming changes in a two-week span in our family life, I wasn’t able to reflect on my son’s first day of school. He has finished his first week as a kindergartner – and, just today while I prepared his lunch for tomorrow I realized that I am in mourning.

Beyond the complete loss of control over what his daily routine looks like, who influences him, who cares for him and how (this has been damaging enough to my mommy-psyche), I face the loss of the baby and toddler I know and feel comfortable with.  And, I never thought I would say something like this.  Jeez, I sound awful to my own ears (eyes).  I sound like a hyper-controlling, emotionally needy, wreck of a mom…”my baby”…really? The kid is 4!

He is a boy.  Not a baby.  Hasn’t been for a while.  I could relate to the baby and toddler and preschooler much easier than I can to a head-strong boy of 4 and a half.  A boy who is loud and declares his boyhood in volumes I can never comprehend the need for.  A boy who has enough energy to power a small country for decades.

The vision of these two versions of my son collide in my mind’s eye and the former fades while the latter stomps all over him loudly and happily because he is growing up and is thrilled by it.

I must say good-bye to my little guy and learn to accept this new hurricane who has taken over with his big voice, big movements and even bigger emotions.

A little voice inside me (begrudgingly) admits – I am thrilled by him too.  He is as exciting as he is exhausting, as curious as he is cuddly, as awed by life as he awes me by his insights, as sensational as he is sensitive.  And, so, I must treat him differently, I will always shower him with love and affection – but I have to learn to take a step back, to bite my tongue, to hold my hands in place and stop, stop, stop helping, guiding, rescuing.  A boy like this requires empowering.

I hope I am woman enough to do it.

All of this because of kindergarten.  His week was a combination of exuberance and separation anxiety.  Of making friends, establishing new routines and smiling brilliantly every afternoon at home-time.  My week was full of anxiety-ridden thoughts: is he warm enough? is he eating? is being treated well? is he making friends? And each thought evaporated at the sight of that brilliant smile every afternoon followed by the chatter of what happened at school.

Perhaps kindergarten is more about educating me, getting me ready for the growing boy who will pull and push and challenge.  It is about getting me ready to be his foundation, his port, his rock (any other analogy for strength and stability can be inserted here).

Ideally, he would remain little, under my care forever.  But, then, neither of us would grow or learn.  And, what would be the fun in that?

Perhaps I have more to learn from kindergarten than I ever thought possible.

How have you reacted to the milestone’s in your child’s life that have reminded you to let go?

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Things I Learned From My Brother

My “Little Brother” is not so little anymore.  He’s in his thirties, and today he celebrates his birthday, adding a candle to his cake and another year of experience to his life.  We have always been very close.  We have truly “had each other’s back”, as the old cliche goes.  Since I haven’t posted anything in weeks – life has gotten very busy – I thought it fitting that I’d start blogging again on his birthday and allowing him to be my inspiration.  So here goes…Jason, this is what you have taught me over the years (there’s more, but these are my top lessons):

  1. Listen more, speak less:  this is a tough one for members of any self-respecting Colombian family.  Colombians love to talk – loudly.  Preferably, that talk shoud include some kind of funny anecdote, a great punch-line or a wise life-lesson.  Jason was always a little less loud than those around him.  He’s always been quiet – preferring to allow others to take center-stage.  This is by no means a lack of confidence…on the contrary, he doesn’t need to boast or shout to the world his accomplishments.  I teach for a living…I am used to talk, talk, talk all day long.  So when I am in a social situation, I take a page out of my brother’s book – talk less, listen more.  It is amazing what you can learn and how much more enriching the experience becomes.
  2. When all else fails, smile…charmingly: my brother has a knack for ingratiating himself with others and making people feel at ease.  His smile is sincere as is the twinkle in his eye.  He got that from our dad.  Simple and it works.
  3. Take care of yourself:  this one might sound a little obvious, or perhaps a little selfish, but it isn’t – in either case.  Jason always puts himself and his needs first – and, never in a way that makes one feel he is self-absorbed.  He knows his boundaries, what is good for him, what he needs to be the best version of himself and he is true to that – always.  Now that I am a mother I see just how critical that is.  In taking care of yourself first, you will always have the energy to take care of others without feeling empty.  This is one of my favourite lessons that I take from my brother.
  4. Play: take the time to play your favourite sport – in his case, soccer; take the time to play with your friends and loved ones.  That “To-Do” list can be put off and the world will not end (really?) – Yes, really.
  5. Shrug it off, but be persistent:  yes, get angry when things don’t go as planned, but don’t stay angry.  Shrug it off, look at what happened and go at it again from a different angle. Or, sometimes, don’t get angry and just shrug it off…what are you going to do, change the past?  Nope.  Keep going – it can only get better from here.  When he wants to do something, he will do it.  Regardless of how long it takes, he will get it done.
  6. Inspiring this blog post: thanks for existing and having a birthday today!  I’ve been feeling guilty about neglecting my blog and you helped me write one today – so thanks!

Sometimes we don’t have to look very far for inspiration, for feeling so moved we have to write.  I am grateful for all the life lessons and look forward to many, many more.  Happy Birthday Little Brother!

From Book to E-Reader

I am attempting to write this post from my shiny new BlackBerry playbook. It has taken me longer to write these two sentences than my entire last post. this is gonna take a while.

I am fascinated by my new toy and am thoroughly annoyed as I type on the keyboard because everytime I hit the letter a I end up with caps. anyways (where’d the caps go?) as I play with my toy I eagerly search out all the ebook apps, but decide to stick with the Kobo app that  comes with the Playbook.

I have stopped writing on my Playbook.  I revert to the comfort and speed of the keyboard on my laptop.

So, maybe I won’t take to writing on Playbook, but I love everything else about it.  The screen is easy to use and just sensitive enough.  I have quick access to all of the ways I communicate with my friends and family.  It is so much fun to scroll my way through different apps, have various windows open at the same time and have access to my BlackBerry Torch.  It is definitely user friendly.  However, since I found it difficult to type anything longer than a few words in a search box…I question whether I will take to reading on it?

I can’t seem to picture myself curled up with a large screen instead of a book.  With a book I get to run my fingers over the cover, delight in turning to my bookmark – normally a make-shift folded piece of paper, post-it or old card – and smile as I dive back into the story at hand.

Can I change the way I see reading as I have changed my way of collecting photos in files and displaying them on screens?  As I changed from calling all the time to emailing all the time to texting all the time?  As I changed when I finally decided to join the ranks on facebook and twitter?

I think I can and I am excited about it.

We are creatures of habit – but these habits can be broken…or, at the very least, they can evolve.  I will always love to read and the idea of carrying around all of my favourite books with me all the time is delicious indeed.  I am eagerly looking for the perfect book to begin my e-reader experience.  I am debating between a classic, one of my favourites or something completely new and therefore, define the experience as completely new like a bold line separating the old me curled up with a book and the new me curled up with a small screen.

I’m not sure how reading on an e-reader will affect my reaction to a book.  But, I am looking forward to finding out…I just have to find the right book….any suggestions?