Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kindergarten here we come!

Today was Gabriella's first day of Kindergarten. There has been such a build-up to this day, that I'm feeling a bit of a let down right now. Everything went fine. We read the Ready Confetti poem last night and sprinkled the confetti all around her bed.
And we also began what will be an annual 1st day of school tradition: A Kindercone. This is a tradition in Germany that my friend Cheryl told me about. It's kind of like a mini personal pinata. A cone, filled with goodies and trinkets to celebrate the start of school each year. David helped me make and decorate it, and we filled it with the small Target $1 aisle type gifts I keep on hand, and a special new book: "Tea for Ruby". Gabriella loved the Kindercone!

Then, after dropping Nicholas to play with his good buddies Abram and Micah, a few transportation glitches led us from waiting for a CTA bus (remember all those stories?), to getting in a taxi, to ditching the taxi and walking the rest of the way. Let's just say 1, 600 students being dropped off at one school, at the same time can cause alot of traffic chaos. Anyhow, we made it just in time, and Gabriella loves her teacher. She had met her a couple of times before, and on Sunday she made her a card which she gave to her today. I forgot to scan it, so I quickly took a picture of it when she got it out of her backpack this morning. So innocent and sweet is my daughter.
She can't wait for the first "real" day tomorrow. Today was a only a few hours and the parents accompanied their children for part of the time. Meeting the other parents of supposed "gifted" children is always very interesting to me. So many of us have alot of commonalities, yet very stark differences too. It's also interesting to watch the children and how different they are. Even more amazing is to think how smart all of these kids are at such a young age. They will be delving into 1st grade curriculum as though it's normal, and studying Mandarin Chinese for one hour daily. It's also amazing to me that the teacher can control and teach 30 kids like mine, by herself, all day. Wow. Not a job to be taken lightly. Thank a teacher the next time you see one. Especially if they work for CPS where the student:teacher ratio is so high (30:1).

The saddest part of my day was not letting go of my little girl who is growing up. The saddest part of my day was when I had to make sure Gabriella's teacher knew that she has a 504 plan. I put it off until we were leaving and Gabriella was nowhere near. When I told her about it, the teacher's response was, "Oh, does she have Asthma?" I wanted to cry. I did cry inside. After a 60 second run down on Marfan Syndrome with a "don't freak out" emphasis, the teacher was interested to read about it on the website, in addition to learning Gabriella's specifics in her 504. I had already written www.marfan.org on Gabriella's getting to know you sheet that we had to complete this morning while there.

So why does this make me so sad? Have I still failed to "get over it", and not accept what our future is? No. What makes me so sad is that my daughter can never again just be that sweet, cute blonde girl that likes pink, purple and blue. She has to be singled out from the start. She can't just be one of the kids in room xxx. I despise doing this. Setting her apart from the beginning just seems so unfair to me. She can never just be Gabriella to her teacher. Her identity is, Gabriella the girl with the heart problem and other issues from that weird syndrome I had never heard of, Marfan. This is much worse than letting my baby grow up and go off to Kindergarten. So bittersweet was the end to a great first day of Kindergarten for me.

In spite of my issues at the end of the day, Gabriella will be wonderful and will thrive in this environment, I can tell already! She will create for us daily, stories and pictures of her life as a Kindergartener, and I'm sure I will share some of them here. So for now, enjoy the shots of her new backpack and 1st day of school outfit!

And BTW, big kudos to the staff of our new school for taking the professional aspect of your job seriously enough to not dress like the latest teen pop-star. The teachers and administration all dress better than most corporate workers these days. I love it. David was even mistaken for a principal by one child, since he was wearing a suit. I'm pretty sure the real principal gets credit for the tres chic dresscode. My daughter will respect all of you so much more for the way you dress as her teacher. Oh, and me too.


With Papa
Drawing her self-portrait
Giving her teacher her card
With Mama
Sporting the new monogrammed backpack
Opening her Kindercone!





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