Kindergarten, the new first grade

August 27, 2012

Back in the Stone Age when I went to kindergarten, it was no big deal.  I don’t remember my first day or much of anything except that my best friend was a girl named Sarah Lynn, and there was a little boy named Robert whom I chased around the playground declaring my undying love (yes, I was a little hussy).  I always got lefty scissors because I knew I was left handed, but since I couldn’t tell the difference between my left hand and my right hand, I was blissfully unaware that I was cutting right handed, and those damn lefty scissors never worked.

There were two classes—the Red Birds and the Blue Birds.  The Blue Birds were the older class, and because I had a November birthday I was in there for two years.  There was no uniform, and the curriculum was simply art, colors, letters, numbers, recess, and more art.  Our day ended at noon and we had show-and-tell every Friday.

Fast forward to Jax Bean, age 5, in the 21st century.  In May he graduated from the Wee School.  The Wee School is very small preschool run by some very good Baptist women who are assured a place in heaven for their kindness and their forbearance.  Any other school would have surely kicked Moose out by the time he started crawling.

And so it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the good ladies at the Wee School* and said hello to the great big world of kindergarten where they have a UNIFORM policy.  Class is a full 7-hour day, and a crazy one at that—they eat lunch at 10:30 a.m.  They have a curriculum that includes math, science, social studies, and reading.  There are all kinds of policies and paperwork, and to enroll him, not only did I have to submit his birth certificate, social security card, immunization record, a light bill, and a tax bill, I had to sign and have notarized an affidavit that said that I live where I say I live and swear under oath that Jax comes from a bedbug-free home.


No one sent a letter acknowledging our application for enrollment, but sometime last spring even though I’m on the National Do Not Call Registry, I started getting calls every couple of days from the principal on my cell phone and my landline with important, prerecorded messages, and to cover all bases, I got emails, too, with links to the important, prerecorded messages.

Despite all of this and despite the fact that I had to spend a month’s salary on school supplies (can one kid really use 12 glue sticks and 4 bottles of Elmer’s in one year?), Jax began kindergarten last Wednesday.

I was a wreck.  I couldn’t sleep, my stomach was in knots and I had to take the day off of work.  Jax, on the other hand, was blasé, and even appeared to be relieved when Mimi and my camera and I finally left him in class.

Every 30 minutes, I wondered what he was doing.  At 10:30, I thought about him eating lunch, at 12:00 I wondered if he was homesick, at 1:30 I wondered if he had any friends, and then finally at 3:15, I was en route to pick him up.

We were all en route to pick him up.  Papa and Sissy rode their bikes the four miles up the trail, and Mimi and Moose and I drove.  There was a traffic jam in the pickup line, and while we sat in line barely inching ahead, Papa and Sissy passed us by.

Minutes later, I got a call that they had him, so we did a U-turn and headed for Maison Bean.  Ten minutes after we got home, Sissy and Jax arrived on the tandem.  Papa, who had been more affected by the first day of kindergarten than he let on, had taken a detour to load up on spirits.

When Papa got home, he reported that as Jax put on his helmet to get on the tandem, one of the other kids had said, “That’s soooo cool.”

Mimi and I cornered Jax, asking question after question, but he wasn’t talking, so I sent his teacher an email, and she wrote back that he had had a good day, but I worried the rest of the week.

Over the weekend, out of the blue, Jax said to me, “Mommy, you know that new school I’m going to? I really like it a lot.”

And I then I called Mimi to tell her he was okay, and we were both relieved.

*Moose has been accepted to the preschool class at the same school, and he begins next Tuesday.  But more than likely, he’ll get kicked out, and I’ll have to send him back to the Baptists.

The world is your oyster, little boy.

What happened to that colicky baby I had?!

Holy shit--he's taking this thing seriously.If the pick-up line is too long, there's always Sissy.Is it my imagination, or is he looking cocky?!



papa August 28, 2012 at 10:37 am

Jenny bought her house about 400 yards from the best grade school in town. So naturally when it’s about time for Jax to start walking to school, they decide to tear it down and build a new one. Now we have to travel 4 miles to the temporary site and hang out in trailers.

Bad Luck? Not really. Now we have a bicycle adventure almost every day and have a 5-year-old who loves to ride his bike the 4 miles home in the afternoon. Who needs gym class?

Got to run, Moose is swinging…on one of the top cabinet doors in the kitchen. I’m going to start making him wear a bike helmet in the HOUSE.


P.S. Damn. We’re almost out of rum.

Melinda August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I hope Jax continues to like his new adventure (and that Moose gets to stay where he’s planned to go 😉 )

Jenn August 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Me too, Minnie. Me too.

Nicole August 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I love it! Starting Audrey in the next few weeks I think. I haven’t enrolled her yet but it’s the plan. I thought of you, my little southern bell, while drinking my weight in vino this weekend. I have a newly acquired taste for blanc and even (GASP!) bought a bottle of chard to bring home. I take back everything I said about your wine before. Miss you. Hugs. And tell Papa if he ever wants a side gig blogging for me, he’s got it.

PS. Audrey is right now using my boobs as a platform for her blocks. I wish I was kidding.

Kristy K. James August 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Sending your child off to school for the first time is hard on most parents. When my baby started, I was totally bummed and couldn’t even go home the first day (good thing it was just the 8-11 class). Glad Jax is enjoying it. Be aware that this will probably wear off in a month or two because, as with all new adventures, they do wear off. And homework gets old in a hurry. 🙂

I’ve often wondered what was wrong with the ‘old’ school system. I mean look at what we turned out in the 20th century. Airplanes, rockets that let men walk on the moon, computers, cell phones, cures for disease…air conditioning. Yeah, those poor idiots who were educated under the old system…just too stupid for words. 🙂

Ally August 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Sending your baby off to kindergarten is easily as traumatic as sending him off for the first day of his senior year of high school. That happens for me in two days. I’ve started drinking already.

Jenn August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Nicole: I didn’t think your boobs were big enough to be used as a platform for blocks! Okay, and next time you go to Nappa, I wanna go too!

Kristy: my sentiments exactly. The old school rocked.

Ally: I’m on my way over, honey. No one should drink alone at a time like this.

Irene August 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!! Doesn’t he look handsome in his school clothes!!? We moms worry so much for nothing! Welcome to a new chapter in both your lives! I’m really looking forward to your posts for the next 8 months! Tell Papa I say hello! He knows how to get through those stupid school lines!!

LILLIANNA August 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I LOVE IT!!! Jax is SO WOW, they grow up SO fast! I need to come for a visit!!!! I Miss Maison Bean!!


papa August 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm


Say it’s not true…Chardonnay? Run for your life. That swill is akin to Mad Dog 20-20.


You’re right. My mom was a very literate person in spite of going to the 1st eight grades in a one-room school house.


You’re my girl.


We miss you, girl! Come visit anytime!


Betsy at Zen Mama August 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Congratulations! You made it! We started preschool this week and had many moms just like you. And we are the new kindergarten by the way!!!
I’ll toast Jax tonight with my glass of wine!!

Irene September 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Love you Papa! I hope to some day have drinks time with you and the rest of the Beans!

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