Lisa says: Welcome to Kindergarten

Good news: Addy didn't puke, and Lisa was amazed.

By Lisa van de Geyn

Lisa says: Welcome to Kindergarten

I'm not going to get all sappy — it's not my style — but I admit: My eyes welled up a few times last Thursday when we took Addy to her Welcome to Kingergarten orientation at her new school, and there were several reasons why:

1. I didn't toss my cookies, but I was terribly nervous. I put on a brave face for Addy (who freaked out just before we left the house; she didn't think we were going to stay at the school with her), but my nerves were definitely getting the best of me.  

2. I instantly had high hopes for Addy. Her school is gorgeous — it's new, immaculate, the kindergarten rooms are amazing and I can picture her sitting her little tush on the alphabet rugs with the other kids. Her principal was welcoming, and the teachers were so lovely, genuinely sweet to the kids and their nervous parents. (Basically, they were the exact opposite of Ms. Presnikov. I know she scared us kids and I'm pretty sure she even terrified my parents when I was a wee kindergartner.) I now know I made the right choice registering Addy for JK; I know she'll be amazing in September. (As long as my kid can do Number 1 and Number 2 on the potty by then, I'm golden.)

3. In her opening remarks (and once the parents and kids were all seated in the gym), the vice-principal welcomed the class of 2023. I got a lump in my throat. My jaw dropped and I looked over at an old friend from elementary school (oy...25 years ago) whose adorable son is starting school in September too. Her jaw dropped and I'm betting she had a little lump in her throat. It was like the next 11 years quickly flashed before my eyes and I pictured watching Addy graduate from high school. (Could I be more dramatic?)

4. Addy was a star. Like, a total superstar. She participated in all of the activities the teachers had set up. She went up and counted four hearts on the Smartboard when the teacher (who I just adored) called her name. She sat on the rug with the other kids instead of clinging to me and Peter. (Every so often she'd turn around and wave to us. A couple times she got up and asked Peyton to go sit with her. Way too cute.) She practiced with the scissors and was super excited when we saw the library. She didn't make strange and fit right in. I was really proud of her. (Can you tell?)

5. She was a good girl with her sister. She was excited to share her night with Peyton. She held her hand and explained what was going on, and told her that when she starts school, she'll be there to help her. (Getting verklempt.)

6. Peyton behaved herself. That alone made my heart swell.

So there you have it. A totally successful Welcome to Kindergarten night.

Now that I've shared with you the emotional stuff, let me divulge what I learned:

1. While she can recite the alphabet, knows her name starts with A, and knows the letter O and zero look the same, she doesn't know all the letters yet...but neither did many of the other tots. Phew. (It's something I plan to work on over the summer.) Know what letter the kids did know? M. Because M is for McDonalds. True story.

2. The other parents were just as nervous as me. It was nothing for the parents who were there with their second or third (or more) kids, but you knew the first-timers the minute you laid eyes on them: We all had cameras and did this smile/nod thing. "Like Volkswagen owners do when you see another VW on the road," said Peter. It was nice to be reminded that we're all in the same boat. I'm looking forward to meeting new moms and dads in the fall.

3. I don't give Addy enough credit. She was awesome with the teachers and with other kids, even if she mostly kept to herself. She also didn't barf in the parking lot (like I did at one of my kindergarten nights). That's a big deal.  

Parents who have been though it before: Do you remember your tot's Welcome to Kindergarten night? Parents who are going through it now with me: How did your orientation go?

This article was originally published on May 28, 2012

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