Here we are – 2 months into the school year and we’re all still learning. Don’t get me wrong, the kids truly love their school and preschool but it’s certainly been a lesson in “American immersion.” So, here I present my (probably growing) list of revelations in my new life – mom of school-aged children.
You know your child is in an American school or preschool when:
- you get a friendly note reminding you to please cut grapes in half for fear of choking your (almost) 4-year old although she’s eaten whole grapes for pretty much her entire life and thinks grapes look really weird when they are cut in half and refuses to eat them like that.
- absolutely no nuts are allowed ANYWHERE near or on your child, at all times. Ever.
- your child will do everything you ask as long as you promise a sticker in return; in fact, there is a constant discussion about sticker charts and how many more stickers s/he needs to earn to play with a “special” toy from a “special” box.
- everything has a specified color and your child constantly reminds you that today is RED day so you must drop everything it is that you are doing so that you can find that lost pair of red socks that your child KNEW existed at some point.
- your child starts policing everyone in the household and talks about “consequences” for bad choices. It, of course, would be much more beneficial if your child were to actually police himself but that’s not happening any time soon.
- your kid’s school day is evaluated by a color rating – every day -so the first thing your child shouts out at you as you greet him at the bus stop is what color he was today (if only life were so simple).
- your children will not stop reciting the pledge of allegiance and you quietly wonder how and why this is still a part of American school days.
- Clifford has moved up exponentially in popularity in your home.
- duck and cover drills are repeated over and over and over again along with fire drills and every kind of emergency prep you can think of; this sneaks into your everyday life when your child suddenly stops, drops, rolls, and takes cover when your child “hears” an alarm.
- girls must wear at least one pink item every day. Even firefighters know that by giving girls a pink fire helmet when they visit a preschool. And no, school-aged kids do not receive a fire helmet so good luck explaining that terrible discrepancy to your children.
- you realize how little “free” time you actually have even though you are now a parent of school-aged kids – there are endless calls for volunteers and chaperones to pitch in plus meetings and events that fill up your calendar and inbox in no time. You sometimes wonder who is really going to school.
- your afternoons have become new “crazy” times where you are finding yourself needing to respond ASAP to VERY hungry kids returning from school while navigating the endless paperwork they throw at you, mitigating sibling fights and discussions about who did what and had a better day, while signing never-ending permission slips and recording new events to your extremely busy calendar.
- you quietly resign yourself to ordering in on those previous “let’s go out for dinner” Friday nights to make sure your kids get enough “home” and play time and to assure that you can enjoy your much needed glass of wine to toast to yet another week gone by way too quickly.