Dear Baby Princesses,
I can’t believe BP1 is starting kindergarten tomorrow.
I actually didn’t think I’d be as emotional as I am at the moment. While yes, of course time flies and sometimes I still think of you as a tiny baby in a lab swing, the truth is we have all been waiting for this for a while. Because of the cutoffs here you are starting kindergarten less than two months from your sixth birthday. Practically speaking, that meant that last year several of your friends from preschool who we had always thought of as your contemporaries moved on to kindergarten with the same exact preparation you’d already had. But I do think that this year has been a good one for you, and I’m very happy that you’ll be one of the oldest in the class as you go into elementary school. (I was always the youngest and I always hated it. Sorry, BP2.)
Back to my original point. Because you essentially got an extra year of preschool, I certainly have not experienced any doubts about whether or not you’re ready to move on, whether you’re mature enough, or whether you’ll be able to “handle” school. I’m sure this week will be exhausting, but I also know that you’re a champ at getting through transitions and I truly think that you’ll thrive in your new class. Why, then, have I been so teary all day? I was fine last week, focused on the administrative chaos of “Eagle Day” where we met your teacher, filled out a million forms and for some reason had to write approximately 75 different checks to the same school. Practicing your bus ride with you was fun too, and not at all emotional for me.
Maybe it’s just the official nature of the change. This clearly means that you are NOT a baby, but a real, true, honest-to-goodness kid. And you are – I know that. You’re smart and funny and warm and genuine. You are going to make a ton of new friends and I suspect that you’ll keep up several of your friendships from preschool, even though none of those kids are in your class. I truly think you could not be more ready for tomorrow (which is August 1, by the way, perhaps the most ridiculously early first day of school in the country). Maybe it’s just that I’m so proud of you?
I wanted to write something to you back in May (I’m hopelessly behind, no news there) because that was such a month of milestones for you. We had your Pre-K graduation, which I have to confess was adorable. I wasn’t a huge fan of the concept (I don’t really believe that you “graduate” from anything until at least high school) but you were so excited about it – not to mention adorable in your little cap and gown – that you got me on board pretty quickly. You also had your ballet recital, which I think was actually even more exciting for you. You love ballet and I hope we can find a way to keep it up for as long as you enjoy it, though we are not going to sign you up for anything more for at least a month or two. Once we settle into a new routine, maybe we can find you a program.
BP2, of course, has been telling everyone that she is also going to kindergarten, riding the bus and getting a backpack. I guess it’s a good thing that you only have two more years to wait, sweet girl. Because you are at the opposite end of the spectrum – one of the youngest in your future grade – we have debated if we should hold you back for a year. I suspect you will not allow that. The nice thing is that you are also starting a new class tomorrow, so we can all be excited about the changes that will bring. You are also ready for some more structure and some older classmates (you have been the oldest in your class for a while now).
I should probably tell you both a little something about the summer. It feels insanely quick but it has been a good one. We’ve made it over to the pool on most Friday nights, which has become a fun little ritual. You heard about our celebration of BP2’s birthday, which was probably our most eventful weekend. We did not go on a family trip, though we did just arrange one for your fall break (because school apparently needs to be closed for a week in September). Daddy and went to Las Vegas for a few days (I joined him at a conference) and you stayed with Grandma and Grandpa D. That was a big deal because it was the longest we’d ever left the two of you since BP1 was born, and it was because you’re becoming such big girls that we were able to do it.
So, tomorrow. I think the craziest thing about, BP1, it is that I will watch you climb on to a bus and then I won’t have any idea what is happening in your day until I pick you up from the afterschool program. I wish I could watch you find your way, take it all in, learn the new routines. But school is not designed for parents to watch everything, nor should it be. It’s time for you to do this on your own, to make mistakes, to start really valuing the opinions of people who don’t live in your house. It’s time, and you’re going to be great. I can’t wait to see who you become in this next phase of your life.
One last thing. Your teacher asked us to write her a letter about who you are, highlighting your strengths. I am including some of it below, just because I think you might be interested, years and years from now, as to how your parents described you. I know that I am never a big fan of hearing someone else tell me what I’m like or how I am, and because of that I go to great lengths to avoid doing that to you. Even when talking to someone else, I try my best not to describe your personality while you are within earshot. Only you truly know how you are, and while I can observe what that means, I don’t want to shape it by telling you how I believe you are. All of that to say, the below is how we see you, in one moment in time, and it might be fun for you to think back one day and decide how accurately we described you.
That’s it for tonight. I love you, my sweet baby grown-up girls. Hope you get a great night’s sleep because it truly is a big week ahead.
July 30, 2016
Dear Mrs. M and Mrs. A,
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts about BP1. She is our oldest and we, of course, think she is a very special little girl. We hope you will agree and that you enjoy working with her this year.
BP1 is a sweet, warm, caring child who genuinely prefers to be well-behaved. She is a wonderful big sister and loves to be in social settings with her friends and family. In an unfamiliar situation, she tends to be most comfortable when she has structure and clear direction. If she knows the rules she will usually follow them to the best of her ability. Especially during the first few weeks of school, you’ll likely find her to be quiet as she takes in her new classmates and teachers. She notices a lot but is hesitant to be the loudest voice in the room, especially among people she doesn’t know well. She is not a pushover but often has a good sense of when to take a stand and when to simply remove herself from a contentious situation to avoid further conflict.
As she becomes more comfortable, we’re guessing you’ll see BP1 speak up more and more. While she can be quiet, she is not shy, and she will connect well with other kids. She does not have any friends from preschool in this class, but you’ll notice if she crosses paths with any of those kids that she can be outspoken and rambunctious with them.
BP1 is very patient in that she can sit quietly for long periods of time, or wait for something to happen when she is able to frame her expectations. There are moments when she is not patient with herself, when she becomes frustrated and wants to give up because she believes that she can’t do something. BP1’s preschool teachers have worked with her on improving her tenacity and she has come a long way in the past couple of years. We ask that you continue to encourage her to take on challenges. While her tendency to follow directions to the letter will likely make your job easier, we hope you will push her to be more creative with just a little bit of guidance when appropriate.
As her (very biased) parents we believe BP1 to be extremely bright and because she is almost six years old, we have no concerns about her being ready for kindergarten. We are looking forward to hearing from you how we can enhance her schooling, both academically and socially. We know you have many children to teach and believe it is our job to support what you do and say in the classroom, and hope that you will reach out to us if there are any issues we need to address.
Thank you again for listening to our thoughts on our daughter. If there is anything we can do to make this a better school year for BP1 or for the two of you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Daddy and Mommy