Kindergarten doesn’t start for another 5 days and I already hate it.

At the beginning of the summer I finally came to a sense of peace that Kindergarten was going to be okay. Yes, we would be leaving the cocoon of safety we had for four years. My reservations were being replaced by cautious enthusiasm that Bridget would be starting kindergarten in a few weeks. Then it happened. I was smacked in the head (again) that this would not be the easy transition I hoped.

This week we had the Kindergarten Play Date. The night all the families meet at the school, play games and see who is in their class. I ran into a friend and said, I hate these things and never come to them. I was ready to leave before it even began. She concurred but added we have to come so our girls can be a part of the class. I get it. We want inclusion. We want acceptance and we want our children to be just like all the other kids. So I stayed.

It sucked.

And I do not mean lemons.

It started in the multipurpose room where we were to watch a 40 minute play about going to kindergarten. Now, I am sure the play was great. Except there were so many people and we were in the back of the MPR. The noise was so overwhelming for Bridget, she was in my arms with her fingers in her mouth.

Next it was time for the “get to know you” activity. The parent volunteer was awesome. She knows Bridget and immediately included her. Within the first few moments it became apparent that Bridget was not like the other children. She couldn’t sit on the grass comfortably because of her braces. She answered questions only after I prompted her the answer. She tried to eat the goose pop. When it was time to throw the ball she became a ham. The parents stared. My anxiety level rose. I could tell my nervous energy was being absorbed by Bridget as I tried to make her act “normal” and she became more outrageous. I know the parents were not judging her, it was all in my head and heart. Yet I could not shake this feeling that her team was wrong. Bridget isn’t ready for kindergarten.

We headed to the playground. Bridget loves the playground. It will be okay, I thought. She can do this, I believed. I was wrong. As she ran up the play structure little kids were running this way and that. She got knocked down, but got up. Unsure which way to go, she turned around a few times and then headed back up the bridge to the slide. There is an opening where the kids get to climb over a “rock” wall to the slide. Bridget so much wanted to go. I stood on my tip-toes to hold her hand so she could walk over the wall. Kids started climbing and jumping. She almost fell but made it to the slide.

She ran towards the monkey bars and got kicked in the head as kids swung. Bridget got knocked over as kids ran for the  swings. She still wanted to play.  I’m not blaming the kids. They were being kindergartners. They were having the time of their lives and were having so much fun. You could feel their excitement.

I just couldn’t deal. I hate saying this because I realize it is more about me then Bridget. But I could not watch her fall, get pushed or get hurt one more minute. I picked her up and as I am walking away she is punching me, pulling her hair and kicking. Screaming at me “YOU RUDE” “YOU BAD GIRL”. People are staring. I go to a vacant corner, still struggling with her and put my sunglasses on as I wiped a tear.

I try to compose myself and realize I have lost my keys.

Lost my freaking keys.

On the field. Do you have one of those new keys? The ones that are square and you cannot attach to a key ring? Imagine trying to find that on a 3 acre grass field. Fifteen minutes later someone asks me if I am looking for my keys (I wanted to respond, no I was looking for more goose pop for my daughter to try to eat). Thankfully someone had found it and put it inside the school.

People really are great and helpful and kind. I know some who attended have serious concerns or moments of tears when they realize their child is going to kindergarten (or first grade/high school/college). I never had these moments with my older child. It was: get on the bus, it’s time for school! YAY!!!! Like so many other milestones, Bridget is different.

She is almost 2 years older than her classmates yet she cannot tell me what happened in school that day. Bridget has a host of health issues that her classmate’s parents never have to write an e-mail to the new teacher so she is informed. When their child falls they put their hands out or contort their body to brace for the impact. When Bridget falls there is no safety net. With her disability I do not know how a fall will affect her differently than when her sister falls.

I do know that when Wednesday comes and I drop her off for the first day of kindergarten I will not be experiencing a joyful milestone.

I will be filled with fear and dread.

15 thoughts on “Kindergarten doesn’t start for another 5 days and I already hate it.

  1. Bronpon76

    Oh Kerri, it’s such a big big transition. Just baby steps one hour then day at a time xx I still feel like I just did this yesterday and it’s nearly been five years. It’s scary, it’s confronting it’s stressful and it’s real. Sending you much much love and strength xxx

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  2. Julie Heyer

    Kerri… I felt every word your wrote. I won’t even begin to say I know what you are feeling because I don’t. Please know I am here if you need to talk about anything … anything. 🙂 I am so glad you are brave enough to share what you are feeling here with all of us. So many people share your feelings when it comes to these transitions. I would bet there are those reading this that are thinking, I am so glad I am not the only one. BIG HUGS!

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  3. Keri

    Kerri I feel your pain and anxiety two fold! I realize that I am the one that coaxed you into staying 😕 .. Trust me you weren’t the only one sweating from anxiety!! Jillian sat on my lap during the “get to know each other” activity (me being the only mom in the circle) I answered all her questions for her and when it came time to gently toss the ball to the next child Jillian proceeded to toss the ball as hard as she could 😁 . Then during free play she attempted to toss the ball to someone and everyone walked away from her. SAD!! She felt it and was equally as sad, but I dug deep and proceeded to make it a learning experience for everyone involved! After a big hug and kiss; I took her hand and asked her to show me (and everyone else) her best cartwheel. She picked her head up and did her best cartwheel with her brother cheering her on! People who haven’t walked in your shoes will never completely understand the descisions that you make and that’s ok. You should be proud of yourself.. You went, you stayed, and B participated the best she could! Thats all you can ask for!

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  4. Christine

    Aw Kerri. I’m sorry it was such a bad event for you. I never want to go to those let’s-get-all-60-kids together for mass chaos so they can meet each other. It’s an environment which does not encourage the best from our kids. A smaller gathering with a few select kids is way better. Any chance you can have a redo with just a few?

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  5. Kristi Campbell - findingninee

    Oh Sweets. I’m so so sorry. Huge hugs to you. Losing your keys, too? Ugh what a sucky sucky time. I’m really sorry. I feel you! Last year, when T was starting kindergarten, the open house sucked for us too. I made the teacher let us come back when nobody else was there – maybe ask for that? And call me if you want to talk. xo

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  6. Jan

    I want you to know that B is very important to me. When I am with her I will keep her SAFE ! We have a great team: She is in good hands !!!! 🙂

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  7. Emily

    I’ve been thinking about how I want to reply to this post after reading it yesterday…and I wish I had the right words to reassure you. You should also know that the fear and dread you are feeling is universal for parents of kids with any kinds of challenges. As you know, my oldest is transitioning next week to boarding school and the anxiety level in our house is sky high. I don’t know if it will turn out alright for him there and he’s old enough to know that as well…so I can’t even reassure him that everything will be ok, because it might not. And that sucks. As I look back on past experiences with him that were new or required big transitions, that fear was always there – sometimes everything worked out just fine or even better than we thought and other times, it didn’t. But, the good news is nothing is permanent. You can always make a change if need be – don’t ever feel like you or she is stuck in any situation. Regardless of what happens, always remember you have two amazing daughters who will continue to shine no matter what. xoxo

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  8. Dana

    Kerri, I hope you look back on this post in a few weeks or months with relief that kindergarten wasn’t the horrible experience you first thought it was. I hope that tomorrow will be a good day for Bridget and for you, and I wish that you didn’t have to have so much anxiety about it.

    Sending warm fuzzies and good wishes for a good first day…for you and your girls.

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  9. Pingback: If we were having a glass of wine… | (Un)Diagnosed and still okay

  10. Farhad Quassem

    Where do I start? Too tired to write a long winded description of our first-day experience.

    The good: she played, she made friends, other kids like her… lack of speech, glasses, walker, and all. A couple of mean ones took jabs but whatever, they’re kids. I’ve heard shit from “adults” before. Half the school knows her now by day 3.

    The bad: they couldn’t feed her the whole time, stayed unfed for 10 hrs (including after-school). Came home, fed lunch+dinner (90mins), she threw it all up, pooped a friggin’ anaconda while screaming (30 mins+) then fed her again (45 mins).

    The ugly: It rained. She wanted to go to the swings in the park. Couldn’t say it, so she crawled all over whimpering. Got her the walker. Then she strutted all over, getting antsier. Then she started banging her head. I started kissing her forehead every time to (a) protect her head and (b) protect my teeth. I could sense her frustration… she’s starting to understand that there’s stuff she wants to do but can’t.

    The beautiful: scroll up to the top of this page and see the pic. No, really SEE it. Smiled yet Okay… no suck it all up, and prepare for another day tomorrow.

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