If we lived in Florida Nora would be starting Kindergarten soon, but we live in North Carolina and one day makes a huge difference. I looked into the only reputable Pre-K program here, who coincidentally offered to allow Nora to start Kindergarten, because they are a private school and not regulated by the state and they can do that, but it costs money. Nora has already been through a Pre-K program, but is not “ready” for Kindergarten. (I’m not worried about it because I know kids learn when they are ready and she isn’t even five yet) How do I know that? I had her tested at the private school. She is mature and conversationally ready, but academically still at Pre-K level. In order to start Kindergarten in Public school this year she would need to be borderline gifted because one day is considered early admittance. I talked to the Principal about it anyway, hoping that they might have room for her, but they have 25 kids in each class. That is a lot of kids! I don’t feel comfortable pushing her into Kindergarten “early” with that many kids in a classroom. Jason and I talked about the Pre-K and what we can afford is two full days a week, which really isn’t worth the sacrifice for our family. Kindergarten is technically out of our budget, so we had to weigh whether or not putting Nora in Kindergarten this year is that much of a priority. All of this is going on in my head swirled around with the research I’ve been doing about Waldorf and developmental stages of children along with the guilt of being a bad mother and the whining of course (always the whining), mine not hers.
After getting the test results and talking to the Principal; after weighing our budget and our options and taking a long hard look at myself and my responsibility and capability as a parent we’ve decided that I will stay home with Nora this year and teach her what I can. Oh, and try not to kill her.
As a parent, (especially during the Summer) I’ve become more of a facilitator or spectator of my children’s lives. They play, I take them places to have fun, I give them healthy meals and snacks and wait patiently for school to begin again. I rarely play with them unless it is a card game or while doing an activity like swimming or putt-putt. I do not remember ever being played with. I was an only child and I played with friends or I played cards with my grandmother or I read. This is what I remember. When the kids ask me to play with them I politely refuse. I simply don’t see my role as that and quite frankly it makes me uncomfortable. I would rather be doing a grown-up activity or sometimes I really am busy doing housework or taking care of the baby, but not always.
While Nora stays home and what I was realizing the other day is that I will need to be present and playful in her day to day activities. I cannot supply her with what she is used to, but I can play with her, teach her, and grow during this process myself as well. It will take a bit of surrender on my part, but I know that I can do it.
The first thing I need to do is surrender my personal time. I cannot look at Facebook and be on the computer all day. Nora needs face time with me. I also recognize that Facebook has become a little bit of a (unhealthy) social outlet since moving here. I also look at my phone too much which will be remedied shortly once we are moved to Verizon. I plan on getting a non-smart phone (what is that? A stupid phone? or just a regular phone? lol) A phone that I can text and call on and that is it! Another thing that I will have to do is to surrender to play time. Nora starts up a game (oh, this girl has quite the imagination!) and I allow myself to play along no matter how dumb or bored I feel. That word, allow, is really heavy. So far this has amounted to playing dress-up, fighting toys, and card games. All of which she instigated. The last thing I will have to do is prepare. I checked out a book at the library entitled, You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. It is a really good book for any mom, not just those forced to stay at home with their child an extra year. I will need to make some sort of lesson plan for what we will learn as well as what we will do each day. I also am teaching myself to stay home more. It is difficult, but so good. There really is a lot to do at home, things that get put off if we are running around and each day I do it purposefully makes me proud of myself.
I don’t think I would have been able to do this before this point in my life. On the other hand, I have a lot of baggage from my past about staying home that I will need to deal with as well. God is the great Redeemer and I am finding he leaves no stone unturned. Here is what today looked like:
Nora got out the makeup and Lorelei wanted to touch it all.
Nora put at least five eyeshadow colors on each eye and they were all different, mascara, blush (with a little bit of eyeshadow on the blush brush as well, she tried the eyeliner (yes, I’m
stupid brave), but I think she was too intimidated by it to get near my eye, so she put it about an inch below and yes it was blue, and of course lip gloss (two different shades in fact). She also did my hair. Don’t be jealous.
It wasn’t too bad and during all of this Nora is also learning boundaries and patience because we can’t do it all RIGHT NOW because sometimes the laundry needs to be folded or the baby is crying or needs to be fed. We will need to do something to get the wiggles out when we stay home, so that is next on the list. It will not always be fun and I think everyday will be difficult in its own way, but I think we will all be better for it, or at least I hope we will be.