The summer passed. It was nothing like the trials of past years. My kids were Three and Five. We had adventures. We went to the pool. We flew to New York. We played in the sun.
September arrived, and with it came Kindergarten. Jude is enrolled in our neighborhood school. And Ada - she's a big girl now. Pre-school. Moving up in the world.
I am still the Dad. There is less to be in charge of now. I no longer need to own the schedule. It is already set for us. I make the lunches. I take the kids to school. I volunteer on my volunteer days. I meet the bus. I help with homework. I cook dinner. I put kids to bed.
There is more quiet. After school there is down time. In the mornings Ada is waking to a house with no brother. Now she can choose her own activities, her own level of stimulation. She is learning what to do with this freedom. But she misses him. Jude is tired after school. He loses his temper. Sometimes he cries about small things. We give him lots of space and love and chances.
This is really a post about Jude and Kindergarten.
The Cornett and Company moved to this neighborhood because we liked the school. It is a short drive over the hill to downtown, an easy commute out to Linden's work, and the neighborhood has a pleasant, suburban feel. There are fields. There are trees. And there is a nice public school in the middle. It's not flashy. There are no mansions around. It's just a good solid little school.
Let me insert here that we are public school people. We are both products of public school, and we carry the scars to prove it. The beauty of a public school is that it supports your community while teaching lessons about coping with an imperfect world. There were good years and bad years, good teachers and bad teachers. I am a public school teacher. So we did not balk at this next step. We rolled the dice, hoped for the best, and sent our boy off for some education.
After four years of preschool, this was a big change. We have very little contact with classroom or curriculum. Most of what we hear comes from Jude's mouth, and so far there is a lot to report. We are lucky that Jude has an excellent teacher. She is strict, but fair. She sets rules and boundaries (which Jude just loves) and she keeps him engaged with a fairly high expectation of academics. He's learning to read and write. They do math projects. He has a journal. There is science, culture, and academics worked into everything. And three recesses a day to burn off the jitters. This is not your parents' Kindergarten. It is quality instruction. And Judey likes it.
There were some problems, early on. Boys need to work out a pecking order, and this was definitely going on the first week. Somebody tried to kick somebody. Somebody else got kicked in the throat. Somebody had to go see the Principal. And then things seemed to get better.
Every morning Jude is excited to go to school. We wake up, pack lunches, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head out on the scooter for the downhill trip to school. I drop him off in the crowded cafeteria and he yells BYE DAD, I LOVE YOU and gives me a hug. I leave him there and walk home, uphill with the scooter. It makes for a lovely morning. At 2:30 in the afternoon, Jude gets off the bus a short walk up the hill. I am there every day to meet him. These are nice rituals.