Blogging childhood memories this month for the A to Z challenge…K is for Kindergarten!
I was only 4 when I started kindergarten. I felt rather grown up at the time, after all, I was going to school. But aren’t we just babies then? So much to learn. So much growing to do. It was a year for a lot of firsts.
- First art easel. I’m not sure why this is such a vivid memory, but I swear I can still smell the thick paint we used to create those masterpieces. Fat paint brushes, deep colors. Art. Imagination. Fun.
- First milk carton that was my size. At home, we poured milk from gallon containers (okay, Mom poured it) and drank it from a cup. Here in kindergarten I got a small, cold half-pint carton and a big brown chocolate cookie with sugar sprinkled on top of it. Snack time was pretty awesome.
- First lunchbox. I wish I could remember what it looked like. I want to say it was Peanuts. Yes, I’m thinking Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Classic.
- First separation from Mom. Standing on the street corner, she was holding my hand. Then the big yellow bus came and it was my job to get on it. Watching her from the window, leaving her behind; I was going somewhere unknown, unfamiliar. First inkling that life is full of hard things, things you don’t want to do, places you don’t want to go. But it’s not so bad. Learning many things. Learning how to adjust, how to follow the rules, how to fit in, how to maintain your independence–go your way–while trying to follow the rules and fit in. Learning how to laugh with your silly friends without getting in trouble with the teacher. Learning letters and words and stories. Learning how the world works. Learning to solve mysteries (see next).
- First injustice. Someone was stealing my yodels. I found a foil wrapper (that’s how they used to be packaged) on Andrea’s desk. (I have changed the name to protect this kindergartner.) Andrea was a big girl, muscular and mean. I confronted her. She denied it. So the next day, and the days thereafter, I kept an eye on Andrea and until I saw her eating the yodel that was missing from my lunchbox; she was caught in the act. Mystery solved. I confronted her again and she bowed up on me, got in my face (my sweet little kindergarten face). Mean girl. Muscular. It was a fight I wasn’t going to win. She ate my yodel. Injustice. But that was the last time I left my yodels unattended. Andrea–I wonder what happened to her? What kind of life did she grow up to have? I would imagine she’s reaped some consequences from bad seeds sown. She probably didn’t even realize she was planting them, so young and misguided. I’m sure she was just mirroring what she saw at home. She was only 5 years-old and becoming a bully. It was an injustice for both of us, I guess.