My 5-year-old son started kindergarten this year, and like most of the parents I know, I was nervous about it at the time. Would he like it? Would he fit in? Would he find the large school and new routine overwhelming?
Thankfully, my son took to it like a champ. From Day One on, he’s come home every afternoon with nothing but good things to say about kindergarten. In fact, when I ask him about his day, his responses run the gamut from “great” to”excellent” — with “awesome” sometimes in the mix, too. It’s almost like he has a series of positive adjectives at the ready to tackle my impending question. And you’d think I’d be satisfied with that, but in typical nervous mother fashion, it has me worried.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t always so happy at school, even from a young age. I went to a private Jewish school where, frankly, I never really fit in for a number of different reasons (some being personality based, but the fact that I was less observant and considerably less wealthy than most of the other students didn’t help). But I also wasn’t so open about sharing that information with my parents.
Maybe I felt like I’d be disappointing them. Or maybe I was convinced that I was the problem, and didn’t want to air my own dirty laundry. Regardless of what was actually going through my head at the time, I remember coming home from school on numerous occasions and telling my mother that my day had been “fine” when, in fact, it hadn’t even been close to fine.
Another thing that concerns me is that when I press for details about his day, he’s often stingy with his responses. My son is a very talkative child, generally a great conversationalist. We’ve gone on long hikes together during which we’d chat for hours before reverting to “I Spy” and other such classic time-passing games. So the fact that he’s secretive about his school days leads me to question his otherwise unbridled enthusiasm.
Then again, I’m not the only one in this boat. Many of my friends say the same thing about their kids —that getting school-related details is basically like pulling teeth. And another thing — 5-year-olds typically aren’t that calculating, so if my son is telling me that his day was awesome, there’s a good chance there’s no hidden agenda there.
My hope is that as the year progresses, he’ll grow to be more patient with my line of questioning and offer up details that will help put me at ease. Till then, all I can do is continue asking and be thankful that thus far, the answers have all been overwhelmingly positive.