Monday, September 9, 2013

Quack! Bawk! It's a kindergartener!

Last week, proud of climbing
Peter's cell phone quacked at about 7:15 this morning. That's his ringtone for calls from Abby, and as he reached for the phone I guessed, correctly, "It's ViMae checking in before her first day of kindergarten."

She was calling via FaceTime, giving us a view of a bright smiling face and giving her a view of two doting grandparents looking a bit sleepy. She immediately volunteered that she was nervous. I asked if she was excited, and she replied emphatically, "No, nervous." I told her it was okay to be nervous because starting school is a big new thing, and we both assured her she'd be fine.

A quick cuddle with Pa
A while later, Abby (who took a day off from work to accompany Vi to school on her first day) sent us a couple of photos (see one of them below). In them I see the girl who has grown from a wailing infant to a supremely self-confident kid. She's a girly-girl who loves pink and princesses and who hurtles around playground equipment with astonishing strength and stamina. The other photos here are from last week, when we actually went to two playgrounds in one day (and shared a malt with lunch).

She has grown up knowing that her brother is a champion early reader and who decided she was not interested in competing, so she still doesn't read much. But she has the same amazing command of vocabulary and excellent recall of the many complex stories their parents have read to them including Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (plus Star Wars and other movies). She also has her own highly developed original story-telling skill. Where Augie is shy and reticent, she rushes to meet any potential new friend and instantly establishes a bond. While he always hated crafts, she revels in them and even recently got him involved in "decorating for a party."

Her preschool teachers told her parents that Vi was a great student--quick to learn, cooperative, cheerful, observant. I have no reason to think she won't bring all those traits to kindergarten. She, however, is busy lowering expectations. Last week I asked what she was looking forward to most. "Recess," she deadpanned like a pro, "and lunch."

Ready for school!
Some time this past summer, Vi picked up a couple of new habits. She squints in a look of disapproval...what we call the "stinkeye." Other times she bawks like a chicken. Sometimes she uses that as a way to avoid a conversation that is either uncomfortable or boring.

Last week, Pa talked with her about not using the stinkeye on her kindergarten teacher. During our FaceTime conversation this morning, he began to remind her of that. ViMae's reply: "Bawk."

We laughed and she laughed. We wished her well and said we loved her. She said, "Me, too, bye," and ended the call.

When we checked in at the end of the day she reported she'd already made a new friend named Annabelle, who is also pretty good at bawking. Tomorrow we get to deliver both Vi and Augie to school, and neither one will be nervous.


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