The first five years of your child’s life are full of milestones.
During those years, you faithfully record every one of those milestones in the baby book and share the details at playdates. You get together with the other moms at the playgroup to talk about pacifier elimination plans and potty-training strategies. There is even a little competition over whose child sleeps through the night first.
As a mom, you worry during the first five years whether or not your child is measuring up to his peers. But when you enter the kindergarten classroom for the first time to register your child, those milestones become history.
You sit in a little plastic chair, with your knees up to your chin, filling out the 56 forms required to place a five-year-old child in kindergarten. After glancing at the forms and what information they want you to fill out, you realize something is missing. Where are the milestone fields? Doesn’t anyone care when he walked? Where should you write that after six months of work, she was potty trained? What about the three sleepless nights you spent with him and his 104.3 fever? These, and the following 10 questions, won’t appear on the forms:
- What month did he start to crawl? And what items did he chew on?
- Has your child ever used a pacifier and how did you wean her from it?
- How many times did she throw her food on the floor until you got her to stop?
- When did he sleep through the night which led you to become coherent again?
- How long did she cry on the plane on the way to Grandma’s?
- Was he breast-fed or formula-fed?
- What was her first word?
- Did he share his toys with his playmates?
- How many temper tantrums did she have at the age of two?
- How many Band-Aids did you use between ages two and five?
A lot of worry, work and wonder have gone into dealing with those 10 questions. But when you arrive at the kindergarten stage, the answers don’t seem to matter to anyone but you.
Don’t worry. After swirling around in your head for five years, the answers are not forgotten. They are recorded in the baby book, mentioned during your family’s “remember when” moments around the dinner table, or humorously discussed at his 16th birthday party where you share with his girlfriend the major temper tantrum he acted out in the middle of the mall parking lot over a pink blanket.
Beginning at kindergarten registration, you and your five-year-old launch into a wonderful new world of report cards, bus stop chats, and school parties, more memories and milestones will be made and recorded. Hold each other’s hand as you journey into the adventure opening up for both of you; and while no one will ask you when she started walking or talking, the answers will always be carved in your heart.