…Or, the Thursday Night You Can’t Get Back.
What a wonderful idea schools have in “Kindergarten RoundUp” (goes by many aliases depending on where you live). Everyone knows that parents are nervous about sending their “baby” to school for the first time. What do the teachers look like? How scary is the classroom? Could my kid get lost on her way to the bathroom? So schools have created a night – usually in May – where parents of soon-to-be kindergarteners can come…child in tow…to speak to the principal, the teachers, the lunch lady, even the janitor. All to try to ease minds, and make moms believe they might not cry on the first day.
Yeah, like that’ll happen.
So RoundUp is a great thing…for that first kid entering school. Maybe even for a later kid, if it’s a new school. But come on; when it’s down to child #4 and year #3 in the school, do we really need to do it AGAIN?
Yes, yes we do.
See, the schools want you there. Who wants to have a party with no attendees? They mail you exciting “invitations” once a week for the two months leading up. Your older kids will see these “invitations” – helpfully addressed to the Pre-K in your house – and read them aloud, often. Before long, your Pre-K is excited about the RoundUp…you’d think she was going to Disneyland again.
Trying to be a “good” parent – whatever the heck that is – you agree to go. It’s always in the middle of the week, and always at a bad time. Just try to get a neighbor to baby-sit kids from 6-7pm on a Thursday night…that’s prime dinner and family time for most people! (Guess who’s helping them paint their trim next month…) Not to mention, those of us who work find ourselves rushing out the door at 5:15pm, driving *just* enough over the speed limit to not get caught…and we still can’t get home fast enough to actually eat dinner before it’s time to go.
After delivering the older kids to the neighbor(s), PB&Js in hand, it’s time to sprint for the school. Mom and Dad are hungry, tired, headachy…and angry when, after you dash through the parking lot to arrive at 5:59pm, the principal waits an extra 10 minutes for stragglers. At least that gives Mom time to take Miss Pre-K to the potty one more time.
Does that teacher lounge have a candy machine by chance?
Finally we get underway – and we start with the same introductions and “importance of reading to your kids” speech that is covered every year. Dad is whispering along with it, requiring a dirty look from Mom. Miss Pre-K is squirmy – “when will he stop talking Mom?” – and wants to go run in the back of the gymnasium like THAT KID you don’t know but already hate.
Finally it’s time for the games and activities – all educational, of course, but fun enough that the kids don’t realize how “good for them” it’s meant to be. The first five minutes are relatively quiet, until the faster kids realize they get ‘prizes’ of cookies and Goldfish crackers for playing these games. Suddenly, the noise level ratchets up to something approaching your old clubbing days, with shorter people.
And no alcohol.
With a smart kid, you can escape this event in 20 minutes or so – and take the bouncing, sugar-laden kiddo home to babble her long story of the evening into the bored ears of her siblings. Mom and Dad, enjoying a second glass of wine, can now relax, assured that on the first day of school, Miss Pre-K-Now-K will probably sprint down the hall to her class with nary a wave goodbye.
And Mom will bawl like a baby.