Captain Destructo's new favorite movie is Peter Pan. I love both this movie, and the break from princesses galore, so I am happy to watch with her. Ever since she started watching this movie, she's been expressing a lack of desire not to grow up.
"I don't want to be 4 anymore, I want to be 3."
" I want to stay little forever."
"I don't want to get big and go to school."
I can totally sympathize with these sentiments, because the idea of her growing up gives me an ulcer. She is going to kindergarten next fall, and I literally cannot think about that too much without tearing up. Oh look, tears. Just thinking of her putting on a little backpack, holding her little lunch box, and waving goodbye to me to spend her day with 24 kids and a teacher I don't know makes me start sweating. I know that we've got over a year to get there, but the fact that she doesn't want to go worries me. How do I prepare her for something that neither of us want to do, but we both have to? Seriously. How.
Do you know what's right around the corner from starting elementary school? Starting middle school. Do you remember middle school? Do you have fond memories of middle school? Apparently this question has different answers from boys and girls. My husband remembers middle school as his "peak." If middle school was my peak, I would hate to see the valleys. Here's what I remember about middle school.
Being a total bitch and telling my elementary school best friend I didn't want to be her friend anymore.
Being afraid to go to school because I didn't know if my friends would be my friends anymore.
Wanting to go to a dance with a boy, but never being asked.
Finally going to a dance with a boy, and wishing I was there with my friends instead of holding his sweaty hand.
Getting my period in the middle of 8th grade biology (not for the first time, just the most traumatic. The first time was in 5th grade. And I just heard girls as young as 3rd grade are getting their periods now. 3rd grade, people).
Being called Fatso, Tubby, and Chubs.
My first experiment with an eating disorder.
And while high school was marginally better for me, it's not that way for everyone. And high schools are so much worse than when I was there I can't even stand it. You might get lucky and just end up doing the cinnamon challenge on a You tube video, or you might be too fat to shop at Abercrombie. (Sidebar: does anyone remember the store 579? Is that still around? Because I was definitely too fat to shop there. Nothing like being too fat for a store and being there with your size zero friend. Actual size zero, not Old Navy size zero.) While I was no angel, my biggest high school transgressions involve a few sips of Boone's Farm strawberry wine after junior prom, not getting alcohol poisoning from drinking hand sanitizer. Don't even get me started on the outfits now. I can't even imagine what the kids will be wearing in 10 years when Captain Destructo starts high school (and when I say "kids," clearly I mean other kids. My girls will be wearing pigtail braids and dresses a la Laura Ingalls).
So yeah, when Captain Destructo tells me she doesn't want to grow up, and I plaster on a fake smile and tell her it isn't all that bad, I'm crying on the inside. Because while the being a grown up part is not so bad, the steps to get there can pretty much suck.
What do you do to prepare your kids, and yourselves, for kindergarten?