My daughter started kindergarten last week.
She is a pip to say the least.
First, she has a broken leg. Fortunately, she's in a walking cast, but we've taken the wheelchair to school, just in case.
Second, she's not like the other kids.
Honest. She isn't.
She is beyond creative and artistic. And I know every parent says that about his/her kid. Trust me, on this. I didn't think much of it until her pre-school teachers showed me her art work and then her peer "norm" work.
She is also very left handed. By this I mean, she doesn't just happen to write left handed. She is a completely mirrored kid. She steps with her left foot first. She turns to the left in dance. She had trouble with bottle caps and door knobs because she kept tightening, rather than loosening things. On the positive side, she is very easy to show things to- just sit in front of her and she can mimic- it's very convenient.
She also likes to chat and she has a big a brother, so she can stand up for herself. She doesn't have an issue with sharing. She is, however, a master of conserving- you know, fighting to keep what's hers.
Kindergarten is going to be a bit of a challenge.
In her first week. she already received 2 yellow cards and then finally the big one-- the red card.
Now before you go off on the teacher and say "Well, she needs a more understanding teacher..." we love her teacher. Her teacher is fabulous. Her teacher is wonderful for her. My baby girl just needs to learn to conform when appropriate and then sparkle and be herself when she can.
When she got her red card, she was almost laughing. She had a whole list of reasons why it wasn't her fault. The kids were asking about her cast. The little boy took a toy from another girl and she was getting it back for The Girl Club. And on and on. I had thought she would be an artist. Apparently, an attorney is also an option!
We put down our feet:
Were you talking.
Did you pay attention?
We gave her a time out after school to think about it.
(To be honest, our son had gotten 1 red card in three years; we really had no idea what to do. Oh, and being the AWESOME parents that we are, we shared this with her. Comparing siblings is such a great tool. We suck.)
And then she started the big alligator tears.
Naturally, we felt like crap. Had we come down too hard?
We came up with a good incentive, rather than punishment, plan. For every day she got a sticker (no red or yellow cards), she would get to pick the 2 books we read at night. For every day she got a yellow, she only could pick one. For every day she got red, Mommy picked. And trust me, they would NOT be Barbie books. Blech. I hate those things....
It seemed to work. She lit up. She likes to read and be read to.
On Tuesday, I told her I felt good about the day. I could see a day without any cards.
She looked me right in the eye and very seriously said, "I will not bring shame upon our house."
I almost peed.
During her summer on the couch due to her broken leg, she had watched "Mulan" a few times. It stuck.
I think perhaps she was taking it too seriously. Or was she? She really shouldn't get red cards. I know she will definitely talk more than her brother. It's her nature. But she shouldn't be disrupting the class. She has a fun, fabulous teacher and she needs to listen to her.
She was right. We do not want shame upon our house.
We also don't want her to get labeled during the first week. The only label we want her to have is Smart Creative Girl. Not Chatterbox Troublemaker.
So far, no more red cards. No more shame.
I am Mama Bean. I am Tiger Mom. Roar.
Oh, and thanks Mulan!