This is a public service announcement if you, like me, had no idea that starting kindergarten would* turn your child, who was already challenging and testing you, into an Other Child.
(An Other Child is when your child turns into something else entirely, prompting you to say things like, “I want to talk to Trombone. Can I please talk to Trombone?”)
* It might not. I don’t know what it depends on. He only went for a few hours a day last week so it’s not that it’s All Day Kindergarten that is messing with him. Maybe it depends on whether or not you have a younger sibling at home who keeps telling his big brother what exciting things you did with him, just him, that day, while the older child was at school. Maybe it depends on your child’s ability to make friends quickly and conquer social anxiety or just not have any social anxiety in the first place.
Maybe it depends on whether or not your child enjoys being told what to do, because if your child does NOT enjoy being told what to do, but still has the manners to do it when an adult who is not related to him tells him what to do, he will leave school every day with a bug up his ass approximately the size of Cleveland.
Ohio, that is.
And then, he will slowly, carefully, ease that giant bug out of his ass, and then he will show it to you.
“Admire my bug,” he will say.
“Hmmm,” you might reply.
“ADMIRE IT,” he will say.
“OK, nice bug,” you will say.
“IT’S NOT A BUG IT’S A SANDWICH.” He will say this at great volume.
“I..I thought it was a bug?” you will say. You will hesitate. This is as it should be.
“HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT. LOOK AT IT. IT IS OBVIOUSLY A SANDWICH.”
“OK,” you say. You might start backing away at this point. “Nice sandwich.”
He will then kick the wall or pound the couch or scream.
“Are you angry about the sandwich?” you might ask. Yes, it is a dumb question. A week ago, this sort of question would have been just right. Now, it is gasoline on the fire.
“IT. IS. A. BUG.” he will say. He will glare at you. He will be genuinely, acutely angry with you. Hint: not about the bug. “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU.”
A better woman than me would take her credit card and buy a one way ticket to Las Vegas. I have not done this, mainly because I do not have a valid passport. I stuck around and had the argument and tried to reinforce the boundaries and got a lot of attitude for my trouble.
At this, week two, I am cautiously optimistic. After two days of support from my Good Cop partner (to whom I got TOLD ON on Saturday) and a good idea of how much stress and emotional upheaval we’re dealing with, I am pretty sure things are going to level off.
But just like no one told me about that chunk of placenta that made its way out of me three days post-birth, no one told me about the total *cursewords times one hundred* storm that is the beginning of school. People said, “Oh it will be a transition!” People said, “Boy, it’s a change all right!” People did not say, “Buy a case of wine and earplugs and a helmet that covers your chin because this is the granddaddy of all big changes since your kid left the birth canal.” So I am saying it. You are welcome!
That said, if it gets worse from here? I am not sure I want to know.