My son started kindergarten today. At home. He finally accepted the fact that he was starting yesterday after initially protesting mildly.
I have expected all along that teaching him would be entirely different than his sister for many different reasons. Because of this, I was geared up to be tried severely today.
I ended up having a wonderful first day teaching. I expected to have to change what I was doing every five minutes or so because of his attention span. He ended up cooperating with me for an hour and a half and accomplished some language/phonics as well as doing incredibly well in math. It was plain to see today that math will come much easier at this point, which is typical for boys. He actually didn't want to stop, he was that excited. I bragged him up to daddy, and he was very proud to show him his accomplishments when he came home from work.
My girl, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations as well, but for an entirely different reason. Feeling quite seasoned in dealing with her temperament and knowing her strengths, I felt confident we would have a great first day. I was very wrong. It's funny now to look back and see how backward I was with the expectations of my children.
Unfortunately, Hannah is cursed with a very similar personality trait as her mother. I have always been lazy with working on things that do not come naturally for me. I was the first one in my family to show an interest in playing the piano and taught myself some very basic piano. However, my natural ability only took me so far, so when that ability ended and hard work and practice has to be utilized, my growth as a piano player stopped. I was the same way in school. I managed to graduate with my average in the 70's without applying myself much at all. I never learned study habits and passed by whatever knowledge I happened to memorize. This is my Hannah's personality, unfortunately.
She is so very bright in almost everything, and what she isn't as bright in she is still by no means "stupid", just not quite as bright as her other subjects. She was flying along today through her school, aceing everything as usual. Then she hit a roadblock.
She does not find it easy, but is not willing to take small steps to improve. I wanted her to write letters and small words over and over; she wanted to write whole sentences because she was impatient about one little teeny word. As a result she was frustrated when she struggled with writing the sentence neatly and staying in the lines. Her meltdown came when I told her to go back to the beginning and start writing one-letter-at-a-time.
Let's just say that by the end of the morning, she did not finish school. She ended up throwing a fit like I haven't seen her throw in years and I had to make her stay in her room until she settled herself down. That took about two hours. TWO WHOLE HOURS. She kept coming out of her room to talk about it, but was still so out of control and unable to be reasononed with that I had to send her back in.
I sat at the kitchen table, head in my hands, praying while she was carrying on in her room. It's tough as a parent to see replays of actions you knew you performed as a child (and sometimes even as an adult) being carried forth in your children. I felt like someone was playing a home movie of me carrying on when I was a kid.
On a positive note, however, after the storm settled and she finished school, she told me she wanted to type. She called me in a while later to show me the song she wrote. Perhaps I'll post it another time (it's on her computer in her room, where she's sleeping), but was I ever proud of her. It was a cute kid's song about a mouse and a cat (she told me she used those words because they were easy to rhyme with) and I thought it was actually pretty good.
I will always, always treasure the first song she ever wrote.
In any event, it's been quite a day and I sure hope tomorrow is not a repeat.
Except, of course, in the case of my son.