"Am I going to kindergarten school today?"
She asks this as she pulls up a pair of stretchy black pants, as we're racing through the morning, trying to stay on schedule.
"Nope, today is a preschool day," I say, hurriedly grabbing a brush to try to mangle her mane into some kind of ponytail.
And I, again, explain that she has three more days of preschool, a graduation night at school, and then three months full of daycare and family days before September, when, yes, she will enter kindergarten.
"But I want to go to kindergarten school now," she pouts, putting her hands on her hips and sticking out her lower lip.
Eight months ago, we introduced this shy little 4-year-old to preschool.
Today, she finishes her last full week of preschool.
(Sidenote: I didn't know this until just this minute, when I posted the pic, but, coincidentally, she was wearing this exact same outfit when we left for school this morning. Too funny. You can tell it's a favorite...)
She "graduates" Thursday night.
She's come a long ways in one school year. She is spelling and writing words, learning to sound out letters and is working toward figuring out how to put them all together in words. She's a ways off from reading, but she's getting there. And we have all summer to learn and play together.
She is still timid, but much more open to new places and faces.
She is more adventurous.
But she's still the same, sweet kid from one year ago, considerate and caring, respectful (most of the time), and quite opinionated.
She's smarter than we realize , and she picks up on a whole bunch of things we'd rather she wouldn't (stuff with Millie, for example).
She challenges us. And enjoys doing so.
She asks us tough questions.
Last night, we were singing a "Jesus song" before bedtime.
"... from the cross to the grave ..."
And she interrupts me.
"What's a grave?"
"A grave is where they put your body in the ground, burying it, after you die." This isn't completely unknown to her. She is familiar with the concept of cemeteries.
"Oh." She pauses, pokes at her knees. "Do they take the bones out first?"
"Um..." I try, unsuccessfully, to change the subject, suggesting we talk instead about princesses and which one is our favorite.
But she's not having it.
"No, Mommy, really, do they take your bones out first? Or your eyes? And what happens to your hair?"
So we have a rather impromptu, unscripted conversation. We talk about our souls, our hearts, etc. - "the best parts of us that make us us" - going to Heaven first, right when we die. And then, once all the best parts of us have moved on, we bury - or sometimes first burn and then bury - the bodies so our loved ones can have a special place to go to remember you.
She accepts this, listening intently and not at all afraid or uncomfortable, from what I could observe.
She was interested. I felt quite pleased with myself.
"So they leave the bones in," she says, poking at her knees some more and closing the conversation.
It wasn't until later, when I recapped Ray on the conversation that I kind of half-wondered if I answered too honestly.
He laughed when I told him her initial question, then quipped, "Did you tell her they burn you first?" and he grinned, chuckling at even the idea of it.
"Well, uh, yeah," I answered, now unsure.
And he just stared at me. Blinking.
She didn't have nightmares, which I think is what he was most worried about.
And I'm still not convinced I answered too directly. But then again, I'm the one more apt to use the real words for body parts while Ray is more comfortable with gentler descriptions.
Parenting. It's always an adventure.
- Bethany :)