Consider Us Orientated

‘Tis the season for kindergarten orientation. Piper and I went last week. I brought along the 312 pieces of paperwork required for admission into the public schools in Montgomery County. Piper’s doctor, dentist, and therapist (okay, that’s a joke, she doesn’t have a therapist…yet) signed off on her readiness. Piper has been looking forward to orientation for months. She can’t wait to go to the same school as Sissy and walk together every morning.

When we arrived, they gave Piper a name tag and took her picture. Then they separated the parents from the kids. Some of the kids weren’t so thrilled about this, but Piper skipped off down the hallway leading the pack and called “Bye, Mom!” over her shoulder.

The kids were taken to do “fun” activities, which looked a little like “testing” to me. Piper aced the name writing and pattern part.

She impressed them equally by debating whether her art was more like Van Gogh or Monet. Hmmm.

I can’t say that the parents had as much fun. There weren’t any art projects. We weren’t allowed to eat the snack. We watched videos on how to properly drive through the “kiss and ride” lane and why backpacks on wheels are destroying civilization.  Then, we were told to quit our day jobs so that we could spend the summer doing skill and drill in hopes of possibly preparing our kindergartners for the first day. Piper is supposed to be reading at Level Four by the first day, whatever that means. Here is some of our summer homework:

Once Piper and I were reunited, she declared, “Mommy! Kindergarten is so much fun! Can we do it again tomorrow?” Looks like we’ll be doing it for most of the summer anyway. Rather than cancel our summer vacation so we can attend the Summer Academy for Parents, Piper put on her tiara and we went out for cupcakes.

She chose a peanut butter chocolate one because it started with P. That may not be Level Four, but it’s yummy enough for me.

A Piper By Any Other Name

Piper mostly hates preschool.  Not the playground and the crayon thing but the academic thing.  If you have a preschooler, you may already know that they are doing long division by the end of the first week.  It’s insane.  Most of Piper’s classmates have been skilled and drilled since birth.  Half of them can already read. Piper can barely write her name.  It’s not that she doesn’t have the ability or that she isn’t bright, it’s that we haven’t really put our energy into her four-year-old academics.  She’s been busy making mud pies and memorizing Lady Gaga lyrics. Her father has taught her an array of armpit noise pitches.  We’re very proud. Every day her teacher sends home a note asking me to work with Piper on her name.  I haven’t paid much attention, but I’m pretty sure the note goes like this “Dear Lazy Mom Who Doesn’t Pay Enough Attention to Piper, Please take a few precious moments out of your busy day and work with this poor child on writing her name so that the other kids stop making fun of her on the playground. Thank you.”  I know that tone.  I’m a teacher, too. So, we work on the name thing.  We sit at the kitchen table with brightly colored paper and markers that smell of various fruit flavors.  And she does write a name.  It’s just not her name.  It goes like this:

So, I’m thinking of saving us all the headache and just changing her name.  “What do you think of going by Pirppirr?”  I ask.  Her face is hopeful. “Can I stop doing this then?”  “Yep.  Back to eating Playdoh and practicing armpit noises.” She happily runs from the table and I begin writing a note to her teacher informing her effective immediately of Piper’s new name. Problem solved.