Thursday, June 3, 2010

Black Eyes and Tutus

What do black eyes, tutus and cookies have in common.  That's right, Kindergarten.  Back when I was a kid, kindergarten wasn't offered in the public school system.  Parents had to pay for their little ones to have juice and cookies with 20 of their closest friends, take tap and ballet lessons and perform for them in embarrassing pink tutus.

Now I envy those with crystal clear memories who can recount the most minute details from the time they were weaned, although many of those same people can't remember yesterday's lunch.  My own memories are scattered and vague, but here are some highlights from my kindergarten experience.

Drawing by Zeimusu
On day one we were lined up along the wall waiting...for what seemed like hours...for our 3-hour class to begin.  As time went on, I settled in, made friends, shared germs, and got my one and only black eye.  Yeah, who knew kindergarten was dangerous.  We all took turns running to see if the teacher was coming, and as fate would have it that day, I took my turn while another kid was running back.  Crack!  Our heads met with a thud producing instant tears and the ensuing shiner.  I'm sure it hurt, but I seem to remember thinking that if I cried, I might not get in trouble.  Hey, I've always been a "thinking" person.

Finally, we all know what great little germ spreaders kids are, right?  Well, before kindergarten, I'd had very little exposure to the outside world, so when I was suddenly corralled with 20 or so germy kids, 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, sharing God only knew what with each other, I caught everything going around.  I threw up so often that Mom knew what I meant when I said it felt like there was a snake in my tummy, and grabbed a bucket.

When I look back, I guess kindergarten wasn’t all bad.  After all there was juice and cookies.  What was kindergarten like for you (or your kids)?


  1. Laughed about your mom grabbing the bucket. Yeah, "snake in my tummy" would have me headed for a receptacle too!

    I have horrible kindergarten memories, starting with Day 1. I cried like a baby. I, too, had been so sheltered before then. I was so embarrassed that I was the only kid who was so upset to be there. I remember it like it was yesterday.

    The cookies and milk helped later in the day, though!

  2. Hi Kathy, thanks for dropping by. That "snake" was a much too frequent visitor at that time in my life.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Things like that do tend to stay with you, don't they?

  3. Kindergarten was my first time away from home. Back in my day kids weren't in day care or preschool so I found it very traumatic. And we had a nutty teacher. She ended up leaving halfway through the school year. I mostly remember crying to go home the first week and really only enjoying our time spent outside in the playground. My three kids seemed to enjoy their kindergarten time much more than I did, but they were used to sitters, etc. and it wasn't like being thrown into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim and without a life jacket - lol!

    I love that description - the snake in the tummy. That's brilliant!


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