I had a minor medical procedure today which I had to fast for (what, including chocolate??? Noooooooo!) and it was also Louisette’s last day of holidays before Kindy, which included a special appointment to meet her teacher and look at her new classroom (all very lovely).
I really like the school, the teacher, etc etc and I’m beyond excited that my little distraction is starting a whole new phase of her life.
The epic collages continue…
(The big photo was taken by http://thorsonphotography.com.au)
But actually right now I’m mama-bear FURIOUS.
You see, the daycare centre next door to the Kindy has been Lizzie’s social hub since she was literally a year old. I actually got to be one of the educators in her room, back when it was just eight kids. There are a small number of kids who’ve gone through the whole daycare centre with Louisette, year by year.
Two, to be exact.
And one of them switched days after that first year, so although the kids still think of each other as best friends, they’ve barely seen each other since then.
Which leaves one. Let’s call her Helen.
Helen is an extremely laid-back individual, who even at the age of one would look at the rest of us dancing with a sweet little smile that said, “I ain’t doing that.” She’s also a freaking genius. When we were gently coaxing our one-year olds to say two-word sentences like “Big Dog”, Helen would say things like, “On the weekend I went swimming with my Daddy.” (Which I remember because I asked her what she did at the pool and she said, “Bubbles.”)
She almost never cried or complained, and I’ve actually never seen her hit another child (I’m sure she has at some point, but rarely). Over the years we became good friends with her whole family, and even coordinated swimming lessons with them.
Helen was having weekly swimming lessons for ages before we joined in (very excited that Louisette could scrape into the same class as Helen). After the lessons, we’d play in the public pool. I’ll never forget the day when Louisette was jumping into the pool from the edge (like usual) and Helen jumped in too. Her parents were over the moon – she’d never jumped in before.
When Louisette is bossy, Helen either wanders elsewhere or goes along with her idea. When Helen is reluctant to do something, Louisette leads the way.
I love both kids so very much.
So of course, being an ex-teacher at the school on top of everything else, I spoke to quite a few people about whether Helen and Louisette (and the other girl) would be placed in the same class. Everyone said that of course close friends would not be separated.
Louisette and Helen have had every adult in their life go ON and ON and ON about Kindergarten for months. They’re both happy and excited about it, but have also shown their nerves in different ways. They’ve both been reassured over and over that they’ll be in the same class.
So we show up today, and HELEN IS IN THE OTHER CLASS.
I’m a (non-practising) teacher, so I do understand that stuff happens, and that every parent is obsessed with their own kid. I’m sure that a lot of thought has gone into the way they divided up the two Kindy classes.
I cried a bunch, and spoke to the department head (and then also to Louisette’s teacher- not because she decided the classes, but to let her know what was going on). They both assured me that the two Kindy classes will do a bunch of stuff together and blah blah blah. Yes, that’s nice. That will be enough that the girls probably won’t consciously realise that we broke our promise to them. A promise that gave them security for the biggest life change they’ve had so far. But I know that neighbouring classes don’t truly play together; they build different identities around their differing classes. I know that I broke my promise to my daughter, and it isn’t a small matter at all. And I know that these two girls could have complemented each other through the entirety of their school careers, through tricky teenage years (literally the reason we picked this particular school) and beyond. But the colleague of mine who separated them may have put their whole lives on a different track.
So, like I said, I’m furious.
I have told Louisette that she and Helen are “neighbours” (Helen’s mum has told Helen the same thing). Both girls are fine, really.
Helen’s mum is reasonably calm—we both really admire one of the more-recent-but-still-very-familiar girls who is in Helen’s class, so hopefully that girl and Helen will grow closer so Helen can have a same-class BFF who’s worthy of her.
Of course I’ve rambled on too much about this, so I need to start a new entry to actually talk about Louisette.
There’s still a chance that the classes will change and Louisette and Helen will be together. But this is a new phase in these girls’ lives, after all—and the biggest change is that their school will now see more of them than their parents, and make more and more decisions that alter their lives and futures. For better or worse.