My kindergartener will not be a repeat offender. I said it wouldn't happen. I said he would most definitely have to be a kindergartener twice... not because of his ability to master the concepts taught in kinder, but because he's a bit of a wild child.
I said it long before he started kindergarten.

When his teacher called my husband and I in for a conference in only the second week of school, I just knew it was going to be a long year. And that my prediction would come true.

"You know, two weeks ago, he was still four," I reminded his teacher. She wasn't impressed.

Sure,  he was poking and pestering the other kids instead of paying attention. But the little guy only had two weeks to adjust to being a mature 5-year-old before he was thrust in the middle of the no-talking-no-touching life that is kindergarten.

Then came the behavior folder. It's a daily, color-coded, measurement of my child's ability to follow rules. Or, in his case, my child's inability to go with the flow. Green=good. Orange=bad. Red=real bad. That first month there was lots of orange and a teeny, tiny little bit of green peppered a day here and a day there. Overall, September was a very orange month.

So, we did what any good parent would do. We bribed the kid. Well, first we made sure the kid could identify the color green, just to rule out an overlooked case of color-blindnes. I mean, you never know, right? Then we bribed him. We promised him ice cream. We promised him he could choose the restaurant the next time we went out to dinner. We promised to buy him the toy of his choosing. We promised not to send him to bed extra early as punishment. And the first time he came home with green, it was cheers and celebrating. We all did the happy dance. Even our awesome neighbor who lets our kids hang out at her house for a little while after school most days did the happy dance with him.

Soon, the tide turned and almost overnight, my son's folder morphed from mostly orange with a few teeny, tiny specs of green, to mostly green with a few teeny, tiny specs of orange.

And I began to think maybe he really would make it through kindergarten on the first try. Maybe, just maybe, we would all survive.

Ewa Walicka
Ewa Walicka

Now here we are, at kindergarten graduation and my sweet, spunky and totally rotten boy with the Charlie Brown cheeks and freckles peppered across the bridge of his nose, will, in fact, get to be a first grader next year.

I almost can't believe it. When the going got tough, the little guy rose to the challenge. More than I can't believe the improvement in his behavior, I can't believe how much he has changed this year. He's reading above grade level. He plays math games on his tablet and says smart things like, "We need bees because they help polinate."

You mean bees don't just make honey and sting innocent bystanders? I am certain a fair number of adults don't even know that.

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