The End of the Year – A Time to Reflect6

Posted by Deirdre // 06-18-2012

 

This does fit into the “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” theme I’m going with this week, because it’s about some good things in our life here. By the way I’m using the term ‘week’ but not really meaning the seven days from the first post to the last necessarily, so don’t hold me to it. You’ll see time is a little variable for me, especially these days.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions – never have been. So for me, especially now that our lives are again synchronized with the school calendar instead of the Gregorian (apparently that’s what the old Jan-Dec one is called), it’s more fitting to think back on the year in June than December. Plus when we say “next year” about the next school year, the kids always correct us and say “this year!”.

My little one’s last day of preschool was last week and I didn’t think I was going to make it through pickup without weeping (I did, surprisingly). It’s been such an amazing year for him – so much growth and confidence and sweetness – that I am bursting with pride. I’m so thankful that he has been able to have this experience and feel like it’s done such great things for him – not only because every day he literally ran into school eager to learn and ready to play, but that now he is absolutely ready for Kindergarten. I don’t even mean academically, but with an open mind and solid sense of himself, ready to face the challenge. Kind of exactly what you want from a preschool.

Building their house at preschool. He is making some important engineering decisions!

My older one has also had an incredible year in 1st grade. As a baby Zach smiled constantly, from about 6 weeks on. He became an intense toddler, who was still silly and smily but also wore a bit of the world on his shoulders. A serious artist and writer, we never worried about him academically, only the pressure he put on himself. He’s a different kind of kid – one who would rather eat raw oysters than Peanut Butter & Jelly, or rather draw than play Batman. In fact when he was 4, I told him that super heroes were actually good guys not bad, and at that moment I could see him begin to consider them in a way he never had before. A rule breaker, he is not (like his mama). He had plenty of friends in Kindergarten but not great ones and he wan’t likely to stick up for himself when some of the kids targeted him with their finger guns and harsh words. He just pretended to think it was funny, which kind of broke my heart (and made me want to kick those kids’ asses).

This was his choice for his birthday dinner. He does also like burgers but won’t eat PB&J.

This year has been a total change. Not only has he continued to shine academically – there are a lot of rules to learn in math and writing, which he has of course loved – but socially too. He has blossomed so much in this class, with great friends and a confidence and eagerness that is so amazing to see. He’s always been a ham at home and with his handful of close preschool friends – now I can see him feeling comfortable enough to act silly with his new friends, too. This sense of security has also given him real empathy, so that he has been able to reach out to the kid who sat alone at recess, or cheer on others when they’re able to write small enough to get their letters on the lines. He even is starting to act that way with his brother, which of course makes me feel like we’re doing something right!

This is all a long-winded way of saying that Brooklyn has been kind of perfect for our kids. I know great schools exist in other places, but I wonder about a tolerance of kids who are little different. I know a Brooklynite who did an experiment this year with Rhinebeck (they were lucky enough to be able to split their time between here and there) and her tween boy felt like he didn’t have much in common with other kids because he didn’t play football. Rhinebeck was one of the places we have considered, incidentally. They’re coming back.

Theo, who loved all things boy like Star Wars and Legos and swords at 4 in a way that Zach didn’t, also had a pink bunny lunch box last year. Not sure how that would fly in Charleston. Yes, he does sometimes ask, “When are we going to move to the country?” but I’m not sure how he would feel actually living there. In Brooklyn differences are not only accepted, they’re celebrated. So while we pay astronomical rent and eat through our savings so I can take a break from work, we deal with the traffic and garbage and feel incredibly thankful for a place that nurtures our kids as much as we do.

If you’re thankful for Brooklyn, or somewhere else you feel your kid can truly be him/herself, holla back.

 
 
 

6 Responses

  1. Colleen, Brooklyn to the Burbs says:
    August 2nd, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I’m just discovering your blog now for the first time. Aahh. These are the qualities I love about Brooklyn. I’m afraid of the lack of diversity, not just racially, but just fitting into a mold in the burbs. We’re moving out after 6 years in Manhattan and 6 years in Brooklyn with our 2 kids. It’s so bittersweet. If I read your blog enough, I just may come back!!

    • Deirdre says:
      August 5th, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Colleen, so glad you found us (me)! Yes, Brooklyn is idyllic in sooo many ways it’s hard to give up. But I bet you have a parking space where you’re going, and a place to sit outside and drink your coffee…
      Believe me, we go back and forth on this blog, so would love to hear both sides from everyone, including you!

  2. johanna says:
    June 20th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Love this post. And also wonder about the acceptance factor in places that are a little more, well, homogenous. I am feeling a lot of love for Brooklyn these days….. but catch me on a bad day and I am READY to go!

    • Deirdre says:
      June 20th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks Johanna! I am, too – of course. But the important stuff is working for the time being, and that’s pretty great.

  3. DSlegona says:
    June 19th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    May I ask where your kids go to school? You sound happy with them. We’re researching schools in the WT and Park Slope area so i am curious.Thanks.
    Dawn M.

    • Deirdre says:
      June 19th, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Well, my little one went to PS Playhouse, which is really a “play group” in the South Slope. It’s tiny and fills up quickly with repeats and siblings. The woman who runs it was Zach’s teacher at Studio Creative Play, where he went for preschool. She started her own thing and it also follows the Reggio Emilia approach (in my opinion much better than SCP did). My older one goes to PS 321, which we have been really happy with, especially the quality of education so far. Cons are that it’s a BIG school, which you really feel at pickup and events – there are 10 Kindergartens! Plus I kind of loathe the Center Slope (and it’s $$$$$) but there’s certainly worse. It’s been tough to balance but we’re trying and this year happened to be very much worth it.