Time for a girl update.

A big event has not gotten its proper blog treatment: M.’s “graduation” from kindergarten. I use the quotation marks because A) kindergarten graduations are kind of silly to begin with and B) she’s not really done with kindergarten.

Let’s get the event out of the way first. Her class put on a fine performance for family and friends. They sang songs, showed off artwork, recited their lines to a couple poems, and received diplomas. The teacher was very emotional, as were some of the parents. It was a fun way to end the year, especially for the students.

As we were collecting assorted items from the classroom before our final exit, I whispered to another parent that it was kind of silly to have graduation, since M. was going through kindergarten again next year. She quickly agreed and said, “I think just about every one of the kids is repeating next year.” A lot of summer birthdays in the class, I guess.

Now what’s this about M. repeating? In Indiana the cut off date for beginning school is August 1. With a birthday in the final week of July, she barely makes it. Our plan entering this year was for her to repeat kindergarten next year when she transitions to the school where we expect her to spend the next nine years. But, we were open to moving her to first grade next fall if her current teacher thought M. would be bored repeating.

M. did a great job this year; she’s reading beyond grade level, doing simple math, and matured in many ways. She certainly benefited from her class. There are still several skills, though, where she’s right at age appropriateness, or even lagging a bit. In other words, she’s pretty much normal for an almost six-year-old: some things she is advanced at, some things she’s shockingly normal, others she needs some work. Her teacher said girls often do better than boys with repeating kindergarten and thought, because of M.’s age, that was the way to go. Also, the school she will move to next year has a different curriculum for their kindergarteners. They have Spanish, art, and music classes on different days. They are also more independent in what and how they teach, rather than adhering closely to what the local public schools teach. While the grade name will be the same, it will be a completely different setting and class, so won’t feel like a repeat of this past year.

At least we hope.

In a perfect world, the church where M. has spent the last three years would have an elementary and middle school. But they don’t, so we’re going to have to commute 20 minutes, give-or-take, twice a day rather than the 2-3 minutes it takes us to get to our neighborhood church.

C. finished her 3’s class as well. She came a long, long way since September. Back in the fall, when they went through assessments, she refused to do some activities. She often hung back and did her own thing when the rest of the class was engaged in group activities. By the spring, she was doing everything asked of her during assessments, enjoyed story times, and had developed some close friendships with a couple classmates. In fact, several of the boys seem interested in her, which is scary.

For all of her academic progress, I think the best way to describe C. right now is weird. She’s hit that strange age where all kinds of bizarre behavior comes out of kids as the leave toddlerhood behind and enter school age. It drives us crazy, but we try to remind ourselves that every kid goes through this stage.

One of her strange behaviors is acting like an animal. She goes through periods where she communicates through grunts and groans and other animal sounds rather than words. She has an odd growling sound that she makes both when she’s upset or excited about something. I’ve started calling her my baby bear, since that’s what she sounds like. When she speaks, her language and vocabulary are very good, so there are no concerns about her development in this area.

All three girls went through Daddy phases, but we can, with confidence, chalk up L. as a huge daddy’s girl. When we nap together, she snuggles as close as she can get, wraps my arms around her, then her arms around mine and refuses to let me go. When upset, if S. is comforting her, she’ll call my name and run to me instead. While I enjoy having one girl be mine, it does get annoying. And I believe S. is enjoying every second of it, since the other two girls are all over her constantly.

L. has some fun phrases now. Tell her not to spill something and she will say “I won’t.” Tell her not to play with something that doesn’t belong to her, she’ll respond “I’m not.” Anytime she sees soccer, whether on TV or in a book, she yells, “Go M.!” She enjoys talking about houses. “Daddy’s house! Mimi’s house! M.’s house!” For some reason, she can’t say C., which you would think was easy. Nor can she say L., which makes more sense. She’ll proudly say M.’s name, stay silent when you ask her C.’s name, and when you point at her, she yells “ME!”