192 hours until kindergarten starts-River City Counseling

Not that I’m counting, but there are exactly 192 hours until kindergarten starts. A few minutes after is the “coffee for the parents of new students.” After working for 15 years in elementary schools, I know I’ll see two types of parents: those that are crying and hugging other parents, because their babies are all grown-up, and their lives as parents have changed forever and those who hang around the periphery, with neutral faces, unsure of how to react. They know they’re supposed to be upset, but really they’re thrilled and are wondering what they’ll do with the extra time. They know they aren’t supposed to look happy, but if you look carefully, you’ll see some subtle, conspiratorial smiles and people texting back-and-forth, making plans.

And I’m left wondering which parent I’ll be…

Don’t misunderstand; I adore my son. He’s sweet, kind, generous, hilarious, and precocious. He also looks adults in the eye, shakes hands, introduces himself and is very interested with what they have to say. (He proved this a few days ago when his t-ball team was invited onto the field, immediately before a San Francisco Giants game. When he walked onto the mound to meet Matt Cain, the Giants’ pitcher, he stuck out his hand and said, “Hi my name is KD. It’s very nice to meet you.”) Of course, I’m biased, but I really have a great child.

At the same time, I AM EXHAUSTED from years of sleep deprivation! When he was little, his seemingly unremitting health issues kept him and us awake for several hours a night. But now, he’s perfectly healthy and sleeps through the night. Wake-up is another issue; most mornings it’s as if Reveille sounds off in his head, and he’s up and ready to go at 5:30.

When I hear him, I shuffle into his room to tell him he needs to be quiet, even if he doesn’t go back to sleep. But before I’m able to sprint back to bed, he’ll say something like, “Dad, do you know why I get up so early?” I’ll grunt a “No, why?” And he’ll say, “Well, it’s because you work at night, and this is our time together.” Most of the time I’ll sigh, sit down, and remind myself that he won’t always be this cute, and I should hang-out and enjoy him, while he still wants to.

Another technique he uses is, “Dad, will you get your pillow and lie down next to me, so I can fall back to sleep?” Excited by the thought of a few more “Z’s,” I’ll get my pillow and lie down. As I’m drifting back to sleep, he’ll roll over, laugh (at me, I think), and tell me he’s not tired anymore. Snowed once again…

I really shouldn’t complain, for I, too, was an early to bed and early to rise child. If I made to the first commercial of Wonderful World of Disney (i.e. 7:10 p.m.) before going to sleep, I was really burning the midnight oil. Then I’d wake-up about 5 a.m., excited to watch Canadian Football replays on our black and white television. (Nielsen Ratings must not have existed back then, for I had to be the only person in the Los Angeles market watching the games…)

My love of sports also extends to my son. He reads the sports page and Sports Illustrated, cover-to cover. (And, yes, we get rid of the swimsuit issue ahead of time.) And ANY game on television is “must see TV.” He also has the app on my phone for the NCAA tournament and watches replays from March Madness, over and over. He knows all the players’ names from Florida Gulf Coast University and Boise State. It’s a little bit disturbing…

When it comes to playing, it’s basketball, baseball, soccer and swimming (preferably two sports each season) and full-court Nerf hoops and an intricate baseball game (including headfirst sliding) in his bedroom. It’s all day, every day. When friends come over he doesn’t understand why they’d want to play Legos or solve puzzles, when they could be outside playing, for games like those are only good for when it’s too early or late to play outside or when it’s raining.

On top of this, my son is a “be by me boy,” because he always wants to be around me. And this means he wants to play everything WITH ME. As I pride myself on being an active, involved dad, it’s important for me to play with my kid. I’ve hung in there for almost six years, but I’m tired and ready for a break. After bending over at least 100 times each morning, picking-up the newspaper and tape “baseballs” from his floor, I’m ready to pass the torch to the twentysomethings.

Who knows, maybe I’ll spend some time with the devastated parents and some with the parents on the periphery. I know I’ll be sad, but at the same time, I’m thrilled to have a few more naps. And really, in the end, Kindergarten is only for three hours/day, and there will be plenty of time for KD and me to play…after I’ve had a few naps.

One Response to 192 hours until kindergarten starts-River City Counseling
  1. elizabeth
    August 19, 2013 | 3:28 am

    I am hysterical with laughter……Oh how true…..And soon he will be away at college….Sleep is only a few years away……

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