Forgetting my ABCs


Forgetting my ABC's. That's the thing that kept me awake the night before I started kindergarten. I crept out of my downstairs bedroom and climbed up to the top step of the stairwell. There, the light from the upstairs kitchen area peaked under the door and I could read my ABC book. It didn't matter to me that I had been reading for ages and reading far above a kindergarten level. I was anxious. The fear of something new and unknown was keeping my 6-year-old brain buzzing. I was a painfully shy child and the idea of doing poorly on anything or doing the wrong thing was suddenly making me doubt something as small as the ABC song.

School is back in session or about to be for our students. Excitement and anticipation are high as glue sticks and binders are purchased and first day of school outfits are carefully planned. My own children, twins about to enter the second grade, have very different concerns leading up to the first day. My son is anxious over whether he will have any friends in his class and has he forgotten everything from first grade. Will is teacher like him? Will his homework be hard? Will he have to visit the principal? My daughter, being much different from her brother, is primarily worried about whether or not that cute boy Jack with the cool hair will still have a crush on her and if he will like how she can now skip TWO monkey bars and go all the way across twice without any effort at all? As a parent, I look at them and think how on earth could you two smart, adorable, brilliant, little humans be worried over such things? Everyone will love you. You will do famously in every course, and the principal will use you as examples when describing model students. Then, of course, reality sinks in and I remember my daughter is often reminded that we don't use "that" word in school and that cutting out paper hearts for Cool Hair Jack does not count as independent learning. I remember it took my shy son several weeks to not cry every morning on the way to school and that to this day he won't tell me why but he absolutely despises music class. Their fears and hesitations about the school year are founded. It's new and unknown. While I am confident we will get through the second grade, they need some reassurance.

I have made it a point to tell both my children that it's ok if they don't know everything right now. It's ok to make mistakes, and it's ok to ask for help. We have written out a nice schedule for the first few weeks of school to help us stay organized and alleviate the fear of forgetting something. We put away summer activities and set up homework stations. I try to patiently answer every question without making my son or daughter feel the fear is silly or unimportant. Remember, I was the kid afraid of forgetting the ABC song! We have walked to the school to check the charts for which teacher they will be assigned. Our school shopping is done and ready to go in backpacks. We have reviewed which words we can and can't use at school and emailed the principal for his favorite type of cookie and Dutch Bros. drink. Most importantly, I am spending time building up their confidence and letting them know they are loved and that I will be their biggest supporter in their second grade journey.