Today was the beginning of the end.

The end of what you ask?

The end of the season of my life in which I am the mom of a pre-schooler. Yes, girls. My precious, darlin’ baby daughter is on her way to school this fall. My MOPS days are almost over.

I would love to tell you that Kindergarten registration was today. In fact, it was last week and somehow I missed the huge, glaring sign in front of the elementary school that read, “KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION”. And lest you give me the benefit of the doubt for not seeing it, I should also say the sign is less than 100 yards from my front door.

I’m nothing if not observant.

So anyway, when I discovered I had missed the O-Ficial Kindergarten registration I stopped by the school office to see when make-up day for the Loser Moms was scheduled. I picked up the registration packet and was then informed I needed to make an appointment for my girl to have Kindergarten pre-testing.

Say what? She has to pass a test to get IN to Kindergarten?

Well, not quite like that they explained. I was told to expect more of an assessment to see what The Girl knew so they would know where to start with her.

I should prequel my panic by telling you that by the time my Number One Son went to Kindergarten, he was reading Shakespeare. The kid is naturally smart, but I was equally neurotic with his pre-K education. We had the flashcards, the workbooks, the abacus and I prided myself on making sure his life was fully and properly enriched.

By Boys #2 and #3 I had calmed down a bit. They also had the benefit of attending an excellent 4-year-old Pre-K in the Georgia Elementary schools so I was totally content to let their teachers teach them the ABC’s, etc. They were also reading by Kindergarten so again, no worries.

My poor #4 girl is a different story. Her mother is still neurotic but in totally different areas. There is no Alabama pre-K so The Girl? She’s pretty much been on her on to glean what little information she could learn from Dora and the Microwave.

I panicked when I found out they were pre-testing for the sheer fact I was soon to be exposed for not having taught my child a single thing in the five years I’ve owned her. I knew she could say her ABC’s – well mostly. It gets a little hazy around the L-an-in-on-P but she totally makes up for it with an exuberant X!Y!Z!.

I decided since we had a couple of days before the testing I would give her the Susanna Wesley crash course in recognizing her letters and numbers. I bought her a dry erase board where she could practice. We drilled and drilled over the letters. After two days, I was confident she knew all the ABC’s and we could move on to numbers.

The Girl counted to ten as well as recognized the numbers without any help from me. I said, “Girl, how did you know all of those?” She said, “Those are easy mom. I learned them on the microwave.”

So there you have it. My five year old learned her numbers from cooking snacks in the microwave. Now if I can just get her to 350 for the oven I may get a complete meal.

Anyway, just for grins, I had her run through the numbers one more time. She counted to ten and stopped. I said, “Well, Girl. Don’t stop there. What comes after ten?” She said, “Mom. You know what comes after ten…The size of my shoes!” So we should have no problem whatsoever with her as long as her teacher can decode ‘The size of my socks = 4″ and “The size of my pants = 5”.

Okay, let’s bring this thing to the runway. We went to the testing appointment today and how do you think The Girl did? When Mrs. H. asked her each of the letters, she said, “Hmmm….I don’t know that one. I’ve never seen that one. Nope. Don’t know that one either.” I think she ended up getting about half of them right. She did redeem me on her numbers though. Didn’t miss a one. And thankfully, they didn’t ask her what came after 10.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the little thing, but I’m oh so ashamed of me. The Girl has no idea yet, but this summer she is totally gonna be Hooked on Phonics.

Alright, now I would like to come to my own defense as well as the defense of mothers like me. Am I nuts or is Kindergarten today not the Kindergarten of our youth? What happened to naptime and puppet shows and learning how to color in the lines? How did that get replaced with speed-reading and Spanish? I know education is important, but goodness, do any of you think like me that we are pushing them too hard, too fast?

All I know right now is that I have this dull ache in my heart that is growing with each day that passes. In just a few short months an entire season of my life will be over and I’m not sure I’m ready for it or ready to let go of my little girl who is absolutely the joy of my days. Who will endure WalMart with me? Who will sit in her pajamas with me and watch Spongebob? Who will make a Tuesday movie store run or play at McDonalds while we eat our snack wraps?

Great. Now I’m crying.

And since I’ve typed myself into a full blown depressive episode, you’ll have to excuse me while I go curl up into a fetal position.

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