First-day jitters |

First-day jitters

I’ve almost made it to the next official milestone in child-rearing, and the amount of work and worry surrounding it has made me very leery about actually hitting that milestone, let alone moving beyond.

I’ve registered Katie for kindergarten, and I can’t believe how much work it was.

Making choices that affect a child’s health and well-being seem easy. M&Ms for dinner? No. No tears soap? Yes. Playing in the street? No. A homemade ladder to get you to the top of the refrigerator? No.

See, easy.

But making decisions that have the potential to affect her social status, her income potential, her ability to look back on a childhood fondly?

The pressure is mounting.

My first decision — to enroll or not to enroll. Katie and Nikki are only 14 months apart, yet their birthdays fall in such a way that Nikki will be two years behind Katie in school. Is that a good thing? I’m creating a gap in the sisterhood? I was two years ahead of my sister, and we weren’t close until we both hit parenthood. Daddy, on the other hand, was thrilled with the separation he had from his brothers.

Am I denying Katie by holding her back?

I went round and round in my head until I decided to do what was best for Katie — and that meant kindergarten.

Hurray! Halfway there.

Then I had to decide which school to choose. I’m in a unique position to have a lot of contact with the school district, so I know about each school, their philosophies, their teachers and the methods they use to reach their goals.

So there’s my dilemma — do I chose the most convenient school or the one that I think Katie would do the best in and that I’m most comfortable with?

Yes, I know it’s a no-brainer, but that’s a lot of coming and going while toting two girls to three different places and I don’t know if any of her friends are going there and …

OK, there’s no “and.”

So, I enrolled Katie — the paperwork for which took me longer than some of my college homework assignments (no comments from the peanut gallery).

As I was walking out afterward, questioning every decision I’d made to that point, I realized that I was just starting.

I’ve sworn that I won’t be one of those parents crying as he or she drops a child off on the first day of school.

Now I realize there’s more to the emotion than just having a baby grow up — it’s like your sending them off on the first day of the rest of their lives to have the choices and decisions you’ve made to that point analyzed and measured.

It’s not just sadness that prompts the first-day tears, it’s fear.

Boy am I scared.

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