Parentgood: New Phases

It's been a little while since we had one of these, right? And with school starting, it seemed an opportune time.

My family is moving into a new phase this year - all 4 of my kids are in full-time school, with the youngest starting Kindergarten. My oldest is in 6th grade, which is still Elementary where we are, so for this one year all 4 kids will be at the same school. We've been talking about this for 5 years, ever since Heidegger was born.

Philosofette has a part-time job at the school, in the classrooms, this year too, which should be excellent for the family. Or the rest of them at least. I'm all alone.

Anyway, it's been a real gut punch. I'm super excited for the future for all my kids, but also kids grow up too fast, and I don't want any more time to slip away.

Also, here's a sappy poem I wrote. Someone feel free to edit it to be better and more effective - emotionally I'm a wreck right now because my kids are growing up too fast, so I'm no condition to fix a poem about my kids growing up too fast.

To my daughter, now all grown
On the eve of school’s first day
To that happy girl whose beauty shone
Whenever we would play

I can’t believe you’ve come so far
So fast, the time has flown
My pride and joy you truly are
My love expanding as you’ve grown

This night before I sit on edge
I can’t believe it’s almost here
Now to leap from home’s safe ledge
The morn draws ever near

The doors will close, the bell will ring
Your attendance will be marked
While to the past your father clings
Your future now embarked

To my daughter, now all grown
As the time slips still away
Go out and make this world your own
And know I love you more each day

---------

Alright... everyone with kids older than me, tell me it'll be alright and how wonderful this next phase is too. While I wait for people to do that, I'm gonna go look at their baby books.

10 thoughts on “Parentgood: New Phases”

  1. So, I'm hitting two new phases, the same that you refer to, where my youngest is starting Kindergarten, and a new phase where I finally have one finished with High School. He's not college bound, which is double sided because we're not going into debt or spending gobs of money, but at the same time, he needs to move on to the next phase of his life. He's excellent with computers and I have no doubt wherever he goes he will do fine. And he will like what he does because he won't stick around long if he doesn't like what he's doing. It's weird being a parent at this stage because I largely feel more like a mentor and a supporter than a parent now. He's 18, he can largely do what he wants, and any mistakes are mostly on him, but still, it's a weird place to be.

    1. Runner daughter is 30 and just celebrated her one year anniversary in her townhome. We've been out of the Mentor stage for quite a while, and are in the Consultant stage. It's nice that she's just 15min away, and because we watch the dog during the day, we still get to see her daily.

      It's certainly easier now post-HS than when I was growing up. Going off to college 1-½ hr away or first job have the country away was a huge deal; now with "free" long distance, email, IM, video chats, and social media, you might be physically distant but you can always be in contact.

  2. I don't want any more time to slip away

    See time doesn't really slip away. You just enter a new and different time. The whole having a child experience is wonderful, from neo nates to full grown adults. Having pre-teens and then teenagers has it's own set of challenges and rewards and wonderful experiences. Their first crush ( and perhaps first broken heart), getting a driver's license achievements in sports, scouts, school, jobs and responsibilities. Just plain growing up and maturing and watching them (and sometimes guiding them) into being responsible adults. My kids are now 26 and 28 and may be entering new professions and relationships, it's blast to watch and experience, even it it's from afar sometimes.

    Also, don't change a word of your poem.

    1. 27 (today) and 24 here. We just finished a week of the Boy and his GF visiting. They recently entered a new phase, having gotten their first apartment together. I don't know whether they will ever choose to get married (kids these days!), but it is a new level of commitment for sure.

      and the Girl is slowly finding her self-confidence after having moved home from Russia. She's started applying for jobs and is beginning a data science/machine learning "boot camp" thing on line.

      Different is different. I sometimes miss the days when they were little, but that may be as much a lament about my own aging as anything. I wouldn't trade the now for a repeat of the then.

      Also, don't change a word of your poem.

      Dido.

    2. My daughter started high school yesterday. Last night after we lost our buddy Jags, we all went for a walk and we talked about change and how even Jags changed over the years. Miss SBG is going through a stage where she's rebelling, especially against her mother. Lucy talked about how she's been told this is a stage and I reminded her that yes, it's part of growing up and it's not personal. The night before, Miss SBG and I were talking about calculus(!!!!) -- she's taking algebra II this year -- and she asked me if there was math beyond calculus. I laughed. Yes, dear!

      I would hate it if we were still talking about the things we talked about when she was 5. Life is about growing and changing and learning. American Girl dolls are boring after about 10 minutes. Get busy living or get busy dying is what I've heard.

  3. The Poissonnière starts kindergarten on Thursday. She’s beyond ready — already reading, adding & subtracting, learning piano*, and telling her own jokes & stories. I’m not sure her teacher is ready for her — and I’m honestly not convinced the school she’s attending is the right one for what I’ve observed of her learning style.

    Beyond the academic stuff, though, after 18 months with extremely minimal contact with kids her own age, I suspect the major adjustment will be social. This kid is totally comfortable around adults, but hasn’t had more than a handful of hours with a true age peer since early March 2019. She’s five months younger than I was when I started, the wisdom in my district at the time being to start boys at 6 years old. Kids can be pretty cruel to each other, and she’s not had the time to build up some of the social callouses that would have been more normal prior to the pandemic.

    She’s also asked me about what I remember, and it’s been interesting to see what I can recall (the color of the kindergarten-only bathroom’s walls, the name of the one kid in my class who drank whole milk) and what details have faded over time (parental arrangements for picking me up from after-school care). We made sure to watch the episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood where he visits a kindergarten classroom. (It was broadcast in 1979.) The district won’t permit parents to enter the building, so I won’t likely see hers unless circumstances somehow improve through considerate, mutually respectful practices our society seems determined to mock or frame exclusively as matters of self interest. But I will walk her to school every day.

    * I started violin at her age, taught myself viola, and played trumpet briefly, but never learned to play piano. It’s absolutely fascinating to me to see how much music theory is foregrounded as I finally start learning the instrument enough to help her practice. I wish my family had a piano so I could have learned to play the music I actually love — jazz & blues, especially — rather than feeling limited to music that I still appreciate and respect, but never felt impassioned enough to give my all.

    1. I see a lot of The Older Daughter in the Poissonnière. TOD is 4.5, and should be starting preK next week, but we're probably going to keep her home instead.

      She hasn't seen other kids outsider her little sister since March 2019 either (save a week with her cousins at the cabin). TOD can read already and is interested in learning piano (the Permanent Roommate is an absolutely amazing piano player)

      She (TOD) will be fine intellectually with or without school at this point. but we are seriously concerned for her social skills.

    2. I played piano as a kid, but my daughter has well outpaced me. A couple of years ago, she and I played a duet at her year end recital and that was a thrill I will never forget. In preparation, I begged her to practice the song with me a lot and she reluctantly agreed and was quite happy when the recital was over because she didn't have to play with Dad anymore.

  4. I'm closer to the adult kid stage than I am to little kid stage at this point. Kids are Jr in college, Fr in college, and So in high school. I should do a full Parentgood post on this but one thing that makes this easier is when you see them really thriving and doing what they want to do. I haven't felt hesitant at all when I've dropped both girls off at college. The only sadness is for me. It's all happiness for them.

Leave a Reply