Making peace — maybe a bribe or 2 — with arrival of kindergarten - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Making peace — maybe a bribe or 2 — with arrival of kindergarten

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:24 pm | Updated: 3:37 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

I had no idea that the bribe was going down.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it. While there might only be a fringe of truth to it, there is one thing I cannot deny being completely true — my baby girl is becoming a young lady.

On Aug. 7, Jyillan, a 5-year-old with the quickest right-handed jab since Sugar Ray Leonard, is making the move from part-time, half-day preschooler to full-time, all-day kindergartner.

She was hesitant, mainly because she absolutely loves her preschool teacher, Ms. Jessi, and didn’t want to leave her after 2 1/2 years at first, but now Jyllie is excited.

Me?

Not as much.

She’s going from a classroom of six students to a big school where her old school would fit in the cafeteria of her new one. I just imagine her walking around the lunch line not knowing where to go or not liking a single menu item.

I understand those are little worries in the big picture, but the thought of her standing by herself after getting out of the lunch line and looking for a place to sit and not seeing a friendly face tears at the heart just a little.

I never want to hold her back for any reason so I know this is the next step, but there are times I still see her as Jyllie Bean, the little bugger we brought home from the neonatal intensive care unit on my birthday, Jan. 25, 2007.

And not the quick-witted, daredevil (we jumped off one of the small cliffs at Slide Rock together last week) who loves to make new friends and takes on most challenges without any sign of fear.

But that’s who she is today and she is more than ready to attend elementary.

I knew this day would come, but I had no idea how much some parents do to make sure their child is in the most comfortable place possible.

Jyllian’s preschool is small so everyone knew everyone and she had some friends move on to kindergarten the year before she did. Everyone had an opinion on why the school they chose for their child was the one we had to send Jyllian to when it was her time.

It reminded of the “Seinfeld” episode when a couple from the Hamptons kept telling Jerry and Co., “You gotta see the baby.”

Or in this case, “You gotta attend the mecca of all schools.”

And my reaction to some of their attitudes was much like the way Kramer reacted when he finally saw the baby — Yeoowwww.

Some were snobbish (we have iPads in the classroom), some felt like they were settling and went way out of their way to say how great it was, like they were convincing themselves all over again and others couldn’t believe we weren’t acting like the world’s safety depended on our decision even though Jyllian still had a full year of preschool left.

It was a turn off in the biggest way, but didn’t stop us from doing our homework by taking tours and checking out websites like greatschools.org to see where we thought would be the best fit.

We eventually made our choice and decided to open enroll in a nearby community.

We will find out in time if the right decision was made and there is some fear there simply because you are molding the path of a little one. The thought of not doing what’s right for them plays on your mind.

Yet, at the same time I get the feeling we don’t give kids enough credit when it comes to being resilient and adaptive. They are going to flourish in their own way no matter where they are placed as long as there is a good foundation and quality guidance.

But you still do everything you can, which brings me back to the bribe that I knew nothing about.

One of Jyllian’s friends is attending the same school she is and the mother of her friend bought some doughnuts one day on the way to visiting their new school.

The tasty delights were left on the desk of the school’s secretary along with a request or two.

The hope was that our children could be placed in the same class, one that happens to be run by a recent district Teacher of the Year selection.

Wrong? I don’t know. Silly? Maybe. Bribery? Apparently.

As long as it might ensure your little one has comfort level heading into kindergarten, I guess it is alright.

Hmmm....

Dang, I bet a cake probably would have sealed the deal.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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