Youngest to K by child grower Annita Woz.

I haul and unload the high chair, bouncy seat, the crib, the automatic baby swing, and several Little Tykes toddler toys to my friend’s garage.  I hold back a sob while sticking and marking the price tags and look away quickly, fighting tears, when someone pays a few bucks and walks away with the little red swing that safely held all three of my children, back and forth, to the rhythm of hundreds of rounds of the alphabet song.

I have not been able to make myself get rid of the baby stuff until this year. My husband calls as the sale begins and reminds me that he has a special connection to the alligator teeter totter and that if it doesn’t sell, don’t just send it to charity, bring it right back home.  I feel the same about the dollhouse.

After more than a decade of having children underfoot, I am selling all the baby paraphernalia that has been taking up a lot of room in storage.

I’m also sending my youngest to Kindergarten this fall. 

With him goes all the personal and societal pressures that have been kept at bay while I took 11 years off of full-time-work  leaving me with a very small paycheck to contribute toward our mortgage.

Cutting way back on a forty hour work week has its rewards, but I am very aware that the perks of mothering are balanced by the pain of it coming to an end. 

This fall,  my youngest child’s life is changing when he takes that leap into his first day of Kindergarten-  and so is his mother’s.  

I’m grateful that my kid survived my parenting skills and that should be enough proof that he is ready to survive a school day, maybe even a ride to school on a bus, right? 

Yes, I have to admit, he is ready for school.

He is actually one of the most ready kids in the class due to has a mid-summer birthday that let me keep him home until after his sixth birthday.  He has conversations with kids, plays nicely, controls his hands.  He can write his name and can recognize some of the letters of the alphabet.  He can look some adults in the eye and still manage to form one word answers to their questions instead of hiding his head behind my leg as he did a year ago. 

He knows the school and can find the bathroom and the playground.  He has come with me every morning to drop off his older siblings at school, visited all the classrooms and knows most of the teaching staff on sight.

He has a backpack, a lunchbox and gym shoes. By material measurement, he is way ready.

He informs me that he knows exactly what he is in for.  With his long arms crossed in front of him, he squints through these amazing long eye lashes and then gives me the eye roll and says,  “Mom, I know that it is not going to be fun the whole time.”

I have to agree.  It is not all fun.  I resist sharing that my first day will not be fun the whole time, either.   

### for EP, August 31, 2009, by Annita Woz.

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