The Hardest Part of Kindergarten

I was somewhat prepared for Bean starting kindergarten this year.  I read a few articles about it online, talked to some friends who had been through this before, and reminded myself that Bean was fully prepared to face this next milestone.  But nothing prepared me for the hardest part of kindergarten I have had to face.

My husband.

Brown (131 of 170)

Chris is having the hardest time adjusting to Bean being in kindergarten.  I think he feels like Bean is too young or small or something to be dealing with all of this.  Of course, if you asked Chris, he would tell you he’s dealing with it just fine.  But I know better.

Here is what Bean says: “My underwear showed at school today and everyone laughed.”

Here is what Chris hears: “My underwear showed at school today and everyone started pointing and laughing and throwing things at me and calling me names and beating me with erasers.  HOW WILL I EVER SURVIVE?!?!”

Here’s what actually happened:  Bean bent over and his underwear showed so some of his classmates started laughing.  Even Bean laughed.  And when I asked him how he felt, he said he thought it was funny.  I’m pretty sure it was not a traumatic experience for anyone.  Except maybe Chris.


Brown (37 of 170)
Here is what Bean says: “I had to walk into school by myself after you dropped me off, Dad.”

Here is what Chris hears: “After you dropped me off, I had to walk myself into school, fighting 5th grade bullies who were trying to steal my lunch money the entire way.  And once I got into the building, I didn’t know where I was even though I go to school here every single day, and so I wandered around aimlessly, not sure what to do with my life and trying to avoid more big kids who are all out to stuff me into lockers that we don’t even have.”

Here is what actually happened:  Bean has to walk into the building under a covered walkway LINED WITH TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.  Chris isn’t allowed to take him inside.  And even though this drop off isn’t ideal, it isn’t DANGEROUS, which I am pretty sure is what Chris believes.


Brown (42 of 170)

Here is what Bean says: “I sat by myself at circle time today.”

Here is what Chris hears: “I sat by myself at circle time today because everyone hates me and even the teacher wouldn’t come talk to me, so I just sat there.  Alone.  Because no one loves me and I walk through my entire day without feeling love from anyone in my life other than you, Dad.”

Here is what actually happened:  Bean likes to play by himself.  He chooses to play alone about half of the time.  Does he play well with other kids?  Absolutely.  But the introvert in him needs that time alone sometimes.


Chris is just waiting for something traumatic or awful to happen to Bean.  He’s LOOKING for it.  Everyday Bean comes home from school, Chris tries to nonchalantly grill him about the happenings of his day.  Who did he play with?  Who didn’t he play with?  Did he not play with them by choice?  Did anyone get in trouble at school today?  Did they get in trouble for hurting Bean’s feelings?

Brown (99 of 170)

And every day, Bean nonchalantly responds while not even looking up from whatever he is doing with noncommittal grunts, “Uh huh,” or “Yeah, sure,” or “I dunno.”  I swear, if I didn’t know any better, I would think Bean was TRYING to stress Chris out!  He gives him absolutely ZERO information during these conversations, and it drives Chris crazy!

Chris says I am more laid back about it because I work in a school setting, and he thinks that’s jaded me into not worrying when I should be worried.  But I don’t think that’s true.  To a certain extent, I am more aware of how a school operates on a day-to-day basis than Chris is, but I think it’s more about personality types.  Chris really likes to be in the know.  He doesn’t like for lots of things to be going on without his knowledge.  And I think that’s killing him right now.  He just doesn’t KNOW what goes on in Bean’s day.  So, in his head, we are just letting him go with a bunch of random STRANGERS.  But I know that these people might seem distant to us, but they are part of Bean’s everyday world.

Which is the REAL problem for Chris.  It is really difficult to accept that your kids’ whole world now includes things that you aren’t a part of.  And that part is hard for me to accept, too.  He has friends we don’t know, teachers throughout the day for art, PE, music, etc. that we don’t know, he reads books that we don’t read, he learns things that we don’t teach him.  His world is growing.  And, as healthy as that is, it’s killing Chris.

Oh, how I love that man and his protective, big heart.

Brown (149 of 170)*********

Photo Credit:  Jenn Hopkins Photography


Related posts

13 Thoughts to “The Hardest Part of Kindergarten”

  1. Sarah s

    haha- chris and I may be kindred spirits! When my daughter started kinder I would nonchalantly grill her after school just looking for that terrible thing that was happening – was the teacher nice? Did she play with other kids at recess? What did they play? What was the best part of her day? The worst? I was just sure that somewhere somehow she was falling into a classic grade-school trap. Now she’s in 4th grade and my son is in 3rd and I have relaxed a bit but I also see how there are actually things to worry about now and not so much in kinder. I will say, as a fellow “likes to know everything”, volunteering in the classroom occasionally did a lot to help me relax and really understand what was going on. Hang in there Chris! It gets better.

  2. Haha – I feel the exact same way as Chris! Now that my little guy is at school all day, and I don’t know all the details, it is killing me. I ask him a hundred questions when I pick him up and they are usually answered by I don’t know or I don’t remember. Agh!

  3. Becky

    Haha I find that so endearing! (But I may be biased because I’m a bit like Chris.) It’s a good thing that you two balance each other out!

  4. Andie

    Aw man I didn’t realize how sad it will be when my kid goes off to Kindergarten. Not being a part of their lives when they are there will be hard on me for sure! Hopefully Chris gets adjusted to that though as the year goes on 🙂

  5. Tabitha Jones

    I must be in a sappy moment (this girl don’t cry) but after laughing through the whole post I about lost it emotionally in that last paragraph. I don’t think I’m ready for that either!

  6. I think you and Chris may have switch roles from when Bean was a baby. He’s just a protective daddy. Maybe he had some bad experiences growing up in school and wants to do everything he can to avoid Bean going through the same things. I think that everyone experiences negativity at some point but Bean sounds extremely resilant. He doesn’t get embarrassed and laughs things off. These are excellent coping skills-great job, mom and dad!!!

  7. NS

    Thanks for the perspective! My husband is like this too! It drives me a little bit crazy but will try to remember it’s his protective heart and cherish it as well 🙂

  8. Suzanne

    So at first as I was reading this I was laughing at Chris because he just sounds like a worrier. However, as I finished reading it I’m now completely distraught about Brooke starting kindergarten (in like 4 years! HAHA)!! I’ve never thought about those things. All these people will be influencing my child and I don’t even know them! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! I get worked up just about daycare and she stays in one room all day. I like to know everything. So what I’m saying is: I feel ya, Chris.

  9. LIssa

    Middle school is going to be a real trip 🙂

  10. I often joke that I need a TV show called “The Secret Lives of _____ Graders” because I’m dying to know what goes on when I’m not there! My daughter has a whole life that I know nothing about it and it makes me a little wistful, to be quite honest!

  11. Jess Z.

    I can relate to Chris…I’m super bummed that my son has gone off into the foreign land of kindergarten. I have no idea what his day entails, who he sits by, who he talks to, if he feels lonely, etc. I DO know that he is having fun and is super tired because he has fallen asleep before dinner at 6pm for the night a few times. But it still scares me that he’s doing this stuff all by himself. His little 5-year-old self. Wah! It’s more difficult for me than my husband.

  12. Ohhhhh. Those are GORGEOUS photos of your son.
    He’s absolutely stunning!

    As for kindergarten, I’m with Chris.

  13. Becky

    Thank you. I’m like Chris when it comes to my daughter. Your point of view and classroom experience helps calm some of my anxiety.

Leave a Comment