Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Hipee and kindergarten
Hipee’s formal education got off to a rocky start. Notes came home from the teacher on a regular basis. Hipee (my sister, the high powered executive) was having kindergarten issues. We all knew it. This was not because she was misbehaving or not ready to start school, but because she was too sociable.
Back in the 60’s in the towns we were living in at that time they had a daily naptime during the half-day Kindergarten classes. I don’t even think they do this anymore during all day Kindergarten and I completely understand where this could be difficult for some children. My son, Wonder Boy, would have flunked naptime as a baby if he were being graded. Not all children need a vast amount of rest time; however, the norm was a quiet time, a naptime during morning or afternoon kindergarten. Perhaps this was more for the benefit of the teachers rather than the students. Anyway, while many children were able to lie there quietly for the required time period, Hipee was simply not equipped for a personal challenge of this magnitude.
Hipee was a chatty, friendly, active child. To require that she quietly lay down on a rug, even if she was not tired, was too great a feat. Even though she put her naptime rug down next to a neighborhood friend, the rule was no talking. She had to talk. Talking is in Hipee’s blood. Singing is in Hipee’s blood. Moving is in Hipee’s blood. Kindergarten naptime was a soul zapping experience. The notes from the teacher flew home with the constant mantra: “Hipee is talking to [the neighborhood friend] during naptime.”
To top that off, after her morning of being restricted and restrained, Hipee often felt that post-kindergarten time was her social time. Instead of walking home, off she would go, home with another student, to visit their family. The trouble was that often her friends of choice were two little Cuban girls whose parents didn’t speak English. While she was perfectly safe there, Mom didn’t know where she was and the parents had no way to figure out exactly who was their friendly little guest. More than once Mom was frantically trying to find Hipee after kindergarten. It reached a point where the Cuban families would be patiently waiting, expecting Mom to eventually figure out she had lost a child there… again.
All in all, it is probably for the best that we moved the summer after Hipee’s kindergarten year. This was also the summer of the flood. I’m not sure there is a connection. Some small note may have made it into her permanent records that were sent on to our new school in another city, but the teacher would not be able to verbally pass along the complete reality of her reputation. Of course first grade meant a whole day of school, which to a social butterfly like Hipee was probably a wondrous turn of events.