Kindergarten Assimilation.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

 Over the last few months, I've been bearing witness to the unavoidable phenomenon that is the assimilation of a Kindergartner. I'm not sure if it is as obvious on this blog as it is in real life, but my Little Man is most definitely one of those kids who beats to his own drum. From fashion, to skateboarding, to getting his nails done with Mom, he used to have a "this is me" kind of attitude. He would never think twice about rocking christmas colored nails in pre-school, or an arm full of bracelets, and for a time he would collect necklaces (think shark teeth, beads... etc) and rotate them daily depending on his mood. He entered his first day of Kindergarten this goofy free spirit, which is absolutely encouraged by his school, and now, just a few months later, he's most definitely shifted his interests to align more with his peers. 

I don't think he's feeling any pressure from his friends, (and believe me I've asked), I think this just may be something that kids do, to feel like they belong. I fully support any interest of his, but it is definitely strange when our kid who couldn't tell a football from a baseball, is now talking nonstop about Tom Brady, and the "big game" in a house where we couldn't find a sports channel, other than the Outside network, if our life depended on it. So far we've said nothing, invested in some traditional sporting equipment, and have basically followed his lead. I pretended not to notice when during the last sleepover we had, one of the boys asked about the polish on my LM's toes, and he replied "I'm not sure what that is, I think it's just marker," and haven't questioned his new obsessions that are so different from his old. I even didn't cry (in front of him) when during his last haircut he asked to have it "off his neck, like the boys in his class." This coming from a kid who was so attached to his longer hair, that he would wait until he couldn't see any more before I could drag him in for a trim.

The flip side is that he has also assimilated in the behavior department, which is always a welcome thing. No longer do I have to remind him to keep it together at school or parties, because he would "never do that in front of his friends." His words, not mine. Since he is the only example for the little one, this positive effect definitely trickles down, and if it means throwing a football after school for some stellar days, I am happy to oblige. I'm curious to see what will happen this Summer, when he is back on the beach and at the skatepark. I wonder if he will shift his likes based on a different pack, or if these changes are now just part of who he is. Inside he is such a confident little guy, that I'm not really worried, but I am curious to see what sticks for the long term. 

 I imagine that this is just part of growing up, and finding his own identity, and in the end all we can do is watch it happen. I love being able to seem him grow in to the man he is going to become, but not too fast. I'm not quite sure what I'd do if this goofy dude ever really went away. He is definitely one of a kind. 

I'd love to hear from those of you with older kids! Is this rare, or is it all just part of growing up? I'm pretty sure it's the latter, but it would be great to hear from you experts!


Jane said...

I'm coming at it from the mother of a 17 year old daughter from NZ! But this post really resonated with me - I remember exactly the same feelings when my girl first started school and worrying that we would lose the essence of her and her free spirit. And sadly school and growing up does kind of change things. That you are how you are with your LM only means he always know that he's got a safe place to always be exactly who he is. My daughter is still the girl who wore tiaras and wellies to bed and batman underwear to a school with a strict uniform code of navy knickers!

Sorry, I've written a novel! Just to say … you're doing a fabulous job and LM will be just fine. :)

Lou said...

Hi would hardly call myself an expert but my kids are 8 and 12 so I guess that qualifies me for the next phase. I would say this is pretty common; the older they get the more they learn to morph into someone who gets on with others and has that emotional intelligence that means they can adjust either way. I don't think this means they are loosing their spirit and individuality but it does mean you stand by and observe them sometimes struggle with falling in line. It sounds like your son is doing admirably well and taking it all in his stride which is great. I guess we have to make sure we still foster originality and if our kids do start to be 'just like everyone else' we need to point out that being different is not a bad thing. We talk a lot about that...!
This is the thing with parenting; they never cease to amaze and I look back now and think just how pliable they were when they were small compared to now! More to come... :-) L x