"Sophie Belle" Prepares for the Kindergarten Rodeo

posted Tuesday March 24th, 2009


I love kindergarten.

I spent a couple hours in Sophie’s classroom this morning, and yesterday’s sour mood washed away in a sea of Tempera paint. I cracked up when I overheard one kid say, “I love how that paint smells!”

Me, too.

Now, that’s not to say that I could ever teach kindergarten, or spend more than a couple hours at a stretch every once in a while. I don’t envy Ms. X. She’s got the toughest job in show business; I am in awe. At one point this morning she told the kids they were too loud, and that there would be “No Talking”. Fat chance, I thought. But it happened. Silence. For a while, at least.

I was there today to help prepare for one of the biggest events of the year, the Kindergarten Rodeo. This is a big deal. And because I SUCK, I actually missed Annabelle’s rodeo, two years ago. Ray and I were on a Vacation. (I won’t name drop cities but it was big enough that there was no way to cancel, once I realized there was a conflict.)

On top of that, it’s looking like this will be Sophie’s only Kindergarten Rodeo. Before now, I haven’t worried about such things. The Halloween carnival, the Christmas show, Valentine’s Day — all special times in kindergarten, but I didn’t let myself get too sentimental, figuring we’d be doing it all again next year.

Now it looks like that won’t happen. I saw Ms. Y — the special ed teacher turned first grade teacher, the one I hope Sophie gets — for the first time this morning, since the big announcement that she’d be teaching first grade, and we both got a little teary, we were so excited at how well things are working out. (Of course teacher assignments are up to the principal, not me, but I’m hopeful.)

I could only chat with Ms. Y for a few minutes, since I was on paint detail.

The kids painted their hats two at a time, and it was interesting to note that almost every one tackled the brown paper bags the same, by painting different blocks of color on each side, and another color on the brim. The best artist in the class went crazy; I envied her confidence as she swirled colors all over and made big polka dots on the top. Her hat looked fabulous.

The kid who tends to have the toughest time in class also strayed from the norm, mixing colors, but as Ms. X had cautioned might happen, he used too much paint and his hat got saggy and gross.


Sophie was so good. Not just at painting (she took her time and she, too, strayed from the color blocks — I knew she would — her hat is second from the left, on the bottom, above) but at having me in the classroom. Months ago, it would have been impossible. She would have interrupted Ms. X during calendar time to point out I was there, left the carpet for hugs, and otherwise been inappropriate.

Today she was a little lady, even allowing me to put her hair up in a rubber band to keep it out of her face after I pointed out that I had mine up in a rubber band. She did leave the classroom for a good hunk of the morning, which made me sad — and a little worried. I’m not sure she gets more out of 20 minutes each of occupational therapy and speech therapy than she would out of completing independent tasks in the classroom, which is what happens while Ms. X runs reading groups.

(Ms. X says we’ll discuss that later, that Sophie still has plenty of time to get her work done. I have a feeling she’ll tell me that if we take the therapy away, Sophie won’t get it back. I do wish the therapists could work with Sophie in the classroom setting instead of yanking her out, especially with first grade looming….)

I snapped some photos of the barrel-ful of stick horses the kindergarteners had made at home. Rather, that the kindergarteners’ moms had made. (Maybe some dads; who knows?)


I admit that I went a little nuts with Sophie’s horse. (Can you guess which is hers?) I made a special trip to Michael’s for a wig, hat, plastic flowers, false eyelashes, googly eyes and hot pink Duct tape. For someone whose personal fashion mantra is “get dressed then look in the mirror and remove one accessory” I really went overboard the other way.

“I overaccessorized Sophie’s horse,” I texted my sister, the night before the horses were due.

“Oh, you’re one of THOSE moms,” she replied.

Yeah, I guess. I am in good company — several of Sophie’s horse’s companions were also pretty gussied up.

But none of them looked like Dolly Parton sans boobs.

“Name her Dolly!” Ms. X said. Annabelle was really rooting for “Gaga.” But Sophie had her own ideas.  After considering and rejecting “Mommy-O” and “Grandpa,” she settled on a name I think is just perfect:

“Sophie Belle.”


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2 Responses to “"Sophie Belle" Prepares for the Kindergarten Rodeo”

  1. Kindergarten Rodeo is such an incredibly great idea! So cool!

  2. AWESOME!!!!

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