Before my first day of school, I knew nothing about my kindergarten teacher except her name.
Mademoiselle Cockburn was a monster.
She wasn’t a monster in real life. But she was the monster that haunted me every day during that sixth summer of my life. And she got bigger as June turned into July and scarier as July turned into August.
I was entering French Immersion on the very first day of my school career. I knew a couple French words: “Bonjour” & “Au revoir“. That was pretty much it. It was clear to me that I was at a disadvantage. I was going to go from my comfortable home where I could communicate and people could communicate with me to this lions’ den where everyone would be communicating in a foreign language and I would be absolutely, completely, irretrievably lost. I imagined everyone talking around me and to me and I would have no idea what was being said or asked of me. And what would happen if I needed to go to the bathroom? Who would I ask? Would I get in trouble for not asking in French? But I didn’t know French!
Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the half of my fear.
This teacher-thing inhabited my nightmares leading up to the beginning of kindergarten. It was so big that it towered over my imagination. It was bird-like*. It had a giant pecking beak and these disgustingly huge red, floppy wattles on the side of its face and massive, orange webbed talons. To make this rooster-teacher-thing even more terrifying, it was eternally on fire and it never burned.
And this was whom I would be spending every day with during coming year. This was what I imaged my teacher to be.
I was scared silly about starting kindergarten. But the day came and my parents put me in my coat and my boots. They strapped my book-bag around my shoulder and placed a lunch box in my hands. Then, they walked me into my first day of kindergarten.
I don’t really remember what Mlle. Cockburn looked like (isn’t it funny how our minds retain the made up image over the real one?) but I do remember her being sweet and young and very kind. I didn’t find myself surrounded by a new language but instead by a lot of English-speaking kids like me and a teacher who slowly eased us into a new language. There were activity stations and toys and a big circle area where we would sit and read books. And of course, there was a playground outside where we could run and play pretend and find caterpillars and imagine digging a hole to China.
And it really wasn’t scary. Not at all.
Kindergarten taught me a lesson that I am still trying to learn to this day. Too often, I let the fear of the unknown stop me from making the changes that will open up opportunities for me. I let my imagination get away from me and I allow it to create nightmares instead of giving it permission to fulfill my dreams. Whenever I put aside the monsters I imagine and take that step into the unknown, I am always pleasantly surprised by wonderful experiences.
So, who else needs to go back to kindergarten to learn this lesson?
(For the record, I also learned that sometimes I shouldn’t be trusted to choose my own haircut. But that’s another blog post for another day.)
*I obviously write so I don’t have to pay for a therapist. I just gained a bit of an understanding as to where my bird-phobia stems from.
We all have kindergarten memories. And it can be fun to look back and think about the role kindergarten played in shaping who we are today. It can also be fun to find kindergarten pictures and try to remember being that kid. Some fabulous bloggers and I (there are 23 of us!) got together to look through our pictures and do something fun for our readers.
It’s very simple – just match the picture (with the assigned alphabet letter) to the blogger whose blog is listed below. What’s in it for you? Other than some fun (and it is fun, I promise!), you can win an awesome $300 Amazon gift card (or one of two $80 runner up Amazon gift cards). You can also get to know some of the bloggers listed here, if you don’t already. You can have a laugh at our expenses. Don’t worry, we did. Now, go forth and play!
Enter your answers on this form.
Here are the participating bloggers, in alphabetical order. Check out their blogs to see what they look like as adults and then match them to the kindergarten kid. (Or maybe, look at their kids. Some of us look very much like our kids).
Angie of Angie Kinghorn
Deborah of Ask Doctor G
Robin of Farewell Stranger
Poppy of Funny or Snot
Leigh Ann of Genie in a Blog
Greta of Gfunkified
Jennifer of Jennifer P. Williams
Tonya of Letters for Lucas
Kiran of Masala Chica
Laura of Mommy Miracles
Natalie of Mommy of a Monster (and Twins)
Brittany of Mommy Words
Jessica of My Time as Mom
Kimberly of Reflections of Now
Tracy of Sellabit Mum
Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life
Sarah of The Sunday Spill
Galit of These Little Waves
Kristin of Two Cannoli
Arnebya of What Now and Why
Kristin of What She Said
Alison of Writing, Wishing
Remember, you can answer using this form.
Terms and conditions apply:
- You must be 18 years or older to enter.
- This contest is only open to residents of USA and Canada.
- This contest is open from March 11 – 15, 2013 (closes at 9pm Eastern).
- Visit the link above, where you will be able to enter your guess for each blogger pictured. (All information will be kept private.)
- The person to correctly match all the faces with their blog will win a $300 Amazon gift card. The two other closest guesses will each win one $80 Amazon gift card.
- If more than one person correctly matches all the faces with their blogs, we will randomly pick a winner via random.org.
- If no one guesses all the faces correctly, the winner will be the person who made the most correct guesses.
- This is not a sponsored post. Prizes are paid for out of the participating bloggers’ own pockets.
- You CAN enter more than once!
- Winners will be announced week of March 18.
(“Name That Kindergartner” was inspired by the “Name That DIY Blogger” contest, over at My Blessed Life.)