This is Haru’s last month in kindergarten. She will graduate next month and start her first year of elementary school. Often times, I think about what I was like when I was six years old. Like for example, on my first day of first grade, was I able to read and write? I think I was able to, but not so well. I remember there was a girl in my first grade class named Rebecca. She was unusually very smart. She was able to read and write like an adult (or so it seemed at the time). While I still had to sound out my words (example: c…aaa…t, cat!), she was reading whole sentences fluently. The teacher would often call on her to read out loud, because she read so well.
Haru’s reading and writing level is not quite at the Rebecca level, but it does surpass what I was able to at her age. She has been writing letters back and forth to her friends since she was four. I’m not sure if this is normal for person entering her first year of kindergarten, or if she’s a bit ahead.
There are certainly things I could do when I was six that Haru still struggles with. For example, I think I was able to put together moderately difficult puzzles and model cars when I was her age. Haru doesn’t seem to have the patience or attention span to spend more than a few minutes piecing together puzzles together before she gets bored. I think I was a lot more aware of my surroundings back then than Haru is. For example, when I would overhear two adults talking, I would know what they were talking about. I remember one day on the way home from school, a strange guy who was visiting our apartment complex said hello to me. I didn’t respond because, well …he was a stranger, and kids are taught not to talk to strangers. He then turned to a woman (our neighbor) next to him (presumably his girlfriend) and ask “what’s his problem?”. The woman responded “He’s probably going through separation anxiety. Most latch key kids do.” I remember thinking to myself back then, “No stupid, I don’t talk to strangers!” Although I may not have known what “separation anxiety” meant at the time, it didn’t sound like a good thing, and those words, along with many other words that I didn’t understand when spoken to me at that young age, stuck with me until I was able to figure out what it meant a few years later. But I am sure that this isn’t too normal. I have a very strange, near photographic memory that let’s me recall only strange things that happen to me. Its too bad I can’t apply this ability to more practical things. In that respect, I think Haru’s lack of awareness, or at least not having the same awkward and somewhat useless awareness ability that I had when I was her age, is more due to her innocence rather than intelligence. When I was her age, I had to grow up and learn about things going on around me quickly, hence making me lose my sense of innocence and oblivion at a much younger age.
In terms of talents, Haru is by far much more talented than I could ever wish to be at her age. She has an innate ability to do things on stage, and do it with a smile. Perhaps this is from doing cheerleading for nearly two years. While the other kids get stage fright and stand their like a deer in headlights, Haru looks very comfortable and relaxed. She often says that she gets nervous, but she doesn’t show it all, which is a sign of a real showman.
And of course she is pretty good at gymnastics. This year she will be bumped up to the junior level so she will be able learn some new things without being disturbed and distracted by the unruly little brats kids in her class. Most of the kids in the junior class are kids who want to take gymnastics, and are serious about it, as opposed to their parents forcing them to be there in the attempts to get them over their little quirks or phobias before elementary school. The junior level class definitely separates the wheat from the chaff.
A video of Haru putting on a show with her classmates at kindergarten:
Fast Tube by Casper