First day of school


Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

In 1981, my mother dropped me off for my first day of Kindergarten, shortly after our move to a new country, with a new home, a new language, new streets, new faces, all of whom I had no idea how to exist with. I was understandably reluctant. "No, I am not going!" I stomped my foot with all the strength a 4 year old could muster. I pleaded. I begged. I threatened a full on tantrum. Finally, my mother relented. "Okay fine, no school" she said, "Let's just go for a walk."

A walk? That sounded innocent enough. Yet I was uneasy. All the way out the door from our apartment, into the elevator, out in the street, my little pea brain was harboring suspicions. I asked her repeatedly: "We're just going for a walk RIGHT? We're not going to school, RIGHT?" My mother nodded in agreement. As we were getting closer and closer to the school, I began to sweat. Yet, I gave my mother the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was just pure coincidence that our "walk" was leading us closer and closer to the last place on earth I would want to be. I could not believe my mother would be a bold face liar. We had an agreement, a convention, an oral contract. We were simpatico, RIGHT? Right. Les illusions perdues, indeed...

This is the way my mother, the Masters in child psychology, eased me into my Kindergarten classroom on that fateful September day in 1981. By lying through her teeth. Once I was facing the teacher and my other paint splattered and snot nosed colleagues, I had 2 choices: throw myself on the floor and embarass myself with the worst tantrum ever seen on the Corniche Fleurie, or I could save face and pretend, with a half smile glued on for good measure, that I knew all along I was going to end up here, no that in fact it was my idea. I chose the latter path, somewhat of a predictive pattern for my future life, which would be and still is riddled with those awkward embarassing moments.

For Sweet Pea and Lady Bug, I decided that honesty was the best policy. I tried to talk to them, little as they were, with the same aplomb that I would use to discuss deportation defense strategies with my client. A mix of understanding and compassion combined with sternness and a realistic presentation of possible outcomes. Sweet Pea nodded as if he understood and accepted everything and proceeded to throw horrible tantrums for the first 2 weeks that I dropped him off at school. When that did not work, for the next 3 years, he changed gears and tried to undo me earlier in the process , with such colorful processes such as refusing to put on his underwear (or the rest of his clothes for that matter) at home, or doing a marathon around the kitchen table. As for Lady Bug's first day, which happened recently, she ran into her classroom with hardly a look behind her, and she has the audacity to frown when I pick her up, like I interrupted some monumental party she was just beginning to enjoy.

As parents everywhere are getting ready to ship off their kids after the summer vacation,(some of you already have), just remember to take a deep breath and don't give up. Whether you are paralyzed with fear at the thought that your precious little one is terrified, or lonely, or mad at you, or on the other end of the spectrum simply couldn't wait to get rid of you fast enough, remember all of us, no matter how long it took, eventually survived the first day of school. Good luck and have a wonderful, successful school year!


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Esfand Aashena

Perhaps the discussion should b completed b4 boarding d Titanic!

by Esfand Aashena on

The picture you painted at the school's entrance with parents hovering frantically, probably never happened to my generation.  All the discussions and tantrums were before hand and when we got to school, all acting up would be resolved by just one nasty look!  Do you have a look that would stop your kids in their tracks?!  You know like `^.^`  !

I don't know if you've seen Steve Harvey's standup routine talking about how to raise your kids and how differently white people and black people treat their kids, or vice versa how black or white kids treat their parents.  It's very funny and a small portion of it goes something like this;

   You know people, you know how I think you should raise your kids?  SMACK your kid when he is acting up!  That's how my mama raised me and I came out alright!  Don't let your kid get away with stuff.  This is the difference between white mamas and black mamas.

  The other day I was in a mall sitting somewhere and I saw this white kid screaming and crying and all kinds of stuff and his mama was just trying to calm him by brushing his hair and stuff.  Then the boy suddenly said, I hate you, you didn't get me such and such and YO BITCH!  and I'm like WHAT?  If I said that to my mama ... (laughter) ...  my mama would skip smacking me and just execute me!

  And then I saw a little bit further this black mother and son who like me were watching these two and as soon as the white boy called his mama a bitch, the black mama SMACKED his son!  SLAP!  The boy looked surprised and started crying and said, what did I do mama?  She said, if you EVER talk to me like that, I'll put you in the coffin myself!  I just wanted you to have a reminder!

So Niki jaan though we are of different generation, I think the bottom line is that in most cases what we do as parents and how we raise our kids is how our parents raised us.  I'm sure there were occasions where you complained to your mom that she is suffocating you!  At different ages, probably more so in your teens and 20s!

Again using Steve Harvey, when he brought a ping pong racket with a ping pong ball attached to it with a string and kept hitting the ball, when I was growing up that was the state of the art toy!  Now children have computers and iPads before they get to first grade!  And they have the latest news and information, up to and including parenting!

To answer some of our questions, yes I think to some extent because of all this internet and "new" ways of raising children, some parents go overkill and get carried away.  Like the wedding dress at the end in Bridesmaid!

Perhaps my suggestion to you is that you bring your mom and have her spend the day with you and your kids and as your kids act up or throw tantrums or don't behave one way or another, ask your mom how would she respond and respond the same way!  You want your children to grow up and end up as you, don't you?! 

Everything is sacred

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Dear E.A. as I stand and look around at the other parents all hovering over our children with such emotional upheaval as if this was they were boarding the Titanic rather than their Kindergarten classroom, of course I can't help thinking:"Overkill!" and "Get a grip", this addressed first and foremost to me.  It is funny how we grew up out of a generation of parents who, although they loved and cared for their children, definitely did not make them the center of their lives and were kind of blase about supervising their activities (hello? latchkey kid at 7!).  So why is i that we are so obssessed with cherishing, nurturing, guiding them to the point of suffocation? Is it for their benefit or ours?  Are we filling up some sort of need that WE felt as kids?  What is the result of this hovering going to be? A bunch of co-dependent brats who cannot function by themselves? Or self-confident trailblazers? And most of all, are we not totally exxagerating our influence as parents? I think a lot of time we forget how much the innate character and personality of the kid, his own likes and dislikes, his own strength (or weakness) of character, is going to shape his future, when his childhood will only be a distant, blurry memory.

Esfand Aashena

Niki jaan they don't take u to school like the old days anymore!

by Esfand Aashena on

Oh the good old days of taking your child to school, or as we say in Farsi taking is taking the old days!  bordan ham mesl bordan-haye ghadim!

Now-a-days parents are so nicey nice to their kids and some even attach kid-locator cellphones to their toddlers when taking the kid to kindergarden or first grade!

I am still in favor of talking to your kid like this;  what do you mean you don't want to go to school?  mege har-key har-kiyeh?  I went to school so you have to go too.  What? no there is no other way. (tantrum)  get up, get up, pasho binam megeh del-bekhahe?!  I'm not always pleasant like this and you don't want to bring up my other side!  No-you-don't!  No-you-didn't! ....

Your Mom seems to have been a nice mother and from the stories you've told before brought you up right!  Now you can see how easy your kids have it!  I remember the sunglass business that you and your mom had going! 

Everything is sacred