My daughter’s first day of kindergarten is today. She is excited. Last night she laid out her new dress from her Mimi, her new backpack from Grandma and her favorite hair bow on the guest bed. She is determined to be ready today. When we read The Night before Kindergarten last night, she insisted she could not read as she told us all about the words on each page, and then she proclaimed that she was really big and really ready to go to big girl school.
I am so proud of her, and I know that she is ready to go to school. I am not sure if I am ready for her to go. I am still trying to figure out how she has gotten so big, so independent, so confident and so much herself in these five years. I remember taking her to library playdates where my leg was crushed in tiny toddler deathgrip, I remember going to birthday parties where the parachute play was too much. At the same time, I remember the continuous stream of questions, “What that, how come, Daddy why?” and insatiable curiousity. I have several thousand pages of pictures saved in a laundry bag downstairs, her family drawn as bunnies, people, puppies, and ducks (I look very good as a duck). So she is ready, although I have a hard time believing she is.
Friday was orientation, there are thirty three kids in her cohort split into two rooms. The teacher seemed very nice and very together, and the school was decked out in Seuss. Saturday was the information fair day, and as my kids ate cupcakes, I talked to the principal. She said that this year was an odd year, as there are only two classrooms while the last five years had three classes of kindergarteners. Some of the shift could be explained by a redrawing of the feeder pattern, but she did not know where the other three quarters of a class had gone.
My daughter and her classmates were born between the summer of 2008 and the summer of 2009, so these kids were conceived between late 2007 to fall 2008. These kids are the first cohort of recession babies. They were conceived at the drop.
Kids are expensive, and for the most part, timing can be manipulated for better times or better opportunities. Birthrates dropped dramatically among the cohorts of women who make up the moms of my daughter’s classmates.
I am not a demographer, but I wonder what the impact on the lives of my daughter’s cohort as it is significantly smaller than the cohorts that surround it in age. My son’s cohort is a bit larger than my daughter, and the cohorts of current third and fourth graders are a bit larger. I wonder how the smaller cohort will matter for public finance as they will be a short window of lower educational spending, a short window of fewer knuckleheads entering prime knucklehead zone, and a short window of a tight entry level job market.
Oh well, she is ready for kindergarten, and I’ll worry about all this other stuff after she shows me a picture she drew during her first day in big girl school.