Yesterday was Kitten’s first day of Kindergarten in her new school – big stuff! It was also Buddy’s first day in his new classroom with a new teacher (same pre-school). It was an anxiety-ridden morning for all. But, with gigantic, hopeful smiles plastered to our faces, we pushed on!
Kitten woke up bright and early, excited for her first day of school. When I opened my bedroom door I expected I would see her fully dressed with her backpack on waiting by the front door , but instead she was wrapped in a comforter, still in her pajamas, lying on the couch watching cartoons. So much for first day motivation.
Eventually, though, we all got into the swing of things and we took the obligatory First Day of School photos:
Yes, that is a Ninja Turtles backpack over your My Little Pony t-shirt…what a good little consumer.
We all loaded in to Daddy’s truck and drove to Kitten’s new school. We were greeted immediately by a teacher in a red shirt, then another, and another, and another. There were multiple lines of defense designed to make sure that every single student and parent knew what the heck they were doing – which was good, because we didn’t.
Kitten was tagged with a bus sticker and moved to the photo-op:
At this point, she was starting to get nervous. I wasn’t so much as holding her hand as pulling her along. Once inside the building another nice teacher in a red shirt asked Kitten her name and offered her hand to escort her to her new classroom. I bent down to give Kitten a hug and she whispered in my ear, “Mommy, I’m a just a little nervous.” Break. My. Heart.
I told her to remember that she had met some of these kids before at the open house, so there would be some familiar faces. This seemed to give her enough confidence to take the teacher’s hand and walk away from us. A line of teachers stood like a loosely formed security barrier between us and the departing children, gently saying, “No parents beyond this point.” Which is good, because it would be much harder for me to walk away from her than it was for her to walk away from me.
After Kitten was gone I approached the nearest red-shirted teacher and fired about seventeen random questions at her, “How will she get on the bus? Will she know how to buy lunch? Does she have everything she needs?” I was a bundle of nervous Momma. She very calmly talked me off my ledge, and as my husband pulled me away, I noticed the little red-headed boy running in front of me. I picked Buddy up and gave him a squeeze; not quite a baby anymore, but still small enough for one or two apron strings.
After that I had to go to work. Daddy dropped Buddy off in his new classroom without much fanfare. In a small school like his, everyone knows everyone else, from students to teachers, which makes transitions within the building very low on the drama. Thank goodness!
After school Daddy and I sat in my van and stared down Kitten’s bus stop. Had we missed her? Was the bus late? Did she get on the right bus? Did we have the right stop? We were two bundles of nerves. The busses had all left school late, which is to be expected when most of the students don’t know where to go on that first day. When Kitten’s bus finally arrived, we ran to meet it. She bounced off the bus, resplendent in her ‘First Day of School’ crown, and beamed at us. “School is awesome!”
The next ten minutes were a rush! Did you like the bus? Yes! It was fun! Do you want to keep taking the bus? Yes, please. In the morning too. How was recess? We got to go on the playground! How was lunch? I had chicken and applesauce and CHOCOLATE milk! I ate my whole lunch! Did you go to the gym today? Yes. We need to wear gym shoes for gym. Do you have any new friends? Yes! But I don’t remember their names…
After about the 56th question, Kitten started to get glassy-eyed an over-whelmed. So, we revved up the engine and went to pick up Buddy. We were beaming from the front seat; from pride, from relief, from satisfaction of a smooth transition.
Buddy seemed to have had a good first day too. He was a sweaty mess, which is a good sign for a 3 year-old boy! His teacher said everything went smoothly and he seemed to be having a good time. The absence of any mention of time-outs was the biggest highlight for me!
We piled back in the car and heaved a collective sigh. First day down, 182 days to go!