I don't understand why parents get so worked up over the "First Day of School". The first day is a piece of cake...it's the second day that can bite ya in the butt.
The morning of the first day both my kids were excited and had no problem getting dressed and ready for school. They even let me take pictures of them together. And, Noah walked into his classroom on his own while Natalie allowed me to show her where her room was located.
Upon reaching Natalie's room we discovered that there had been a bit of a mix-up in the office and some kids slated for P.M. kindergarten had shown up for the A.M. class, therefore, Natalie's first day of class included her and three boys. She knew two of the three kids and was unfazed with being the only girl. As I kissed her good-bye and turned to leave I heard her telling her teacher, "Do you have a project for me because I like projects."
(Good Luck, Mr. Rowe. I know you have 40 years under your belt, but I think they broke the mold with this one.)
I met some girlfriends for a "boo-hoo you-who" lunch, but discovered I had no tears to shed. I know entering elementary school is a big milestone, but for me it seemed like no big deal. Since Natalie is in a half day kindergarten program, my routine with her is not much different from the one we had while she attended preschool. I still get to take morning walks with her and she remains my lunch buddy each day.
At the afternoon pick-up I found Natalie first. She happily collided into my outstretched arms and then announced, "Kindergarten is AMAZING. It was buckets of fun...100 million buckets of fun. Mr. Rowe is very nice and his classroom is great! We had drawing and computer time and P.E. and we learned about shapes and then we got to draw different shapes!"
On the other hand, when I caught up with Noah, the only thing he shared about his day was, "I don't have homework today, but Miss Whiteley says I'll have some tomorrow."
When I spoke to Noah's teacher she said he had a great day and did really well. I wasn't surprised that he'd had a good first day...because I knew what was coming. A kid like Noah who craves routines and sameness is a fragile vessel. He is used to "holding it together" for a little while. I knew from experience that by evening, all his bottled up anxiety would be ready to blow like Mt. St. Helen's. By bedtime, Noah had already had several meltdowns and crying jags. While I tucked him in he shared, "I just don't want things to change. I miss 2nd grade and Mrs. Raymond."
"I know you do, but Miss Whiteley is a very nice teacher. You are going to love being in her class and she told me that she is very happy to have you as one of her students," I explained.
He responded by allowing all of his pent up worries to come tumbling out. He was upset that the order of his classes was different from last year and he worried that he wouldn't have any friends to play with at recess. Finally, he agonized over the kind of homework he would be bringing home the next day. Somehow, I got him settled down enough that he eventually drifted off to sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep did little to reduce his anxiety for tackling the second day of school. And, when he's anxious, he will go out of his way to pick a fight with me...even when I agree with him. For instance, after he'd finished his breakfast he spied the jar of Nutella on the counter and said he would like to have some. I told him I would be happy to pack him a peanut-butter Nutella sandwich in his lunch, to which he argued, "But I can't because Miss Whiteley said we need to eat healthy things and motsella is not healthy."
"Noah, Nutella is just fine in small amounts. You can have some," I replied.
"No, I can't!" he insisted.
"Noah, who am I?" I asked
"My mom," he replied.
"Ok, and I'm telling you that it's ok for you to have Nutella," I said.
"But, it's chocolate...it's not healthy," he belabored.
(Blashemy! I thought)
"Well, sometimes you eat potato chips. Are those healthy?" I challenged.
(Pow! Potato Chips! I knew that was hitting him below the belt.)
He had no comeback and silently conceded. One down...one to go.
Natalie and I spent the morning walking to the park and collecting rocks and acorns. We had lunch together and soon it was time for her to head to school. I was ready...kindergarten really is no big deal. That is, until she told me that she knew where her classroom was now and wanted me to just drop her off in front of the school.
"What?..drop you off?" I don't know that I'm ready for that," I shared.
"Well, I am," she insisted.
"Ok," I agreed.
As we pulled into the school circle drive, my heart sank as I realized kindergarten may not be the easiest pill to swallow. However, when I brought the car to a stop, Natalie announced, "Actually Mr. Rowe doesn't allow his students to be alone. So, you are going to have to come in and drop me off inside."
"Ok!" I cheered.
Phew, I made it. Now, if I can just get through the 3rd day...