Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Start Of Great Things

Like most other "mommybloggers" out there with school-age kids, this entry is about Nicholas's First Day Of School. Can I get a "hell ya"?! I LOVE that he's in school and have been waiting, oh, about 6 months for this, if not longer (like, since birth?). Couldn't get here fast enough - for many reasons.

Yesterday afternoon was our "trial run". It was the Kindergarten Open House, and we'd been slotted to be there from 1:30 - 2pm. As we all know by now, Nicholas gets very excited about stuff, but then crumbles under the pressure on the first day (think: soccer practice, day camp, swimming lessons, etc.). And as expected, he freaked out on the way to the school yesterday.

It was a lovely, hot-ish day and we decided to walk to school. Shortly after we left the house he started getting twitchy, asking random questions to which I didn't know the specific answers and said we'd figure it out together once we got to the school. Apparently, that was the worst possible thing I could have said, because it set him off on a big crying, fit-having jag. Lovely. I just love when that happens. But, I'm proud to say I kept my cool and just reminded myself that it's better he get this out of his system today instead of tomorrow, the actual First Day. He eventually pulled himself together just as we got to the school (and just as we introduced ourselves to the nice crossing guard ladies). We toured his classroom, met his teacher, figured out where the boys bathroom was, and he painted a picture. Very successful and confidence-building.

I was dismayed to learn that there are 27 kids in his class. 27! Wow - that's a lotta kids. And the teacher won't get an aide if there are fewer than 28 kids. So it's just petite, young Ms. Crabtree managing 27 kindergarteners and hoping for lots and lots of parents to volunteer. The 2nd all-day kinder class isn't full and they're doing a full-court press to try to get a few of the morning kinders to switch over. But what they want in "tuition" (for public school) equates to nearly what I'd pay for private school, so no thanks. It would be a different story if I was working, but I'm not, so we'll pass. (this morning I overheard someone talking and they said that our class is now down to 25 and 2 students got siphoned off to the full-day class. Sweet! The fewer the kids the better.)

I had to make a few changes to his transportation plan while I was at the school yesterday. I seems I misunderstood the form I filled out indicating he did not need transportation. I thought this was referring to some special transportation, not the regular school bus. Silly me. I've never done this before as a parent. So we corrected that so he can ride the bus to and from school. I think that's the part he's most excited about. The bus is supposed to pick him up at 7:55 am, but this morning, because the bus didn't know about us, the bus drove right past us and didn't stop even though we were at the designated bus stop. Nicholas was upset by this, but rallied. I drove him to school and held his hand as we walked into the building and all the way to classroom 11.

He did GREAT! What a trooper. He got all his anxiety out yesterday and was ready to go today. He went to bed early without complaint last night, got up on time and was actually eager to get dressed. He figured out last night what he would want for breakfast this morning, so that was hassle-free. He gathered his stuff up, was chipper, and the new morning routine went very smoothly. He never even noticed that cartoons weren't on. I LIKE this new routine! Mr. Chick had bought him a new Oregon sweatshirt for his first day, and he gave it to him at breakfast. Nicholas wore this to school today, all smiles. He has a great daddy.

He hung up his backpack like he was supposed to, and signed in himself. He found his cubby, pointed out a few things to me, and posed patiently while I geeked out and took a bunch of pictures of him (once they're developed I'm sure I'll post them but we had to go "old school" with the pictures and use our 35mm camera since we STILL don't have a working digital). I reluctantly left the classroom and chatted with a few parents in the hallway, not sure what I was waiting for but feeling the need to wait anyway. After about 10 minutes it was clear things were going well and I wasn't needed at the school. And I was ok with this. I didn't shed a tear or feel emotional. Mostly I felt proud of him - very proud - and happy. I LOVED school and looked forward to going back each fall. I want this very much for him. He's going to do so well that I'm excited to watch this unfold.

I have to go back to pick him up in just under an hour. The time goes so fast when you're only in school 2 hrs and 20 minutes per day. We're hoping to figure out a way for him to ride the bus home with me following behind in the car, but that might not work out. Regardless, after school I'm taking the kids out for a special treat to celebrate Nicholas' First Day of School - EVER. And I'm letting him pick what he have for dinner, too. (I'm guessing we'll be feasting on spaghetti tonight).

I can't wait to hear all about his Big Day. My first born is a school kid now - hooray!!

Yeah for the first day of school. Way to go Nicholas!!!
I have to say you are a much stronger woman than me. Trav's first day of school - I bawled all the way home like a big baby. And the day he graduated from HS, again. All I could visualize was my little boy with his backpack on, required school supplies enclosed, proudly walking away from me like a little man. It went by much too fast.
Congratulations to Nicholas on his first day of school! Life will never be the same again!
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