Monday, August 09, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

The day is finally here. This is the whole reason we moved. This is the day all parents and children do their best to prepare for, even though neither parent nor child is ever truly prepared. The big day is here: Luke's first day of Kindergarten!

We've been counting down the days ever since the last day of Pre-K. After only 6 days, I was tired of being asked "when do I start Kindergarten?" So we made a chart, which worked really well:

About 2 weeks ago, we started practicing getting up earlier, which made us both grumpy and tired, but I think that was better than trying to go cold turkey from waking at 7:30 to waking at 6 AM. Luke had orange juice and plain bread for his first grade school breakfast while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Then it was time to get changed and take pictures. Just so you know, it is too dark at 6:35 AM to take first day of school photos outside! I had to take them in the foyer.

That first picture is one I hope to repeat each year. Given his height to date, I figured it was best to get the entire door in the shot! And I'm so glad I finally got a real smile out of him for the second picture. Next, the obligatory "mug shots," showing off the backpack Nana and Papa got for him:

Then we walked down to the bus stop, which is quite a way away. Luke wanted to know why we didn't drive (because there is no where to park!), and he was anxious about the bugs. I could tell he was nervous but excited. The next few pictures will make it look like it was darker outside than it really was. This one is more or less accurately exposed in the morning light, perhaps a little on the bright side.

Still, I wouldn't exactly call it full morning, and official sunrise was not until 6:55 AM. I expect it to be full on dark when he gets on the bus come mid to late September. I'll probably end up getting one of those orange visibility vests and carry a flashlight (seriously).

At 6:50 on the dot, just as the schedule said, the bus arrived.

I didn't get him going up the stairs, but the bus driver was kind enough to let me step on the bus and get this quick shot:

I was shocked that there were only 2 other kids on the bus. We are roughly the middle stop, and one of the stops prior to ours is at an apartment complex with an expected 15 kids. Where were they? There is no good place or procedure for dropping kids off at this school (it was built in 1965, IIRC, so it wasn't really designed for that). You cannot park and/or accompany your child into the school, so why not put them on the bus the first day? "Begin as you intend to proceed" is advice we have tried to follow to the letter with him. So far, it has served us well. I can't see how this situation is any different.

So that was it. I stepped off the bus, waved bye to him through the darkly tinted windows, and watched the bus round the corner. Up to this point, I had been doing great! I was afraid I would be a teary mess all morning, but I hadn't. Not a lip quiver in sight. But as soon as the bus was beyond my vision, it was like I suddenly forgot how to breathe. I was literally gasping for air, feeling like my throat was closing in. It was hot and over 90% humidity, and I *was* trying to walk uphill back to the house, but I don't think that accounted for all of it. I just had a ball of emotion caught in my chest, and it was a good 15 minutes later before I felt I was breathing normally again.

I spent the rest of the day obsessively checking the clock and his teacher's posted daily schedule, trying to imagine what he was doing at that moment and how things were going. I realized around 10 why DH had insisted I make *my* favorite meal for dinner last night: so it would comfort me for lunch today (and it worked). I worried about Luke's lunch. It is his first time buying his own lunch. Would he get over his shyness enough to answer the lunch line workers about what he wanted? Would he eat anything? Would he have lost his lunch money by the time lunch time came? Would he lose the change on the way home? Would he still be hungry? Should I have packed his first lunch? Nothing I could do would alter the answers to these questions, but I worried anyway.

At 1:40, my cell phone rang with an unknown number. I answered cautiously. "Is this Ms. Gaston?" Yes. "This is Ms. B___, Luke's teacher." And I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot. He's been out of my sight for 7 hours, and his teacher is already having to call me?! "I wanted to confirm how Luke will be leaving school today. His name is on both the bus list and the daycare list, and I want to make sure he gets on the right bus." Apparently, the bus drivers give a list of all the kids who got on the bus in the morning, assuming they would also be going home on the bus. I hadn't thought to mention he would not be riding the bus home. No harm done, and I appreciate her checking, but it scared the bejeebers out of me.

I spent most of the next 2 hours staring at the clock and waiting for my husband to get home so we could go pick him up from after care (which is at the same facility he has been attending for the last 4 years for daycare and Pre-K). I did manage to answer a couple of work calls and send a couple of emails, but that's about it. I could not *wait* to see him! Here he is, in the car, having his first official post-Kindergarten snack.

He has never been the best at being able to articulate what he did in class on any given day. It is on his "responsibilities" list (don't want to call them chores) that he be able to tell us at least one thing he did at school and what he ate for lunch. Getting "I drew an owl" out of him this afternoon was a bit of a minor victory, honestly. Hearing "grilled cheese and beans and fruit" was like a long-winded speech. "And I don't have my homework." Great. Day 1, and we already cannot remember our homework. Hope it wasn't an important paper or something. I'm really hoping it was more a trial to see who is good at that kind of thing and who is not (no surprise there, honestly).

We then headed to our celebratory dinner at Luke's favorite restaurant: IHOP (formerly the International House of Pancakes). I knew that A) he likely hadn't eaten much for lunch, and B) it had been several hours since lunch, snack notwithstanding, so we got him a stack of 5 adult pancakes (each one 6in/15cm across). Yum!

And this is all that was left! (That *might* total up to one pancake.)

A most excellent dinner, though I have to say, there is just something fundamentally wrong with being *finished* with dinner at 5:05 PM. We headed back to the house, where he played for about an hour. Nothing strenuous, just some coloring and drawing, and a little bit with Super Hero Squad figures. By 6 PM, he was visibly wilting. With him getting up so much earlier, I really wanted to set bedtime at 7 PM, but I was afraid that would be difficult to enforce since he is used to something more like 8 PM (when it's, you know, at least *starting* to get dark!). It wasn't a problem at all tonight. We closed his bedroom door at 7:15, and we haven't heard a peep since. All in all, a good and successful day.

Sleep well, my darling baby boy. We get to do it all again tomorrow!

Currently feeling: off on our brand new adventure!


  1. WooHoo!!! Sounds like a successful first day, Mom! Don't sweat the forgotten homework. He'll get it figured out. WTG, Luke (and Mom)!

  2. Oh, I have enjoyed reading that! And I remember starting at a new school when I was 10 and forgetting all about the homework I was given on my first day - I'd naver had any before. I was soooo scared, but fortunately the teacher was new too and apparently wasn't aware that I hadn't done it (or was kind enough to ignore the fact). So how is it now the novelty has worn off? My friend's DD refused to go on her second day because she'd already been to school.....


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