tidbit 4: my reaction to kindergarten

Out of the four of us, I’m probably the one that has been the most affected by Elliot starting kindergarten. During the lead-up to September I was very excited for him to start, mostly because he was so excited, and was thinking very positively about the whole thing. And the first couple of days were so easy — on day one I went in with him and we were only there for about 15 minutes, day two he went on his own for just over an hour with four other classmates and had a great time…and then came day three.

Day three was the Friday of the first week of school, and it was his first full day. Greg and I decided to drop him off together, and it was absolute mayhem. Four kindergarten classes lining up outside the front door of the school, 80 parents (myself included) hovering over their children, and noise, noise, noise. Elliot’s class started moving, he was at the end of the line and ended up being left behind with four other kids. He eventually made it in the door, but I had no idea whether he made it to his classroom or if he was lost in the big, bad school. I pictured him wondering around, crying. That was it for me. I cried. I wanted to go to his classroom and make sure he had made it. I wanted to grab him and take him home. I wanted him to be back in the small, safe confines of daycare. All day I pictured him overwhelmed, scared and missing me.

Of course when I picked him up he was happy as a clam, and we had a wonderful weekend at his Auntie’s wedding. Every time someone asked him about school he seemed very excited. I, on the other hand, fretted all weekend about Monday drop-off and was happy to let Greg do it.

Each day of week two got better, but I still felt very unsettled. Daycare is so transparent (and so small!)– you drop your kids off and you can see all the rooms they’ll be in. The teacher…make that teacherS…are all right there, relaxed and ready to talk to you. All the kids are little. School feels like a big black box. They encourage parents NOT to come inside because of how disruptive it is. I say a quick hi to the teacher every second day or so, and there are kids everywhere! BIG kids. Scary kids.

Interestingly enough, I remember feeling very unsettled when Amy and Elliot switched to their new daycare last year. So it’s not just about the daycare/school comparison, it’s about change. I hate change. My kids don’t exactly embrace it. This makes big transitions hard on all of us. But what was much clearer to me this time around was that I would get to a space where I felt like I was on solid ground again. I’m not there yet, but the more days that pass, the closer I feel. This week has been much better, and I hardly think about the kids while I’m at work.

Then there are all the positives that come from this change. I’m loving witnessing what Elliot is coming home with, just three weeks in. French phrases, French songs, methods for counting the syllables in words, learning all about Terry Fox, and much more. And this past weekend we went to the Esquimalt Lantern Festival and we ran into several of Elliot’s classmates and his teacher. After so many years of knowing very few people in Esquimalt, I can see how I will really feel a part of this community as my kids go through the school system.

tidbit 3: Jen and Emily

In the last few months, Jen and Emily have entered our lives. They are Amy’s imaginary friends and they come with an entourage. They have three dogs, and there is also a daddy, a baby and a brother. I’m not clear on the relationship between them all nor their ages, but I was told at one point that Jen was 14.

This group arrived on the scene very suddenly. I can’t remember exactly when or how they came up, but one day we’d never heard of them and the next day she was talking about them constantly. It’s petered out a bit, but yesterday I was asked to walk the three dogs, and tonight before dinner she told the dogs to lie down and stay before she came to the table, so they are definitely still on her mind.

My favourite moment with Jen and Emily was a couple of weeks ago when Amy and I were on our way to the local school to play at the playground. Amy was on her bike, and I happened to be watching her when the school came in sight. Her face lit up (so much so that I thought Greg had surprised us and met us there), and she said, with genuine joy, “Jen and Emily are here!”. It was pretty darn sweet.

There are times when Amy will get a sad face and when I ask her what’s wrong, she’ll tell me that Jen and Emily aren’t with her. I find it interesting the way a child’s mind works, that they would choose to have their imaginary friends not around, even if it makes them sad.

I don’t remember having an imaginary friend as a child, but I’m sure enjoying experiencing it now.

Oh, and the three dogs names? Diesel and Diesel, and the third one doesn’t have a name.

tidbit 2: Elliot’s reaction to kindergarten

Elliot’s first week of kindergarten was pretty low-key. He had 15 minutes in the classroom with me on Wednesday, an hour with the teacher and four other kids on Thursday, and then all day on Friday. He has been pretty stoked about starting school and the first (very gentle) week didn’t dampen that enthusiasm. Friday’s drop off was pretty chaotic (four kindergarten classes and all the hovering parents lining up outside the front door of the school), and he was a bit tentative, but he didn’t bring it up again and his day seemed fine.

Since this post is about Elliot’s reaction to kindergarten (and not his mother’s), I’d say week two was pretty successful too. Greg did most of the drop-offs and while they were a bit emotional (lots of turning around to say good bye and looking on the verge of tears), he was always fine at the end of the day, and by Friday was singing some of the French songs he’d learned. And the one drop-off I did was fine. I think a bit less emotional because we were a bit late and he basically got in the line and went in two seconds later.

He did say on Thursday morning that he missed me a lot at school. We talked about that for a bit — I said it was normal to miss your parents, and I suggested a couple of things he could do when he felt he missed me, and he really seemed to listen, which was nice.

And there’s been some definite bright spots — one of the girls he got along with quite well at daycare is going to his school (unexpectedly — she moved late in August). They are not in the same class but they’ve played together at recess.

I think each day will get easier for him, and I certainly am proud of his courage.

tidbit 1: Amy’s reaction to kindergarten

Elliot started kindergarten last week, and because we are such *awesome* parents, we have been asking him questions about his day, listening carefully to his answers, and just generally showing interest, without trying to make a huge deal out of it. And again because we are such *awesome* parents, we’ve been asking Amy questions about daycare and what’s going on with her, so she doesn’t feel left out. But I realized yesterday that even if Greg and I had slipped up and put too much focus on Elliot, Amy would have rectified the situation. Because right in the middle of talking to Elliot about something kindergarten-related (after giving her plenty of attention), she piped up with how her baby started kindergarten yesterday and she proceeded to describe how his day was. Since then, it’s come up a couple more times, and so I’m learning quite a bit about baby’s first few days in school.

I don’t think anyone’s going to leave this girl in the dust, and it’s one of the many things I love about her.

tidbits

I have lots to write about and have been unable to write it — I think because there’s so much and it’s all unrelated, I don’t know how to start. As I was running this morning I realize I treat blogging like I used to treat scrapbooking — everything had to be done in chronological order, and everything had to be compartmentalized (i.e. in a scrapbook). I got over that, and while I can’t say I’ve steamed forward with the scrapbooks, I can say I now do things out of order and there are (oh my!) pages done that are NOT in books.

So I’m going to take a similar approach to blogging. I’ve got a bunch of things to write about, some big, some small, and I’m just going to start with what I feel like writing and go from there. And if one entry has multiple unrelated things, so be it.

So my initial list of “tidbits” is (I’ll cross off each one I’ve done and add more as I think of them…and if I get up to 30 I’m going to kick myself for not saving this for NaBloPoMo):

E’s first few days of kindergarten
A’s reaction to kindergarten
My reaction to kindergarten
– A’s September transition
– My 25 days off
Jen and Emily
– Turning 40
– Vegas
– Work travel
– Work merger