number six: the bookends of my day

My day started with dropping off Amy at school for her second day of kindergarten. She was in tears as we stood in her class lineup outside the school. It’s only her second day, and she was scared, feeling shy and wanting her mum. I gave her lots of hugs and watched as she pulled herself together and walked bravely into the school. I put my sunglasses on and walked back to the car in tears. I know things will get better (likely quickly, knowing Amy), but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Fast forward to now, nearing the end of my day, and I get the following text from Greg, who is with the kids at their first swimming lesson:
Holy crap. E just dove into the deep end by himself with no life jacket!

My heart soared. Elliot’s initial few years with water were pretty tentative, and it’s only in the last year that he’s starting to feel really comfortable. And going into the deep end with no life jacket is pretty darn remarkable.

It’s a good reminder that despite the hard stuff there is also much, much joy as I watch my kids go through the various milestones of their lives.

number five: the first week of school for elliot

Elliot’s first week of school went well. Drop-off on the first day was better than expected, and there were no tears. As mentioned in my previous post, he was quiet all morning (although I think having some play time with Amy was a good distraction), and he stuck close to us when we got to the school. Things are a bit chaotic on the first day, because none of us know what teacher our kids have or what door to go to. Last year this was a bit of a shock for me (kindergarten is more straightforward), but this year I was expecting it, so it was at least easier on me!

We figured out what door to go to, and as soon as we got there, Elliot saw some friends and he perked up a bit and starting chatting with them. We found out what teacher he had, and that two of his friends were in the same class as him. As the teacher lined the kids up, I saw that there were only about 10 kids…and realized he must be in a split class. It’s a Grade 2/3 split, which is just fine with me. As they filed into the school Elliot was engaged in conversation with a friend and barely said goodbye to Greg. I followed him in and watched as he found his cubby and sat down in the classroom to listen to his teacher. The teacher instructed the kids to say goodbye to their parents (translation for us parents: it’s time to leave now), Elliot gave me a quick hug and all was good.

The rest of the week’s drop-offs were pretty standard for us — he looks a bit sad and asks me to stay, but resigns himself to the fact that that’s not possible.

There are only four kids in his class from last year’s class, but that doesn’t seem to bug him. The teacher he has is the “tougher” of the Grade 2 teachers, so I’ve heard, but I think he’ll do okay with that, too. So all-in-all, I’d say it was a successful week. Amy, on the other hand…stay tuned for a subsequent post.

number four: highlighting the differences

Today is the first day of school. Elliot is starting grade 2, and Amy is going into kindergarten. Amy has been quite excited over the last week, asking me lots of questions about school and her schedule for the week (she doesn’t actually have a full day until Friday). Elliot hasn’t said a word about school. Yesterday Amy was so excited she couldn’t sleep. And she’d already planned what she would wear. Elliot had a stomach ache all day.

This morning I’ve been in the basement working, listening to the sounds of everyone getting ready. Amy is currently singing, and has been doing so for the last ten minutes. She is dressed and her teeth are brushed, and we aren’t leaving for another 30 minutes. I haven’t heard a word from Elliot. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was still in bed. I suspect he is having a silent freak out.

I feel so bad for the poor boy. I know what it’s like to be scared of new stuff. I’ve been dealing with similar feelings for over 40 years, and it sucks. I admire those who embrace and get excited by change. I don’t think I’ll ever get there, and I don’t think Elliot will either. I’m hoping we can teach him some coping strategies, and I’m hoping he at least gets to the point I’m at, where I can tell myself that it DOES get better. The new stuff becomes not-so-new.

I sure am proud of them both, and I look forward to writing a post when they are both settled into school, and when their mother is feeling a bit more settled herself!