Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kindergarten, one week in

The first day of Kindergarten went amazingly well. There were smiles all around, hugs, tears of joy and sadness, but overall, we made it through and felt good about our accomplishment. There is so much excitement about that first day - pictures are taken, parents are welcomed into the classroom and everyone is on cloud 9 about kindergarten. So in some ways, that first day is the easy part.

We are one week in and doing OK. Some days we're up, some days we're down. Charlie was so tired after his second day of kindergarten that he literally collapsed in a heap on the floor of the kitchen and fell asleep the minute he got home. I wanted to do the same. One week in, I have his schedule and snack calendar on the pantry bulletin board for everyone to monitor, and am getting a routine going for making lunches and filing away the myriad of school work and notices that come home each day. Charlie sets his clothes out the night before and gets dressed before breakfast. Our mornings are earlier than they used to be and Charlie has to be pulled out of bed, grumpy and tired. We've been early to school a few days, but haven't been late yet - it isn't easy to time the 10 minute window for dropping him off each day. Everything is an adjustment. Then there's after school care, I'll save my thoughts on that for another day...

Charlie still hesitates to say good bye each morning, and today there were tears. The first day he could bring his lovie - Puppy - but not anymore. Puppy has to stay home and Mom and Dad have to say goodbye at the door. Next week we are supposed to drop him off in the car line, and there is no way any of us are ready for that!

The first day of kindergarten was the easy part, and now finding a routine and getting comfortable with a new place and new people is the real challenge.  It will take time and patience and many hugs. This morning Charlie asked if we could go visit his old school soon and I think he's looking for a hug from his favorite teacher. Some days we all want to go back, even for just a little while.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A letter to Charlie

Dear Charlie,

I am so proud of you! You did it - you are now officially a kindergartner. Your first day could not have gone any better. Daddy thought we would be late, but we were way early. We even had time to play on the playground before going to your class. That was fun. You were a total champ this morning and only got a little nervous as we were leaving and that was probably only because Mommy was crying. I was a complete mess. I told you I would cry and there was nothing I could do about it. But you were brave and that made me brave, too.

I worried about you all day long, though I shouldn't have. You didn't even need to take your family picture out of your backpack because you weren't sad. I wondered who you sat next to in the cafeteria and if you ate all of your lunch. Did you fall asleep at rest time? I thought about you and wondered if you remembered the hand sign that meant you had to go to the bathroom and if you would have gym or music on your first day. Did you make a new friend? From what I could tell the highlights of the day were when the Principal pulled a quarter out of a kid's ear at lunch time, playing at recess, seeing your Berkley friends in the hall, and picking out a prize from the class Treasure Chest. If there was a low point, it was probably at snack time in after care. You couldn't open your string cheese and were too nervous to ask a new friend or teacher for help so you threw it away. That makes my chest hurt to hear, but I know that in no time you will feel confident enough to ask anyone at school for help. If that is the worst thing that happened on your first day of school, I think we can live with that.

We spent the last week together waiting for kindergarten to start. Every day, just you and me. We went to the grocery store, played baseball, went to Mommy's work, rode bikes, and had a blast at World's of Fun. I really enjoyed just hanging out with you and that made it even harder to be away from you today. It felt like the longest. day. ever.

The highlight of my day today was picking you up from school. When you saw me your whole face lit up and you gave me the best, biggest hug. And you were tired, but happy, and I just wanted to wrap you up and hold you so you could sleep for a little while. Tomorrow is only your second day of school and I really want to be the one to pick you up and see your face light up, feel that giant hug. But I can't. Mommy is getting an award at work, a really nice one. You would be proud of me! And here's the thing about working mommies, we're always having to make tough choices. Tomorrow I have to be at work and I can't pick you up, but you will be just fine. You will be excited to have Grammy pick you up and show her your new school. And I will get many, many more chances to pick you up and hear about your day. If this letter still exists in cyberspace someday or on my computer when you are old enough to read it, I just want you to know that I wanted to be there with you. You are my everything.

Ok, time for mommy to go to bed. I'm exhausted and feeling entirely too weepy. Just know that I love you and you make me proud every second of the day.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Last day of summer

Charlie and I spent the day walking our legs off at World's of Fun. The weather was perfect and the park was nearly empty. We rode several of his favorite rides three times! There was ample hand holding for me and a day of distraction for both of us. Just what we needed. 

We're both ready for kindergarten! Bring on the Kleenex. 

17,000 steps wore this guy out! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

His hand in mine

Charlie likes to hold my hand. If we are out walking, especially if it is just the two of us, he will grab my hand and hold it firmly in his. We've established a natural rhythm to our hand holding. I start walking and angle my hand back just slightly and his hand reaches up to meet mine. I don't have to look, I know his hand will just be there. Sometimes he will hold my hand if his sister is around, but most of the time he is distracted or she is demanding my attention and our hand holding is interrupted. But when it is just the two of us, we are content and happy with our joined limbs.

I don't know if Charlie holds Ryan's hand the same way when they are out just the two of them - I hope so. We've always considered Charlie our non-cuddly kid. He will dictate how close you can sit next to him on the couch and where you can place your arm - not on his leg, sometimes around his shoulders. Izzy, our super cuddly child, doesn't like to hold my hand. Most likely because she is always looking for an opportune moment to bolt away from me. But not Charlie. For a child that is always moving and never sits still, hand holding is his way of connecting and showing affection. It warms my heart every time he takes my hand.

We sat in the kindergarten classroom today for a parent-child conference with his new teacher. All the new students and their parents sat at the small rectangular tables and listened to the teacher explain what would happen the first day of kindergarten. Charlie was excited, happy to be there, listening carefully to his teacher. Sitting slightly in front of Ryan and I, he would turn around to smile at us or ask a question about what the teacher was saying now and then. About 20 minutes into the meeting, Charlie casually reached back and took my hand. My eyes welled up as I looked at his small hand in mine. Ryan noticed and smiled, but Charlie's attention stayed on his teacher.

I don't know if he did it for him, or for me. I tried to hide the tears that surfaced in the first five minutes of being in the cheerful, storybook-perfect classroom. The teacher started talking about the morning classroom routine - hang up your backpack on your hook, put your classroom folder in the wire basket, wash your hands...and picturing my little guy doing those things on his own every morning just made the tears flow. I want Charlie to feel nothing but happiness and excitement about his new school and teacher. Only silly moms cry at such wonderful new beginnings. I don't think Charlie saw my tears, but I think he knew we both needed a squeeze.

The first day is going to be hard, so hard. The first day of kindergarten is the day we send him out into the world to learn, grow, play and exist independent of us. He will thrive, he will soar, he will surpass all my expectations. I just hope he'll want to hold my hand for a little while longer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014