Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten...the long version :)

It’s the second week of Maddox’s Kindergarten year and I have yet to blog about it. I think it may be a defense mechanism on my part. Maddox is doing awesome (as am I) but when I think back to last Thursday, it still gives me a lump in my throat! It’s like putting it into words and on paper will make it even more real! So, I’m going to do my best to remember everything and to write without crying. To do so I may have to write more with my brain and less with my heart….we’ll see!
On Tuesday, August 9 we had Kindergarten Open House. Jim took an annual day from the fire department and the three of us boarded the school bus and rode to Open House. We entered the school building just like the will every school morning. As we walked down the freshly painted main hall Jim noted that it looked like a private school compared to where he went to elementary school! Brookwood Elementary opened in 2009….it’s a young school, but have an incredible amount of parent involvement and the teachers, administrators, and staff (from what we have seen) are fabulous! We went to the line for “Ms. Sarno’s class” and got our packet and Maddox’s white nametag. The three of us settled into a row with some neighborhood friends and watched a slideshow about the school and PTA while we waited for the first presentation to begin. Now you know, I have been very anxious and emotional about Maddox starting K. However, on Tuesday, I just enjoyed my time. Maddox seemed comfortable so I thought I would just go with it! It worked for us!! The kindergarten teachers were introduced and then called their classes to follow them to their classroom. So, Mrs. Sarno was introduced and all the kids with white nametags were led out of the cafeteria in a line and marched like the big kids they are to their room. Maddox gave a wave, but seemed perfectly comfortable to be there!! Jim and I were beaming with pride (but my stomach did hurt a little)! We spent 2 hours going to different presentations about PTA, transportation, after school activities, etc. before meeting Maddox in his classroom to meet his teacher and get back to the bus for the ride home. Maddox looked at ease in his new surroundings and was happy to see us and show us his seat at the table. When I introduced myself to Mrs. Sarno she told me that Maddox was talking to her on the playground and that she thought he was so funny! No surprise there, right? We boarded the bus and rode back home to our stop with Cooper and the Scott kids waiting for us.

Maddox seemed excited for school on Thursday and went along with the rest of the day as usual. Wednesday we had a fun summer day. We went to the Y and played with friends. We discussed the importance of going to bed early since we would be getting up early to get on the bus the next morning. Everyone was feeling confident. I had given Maddox the power to choose dinner for the family Wednesday night…he chose Papa John’s pizza (just cheese, no sauce  as he says) and was very pleased when the “pizza man” brought it. We had a nice relaxing dinner and then headed up for a bath and the regular nighttime routine. After the boys’ “kid show” and brushing teeth, I could tell Maddox was getting antsy. He was having a hard time settling down…excitement and nerves was starting to get the best of him. I went to tuck him in and told him I would be back to check on him in a few minutes. When I went back to check on him (20 minutes later) he wasn’t in his bed and I saw that his closet light was on. I peeked in and there he was getting dressed in shorts and his new Brookwood Bobcat t-shirt! I asked what he was doing and he said he just wanted to be ready to go! Oh lawd!! He took his “day clothes” off and got back in the bed. Tuck in #2 and a promise to be back to check on him. When I went back to check on him I could hear him chanting M-A-G over and over again quietly. I asked what he was doing and he said he was trying to teach himself how to read. After I stifled a laugh, I assured him that he was going to learn to read all through the year. He didn’t have to know how to right away! That seemed to calm him a little, but he still wanted me to “spell some words and see if I can read them”. So I did.

Me: M-a-d-d-o-x
Maddox: Maddox!
Me: M-o-m
Maddox: Daddy!
Me: Well, it spells mom, let’s try another…D-a-d
Maddox: Daddy!
Me: close, it’s just Dad. Ok, how about C-o-o-p-e-r?
Maddox: Cooper!
Me: CORRECT! (I guess it pays to have a lot of personalized t-shirts and bags, he’s been reading Cooper’s name for 3 years now) OK, one more and then you HAVE to go to bed…D-o-g?
Maddox: Buddy!
Me: close, the word is dog, but Buddy is your dog.

I assured him again that he would learn all he needed to know and not to worry! He promised he wouldn’t worry and once again I kissed him and told him goodnight. A few minutes later I heard the bathroom light go on…so I stuck my head in and he told me he just needed to use the bathroom and could he have a little privacy. I closed the door and waited for him to finish up. Moments later he showed up at my door. “Mommy, I have a question”. Oh goodness, I wasn’t sure where we were going this time. He told me that he was concerned that he wouldn’t know how to find his classroom in the morning. I thought, OH NO!!! This, too, is my worst fear! I hate being lost or feeling out of place! I don’t like the unknown. I have a fear of walking into places where I don’t know a soul and now my baby boy who I’m not ready to let go is telling me he’s experiencing a similar fear….noooooooo!!!!! I put my bravest face on and with a hug and a kiss reminded him that there are going to be people all over to help kids find their classes and that EVERYONE is super nice and helpful! All the while I’m fighting back tears and trying to keep the lump in my throat from closing off my airway. Lots of kisses and hugs and a pat on the butt and I sent him back to bed. I get him settled, close his door, and go downstairs and boo-hoo. Jim had run out on a sales call so it was just me pacing around the kitchen crying. I finally got control and then went in again to check on Maddox who was still flailing around NOT ASLEEP! He asked that I rest with him so I snuggled up next to him and he almost immediately fell asleep. I laid with him and just rubbed his back and admired his long eyelashes and full lips thinking he’s not going to want me to rest with him forever….one day he’ll be a crabby teenager and he’ll just want his privacy .
Thursday morning comes…finally and all of sudden both at the same time! The 6am alarm goes off and Jim and I popped out of bed. We both went in to wake up Maddox who immediately jumps up to get dressed. We had a relaxed morning getting ready and then woke Cooper up right before we walked out the door to walk to the bus stop. We were all doing ok…the excitement and nerves were all good. He was excited to see a neighbor kid as soon as we walked out of the house that was also walking with his parents to the bus stop. We got there early (of course, along with my other fears and anxieties, I didn’t want to add being late or missing the bus to our morning) and chatted with the other families and took pictures and video while we waited. The bus came and Maddox allowed me to kiss him and then like a big boy ran to get in line to board the bus. He gave us a few waves and off they went! His little face was barely visible in the window as they drove away! My heart was breaking and I couldn’t fight the tears any longer. I stood there holding Cooper who was still in his pjs and his night diaper (which began to leak as we walked home, that’s another story) with tears streaming. I wasn’t sobbing, but the emotion was too much to hold back. I was clearly a first time elementary school mom….and I have no shame in shedding tears!!!!!
I am so lucky to have great girlfriends and a supportive family to help keep me busy during that first day. Heather and I took the kids to the Y pool and packed a lunch to eat there. Cooper thought it was awesome to have my full attention and to be able to play in whatever area HE chose! It was great!

We were back in time for a shower, a short snooze for Cooper and then back to the bus stop to meet Maddox. He got off the bus smiling, happy and pleased with his experience the first day. He said his teacher “was great and has lots of great experiences”. He proud to announce that he had eaten all of his lunch, his snack, and had “sweated his head off at recess”. He was ready to go back the next day! WOO HOO and praise the Lord! All my prayers were answered. He had a great experience, he didn’t get lost, and he loved his teacher. Of course, he made some new great friends, but he had forgotten to ask them their names…he probably just called everyone dude.
I am so thankful for the 4 days he’s been to school; he comes home every day excited about the day and what he did. What a blessing!!!!

PS-the second day of school, he asked me at the bus stop if I felt like I might cry again. I told him I didn’t think so that I was so proud of him and I knew he was having fun and I thought I could be brave too. He said, “Good, but Mommy, if you think you’re going to cry, just cover your mouth.” I asked him why I should do that, did he think it wasn’t attractive when I cried? “Nah”, he said, “it’ll help you not to if you start to feel like you are going to cry.” I love that little man.

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