When do young children tend to become most upset? When socks don’t fit properly or their favorite stuffed animal goes missing. Or, quite likely, on the first day of school.
We have recently survived our first day of school, so like any good parent, I am especially reflective on how life will change this year.
When it comes to new school routines, I am trying a new strategy this year. You may want to write this down.
I decided to not even pretend I was going to make lunches the night before. I’m going to embrace the scrambly, morning-lunch-making Mom God has called me to be.
I salute all of you who do better in the lunch making department. Seriously.
I also didn’t even attempt to take pictures of our 3 Bigs. They may resent me for it one day, but whatever. Also, probably not. I think I’m burnt out from all the years of trying to take pictures of 1, 2, 3 or 4 boys. As in boys. Breaking into a cold sweat as I think about it. Read this, and you’ll understand.
Thankfully, our six-year-old beamed brightly with his Minecraft creeper backpack. He stood against the brick wall and offered multiple poses. My favorite? The one where he turned away from me so I could feature his new backpack, and declared, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m still smiling.” Little buddy.
Basically I’m setting the bar really low and I have to say it feels better than I expected. I have no idea what state of chaos will be our lives by June, but for today I say, “Whatever.”
Although the sheer madness that was school drop off was almost too much for even this chill Mom. Bless all the teachers. It took no fewer than 3 stops in a sweltering gymnasium to ladies with clipboards to determine the name of my son’s teacher.
And the name we were finally given was not actually the correct name of his morning teacher. Which makes me question the entire process, no?
So we shuffled from lineup to lineup, my sweet boy whose backpack shone brightly. As did the reflection off the fresh gel he slopped on the top of his head before we headed out the door.
And he celebrated that three of the sweetest girls were in his class again this year. One Mom even confided that Landon was on her daughter’s wishlist of classmates this year.
Only to have them all sent to a different line up soon after.
Apparently they were also victims of the Clipboard Chaos.
Turns out his morning teacher does not work on Day Ones so we basically handed him off to the music teacher for a class he told us only lasted a few minutes and have no idea who led his educational pursuits for the rest of the morning.
We have been doing 1st days of school for a LONG time so our chill factor is pretty high. But I felt badly for those newer parents who must have been panicked by the sheer disorganization and unknowns.
But they probably make lunches the night before, so there’s that.
P.S. The second day of school was nearly a disaster. Little Guy cried all the way there, saying the day was too long and he just couldn’t do grade one. We slowed our pace so I could hear his big feelings. I practised Staylistening up until the very last moment, when the bell rang. His sadness lifted when I agreed to pick him up a bit early. The classrooms were so stinkin’ hot – I would have cried too. I’ll probably do it again tomorrow. #sorrynotsorry #rebelmom #lastborn
A few days later…
The Clipboard Chaos of day one has now become the Roller Coaster of Emotions of Week Two.
Monday: We pretended to be robots and piggies on the way to school. Morale was high. I got an air high five and a “You’re Awesome, Mom” whispered so I could read his lips from the lineup.
Bring it on, grade one. We’ve got this.
Tuesday: Strutting to school, feeling good. Anyone knows that if you can make it through Monday, Tuesday will be a breeze. Tuesday is uneventful. Tuesday is easy. Except when the little one remembers he lost his Spiderman water bottle on Monday. Then Tuesday becomes frantic searching of the playground and, sadly, more tears.
Blast you, Spidey.
Wednesday: Spidey was found, making this a simple drop off once again. Little buddy waved and blew kisses more times than I could count.
Good golly – at a stage where the big brothers won’t always acknowledge my existence, this felt pretty good. Score 1 for the age gap!
But then I made a rookie mistake.
With 4 boys, surely I know better by now.
The bell didn’t ring soon enough and the mere site of this Mama from a distance was too hard for my Little Bear to bear. His face scrunched up and tears flowed freely. Again.
Since his lineup was teacherless, I gently took his hand and slipped it into the hand of a buddy, coaching the unwitting friend, “Landon’s going to have a great day, right Daniel?” Neither looked convinced, but improv is tough when you’re rushing to avoid being run over by lines and lines of marching ants.
Suddenly, my hero appeared. A sweet friend passed Landon at the perfect moment and slipped her arm around his shoulders. My last view of this morning was her happy pigtails bouncing down the hall, offering my son assurance that Wednesday would be okay. I know in my knower these were the words she spoke.
Kindergarten soulmates are the very best.
I think I’m supposed to be tougher by now. Maybe even immune to scrunchy faces and flowy tears.
I mean, I’m not haunted as I would have been with the first batch of kids, but still, I’m not nearly as chill as I had expected.
In the quiet of the house, this Mama whispers a prayer for her little one that today will be a good day. For him. And for her.
That my boy will soon be able to offer hope to the next in line that school is a safe place, and it’s okay to leave your Mama for more than a minute. Maybe by Friday….
Thursday: Another emotional drop off (him, not me, just to be clear). I told him I would pick him up a bit early (sorry school secretary), and that settled him enough to march in line. Later that day I reminded Landon of something insightful he told me at an amusement park this summer. After conquering a heart-palpitating roller coaster he said:
Mom. Do you know that brave doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. Brave can be feeling afraid but doing it no matter what.
Landon, age 6
We talked about how he had been brave at school. Because he went into the classroom even though he had that jiggly feeling in his tummy. He proved he could do something that felt hard. Hoping this pep talk will solidify in his dreams tonight.
Friday: While dressing for the day Landon declared his favorite number is 49, which warms this Math Mom’s heart. He decided to bring a calculator for our walk to school and kept trying different operations to produce an answer of 49. I got two kisses, three hugs and one, “You’re awesome!” As he tentatively walked away, he explained, “Mom. If my head’s full of numbers, I won’t feel sad.”
Some kids need a security blanket. Others need a calculator.
I’m not convinced we are completely in the clear, but I feel confident that the hardest transition time is behind us for grade one.
It is, right?
How do you help your little ones be brave? You know best. Share below so we can learn together.
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