Well it finally happened. The day I’ve been both extremely excited and yet dreading for the last (almost) 5 years: J’s first day of Kindergarten. One of my friends put it perfectly the night before school started: “When she’s awake and sleeping or somewhere else I’m all nostalgic and thinking about how little I’ll see her and I start tearing up. And then she wakes up or comes home or throws one of her constant I’m-4-years-old-and-learning-my-independence fits and I’m back to counting down the minutes until school starts.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!
I had a difficult time deciding whether or not she should take the bus the first day. Before orientation I had already decided that I was going to drive her. And I made the mistake of telling her that. Why a mistake, you ask? Well, at orientation they stressed the importance of your Kindergartener riding the bus to school on the first day if they will be a regular bus rider. Parents are more than welcome to put their child on the bus, hop in their car, follow the bus to school and meet your child there, but please please please let him/her ride the bus.
That put me in quite the conundrum. J’s school is 25 minutes away in the middle of nowhere. There was no way in hell I was going to follow the bus there. But since I had already told her I was going to drive her, she had her mind set on that and started crying when I told her she was going to ride the bus instead. So then I had no idea what to do. Sure, I could pressure/bribe/flat out tell her that was the way it was going to be and she would eventually agree, but how hard did I want to push? The day was already full of so many new things that I didn’t want to pressure her too much. But think about how much easier it would be for me if I could just wave goodbye to her at the bus stop?? There’d be an awful lot less tears on my part, that’s for sure! Plus I didn’t want to be “that parent” who couldn’t follow rules on the very first day of school and put a bad taste in the teacher’s mouth. Not that I would be the only one, I’m sure, but still.
I debated about it all day. After bringing it up with J several times (and each time receiving the same response: a tearful “but you said you were going to drive me! And adults don’t go back on their words!”) I finally realized what the problem was. She thought the first day of school was going to be the only day all year that I would drive her and go into her classroom. That was why she was so stuck on the idea! I explained to her that there would be doctors appointments or times when we’re running late or have other stuff going on and I would need to drive her. “For example,” I told her, “we’ll bring a special treat into your class on Tuesday for your birthday. And I’ll need to drive you then. So why don’t we plan on that instead!” And then she was perfectly fine. Not another word said about taking the bus.
And I turned about to be right about the lack of tears on my part this way. It ended up being so hectic that morning that we barely made it to the bus stop on time. At orientation they hammered home that the first few weeks the buses were apt to be about 20 minutes behind as they got used to the new schedule. Not ours–he was early! Which would have been fine, except once we got to the bus stop (the first time) J realized we forgot to put on her name tag and we had to hoof it back to the house to grab it. The bus pulled up to the stop at the same moment we did. Then I was so flustered that I completely forgot to give her a hug and kiss goodbye and tell her to have a good day at school and that I love her! Stellar mom right here.
And that was that! I proceeded to have the best, most productive, peaceful day ever! Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter to death but it’s amazing how much I was able to accomplish that first day, and every day since. I was able to clean, organize, pick up clutter, waste time on Facebook and craft. And that was all just during C’s nap! I’m going to need to line up a whole bunch of projects for the next 9 months…
J’s still on the fence about school. It’s funny because she’ll come home and tell me about her day and how much fun she had doing this and that, but when I ask her “So do you like school?” she tells me, “No, not really.” She seems excited every morning as she picks out her clothes and gets ready and again when she gets off of the bus in the afternoon and chatters away, but apparently that message hasn’t completely reached her brain yet.