After 4 years of preschool (and 3 different preschools), Sonja finally started Kindergarten yesterday. The rest of the grades started on Tuesday, but the Kindergartners waited until Friday, in the meantime getting a chance to check out the school and talk to the teacher with their parents. A good system, I think.
There was a lot of excitement leading up to the big day (on everyone’s part) and a little bit of nervousness too (on everyone’s part.) Sonja was concerned about spending so much time away from me, and unsure of what the day would be like. It probably didn’t help that I couldn’t answer many of her questions, being that kindergarten was a) such a long time ago, and b) only half a day for me. Full-Day kindergarten is required throughout the state this year, but our school district voluntarily implemented it at least two years ago. I wasn’t terribly worried myself, because Sonja has proven herself to be quite adaptable, and is probably the most prepared child to enter Kindergarten that ever there was. (She can read almost anything you put in front of her from books to menus to text messages to words on the television screen. This gives me a whole ‘nother set of worries about her getting bored with the curriculum, but that’s a different blog post.)
Two nights before the big day, Sonja was complaining that she just wanted to stay with me, and she told me, through tear-stained eyes, that “there’s no one better than you.” She changed her tune the night before though, as we picked out her outfit and I promised she could help me pack her lunch.
That night, she woke me up twice, at 1:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., complaining of nightmares. By the time morning rolled around, she was bouncing off the walls, ready and eager to get to Kindergarten. I was a zombie. She kept asking why she couldn’t take the bus, and I kept telling her that Dad & I wanted to take her on her first day, but not to worry, she’d be taking the bus the rest of the year.
When she arrived at school, we waited outside in her classroom’s line. (I’m not sure why they do this, or if I ever had to do this. Can anyone confirm their school does it too, and why?) We have four neighborhood boys that go to the same school, ranging from about 4th grade to 1st grade, and they came over to say hi, but scattered when the bell rang. The fifth graders were all lined up along the walls of the school, giving the kindergartners high-fives as they walked to their classrooms.
As we entered the classroom, there was a note on the overhead projector from the teacher to help our kids find their cubbies, put their lunches away, take our pictures, and then get the hell out. Well, I believe what she actually said was she would help the kids have a great first day, but in situation like this, it’s pertinent to read between the lines. Sonja had already found her cubbie and put away her lunch, so we took our pictures and left.
We came back to pick her up and the first thing she said, in response to my question, “how was your day?” was “I love school!” Although I was sure this would be the case, I breathed a sigh of relief anyway. We took her to frozen yogurt to celebrate, where she ran into a friend she had made earlier that day. Both girls talked and talked and talked, to each other and to me, and later she told me how she and Sophia both liked to talk. I’ll say.
The rest of the night, Sonja regaled us with stories of school, like learning to say “yes, yes, yes!” after the teacher calls, “class, class, class!” and finding her preschool friend on the playground at recess with help from the neighbor boys. She also went to music class where she got to dance and sing the You’re Welcome song from Moana, and listened to the teacher read two stories. She also got her name placed in a drawing for being well-behaved.
I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall that day, especially since it seems so strange that I’ve sent my tiny little creation out into the world at the age of not quite six. I ran into a fellow preschool mom the other day, who said that the school where her son is going recommends the kids take the bus, even on the first day, because the parking lot is so small. She said, “What am I supposed to do, put him on the bus and say ‘you figure it out’?” But that’s what she did, and that’s what he did, and in one way or another, that’s what we all do. So here’s to new beginnings, and to my child especially, for making things so easy on me by loving new experiences.