Well, it is done. The last one is out of the nest and into "big" school. The first day was fraught with tears and sadness as I adjusted to the end of the "mother of preschoolers" season of life. It is still difficult to fathom that I have an entire day (at least until 2:30) to myself. But, I find it isn't taking long to settle quite nicely into this new life of solitude!
That first morning, however, as I finished fixing Lily's hair, she jumped up, turned around and proudly inquired, "Mommy, how do I look?" I had quickly control my blubbering and weakly attempted enthusiasm with my, "Great!" response. She ran into our bedroom saying with so much exuberance I thought she might just burst, "Daddy, look at me!" There she stood with her plaid, school-girl jumper and little light-yellow, peter pan collared shirt underneath, bobby socks and brown Mary Jane shoes. Her hair, with almost white high-lights from the summer sun was pulled up, away from her face with a ribbon that matched her jumper. Her glasses clean for a change, nearly sparkling from the twinkle in her eyes. Her smile as large as I have ever seen it. My baby...looked so very grown-up.
Seeing all three children dressed in their uniforms with those excited, but slightly nervous smiles on their faces brought such a mixed bag of emotions for me Tuesday morning. I was proud, excited, nervous, slightly stressed, and filled with some snippets of joy, probably the same as what they were experiencing. At this exact moment in time as I type this, I can say what a blessing raising my children has been.
We spent the week before school started at the beach with two other families. There were a total of 8 children ranging in age from 2 to 11. Chaotic at times, yet full of hilarity and relaxation. Observing all the children's behavior and the typical behavior that comes with their varying ages, I realized not only how much my children have grown and adjusted, but just how far I have come in this child rearing journey. I also caught some glimpses of what life can be like as my children grow and mature and this brought some positive anticipation.
Here are some highlights from the first week of school:
She was extremely excited on her first day. After several weeks of asking, "How many more days until school?" she was finally able to get on her uniform, pick up her new pink, monogrammed messenger bag and Tinkerbell lunchbox and start kindergarten. Jay and I walked each of the kids to their classrooms, with Lily being last. She went right into the class and found her seat. As I bent down to give her a kiss she told me, "Ok, you can go now." Little Miss Independent! When I picked her up, I learned that she had had a good day, but was not quiet at lunch so did not get a piece of candy. However, they did get doughnuts for a snack that afternoon and for the most part, she did well. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.
The next day, Lily became a bit cantankerous when I insisted on walking her in again instead of dropping her off at the sidewalk. At the same time, however, she requested to stay with me instead of going to school. So, a mixed bag of emotions. She has become quite the planner, declaring her desire to alternate which shoes she wears each day, alternating how she wants her hair done and alternating what uniform combinations she wears. She has never verbalized such plans before school started.
On her third day, she received a green smiley face on her thumb, but did not get candy because she 1) hoarded all the blocks put at her table because she wanted to build something big and became a bit difficult when she had to share 2) Mixed play-do colors together (oh, the horror) and 3) Had a bit of a hard time settling down during their 15 minutes of rest. When I "confronted" her with her transgressions in the car, she broke down crying and asked me, "Are you disappointed with me? Mommy, I am so sorry." It was quite pitiful. But, I assured her that I was not disappointed, all was forgiven and that tomorrow would be a new day when she could try just a bit harder. She is definitely fluctuating between wanting to be at school, being completely exhausted, wanting to stay home with me, wanting my help and wanting to do it all herself. It is a bit tiring for me!
This year brings a new teacher for Sadie after having the same teacher for both kindergarten and first. The adjustment is a bit difficult for her. In the car ride to school this morning, she indicated that having a new teacher was hard and that she wishes she was still with Mrs. Newell. On the other hand, she was thrilled that her most of her closest friends are in her class. 2nd grade brings a lot of change at our school - much more responsibility and more work. She is struggling with controlling her talking. Wonder where she gets that from? Yesterday, she changed her light to yellow after being warned two times. I support the teacher in her efforts to clamp down this early in the year. Sadie, in her usual fashion, tried to blame the problem on others who were talking to her, and yet, again, I turned her right back to one responsible for choosing to open Sadie's mouth. At this point, I don't have a clear sense of how this year will be for Sadie.
Thrilled. Just over the moon. He is in love with his teacher this year. It is a male teacher and he knows just how to reach those boys. He knows exactly what to say to them to touch their hearts. I truly believe this will be Ethan's year to blossom. The teacher actually got on the playground and played kickball with them, talked to Ethan about his favorite band, Skillet, and told the kids that if they are misbehaving, he will talk to them individually, but will not embarrass them in front of the class. Three major points for Mr. B in Ethan's eyes! Every day, Ethan has come home with something exciting that has happened, something that has gotten him jazzed up. I just LOVE it!
Outside school the kids will be involved in a few activities. However, I hope the schedule will actually provide forced study time and one-on-one time with each of the kids and their school work while we wait for the others in their respective commitments. Interestingly, Sadie was not interested in doing scouts as in last year or piano. As she stated this summer, "All I want to do is swim." Here is how our schedule plans out this fall:
Monday - Ethan has guitar lessons and then Sadie and Ethan go to swim practice
Tuesday - Ethan has scouts
Wednesday - Ethan has Bel Canto (the school choir), Lily has piano lessons (at the school as well) and then Sadie and Ethan have swim practice.
I tried to squeeze everything in so that we only have two days of running around, enabling us to be home by 5:20 on Monday and Wednesdays. Wednesdays are no-homework days for us (the beauty of going to a Baptist school) so that will be helpful. I think it is a doable schedule. I just wish I could arrange for swimming for Lily on Mondays while the others are at their swim practice.
Now, as for me...Along with my usual household duties, cleaning out and organizing the house as well as working on several (read a mile long list) home projects are my first order of business. I will schedule some focused writing time, sign-up for a Thursday morning bible study and will probably spend at least a couple of mornings in the office helping Jay with some minor details. That sounds like enough for now.