September 2, 2012

school days

When you're pregnant with your first child, everyone likes to share the same few pieces of wisdom:
  1. Get your sleep now
  2. You're never going to sleep again
  3. Enjoy every moment - the time passes by in a flash
The first two, I would like to personally guarantee, you'll never catch me saying to any pregnant woman, mother- or father-to-be because I think they're rather ridiculous. You can't possibly bank hours of sleep before a newborn arrives, and eventually sleep will return (though it may be done with one eye open).

But the third statement? Well, the third one is very accurate. 

This week, my sweet little girl, Lady M, will be starting Junior Kindergarten which is really hard to believe. Though she will be on the younger side of the class at only three years old, I have no doubt that she is well prepared for this new adventure. She craves stimulation and knowledge, and somedays I genuinely think she's smarter than me! She flourished in preschool, and I know that she's missed a formalized school environment since graduating from preschool in the spring (in her 'prom dress', as you loyal readers may recall). 

In anticipation of the start of the school year the JK preparations have begun: 

Shopping - of course there are things that need to be picked up before I can send her off to school. Not to mention she is growing like a weed and her existing wardrobe is slowly becoming just a little too short. With a little help from my most fabulous mum, Lady M now has a lovely, growing collection of new clothes and she's going to look very adorable each day when she leaves for school.

In preparing to shop, I asked Lady M what clothes she would be most comfortable in, explaining that she will be playing, sitting on the floor, being active and requiring comfort. So what is it, in the mind of a three year old, that would fulfil this criteria? According to her, "I'm most comfortable in pyjamas mummy!" So, following a brief explanation as to why PJ's wouldn't be the best choice for school, we decided that leggings, cozy skirts and t-shirts are where it's at. 

She also got an awesome new pair of in-class running shoes that will stay in her cubby in the classroom. Oddly enough, she had these exact same shoes when she was around two. I remember being quite sad when she outgrew them and the white slowly faded to gray...I was thrilled when we found the same pair in her current size at Marshalls!

School Supplies - ahh, school supplies. This was, hands-down, always my favourite part of the back-to-school routine, and really, that hasn't changed. Maybe that's why I'm still in school at nearly 31 years old! Ask any of my colleagues (past or present) and they'll tell you that when I open up the Staples catalogue and order myself some new pens, folders or desk organizers, I'm like a kid at Christmas. 

I'm not really sure how many actual school supplies she requires, but a backpack and a lunch bag were a must. Thankfully, The Disney Store was the first shop we entered on our shopping extravaganza, and they had these awesome sets on a great sale. Lady M decided that the purple Tinkerbell set was the one she wanted, and I thought it was a great choice. She's going to look super adorable with her little matching set. (Sorry Ainslie, it's not quite as big as she is, but we tried!)

But, perhaps the most exciting and difficult part of getting ready for school is the Mental Preparation. For me, and for her. Sending your little baby off to school for the first time seems like a big step. When I walked into the parents' meeting at school in the spring I felt far too young to be walking in there as a parent of a school-age child. In many ways Lady M seems so young to be starting school, but like I said, I really have no doubt that she is totally ready. 

She has been asking about 'big girl school' and kindergarten for months now, and has taken to waking every morning to ask "do I get to go to school today?" Though I keep telling her 'not quite yet', full-time school is just four sleeps away now. Her school has just gotten all-day, every-day kindergarten this year, so it will be a new adventure for Lady M and her teachers. At least they're all in it together! 

On Tuesday Cal and I head to the school to have a one-hour meeting with her new teacher, and for Lady M to see her classroom and meet a few classmates. Then Thursday she goes for a full-day with half her class, then as of Friday she'll be there full-time. 

The whole idea of sending my three year old to full-day school seemed ok to me, but there was one moment that really struck me, making me realize the huge life milestone that we have reached. The school Principal was speaking at the aforementioned parents meeting (where I felt like a teenager in a parent's body) and he said "we really like to get to know our families here at X School because you're going to be with us for the next ten years..."

TEN YEARS?! Suddenly this seemed like an immense commitment, and a REALLY long time for them to have my baby! But, I knew the time would come...and I know my sweet little lady is going to flourish. Truth be told, I'm really excited for her. 

So, bring on the milestones: first day of school, first class pictures, first packed lunch, first kindergarten craft, first field trip, first assembly and first report card... I'll get the giant bin ready to house all of the keepsakes. 

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