September 10, 2012

waterproof mascara

We made it through week one, and my budding scholar has had a great first week of school. Wondering how it all went? Well, I’ll tell you!

On Tuesday we went and met the teacher, an hour-long orientation that was geared toward showing the children their classroom, their cubby, washroom and various play stations. Ultimately though, it was a chance for me to fill out an immense amount of paperwork.

Her teacher and ECE were both extremely nice, and made the children's environment instantly welcoming (surely putting parents at ease too). The only small glitch is that the school's new kindergarten room is not ready, so Lady M's class will be in the library until at least Thanksgiving. They did a great job of setting up the important spaces though: the sand table, painting station and colouring table, and more was being arranged following the orientation. Lady M happily visited the different stations, colouring a picture for her cubby hole, and then playing at the sand table until it was time to go see the two pre-existing kindergarten rooms.

In the meantime, I sat down at a munchkin-sized table with a couple other mom's to fill out the necessary paperwork. I couldn't help but wonder as I filled out each colourful sheet whether the things I was writing would follow her until the day she graduates high school. What are her greatest strengths? How do you diffuse situations when she gets upset? Is there anything else we should know about your child? I just answered simply and honestly, and refrained from writing "she's super-awesome" in every blank spot.

Cal put it all into perspective for me shortly after our orientation when he said that sending her to kindergarten seems strange because "it's the first time she's out of our control". It's true...every other step of the way Cal and I have been holding the reins, and now we have to put all of our trust into two teachers we don't really know.

On Thursday morning I woke up with a knot in my stomach. My little girl was officially starting Junior Kindergarten.The day had arrived; Along with half of her class, Lady M had to be at school for a full day on Thursday. She woke up excited and full of smiles. Her new runners, change of clothes, and made-with-love lunch were zipped into her backpack, identified clearly by her Mabel's Labels with butterflies on them. I was trying to reassure my nervous self by thinking about all of my friends kids who had made the leap to kindergarten already. They managed, they were ok, and I knew we would manage too.

But, all of that didn't seem to matter when I was already fighting tears and had the sinking feeling that my little girl was growing up; at three years old, she was off to school full-time, five days a week. It was definitely a waterproof-mascara-kind-of-day.

When we arrived at school, Lady M was excited, though clinging tightly to my hand (or maybe I was the one holding on so tightly?). We had decided that just I would take her so she wouldn't  be overwhelmed by also having to say goodbye to her dad and her sister, so it was just she and I. We headed to the kindergarten area to find her class line-up, and she was almost instantly greeted by both of her teachers. Most kids were calmly standing with their parents, or sweetly posing for their first-day pictures, but there were a couple little ones who were having full meltdowns on the blacktop. And since I was already on the verge of tears, they were really bubbling to the surface then as my heart went out to both those children and their parents, silently thankful that my little one was calm. But, I took a deep breath, held back the tears, and just clung to my little lady's hand a little tighter.

When the time came for her to follow her class into the school, she walked in the door and stopped to peek back at me. She then took her teacher's hand and in she went. Calmly, amazingly. It was in the hands of the teachers now, and I walked away from the school just hoping she would have a fabulous day.

That night, when I went to pick her up from daycare I stepped out of the car and her little voice rang out - "Mummy!!! Kindergarten was AWESOME!!" Well, what more could I ask for? She was all smiles, so proud and I was overwhelmed by an amazing sense of relief.

Later on, at home, we were sitting together when Lady M said "Mummy, I don't call it school. I call it school-errific"! Amazing.

So, I think I can confidently say that she had a great first day. She was very tired by the time bedtime rolled around, and soon snuggled into bed. And I was off to packing her lunch for day number two.

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