Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kindergarten...the First Week


We're coming to the close of the first week of kindergarten for Reagan, so I thought it would be appropriate to share a few thoughts. First, I must say that I was apprehensive about Reagan's teacher who was (and still basically is) a stranger to me. My first impression of her was not great. She was quiet...seemed a bit frazzled at the parent meeting and, quite honestly, I thought she might be a control freak too. But the more interaction I have with her, the more I believe that I was wrong. I think Reagan will have a great year, and both Mrs. Willhite and her intern, Mrs. Mills (who is very energetic and fun!) will have positive influences on Reagan.


On Reagan's first day, Scott and I (and Presley) walked Reagan to her class, got her settled (I cried), and then stayed for a reception with the principal. Pickup was at 10:30, so we arrived back at school at 10:15. By then the car rider lane was backed up and Reagan couldn't find our car, so she cried. :( (Keep in mind that the kids are always under adult supervision--the teachers walk with them until they find their car. Nonethelesss, I now get there 30 minutes before the end of school). Tuesday was better--another half day for kindergarten. I walked her in again, and I arrived at pickup in time to be on the front side of the school (Presley watched a movie and ate lunch while we waited). Wednesday was again chaotic. I walked her to her class that morning, but pickup was complicated by a full day of class for the whole school which meant an especially crowded car rider lane. (Again, Presley watched a movie and snacked; I crocheted.)

Then there was Thursday. Reagan insisted that she wanted to be dropped off at the door--no more walking in with Mama. What? Already? Are you sure? Yes! So, against my will, I arrived just before 7:45 (when the doors open), pulled up as close to the entrance as permitted, and let Reagan hop out of the car alone--alone!!! But, fortunately, there are lots of staff members on hand to open doors, hold hands, and usher kids safely into the building. I tried to watch as I was pulling out of the drive, but I wasn't able to see if she walked into the building...I just had to trust that she did. (Then I cried on the ride home.)

A friend of mine who also has a kindergartener explained it best: Up until now, there has always been a hand-off. You go to church, hand your child over to a loving nursery worker, and get your card that identifies you as her parent. Or, you go to preschool, sign your kid in for the day, then hand her over to the teacher who will nurture and watch over her. In big kid school, you just let them out at the door and hope they all get to where they're supposed to. (And sometimes they don't!!! Just ask my mom about her school losing a kindergartener for a while this week! Don't worry, the story ends well.) So, forgive me if I feel a bit apprehensive about letting her take on these big kid duties. We've both been through a lot of growing up this week!

Today is Friday, and once again I let Reagan out at the door and watched her walk toward the entrance. The good news is that in just a few minutes I'll be going back to the school to help out in the lunchroom--so I can see with my own eyes that she did, in fact, arrive safely. Then I'll do my 30 minutes in the car rider lane this afternoon. I didn't realize that kindergarten was going to take over my life...but it kinda has. I thought I would actually have more time and freedom to accomplish things, but the opposite has really happened. Not only am I a prisoner of the car rider lane, but Presley now requires so much of my attention because she misses Reagan! But it will get better on all accounts, I'm sure. And whether or not we're ready for it, this is what growing up is...for both of us. All of us.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Thank you for this heartfelt response to the Start of Kindergarten! It's honest and tender and helpful for those mommies who haven't been there yet but now feel better prepared by you (still, I can't imagine doing this by 2!)
How's the 2nd week going?

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