Today, Claire entered the brave new world of kindergarten!
The morning went pretty smoothly. Claire has been waking up around 6:45 for a few weeks now, so that put her on kindergarten time right off the bat. Claire was in a good mood and ready to roll. We were out of the house in plenty of time and at the classroom at 7:35, 10 minutes early. Grammy and Granddaddy were in town, which was good for Molly, who has been waking up between 7:30 and 8:00 most days. She got to sleep in and have a nice slow breakfast with her grandparents while Claire, Kit, and I were wading through the mass of kids and cars up at Claire’s new elementary school.
One of the nice things about the new early 7:40 drop-off time is that Kit can drop Claire off at school pretty regularly and still get to work on time. Kit is excited to see more of Claire regularly in the mornings. I am excited too since I will not have to rush around town quite as much on those mornings.
Anyways, the classroom was already awfully crowded with excited kids and parents when we showed up. Claire was familiar with her classroom and her new teacher from an open house the previous Friday, which she enjoyed but had been a little scared to be left there alone. Kit and I explored the classroom with Claire and helped her find her desk. Before we knew it, the final bell was ringing and the teacher was subtly shooing the parents out of the room. Claire seemed nervous and a little clingy but held herself together as we left. Kit did not have quite as much luck holding herself together and teared up a bit a we walked down the hall away from the classroom. I did not expect to feel sad myself — just excited — but I did feel a little lump in the throat as we walked away like we had 1000 times before in daycare. But this was different than daycare. Elementary school was so much bigger, and bustling with the rush of nearly 900 students arriving at exactly the same time. After the tardy bell rang, and all the kids were in their classes, the halls got quite very suddenly, filled only with somber parents hurrying off to work. There was also a fair number of “exercise moms”, breezy moms donned in jogging gear who stayed to chat with each other for a while. I think I heard two of them making plans to meet for coffee. We did not have exercise moms at daycare since it was populated entirely by working parents.
Grammy came along to pick up Claire in the afternoon. Kit would, much to her regret, not be able to pick Claire up in the afternoons except when she was on vacation. Anyways, Claire is the only kid from her class in extend-a-care. Even though it goes on until 5:30, we picked her up around 3:15, largely out of impatience to see her and to hear about her day. When we saw her in the cafeteria, Claire looked red and nervous and unhappy. Claire would later explain that she liked kindergarten and had a fun day in class. She liked her teacher, who was really nice and not mean at all. But she was confused about going to extend-a-care, and she was scared that we would not be able to find her. She was really scared that she might just be left there. That must have been a terrifying feeling for a kid. I was a little surprised this was an issue since we had picked her up every day without fail from daycare, I had explained extend-a-care to Claire ahead of time, but I guess it was still weird getting separated form her classmates and taken off to the cafeteria. Of course, I assured Claire that me or Mom would always come get her every day, and we would find her no natter where she was. And she could always ask a teacher if she was confused or lost for any reason. This seemed to help, but it was a tough ending for a big day.
Claire’s teacher, Ms. B, sent out a nice note to all the parents that evening, starting…
Congratulations on surviving your first day of Kindergarten:):) We had such an amazing and busy day! Time flew by and as many of the monkeys said, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m tired’, and the best ‘I never knew Kindergarten lasted so long!’. As I’m sure you are noticing your child is probably exhausted. Please be sure they are getting plenty of sleep because we will continue to be super busy the rest of this week…
She ended her note with a well crafted hint to not storm the classroom too early like we did today.
See you tomorrow at 7:40 (my door will be shut until then to prepare for the day).
Besides the extend-a-care hiccup, it was a good start to “real” school.