You just finished up your first week of kindergarten, something you've been counting down the days to do all summer—maybe for all of preschool, too. There was no being afraid or worrying about being away from home or any of those things we thought might strike in the final days leading up to The Big Day. You experienced one crying episode, but it was because you missed your friends in other places so much and wanted to be starting kindergarten with them. That doesn't count as school-day jitters.
Daddy and I had fun telling you about our own first days of kindergarten this week. Daddy was a walker, and even though he could see the school from where he lived, when Nana saw him off he remembers crying over the sheer magnitude of that long walk away from home. I, on the other hand, remember falling off my chair the first day. I was coloring a picture of Mickey Mouse for my nametag while the parents were listening to Mrs. Freer, and I unceremoniously fell to the floor. Grandma pretended not to notice, something about not embarrassing me or making me tougher or some such thing. You, on the other hand, were miffed that I made you wait to ride the school bus until the second day of school. There was no crying or falling off of chairs for you.
In our new city, all-day kindergarten is standard. Your day begins at the bus stop around 8:30 or so, with school beginning at 9:00 and stretching a bit past 3:30, with you arriving home about 4:00. That seems like a long day to us, though it is filled with your idea of paradise: language arts and recess and Spanish and music and art and gym and math and storytime and a teacher who has a piano in her classroom and sings songs throughout the day and community service projects and library and drawing time and LUNCH! (oh, how you've longed to eat lunch at school). We know all this because you've been giving us very detailed rundowns of what you do for all these hours away from us, hours that are now yours to share or not. You are happy to share and we are even happier to listen. It is a cliché to be sure, but it is hard for this mama to not know what you're doing at all times. I don't expect that will get any easier.
You love your teacher. I am so glad you love your teacher. (That's her, standing in a door way with a bell). I don't really remember my own kindergarten teacher being what one would call friendly... I may be remembering incorrectly, but most of my memories of Mrs. Freer involve her being a bit on the dour side. And once she tapped my head with her pencil while I was listening to a story with earphones because apparently I was tapping my foot too loudly. I never really forgave her that. Your teacher, on the other hand, seems to encourage little kid exuberance (within reason) and immediately sets people at ease with her smile and lilting voice. She is wearing you out, though. Like your Da, you don't function very well when you're hungry and overtired. On Wednesday night at dinner, you were both. You started crying because you were so hungry but were too tired to eat. I accidentally got the giggles because it was just that absurd. And a little funny. It won't be long before you adjust, hopefully. My money is on a two and a half hour nap today to recover.
We went to your school's big back-to-school picnic last night. We were glad to get a sense of the energy and make-up of where you'll be spending your days. It was filled with excitement and energy and all-around happy faces, which makes us happy. Your school looks like the world: families from Central and South America, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and more. There are cool gardens/outdoor habitats on the school grounds; we saw the Middle Eastern garden on our way in last night. The playground is new and glorious. Gracie was never so happy as last night when you played with her in the sea of big kids.
Speaking of Gracie: she misses you, Maddie. When we see you off on the bus in the morning she cries as it pulls away, wailing "Maaaaaaaadie, Maaaaaaaaadie" until we get home (and sometimes throughout the day). Her world exists with you as its center thus far, so be gentle with her when she smothers you with love when you get home each day. We plan on having all sorts and kinds of fun with Bridget while you're off having all sorts and kinds of fun at school, but remember that we're missing you back at home. A lot.