This morning I took the kids in for their first day of school. THAT was a whirlwind. All the information on schedules, classrooms, teachers, pick-up, etc . . . I'm feeling a bit lost. Going from a close-knit school of 200 housed in a charming old red schoolhouse in the country . . . . to a "city" school of 950 where Conner has 5 teachers and there are over 70 rooms.
Anna has been really nervous the last 2 days. Missing her friends. Worried that she isn't going to know the routines and will make a mistake. When it was almost time to go this morning she started feeling sick to her stomach and said she didn't want to go. I cuddled her for a bit and distracted her with the camera on my iphone. On our tour of the school, hers was the first classroom we went to. As soon as we walked in her face lit up. She met her teacher with a smile. And I was able to say good-bye feeling like she was feeling good. Later, on my way out of the school one of the ladies in the office asked if I was the one with the new girl in kindergarten. "Oh she is just so sweet!" Knowing Anna, I am sure she has warmed up to everyone just fine and is telling her silly jokes and stories already!
Leading up to today Payton has shown no sign of nerves or apprehension. He's been very easy going about it all. And the same was true today. We saw his classroom, found his desk (which already had his name on it), and then went outside to the huge play yard to find where his class lines up in the morning. He was all smiles when the staff member introduced him to the girls who were already in line. The girls smiled back. I said good-bye and looked back a few times, he was still smiling. The last couple days he has been commenting with a laugh, "I bet when I walk into the class everyone is going to turn and look at me!" As in, how cool will that be?! He is such a funny, happy boy.
I think Conner also had some nerves going into today. We've been trying to coach him on how to make a good first impression. His plan was to tell everyone about Bionic Booger Boy, and demonstrate one of his bendy joint tricks (like, his foot behind his head) to the whole class on the first day. We suggested rather, that he just try to be nice and friendly today, and share all those special parts of his personality in small doses over time. :) Don't overwhelm them in the beginning.
By far, he will have the most adjusting to do. As he has spent the most time in a school, routine, and teaching method that he is used to. And now he will be faced with subjects that weren't as prominent in his previous curriculum. He has 5 teachers: math, reading, writing, social studies, science and then they rotate through specials (music, p.e., etc.). This morning I dropped him off in Humanities class. Humanities! The sweet old lady who teaches the class shook my hand and in her gentle voice said, "In here we try to learn how we can all be more human."
There was a natural divide in the classroom with girls on one side and boys on the other. (Which I'm sure is odd to Conner because the boys and girls in his old class mixed and conversed and played together pretty easily -- they were all great friends). The only available seat was in the "girls sections". He was whisked to his seat in the middle of the classroom before I could give one last pep talk or a hug good-bye. I stood in the doorway and he looked back at me -- I could see the nerves and the "lost" look in his eyes. I didn't want to make a scene in front of his new classmates or disrupt class which was already underway. So I walked up to him, put my hand on his shoulder, and whispered, "do you have any more questions?". His answer was no. "I love you, have a great day."
Next comes the part where I walk back to my car with tears in my eyes, praying hard that they can make it through the day. That they will just breathe and listen as all this new information is coming at them - we will learn the routines in time. Hoping they will find a friendly face.
Ohhh, this is hard. Scott and I have never changed schools before so we don't have any tips from personal experience to share with them.
What we do have, is the priesthood in our home. Last night Scott gave all the kids a father's blessing. Each message of counsel and advice was perfect for each child. I'm so glad that we were able to do this. To let the kids know that we love them. And especially to let them know that their Heavenly Father is mindful of them, their worries and concerns, and He is there to strengthen them, love them, and help them through this transition. If this is all we can give them, then I think we're doing okay.
The Oreo Cakesters in their lunch might help a little too.
I know it will be a great school. I know this will be a good experience. I know the kids will get up to speed with their classes and just blossom. I know they will find friends. There is just going to be an adjustment period. And we'll ride that wave together.