On August 1, 2013, I sent my first baby off to the big world of Elementary School. How hard it was going to be didn't really hit me until he had his PreK graduation back in May. They sang the "Off We Go to Kindergarten" song, and it made me realize just what was happening. Sending him off to Preschool wasn't difficult at all. I guess there's something about the small classes and it being in a church that makes it not seem too much like school. Plus, I've always considered myself a pretty even keeled mom about stuff like that.
So the summer started to come to an end. We were getting all of our last summer fun activities marked off the list, and all of a sudden, Carson looses the tooth that had been loose for about 3 weeks. I swore we still had at least another week left on him loosing that tooth. In that minute that he lost that tooth, I saw a big kid.
It hit me hard that I now have a grade schooler. All in the span of a few days, he lost his tooth, and would be starting Kindergarten in a "real" school. How did all that happen so fast? I know it's so incredibly cliche to say, but, where in the world did the time go? To pump me (and him) up for going off to school, I did a little photo session with him in his uniform. I absolutely love these, and they show off his personality so well.
Carson's feelings toward going to school would change depending on his mood. Some days, he was excited to go, others, he was less than thrilled. In fact, the evening of the Open House, he didn't even want to go. He was actually pretty resistant to leaving the house at the time. Once we left, though, he told me he was very excited to go to school the next day. He loved the way his room was decorated up all in a jungle theme. Especially the reading nook with fake palm trees and twinkle lights.
The next morning came all too quickly. Up and at 'em at 6am is a shock to the system when you're used to taking it easy and having a cup of coffee to get you going every morning! But I knew I needed to have enough time to coax some breakfast into him, and get some pictures, not to mention finding a place to park the car and walk him into his classroom. He didn't want to eat any breakfast. I'm pretty sure he was nervous and didn't have much of an appetite. I managed to snap some pictures of him before heading out the door for his first day!
Here he is, walking up to the big building with his daddy!
How can he look so small yet so big at the same time?
They asked us to keep it very brief when we walked him in. I only got one snap of him at his desk before we left the room.
And that was that.
I thought that went pretty well. He didn't cry. I didn't cry. Yet.
Then, BAM! It hit me. I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. I saw one of the other preschool moms passing by me in the hallway, and it brought out a flood of emotions. How much of it is the pregnancy? I probably will never know. But I couldn't believe how hard it was on me to leave my little baby in this big building with all these kids and adults that none of us have ever met.
The day for me went much better. Jackson and I got home, and I was fine the rest of the time. I kept wondering how Carson was, and if he was having a good time. There really wasn't much doubt in my mind that he was having a blast, because he's pretty adaptable in general. So when I picked him up after school, I was kind of shocked when he told me that he cried during recess. My heart sunk. My poor helpless little baby was crying, and I wasn't there to comfort him or help him.
He said that when we left, he had to use the restroom, but didn't ask. He didn't get to use it until recess, which, from my understanding, was after lunch. He waited that long to use it. Oh, I felt so terrible. Immediately, I started feeling guilty. Why didn't I ask him if he needed to use it before I left the classroom? Why didn't I tell him that it's ok to ask to use it? Why didn't I anticipate this problem, and instruct him better before I sent him off to school? I know it's not my "fault", but a first time Kindergarten mom can't help but feel guilt over it.
That was the only issue through his day, though, and from what I understand, he had a great day. It didn't hit me until the next morning, that I'm pretty sure it was just a nervous stomach that he had, and the feeling was coming and going. I say this, because he went to the bathroom before leaving the house, and as we were leaving said he wanted to try again. He didn't actually have to go, so I'm assuming it was his nerves acting up. I walked him in one last time, as they didn't want more than 2 days of walking them in, and had him use the restroom before I left. Seeing the bathroom in the classroom helped calm him down, and he was fine with me leaving.
He started on a Thursday, so after day 2, he had a couple of days off for the weekend. Day 3 of school was the day that we both got a feel for how the rest of the school year would go. I waited in the drop off line in the car, and Carson was dropped off at the door. They made him walk into a different door than what I had taken him in through every time we had been to the school, so let's just say that I was wondering how that went all day long until I picked him up. He told me he had a great day and a lot of fun, but also mentioned that he got lost after I dropped him off, and he couldn't find his classroom. Again, my heart sunk. I'm glad I was wearing sunglasses, because there were a few tears that I couldn't hold back. Again with the guilt. Oh that terrible guilt that I shouldn't be feeling. Why didn't I know he was going to go through the other door and have to walk all the way down the hallway in the opposite direction than what he was used to? Why didn't I give him better advice on finding his classroom, like what to look for on the door? Live and learn, I suppose. I gave him a few pointers for the next day, and he found his room just fine.
Other than the first day, there were no tears while at school. There was one little incident with him getting in trouble in the pick up line for something that he says another boy did, but overall, his school experience has been positive since he got the hang of going. And I am no longer having that sinking feeling when I drop him off. It's been 3 weeks now, and things are going very smoothly. He's no longer leaving his lunchbox at school ;), and he comes in the car every afternoon saying how much of a good time he had that day. I'm looking forward to meeting some of the other parents, and to him making some new friends in his class. He does talk about some of them, but not in a way that they are his friend yet. He is still asking for playdates every day after school with his preschool friends, and has not mentioned inviting anyone from his class yet to his birthday party. Hopefully that will happen in the next couple of weeks.
So overall, things have gone well. It's been a HUGE learning experience for both of us, but probably more-so with me than him. I just keep thinking about how much smoother things will go when Jackson goes to school. I will already know what doors to use, and what advice to give him. I will also start giving him a little more responsibility and independence a when he is in his PreK4 class. So many things were done for Carson, that I didn't realize would cause an issue with him going into Kindergarten.
The poor first child. Always having to be the guinea pig.