Maly starts Kindergarten tomorrow. Our little baby will be attending her first day of real, public school. Elise and I have known this for months, years even, and yet, I don’t think either one of us is really prepared. I think we’re both feigning its acceptance and together we’re strong, but apart, we could just as easily be the ones starting school for the very first time tomorrow.
Maly knows she starts school tomorrow, but it won’t affect her until 7:30 tomorrow morning when we’re having to pry her clutching fingers from one of our forearms as tears pour from her face.
I think tomorrow beholds the most painful event that Elise and I will have to endure as parents to date. I say this because I’m pretty sure this past Friday was an indication as to how this whole starting Kindergarten thing is going to play out. We had our “Meet the Teacher” event at the elementary school on Friday afternoon and it was ten times more brutal than Elise and I had anticipated. The first 30 minutes were spent with the principal addressing the incoming students and parents, and the last hour were to be spent touring the classroom and meeting our daughter’s Kindergarten teacher. Maly was holding up really well until yours truly took the 15 pencils that she had carefully sharpened and poured them onto the collective pile of shared pencils on the table in her classroom. And that’s when she lost it. She needed the excuse to release her fears and anxieties through tears, and I’d given her just that. Thankfully we had the opportunity to make formal introductions with her new teacher just as we arrived at the room, but once those pencils dropped, so did the tears.
She cried non-stop for a good 30 minutes. There was nothing we could do to console her. She told us that she was upset because she wanted to keep her pencils all to herself, but we think she was just overly nervous and scared. Elise couldn’t get our daughter to articulate her fears or anxiety, so we were that family with the bawling daughter. Our teacher did a great job of temporarily calming Maly down for a few minutes, but even still, she didn’t want to interact with this new stranger. Even the principal came in and took the time to kneel down and talk to Maly. It was valiant and very much appreciate, but, she too was a stranger, and Maly was still stressed and nervous. The tears started flowing again and our only recourse was to just leave. We had our opportunity to meet the teacher, principal, see the classroom and get all of the paperwork we needed for our new Kindergartener; so, albeit is was stressful as all get out, it was a fruitful and necessary Meet the Teacher event.
The stress of this past Friday afternoon took it’s toll and set the tone for the rest of the weekend for us. In fact, Elise and I almost divorced over a dispute about children’s chewable vitamins on Saturday morning. Ordinarily a conversation about children’s chewable vitamins in our house would go something like this:
“Hey, I bought some new chewable vitamins for the kid.”
“That’s cool. Hey, come here and check out this picture of penguin wearing a hat!”
We’re all a little on edge and a little out of sorts. We’re all nervous. Elise and I want to make sure our daughter’s feelings and fears are heard (or not heard) and validated, and we want to make sure that she knows that everything is going to be okay.
Elise has always been great in new places, new things and with new people. I’m not in that I prefer order and familiarity. Maly definitely takes after me in this regard. But we both know that once she gets used to her new environment and schedule, she’ll do just fine – it’ll just take her a little bit longer to adjust.
I’m excited for her. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll have fun at school. I’m also sad because our little baby is going to real school now. It still seems like only yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital.