Thursday, August 20, 2009

David's First Day of Kindergarten

Well it's official - I have a child in elementary school. I have very mixed feelings about this - I know he will love school, but how is it possible that my baby is old enough for Kindergarten??

Our school does a phase in process for Kindergarten. We went on Monday to find out who his teacher is, see the school, etc. His teacher seems very nice. She explained the rules of the classroom, talked about her expectations of the students and us, described how their day will go, explained her method of communication with parents, talked about us eating lunch at school with him, then told us she's on maternity leave and won't be back in the classroom until after fall break in October. Um, what? There was no substitute in place, she couldn't tell me and didn't know if there would be a long-term sub or just whomever they could get each morning, and he started school the next day. Needless to say, this was not exactly the way we envisioned his first day of his scholastic career starting, but we didn't really have a lot of choice. She told us that we would be able to walk our children to class for the first week, but after that they would go to the gym in the morning and proceed from there with their class. So naturally, we prepare David for his first day by telling him that we are going to walk him to class and say good-bye there. Notsomuch.

Tuesday, his first half day of school, started out really well. He woke up and could pick whatever he wanted for breakfast. (He chose scrambled eggs, strawberries, and cinnamon toast, by the way.)
We got ready for school with no issues, and he happily posed for photos.
He readily got into the car, chatted all the way to school about how he is a big boy, and he's going to big boy school. He helped me pick a parking spot, and walked into the building after telling me, "I don't need to hold your hand Mama. Remember? I'm a big boy now. That doesn't mean I don't love you though." I almost started crying. He still looked like this photo - very excited, and ready for a great day at school. Then we got inside and found out that his teacher who is on maternity leave was misinformed, and I couldn't walk him to his classroom. I'm a big fan of him starting the routine he'll have for the year on the first day. However, not a big fan of that when I've prepared him for the first day of school by telling him that I can walk him to his classroom, and I'll say good-bye to him there. We went into the gym, where each Kindergarten class has a photo of their teacher for the kids to find, and they line up by their teacher's photo. Oh, except for David's class, because there is no teacher. So his class had a sign with his teacher's name written on it. You know? The teacher who won't be back until October? And a sign with her name on it? THEY CAN'T READ! I'm sure my face was bright read at this point, because I was pissed off but was not going to let David see that. It was right about at this point that he started to unravel. Big. Time. I'll spare you the dirty details, but he had to be physically peeled off of my body while screaming, "MAMA! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE!" Honest to God, had homeschooling been an option for us I would have marched to the office with him and withdrawn him from school at that exact moment.

I left him there, feeling like I was just throwing my child to a bunch of people he didn't know and completely abandoning him. I got to the car and immediately called Chris, crying hysterically. I don't cry, and I think he panicked! I called the vice-principal later that afternoon, because I was still really angry about the whole situation. I found out that he had, in fact, spent a good portion of the morning with David, talking to him outside of the classroom until he calmed down, walking to the library with him to see if they had any Thomas books, showing David his office and told him that if he ever gets scared or wants to talk to him he can come anytime, and showed David a huge Skittle jar he keeps in his office. He told David that he would check on David at the end of the day and if he had a good day the VP would give David's class Skittles. David was very excited about that. The VP also told me that a teacher had been hired and would start on Wednesday (yesterday) and will be the sub they have until the end of his teacher's maternity leave. I felt much better about the situation after speaking to him. I wrote him a little note just to let him know how much I appreciated his help and reassurance, and we're bringing him some Skittles this morning.

So this morning is day two of David's phase-in process. I've been up since 3:30 worrying about how the drop-off will go. I also start my new job this morning, so I'm sure that contributes to some of the sleeping issue. I am so hopeful that it gets better each morning I bring him, because I cannot handle many more mornings like that one!


Melanie said...

Oh Kim, I'm so sorry that it went like that for both you and David. I'm already stressing about next year with Jenna, although I think I'll be the one with the issues, not her. It sounds like the vice-principal and David are really pals now! Way to go David on the first day...go right to the top! I hope today goes well for you both...your in my thought! Miss you.

Nicole said...

Kim, I am so sorry you had such a bad experience. The first day of school isn't easy when things go the way they are suppose to, never mind with all that chaos. I hope David adjusts quickly.

Candice said...

When Mason started Kindergarten I thought it was so messed up that I was giving my baby to a bunch of people I don't know for the entire day. What???!!! It seemed so wrong. But now when I drop them off at school, I barely slow the car down for them to hop out and run in! :) It gets better I promise. It's great that the VP was so understanding and caring. I'm sure he'll have a fabulous year!