Monday, August 18, 2014

First day of school

Today was the girls' first day of school -- 2nd grade for Delaney and kindergarten for Annie.  They go to a public charter school that is only in its second year of operation and doesn't have one building yet to house all the grades.  They will be building a new one this year, but for now they still use two buildings that are several blocks away from each other.  One is for kindergarten and 1st grade, and the other is for all the rest.  So last night and this morning I was studying Google Maps making sure my route was all planned out and I was ready for two carpool lines in the morning and in the afternoon.  I did not want to be the one driving the wrong way down a street and messing everyone else up.  It was a big day for all of us.

I woke up extra early so I could have time to make muffins and drink coffee in peace and collect myself.  A half hour later the day began with a bang for the kids when Timmy fell out of his bed and started crying.  Everybody was up and it was just as well since I was about to have to go wake them all up anyway.

Once we were all ready to go I had them go out front and pose for pictures.  No signs this time.:(  I just didn't get around to it this time but I think that's OK.
Drop off went pretty smoothly.  I went to Delaney's building first because I would be walking Annie in today. Delaney hopped out smiling after giving me my requested hug.  Then we drove a few blocks over and parked to take Annie in.  Annie was very quiet by now.  She didn't say a word, but for days I've suspected that she's having a lot of anxiety about starting school.  She's been picking her myriad mosquito bite scabs until they bleed, and picking on her siblings even more mercilessly.  I've tried to talk to her about it a few times but to no avail.  She does not want to talk about her feelings with me.  As the three of us walked toward the entrance of her school, with camera at the ready I said, "Annie."  She turned around and I snapped this picture.
I really felt for her in this moment when I saw the wariness of her expression and her body language that I know so well.  The way her hand is right there .. she holds her hands like that when she's determined not to appear afraid.  My brave little Annie.

Annie wanted nothing to do with posing for pictures by now, but I just couldn't resist taking a couple more once we got inside the building.  She found her classroom because she recognized the wall outside with the tree and all the names.  We had just been there a few nights before for open house.
Once we got inside I reminded her to hang up her backpack and put her lunch in her cubby, just like the note the teacher had given me during open house had told me.  Then after saying hi to her teacher I asked if I could take a picture of the two of them.  It didn't turn out so well.
After that I gave her a hug which she received as still as a statue, told her to have a great day, and left.  I know she'll be just fine after she's had some time to warm up to everybody.  It was the same day last year with Pre-K.  That was three mornings a week and I think it took a couple months before the teachers started telling me she was coming out of her shell and playing with the other kids.  Maybe it will happen quicker now that she's there seven hours a day Monday through Friday?  I hope so.  Oh Annie, what will we do with you, child..?

Back at home that morning I have to say I really savored the peace and quiet that reigned over the next several hours.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing something wrong when I see them behave the way they do.  I read a lot of blogs and they all paint a much rosier picture of home life and sibling relationships than what is my reality.  I know I could just post those pretty pictures from this morning and hide the reality, buuut I try to keep myself honest because I want to be able to look back one day and remember how it really was, the good and the bad.  There is just a lot of fighting around here.  It ranges from minor squabbles over stuff to all-out hair-pulling and biting (that's what they accuse each other of, although I have yet to find tooth marks on anyone or catch anyone in the act).  It's mostly Annie and Timmy, but sometimes involves Delaney, and usually Annie starts it.  Lately it has reached a fever pitch.  I've been putting people in "opposite ends of the house" and timeout quite a bit.  I've been praying for wisdom to know what to do.  When they get along things are wonderful, they're the best of friends and life is good.  But when they fight it's miserable.  Even still Timmy missed them both a lot today.  He told me several times, "I want Duwaney and Annie to come home now."  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I told him we'd go get them after his nap.

Pick up went smoothly enough but it was a lot more time-consuming than drop-off.  I still have yet to figure out exactly the right time to leave the house and the perfect route to take.  I left the house at 2:30, got in line at a little after 3 after taking one wrong turn, and she got in the car at 3:25.  I watched her for a long time before she saw I was there.  She looked hot and tired.  She didn't even notice when I was in front of her, and the teachers saw my car tag and called for her.  When she got in the car she seemed to be in a daze and I thought this day must have been like "shock and awe" for her.  By 3:30 we were in line at Delaney's building, and Delaney got in the car at 3:40.  Other than being hot and tired she seemed happy enough.  Timmy got pretty bored sitting in the car all that time, and I was grateful that all this waiting around in the car takes place AFTER I've had my nap and my afternoon cup of tea. 

So that was day 1 of many to come.  I have high hopes for this school year.  I've heard so many good things about this school from the people who sent their kids last year, and I think it's a great opportunity for our kids.  I look forward to telling you more about it.:)


  1. Wow, they start school so early. Lilah starts kindergarden this year, but not until September 10th. Which is late even for up around here, but I'm so glad they don't have to go back in August at least. This year I'll have one in K and one in Pre-K…both half day, but I'm interested to see how drop offs/picks ups go and how time consuming the whole thing is.

  2. I loved this. First - what a difference in your reflection than what mine is going to be (first time kindergarten mom!). I love how you say you got home and enjoyed the silence... I will probably get home and sob for hours, haha! Hopefully in a few years when my second is off to kindergarten, I will too realize it's not the end of the world and can get on with my day!! I might have gone so far this year as to have taken off the whole day so I could see Allie when she gets home from school too.

    Also - I have always loved reading your blog because we are having three kids and it's fun to see their interactions as they get older. Allie/Jake get along really well right now but I think it's because Jake isn't old enough to have much of a say, so Allie can boss him around. He's just starting to assert his opinions and that's definitely when the fights break out. I assume in a couple years, add another kid to the mix, all kids are older, and we'll be fighting non-stop here too! I am guilty of painting a "perfect" picture on my blog, mostly because at the end of the day I forget about the squabbles and just want to remember the good parts... but that's not really fair either and you're right, it will be nice to look back on the good AND the bad. Anyways, enough rambling... love the first day photos, I'm super curious what expressions we'll catch on Allie's face as she claims to be really, really excited, but I think she might be just a touch scared and I wonder if that will surface on the actual day.

  3. Jodi - Now that I think about it I'm pretty sure there was not nearly so much fighting among the kids two or three years ago. I think my biggest complaints when Timmy was a baby were lack of sleep, being unable to finish a meal, and the girls being difficult to put to bed sometimes. The year they were 5, 3 and 1 is when the fighting started. Once Timmy started walking and wanting to play with their toys and not being able to control his toddler temper, that's when it started to get bad. But when the girls were 3 and 1 I don't remember them fighting much. I guess the more personalities in the mix, the more clashes are bound to happen. I know they all love one another so much and in the end they really are the best of friends.

    I can't wait to read you guys' first day of school posts and look at all the pictures of cute kids!

  4. My kids have fought all summer but I do think going to school will make them miss each other and enjoy each other's company in the afternoon.