Tuesday, September 04, 2012

First Day of School for Both Boys

We have had two big First Days of School here recently.

William started first grade with a flourish on Aug. 1. Which is absurdly and ridiculously early for a first day of school, but whatever. He requested a new turquoise shirt for the big occasion, and of course, I acquiesced. This picture was taken after he got off the bus at the end of the first (half) day.

Then Andrew had his big first day of school in the Jungle Room at Westminster on Aug. 31. He has William's former teacher from the same classroom, so we are all really excited about that! I snapped this photo when I picked him up after the first (half) day.

William's first day went incredibly smoothly, which was wonderful. William sometimes frets in advance about not liking something new, but he always does great when he actually gets there. This was no exception. He walked right into the classroom with a smile and was delighted to see some pals already there. His classroom was bright and sunny, and his teacher seemed relaxed and cheerful. What a nice way to start the first grade! No tears, no fretting, no hanging back, nothing to worry about.

Of course, he's been that way his entire life. Someone once commented to me about how well-adjusted he was. I laughed at that because I can't take any credit for it at all. Even when he was just 15 or 16 months old, his approach toward a new mother's day out class or a new Sunday School class was always to walk right in with a big smile, check things out and not look back. I've always joked that he just waves me off and says, "Bye Mom, see ya later!" But it's pretty much the truth. He does always give me a big hug and kiss, too, though.

Andrew, on the other hand, is not William. Which is fine! He doesn't usually rush right into new situations with a smile on his face. He tends to hang back and cling to Mommy for awhile, as he takes in the lay of the land. But I figured he'd do just fine this year in school because he knows his teacher--and it's his second year at the school, and he's used to the place. Also, he's been talking about the Jungle Room for weeks now, and I truly thought he was excited about it.

But then he had a major freak-out during his classroom visit last Wednesday, which took everyone by surprise. Screaming, crying, climbing up and clinging to me like a monkey climbing a tree. One of the staff even handed me a handout on minimizing separation anxiety. "We usually just give this to the parents of the one-year-olds," she told me. "But maybe it will help you, too." I felt a little abashed but what can you do?

So I was a little, er, nervous about Friday, which was Andrew's first day. It started inauspiciously when I walked into Andrew's room on Friday morning and he announced firmly, "Andrew NOT want go to school." But I, um, might have bribed him--relax, it was just apple slices from McDonalds'--and talked up the exciting things about school on the drive to the church.

To my shock and delight, Andrew determinedly walked right down the hall, hesitated for a split second at the door to the classroom and then headed right in. No crying, no tears, no fussing. Did I mention I was shocked? Even one of the teachers told me that they were prepared for him to cry. He willingly went with me into the bathroom to wash his hands and then found two puzzles. He also seemed very pleased to see his friend Lizzie arrive a few minutes later.

I kept my phone right beside me all morning, waiting to get a phone call from the school. But I never got a call. When I arrived to pick him up, Andrew was all smiles. What a relief!

So now my two boys are both back in school. Here's to a good year....