Friday, August 22, 2014

The Second First Day of Kindergarten

 In honor of Aquaman's first day of his 2nd year of Kindergarten, I decided to try to take all the same pictures that I took last year, so I could compare them.

Here is last year's blog, for reference:

He has hardened from a 4 year old with innocent stars in his eyes to an almost 6 year old who is wise to the ways of school.
Despite his apparent lack of interest, this year he actually seems ready. He eagerly wrote his name on all of his school supplies, and it was actually pretty neat.
Several times over the summer, though I stopped the forced book reading because he was resisting it so much and I want him to actually like reading, he would actually request during story time to read the books to us. Several other times I caught him, behind a closed door as if it was some sort of transgression, reading a book to himself.

But he enjoyed the summer, where there was very little pressure. He struggles so much with perfectionism that doing any sort of work is a source of anxiety for him. What if he doesn't do it perfectly? He'd rather not try.
And then there are his social struggles. Last year was hard for him, and he enters this year even less socially confident than he was last year. He can hardly be blamed. He certainly isn't blessed genetically in this department. Both his father and I are introverts. When I was in Kindergarten, my teacher thought I should have my IQ tested, because I was so shy there MUST be something wrong.

Like me, he does best in very small and intimate groups of people, which makes the start of school, thrust into a room full of unknown children all the more daunting.
Yes, my husband is wearing a speedo. He just came from swim practice :)
But his biggest source of anxiety this year, was that he wouldn't do it right, somehow.
"All of the other kids will know what to do, and I won't." was the fear repeated over and over to me the restless night before he started.
There was no reasoning with him.

We prayed 3 times before he finally fell asleep. That he would have the wisdom to know what to do in each situation. That he would find one good friend. And mostly that he wouldn't be afraid, and would know that Jesus was with him all day, and that even if he did make mistakes, or didn't find a friend, he would have peace.

That night, before bed, I read "Let me hold you longer", and as always, I embarrassed myself by crying: "silly scattered images will represent your past. I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts"
We followed it up with "It's time for school, stinky face." Which was definitely the right move.

"You know what, stinky face? I think you'll do just fine."

In the morning, before we left, we read one of his favorite Bible stories. Jesus teaching us not worry. I improvised a little: "do you think you need to worry that you won't know just what to do at school, or that no one will like you?"
"No. You are more important than birds. You are more important than flowers. The birds and flowers don't sit and worry about things, and God doesn't want His children to worry either. God loves to look after the birds and the flowers. And He loves to look after you too."
It was the first real smile I saw all morning.

To continue the first day of school tradition, I took the Dude to the park to swing after dropoff.
He's changed a lot in a year too.
He started preschool this week. He had 2 accidents, which is weird since he hasn't had an accident since before Greystoke was born.
But he had a good time too.
And he enjoyed the quietness of the first day having to only share me with Greystoke for 6 hours.
We ate raw broccoli and ranch dip and chicken with ketchup (2 things Aquaman is not a fan of) for lunch while Greystoke napped.
And he told me uninterrupted stories about anything and everything. Without anyone shouting "that doesn't even make SENSE!"
As lunch ended, he indicated that Aquaman could take his time coming home...
This year, Greystoke joined us on the park swings. Greystoke with his sweet little sucked on fingers and go-with-the-flow attitude. Last year he was barely the size of a sesame seed. Now look at him.

And it turns out, the second first day of kindergarten went just as well as last year's.
Aquaman mostly knew just what to do. He was bothered by the fact that his class turns out to be a tk1/kindergarten class, so he is not the oldest in his class after all. Hopefully it means he will be more challenged, which was the intent, and not just in a class full of behavior problems. He opened his own squeeze fruit in the cafeteria. He followed his last year's teacher around the playground, and she didn't send him away. He didn't make any friends yet, saying that everyone already seems to know each other already (the parents seem to too. How DO they? I don't know a soul!) But he did say there seem to be a lot of potential friends, "once I find out who listens to the teacher" (he's a bit of a goody goody that way ;)). I suggested he befriend the poor little boy who looked like he cried all day. He said "you mean the boy with the red eyes? He wants his MOM, not a friend!" Maybe so.

His only complaint is how difficult it is to sit still all day. He has the amazing self control to behave despite it, but it exhausts him emotionally. So today we plan to swim immediately after pickup, and we walked to school, in hopes it would wear him out. He pushed his baby brother proudly and happily the whole way.

When we got to school, he walked in without a backward glance.

You know what, stinky face? I think you'll do just fine.

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