Sunday, September 11, 2011

Danica at Kindergarten, Day 1

Started to write this Thursday night, but clearly I didn't finish...

Day 1 of Danica's kindergarten year went well. Kindra and I were a little apprehensive about how smoothly the day might go given the fact that over the past couple of days (and occasionally over the past couple of weeks) Danica had expressed some ambivalance toward going to school. Fortunately, she's gotten better about dealing with new situations, so long as we prepare her and tell her what to expect. Of course, that process is about three weeks long, but whatever...

I was going to be the one taking Danica to school because of two things: 1) Kindra had just started school the day before and 2) Danica always seems much more clingy when Kindra has to drop her off anywhere. Used to happen at preschool when Kindra would drop her off and had happened just the week before when Danica was getting dropped off at her new before- and after-school care - lots of clinging and crying and fit-throwing. Probably not the best on the first day. For some reason, these things rarely happen when I have to leave her somewhere...

Anyway, Wednesday night, to get her to go to sleep without panicking, I promised her we'd go get a smoothie in the morning and go to Yogurtland after school if she was really good during the day (no, I am not above bribery to foster courage in these situations). Fortunately, this idea worked - The Girl does have a steel trap for a mind and never forgets anything. So after getting squared away in the morning, we trucked over to Jamba Juice to grab a smoothie, then had to get home so Danica could change into her 1st-day-of-school outfit. Was pretty easy getting that done, since she helped pick out the outfit. The only difficulty was getting Colin to cooperate and get moving.

We arrived at school about 10 minutes before her class started so we could park across the street and walk in (the school closes the parking lot because it's so small). Danica asked to be carried, which I steadfastly denied. I wasn't going to embarrass her by carrying her to school on her very first day (there will be plenty of time later to embarrass her). Went around back to her classroom to wait with a group of paparazzi parents who must've all known each other - there were a group of six or seven kids lined up next to each other against the wall, with the parents snapping away like a firing squad.

Danica stood silently and stared at the full playground as I explained what was happening. Seems on the first day of school, grades 1-6 are on a minimum-day schedule, so everybody was out at recess as the late kindergarten was getting ready to start. Danica told me she recognized some girls from her daycare, and she saw her friend Madison from preschool, which helped. She also recognized the teacher that did her kinder assessment the week before, whom she connected with.

When it was time for the kids to go in, Danica gave Colin two big hugs, picking him up off the ground each time (she kinda fell over with him the second time, dropping him - gently - on his back. Um, no I wasn't snapping a photo while this occured...). She readily took her backpack from me and carried it inside with the other kids to be put on a hook in the hallway. Yeah, I joined the pack of papparazzi snapping photos & video in the narrow hallway as the kids filed into the classroom. I think Danica was cool with things because not only was it the teacher she had her assessment with, but also the same classroom.

Aaaaaaand this is where things got tricky. See, she was assigned neither the teacher nor the classroom. She'd sat down on the colored rug right in the purple square she told the teacher she would sit in during her assessment, but she came out willingly... until I opened the door across the hall and said that this was her classroom.

She stood against the wall outside the other classroom & shook her head, but after a little bit of prodding, she came in with me. Her teacher was reading a book about the first day of kindergarten that we have at home, giving Danica another link to something familiar. We sat in the back until the teacher was done reading, at which point the parents were given their waves good-bye.

I walked Danica up to the front, and introduced her to the teacher, who was dealing with a little boy that was bawling (side note: so happy my kid wasn't the one bawling). We kissed good-bye & Colin gave her a hug and that was that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Of Course She's Happy

A little post-ballet treat at Yogurtland.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Too Early for Empty-Nest Syndrome?

Dropped Danica off at kindergarten with a mimimum of fuss this morning, and now it seems strange that this is the first time in 5 years that a majority of my days will be spent without Danica around. Even though she starts school later in the morning, I think I will still be taking her to school on Tuesdsays and Thursdays around 9:00 am to drop her off with the before- and after-school care people so she can stay in a rhythm, leaving Colin and I on our own for the first time in his life. I'm not really sure what to make of it yet, other than watching one kid at a time is waaaaaaay easier than two.

It is a great opportunity for me and Bud to spend some better time together - we got a chance to hit the grocery store by ourselves right after we dropped Danica off, which was quick and painless, since I wasn't in the business of herding the both of them. Bud sat in the shopping cart playing with his V-Reader, while I cruised the aisles without too much worry. Reminded me of the days before we had Colin - though I recall that Danica was a bit fussy even back then.

Not having Smoosh around has been fairly weird during some parts of the day so far, but at least she seemed as comfortable as could be expected staying at kindergarten the first day. We'll see how it goes when we go to pick her up after Colin's nap and she's also had to transition to after-school care.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

One more hour is what I've got before my first toddler becomes an elementary-school student. Five years ago, we were trying to figure out how to keep our little girl on a sleep/eat/poop schedule, and now we're trying to figure out how to drop her off and pick her up at kindergarten.

The Girl isn't too psyched about it - she freaked out a bit last night about the whole thing. We've been talking to her about it for quite some time, but she asked as she was going to bed last night when she was going to kindergarten:


"Not tomorrow, the next day."

(Pauses, starts the crying face) "Nooooooooooo! I don't want to."

* * *

At least we have some time in the morning, since she doesn't start until 10:20 am. I am disappointed in half-day kindergarten, especially since we have to have the later class. It's good that we have some extra time for me to get her into going, but it may backfire to where she'll just want to stay home more.

The other problem with the later class is she gets out at 1:40 pm, too early for me to get her on Tuesdays & Thursdays when I'm home with Colin, so we'll be paying for 5 days of before- & after-school care. With the early kinder, I could've picked her up at 11:20 am when she got out of school. We're still deciding whether or not to take her early on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

* * *

To be honest, I'm still not sure exactly how to drop her off at school, since things have changed since I was in kindergarten. Both kids were over at Jessie's this morning while I was at work, but when I went to get them at noon, we walked with Jessie to go get Ela & Layla at their school, so it gave me and Danica an opportunity to see the chaos that is pick-up time. Bonus is that Danica's friends Sophia & Allison also go to the school.

When we arrived about 5 minutes before school let out (minimum day first day?), the crowd was standing outside the fence, huddled around the opening like they were waiting for the Beatles. Anyway, what surprised me is that Jessie told me you don't take the kids to their classrooms anymore, but instead line them up by class outside on the blacktop in the morning. Same goes for pick-up, which is a far cry from the days when you used to hang out on the curb waiting for your Mom to pull up in the car.

Regardless, at least I got an idea of what the process was like and Danica got to see her friend Allison excited after school, thought I doubt Danica even noticed. Guess we'll find out in a few hours how it goes...