Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First week of school

Well, the day finally arrived. We (Bub and I) dreaded it. While at the same time, we (all of us) looked forward to it. Bub and I assumed that the boys would be in the same class and in the morning. Turns out that they are in the afternoon and in different classes. This is no big deal – it’s just different than what we thought it would be.

First, we went to meet the teachers a few days before the first day. Meatball hugged his teacher as soon as he met her. Peanut told his teacher about Thomas the Tank Engine as soon as he met her. We got to check out the playground, the class rooms, and their desks. We also met Judy B. who, incidentally, also likes trains. That must be how we met her – just go to the playground and shout “who here likes trains” and then glom on to that person until the end of time. Moms learned a lot, and we like both of the teachers.

On the official first day, I took the day off so that I could be there when they went to school and when they were done. We took the obligatory first-day-of-school pictures. We waited for Papa to arrive so that he could take his pictures, too. Then, we delivered them to their rooms, and we walked away.

Ok – fine. We cried as we walked away. It was horrible. I can’t believe how grown up they are. I can’t believe how calm they were. I can’t believe that they didn’t cry like we did. Instead, they were excited. Little brats! How dare they be excited?!?!? We stopped at the store on our way home, so I had to pull myself together a bit. Then, we went home and watched a movie. A PG-13 movie! With guns! And cursing! It’s so infrequent that we watch PG, PG-13, or (gasp) R rated, we felt like we were being naughty!

We didn’t, of course, watch the WHOLE show. We couldn’t wait, so we went back to the school and stood around looking like dopes for the next 45 minutes. Not to fear. There were lots of other parents doing the exact same thing.

Imagine our dismay when Peanut came out crying! Oooohhhhh, so sad!

It turns out that the day was great, but the end of the day was more traumatic. First, there was something to do with a “magic paper.” Only one kid in the class could get it, and it wasn’t Peanut. So, that upset him. Then, he wanted to play with the foam blocks in Meatball’s classroom, but there wasn’t time. Oh, the grief! To a 5-year old, this is horrible. Finally, on the way home, we were talking about what they did and how it went and etc. etc. etc. I asked if they had a treat. Yes. They did. Peanut told us how his class got some rainbow colored fish crackers and gummy bears. Then, Meatball told us that his class got rainbow colored fish crackers and mini-marshmallows. OH, FOR THE TEARS!!! “Marshmallows? But, I WANTED MAAAARRRSSSSHHHHMMAAAALLLLLOOOOWWWWSSSSS!!!!”

The second day wasn’t much better.

Some naughty boy sitting next to Meatball just wouldn’t follow instructions. Well, Meatball is pretty structured, and when the teacher says to do things this way or that way, that’s what he does. (No, this doesn’t hold true at home, sadly.) So, when the naughty boy wouldn’t listen to the teacher, Meatball tried to tell him that he should put his head down and wait quietly. The boy disagreed which made Meatball more frustrated. So, basically, the two of them went back and forth a couple of times before the teacher intervened. Long story short: Meatball was moved from the front of the class (they were in alphabetical order) to the middle of the class. He took it HARD. The teacher’s reasoning is valid, and we talked about it later that night. The boy has some learning and behavioral challenges, and he needs to be at the front of the class. Plus, since the kids line up for everything that they do (go to recess, return from recess, go to lunch, wait for carpool, etc. etc. etc), it didn’t make a lot of sense to have the two boys next to each other all of the time. It was just an invitation for trouble.

However, that’s not how Meatball saw the situation. Even after the teacher spoke with him a couple of times about how it wasn’t his fault, he still saw it as a punishment. Worse, he equated being on the front row to being smart. Moving back two rows is the same as being stupid. UG! There was sobbing, and crying, and wailing. He was genuinely upset. He stood by the wall and cried during recess. Then, Bub showed up to volunteer in class. Not knowing what was going on, she chose this class to help in. As soon as he saw her, he lost it again. She spent time calming him down, and then the teacher recommended that she volunteer in the other class. He cried when she left. He sobbed again when it was time to go home and he saw her through the window. It was awful.

Both of us and the teacher have reassured him that it wasn’t his fault and that he is smart, but he was very upset for the rest of the night and most of the next day. THEN, he went swimming. Five stitches have a way of clearing your mind of other distractions.

The last two days of the week were uneventful. Thank goodness.

In the end, I didn’t really think this whole “having kids” thing through very well. I thought it was going to be fun to cuddle with them, and play games, and teach them how to walk and talk and ride a horse and bake cookies and hike and spin and dance and watch movies. I was right. All of that stuff is great. I also was looking forward to being proud of them as they learned to ride a bike, when they kicked that first goal, when they learned to read, when they graduate, when they learn to drive, when they choose the best behavior for the situation. What I did NOT think through thoroughly was the sadness I would feel when they sat happily in their desks while I cried in the hallway. I did NOT think about how they will someday be riding their bikes around the neighborhood without a need for me to be walking alongside them or even keeping an eye on them from the driveway. I did NOT think about what kind of mess I will be when they stand at the altar blissfully smiling at the person that they love. I did NOT consider how hard it will be to watch them drive away for college someday.

Ug! Why do we have to love them so much?

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