Friday, August 22, 2008

The first of First

We had a fun time at the baseball game on Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday were pretty challenging days around our house. I was ready for Smunch to go back to school on Wednesday. Really ready. But it wasn't everything I'd expected. I guess it wasn't everything I'd talked Smunch into expecting either.

Here he is, looking all handsome as we leave for school. I went early because I was supposed to be there to recruit volunteers for the undefined Spring Event. I took Smunch with me. Daddy and Mam joined us before the bell rang.Here we are. We're both doing pretty well, although Smunch is starting to look a little concerned. There are an awful lot of kids out here and it's pretty overwhelming for a little guy who's never been to anything crazier than kindergarten.When the bell rang, his new teacher came out. She walked down the line, introducing herself to each of the kids. I was totally impressed that she already knew each of their names. Despite her reputation for being somewhat strict and structured (two things I thought would be good for Smunch), she seemed very nice and I felt hopeful for a good first day. She invited the parents to come in with the kids, take a few photos and then hustle out.Uh oh. I wonder why he's looking bored already. I certainly hope this isnt a sign of things to come. But it's not. Shortly after this, his face started screwing up like he might cry. By that time, I was getting a little teary myself and couldn't get out of the classroom fast enough. I really didn't want him to see me having trouble holding it together.

When I picked him up that afternoon. The most he would say was that his day was "O.K." I knew it meant he wasn't that comfortable, that he hadn't had that much fun, that it was all a little overwhelming. To top it off, he and his friend Jeremy had collided on the playground. He had a red welt in his eyebrow when I picked him up. Two hours later, it was a full on shiner.

But none of that prepared me for Thursday morning. He was in a bad mood that morning and he looked angry while sitting at the kitchen table. I asked him what was wrong. Daddy asked why he was acting that way. He didn't speak. He stood up and left. A few minutes later, I followed him and found him in his room, crying and gasping for air. I don't know if he was technically hyperventilating or not, but he couldn't stop.

I gave him a hug. I told him I understood that first grade could be scary. He said he didn't want to go to school. He was scared. He didn't like his teacher. Lunch recess was too long. He cried and cried. I had a hard time calming him down. Is this what a 6-year-old anxiety attack looks like? Daddy came back to the room too. We finally got him back to the kitchen for breakfast. He didn't eat much. He cried more. Daddy got him talking about baseball. But any lull in the conversation reintroduced sobbing.

It was late when we got him out the door. The bell rang when we were halfway there. The second bell rang as we got to the front of the school. His class hadn't gone in yet. He bravely joined the back of the line. I gave him a hug. He lost it. He was crying again. I told his teacher that he'd had a rough morning, she offered to hold his hand going into the classroom. He wanted Daddy. Off he went. Heartbreaking.

I didn't know until I picked him up, but I think I held my breath the entire time he was at school. When I arrived at 2:20, I finally exhaled when I saw him and he smiled. I tentatively asked how his day went. "Good," he said. "Great, actually!" Thank goodness. Today's drop-off was eventless. I think we're on our way.


mommieN. said...

OK, first grade is emotional enough without reading this! Thank goodness for that last paragraph, because the splashing on my keyboard was getting to be too much.

dote said...

Wow... so first grade doesn't get any easier huh? K8 still will cry on days she moody or tired when we drop her off at Pre-K. Those days are rough. We always try to gauge the situation and bolt like, well like Bolt! Some days she's just "Bye Mommy, Bye Daddy" and off to play with her friends while on other days she'll anaconda-hug me to prevent me from leaving =( We keep hoping it'll get better but its hit or miss. At least she enjoys it there and loves her teachers!

Christie said...

Good job not staying around. Kids will usually stop crying once the parents have left. I think it is harder on the parents than the kids. I hope Gavin's days become easier.

tiffany said...

Oh goodness! You had me in tears halfway through! I can totally see this being me and L in 3 years! - Tiffany

Jane said...

Aw, poor guy! I saw the at school part but didn't know all that preceded it. I'm so glad he was happy by the end of the day!