First day at school – second time around.
So it seems I may have taken this “random dates for important milestones” notion to heart here…first it was Morgan-Lee’s birthday celebrated only two months after the fact. Now it’s Parker-Grace’s first day of school, in the middle of freaking August – at almost the end of the school year. I know, right? What even the fonk sei yook?! But you know, the way life has been these past few months for us, the kinds of punches we’ve had to roll with, the whole living by the seat of our pants vibes, well, just all of it makes me feel like we really shouldn’t be surprised anymore by the suprise curveballs that life is choosing to pitch our way.
Anyhoo, the point being, our baby just had her first day of school. Let me repeat that: our BABY… has just had… her first day at SCHOOL. *pause for dramatic effect as I let that sink in*… Like, the Time Bus just rammed itself into, and over me, then reversed for good measure. My smallest baby, guys…is at school. What’s worse is that I didn’t even have a chance to truly prepare for it. No emotional psyching up, no happy-clappy build-up that I would have done in our home. No silly but fun count down I would have done for her – all to help her (and me) prepare for the day.
It was simply: One day she was still with her nanny, the next day I took a chance and called the school to see if there was space, and the very next day she was at school. Just like that. Batta-boom-batta-bing!
I wish I could hand you a dose of logic that actually belongs with this story, to help wash it down easier, but the truth is, there’s not much to offer. We’ve lived the nanny life ever since Morgy was 6 months old and it’s all we’ve ever known.To be realistic, though, with Mike and my careers, our workload, work times and general family structure, a nanny is the only thing that made sense for our dynamic. Not to mention, that we don’t have a family member that we can quickly ask to help us out if the kids need to be home. No quickly asking gran or grandma who live close by to help out quickly. I mean we have family, and we love each other, but everyone’s got their own things going on, their own work, etc., that really, Mike and I just have each other. It’s Team “Us” all the way.
But with Parker-Grace almost three years old, able to count in english and Spanish, speak very beautifully and able to express herself very well, we started asking ourselves if we weren’t disadvantaging her by not letting her go to school. As I wrestled with “what should I do here”, Mike simplified with the cutting question, “what is the best thing to do for Parker?” And that was that. I mean, Lawd knows sister over here has been wanting to go for forever and a day already – especially if this particular day back in January, was anything to go by. She would beg Mike every morning as he got big sister ready. She already knew she was ready. And now, the day had arrived and we all without any pomp and ceremony. Just like that we found ourselves labelling matchy-matchy juice bottles and lunch boxes and packing her off to school.
The night before d-day, we scratched out all Morgy’s old bags – so that she could choose which one she liked the most. You know, offer up some silver linings when faced with the hand-me downs. I know my girl, and had already cleaned out the one I thought she would choose – bright, girly and covered in butterflies and Dora.
Truth be told, sister was right – she was totally ready for this. We dropped off Morgy first so that she could see what happens. And when it came to her time, m’am did her goodbyes like a champ. Sure, she had the unsure look in her eye – I know that look. But also true to Parker-form, she put on that brave face that she does so well, she took the teachers hand and didn’t even turn around to look at us again.
And just like that she was off…
But before that, I have to confess: I think I’ve become one of those moms. You know? The type that needs to run the teacher through a special list of considerations for your child. Not to say I don’t think she knows how to do her job, or that my child so special (although I do, but so does every other mom). In my defence though, I had written a long beautiful letter to her team of teachers – thanking them in advance for all that I know they would do for our child, all their energies and efforts they would plough into her, along with a quick list all her little idiosyncrasies that they may need to know of, what she might struggle with etc. , and, of course, about her ever important “blankie”. But I had forgotten it at home (of course) so instead, I tried to do a quick wrap up of it to the teacher during drop off. Also, not the best of times, I know, but had little choice…I was doing well, but when teacher’s smile slowly turned into a strained one, accompanied by that slow blink – which is really just a silent plea for me to shut up already- I realised I am that mom. I got the picture, stopped myself and made my exit.
Mike and I held hands walking out of school, I think mostly to help prepare for the onslaught of feels that we’ve learnt hits right after that first drop off. So as we got out into the parking lot, I waited. Waiting for that wave of emotions that I know I’ve been bottling up for the past two days of crazy rush getting her registered. And I waited some more. But… nothing came. No tears. No words. I still asked Mike, “what are you feeling?” It’s like my body still wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling and thus couldn’t elicit the proper response.
Few days on and Im still trying to figure out this mom heart of mine. But mostly, I felt that we did the right thing. Tha this was the best thing for Parker. It sat right in my soul.
Also, geez, so different to what I was like dropping my first child off – I was far less of “that mom”. I mean the other “that mom”. Yes, I totally bawled my eyes out once we dropped Morgy off, but also I was far less “don’t forget this, don’t forget that, and oh she needs this and she hates that” to the teacher. We did our super special goodbye ritual and mike and I were outta there in no time, like super proud parents who coulnt have been more certain. In fact, I remember giggling and all that exicted stuff. Until of course those emotions jumped out of their surprise cake and leaked right out of my eyes. All in a matter of a few seconds. Gotta love the emo- rollercoaster of motherhood, eh? I thought for sure Mike was going to think I was crazy. But the man just smiled and hugged me. ( although he’s seen me through breastfeeding hell, so he’s well-conditioned to emo mom, I suppose.)
In the mean time and round about the same time as all our school drama was goin down, my sister and fam just road tripped their way up to help their youngest daughter move into her college dorm room. Big stuff that, so obvs a little nerves were in the mix. I texted her to say that she’s created such a beautiful haven within their home for their children that its no surprise that it might be difficult for them to leave. But the time is ripe for her to go out there and create some of that same mix of love and magic that their mom taught them and spread it out in this world. She and hubby have given them the tools – they are well equipped. So similarly, I’d like to think that Mike and I have provided a colourful, safe and beautiful haven for our children in our home, such that make them feel secure enough and brave enough to go out there in this world and explore knowing full well, that home is always there for them to return to…I know, I know, right -it’s only pre- pre-grade 0, what am I on about?…But this is just the beginning of it all for them. For us.
We’re into week two already, and it’s like madam has always been going to school. Like she wasn’t kidding about being ready all this time. I also appreciate that she’s really vocal about her day at school: She’ll verbalize what she did, what she liked and what she hated all with just a “how was school?” Except of course when she gets timeout on the playground – then she knows nothing of it. And knows all the tricks in the toddler book to distract mom from the question. Which is why it helps Mom and dad so much to have big sister be your eyes and ears. 😉
But how did the actual first day go, I hear you ask? Because, that’s the one that usually sets the tone for the parents right? Well, better than expected! Apparently, and I got it via the grape vine, that madam did not shed one little tear. Not one. She took well to it, and in fact, turns out she’s a little bossy. Apparently she was bossing all the other kids around – about what’s bad manners and not acceptable, apparently. To be honest, there was a slight cringe in me when I first heard that. Like, who wants their kid to be bossy? But the truth is, there’s a lot of good merit in bossy traits too – it’s gotten a far too bad a wrap in the past. Instead of dousing those flames, we, as parents, just need to find a good balance as to how to guide those traits and turn it into more positive mannerisms that will hold her in good stead. She’s a loving kid by nature – tough as nails physically, but just the cutest little marshmellow on the inside – so I know she’s not mean at all. How we will navigate those paths is another story and journey of educations and discovery for Mike and me. So much for us as parents to still learn and develop in ourselves.
What didnt hurt was that big sister, Morgan-Lee was uber supportive throughout the whole day – from the time that she learnt about Parker joining her at school, through first morning wake-up – holding her hand and hugging her at every chance she got, and keeping the happy vibes flowing.
We normally end up on the beach after school (when weather and time play with), but this time, it was for extra special celebratory ice cream reasons…Except that day, it seemed as if our usual ice-cream joint’s staff may have been out doing some of their own celebrating and closed up shop for the day. So we headed indoors to a restaurant overlooking the beach instead and got that ice-cream. ‘Cause, by God, we WILL have that celebratory sweet nectar of ice!
Here’s to more celebrations of many more firsts, and to mom and dad also getting schooled in a new arena of life.
Happy almost weekend, folks!!X