Sunday, September 7, 2014

"If you like the Ravens you're no son of my dad!' and other tales from Kindergarten

You guys, we made it!  First week of school IN.THE.BAG!

And this wasn't just the first week of school.  This was Jack's first week of Kindergarten, Jude's first week of preschool, both boys first week of soccer, my first week of MOPS, and Jon's first week of working 1am-9am (and sleeping 10am-6pm).  It was pretty major.  Which is why I'm celebrating with a houseful of sleeping kids and big bowl 'o ice cream!

The sun *may* have been in their eyes.

We knew it was going to be a doozy of a week so we decided to get out of dodge over Labor Day weekend and sail away to New Jersey.  (Cue Jude growling, "New Jersey, where you have to pay to go on the roads!)  We literally did sail away... well, kinda.  We drove next to our favorite Delaware State Park on Friday morning and took the Cape May - Lewes Ferry across to visit the home of our wonderful friends Phil, Abi, 'Lil Rae, and Baby Urijah.

First we stopped off in adorable Cape May to give the girls a chance to finish up their car naps.  Jon and the kids climbed the light house and we drove down the main street to ooo and awww over all the gorgeous Victorian beach homes.  And then we went to "fwends' house," as Julia would say all weekend, and they made us their famous grilled pizza, and grilled dessert pizza.  And we also had Cantaloupe Cucumber Pistachio salad, and some Dutch pancake I can't pronounce, and a watermelon chicken salad, and fish tacos, and coconut chocolate chip cookies ... because while the main reason we visit NJ is to see our old and awesome friends, the second reason is because they feed us SO WELL!!

S'more pizza!
And they tolerate our kids and the absolute insanity that is traveling with a 5, 4, 2, and 1 year old.  Oh yeah, and they also live near the beach.  And I can't think of a better way to wrap up summer than a trip to the ocean.  The weird thing is, Jon's parents and my parents were both in LBI the same weekend.  And so I got to visit the island for my first time ever.  I must say, I take back everything I've ever said about New Jersey beaches.  It's still true, it just doesn't apply to LBI.

This is so Lia.

Poppie was getting some big giggles out of his youngest grandchild!

Nonnie and Joci feeding the seagulls ... and keeping Mommy out of Joci's line of sight!
Jon's mom grew up spending summers there and Jon has fond memories of family vacations there as well, so it was nice to revisit one of his favorite places after being gone for 14 years!  And if there's one thing all our LBI acquaintances have in common, it's that they all recommend The Chegg.  So that's where we went for dinner.  And waited an hour and a half.  But it was worth it.  And now I can say that I've not only been there, but that I will someday be back.  And not just because there was an amazing nautical store next door that wasn't open ...

There's nothing quite like an hour and a half wait for 6 kids 5 and under ...
But anyway, back to school.  I spent all of Labor Day getting ready.  If you follow me on Facebook, you'll notice I've been practicing packing Jack's lunches:  You see, if you know me, you know that when I'm anxious I focus on one thing with laser-like intensity--the spot on the carpet when someone is delivering bad news, the license plate in front of me when I'm stuck in traffic, and the stupid school supply list when I'm facing being daily separated from my firstborn.

Apparently Kindergarteners don't like having their pictures taken ...
Well we tackled the school supply list in no time.  Or a week actually.  And four stores.  Four stores!! That's how insane this stuff is.  I mean, we're talking crayon requirements down to the brand and DIAMETER.  But anyway, we got the supplies taken care of.  And then we just so happened to find a pair of sneakers that Jack liked, in his size, on clearance, in the very first store we visited at the mall.  So that was easy.  With two weeks left before school, naturally, I needed to find a new distraction.  Enter school lunches.

This was "sneak peak" day for the classrooms.  Julia was more interested than Jack! (And I admit, there are days when I wish she was the one going off to Kindergarten!)
We got his backpack on clearance last year and it came with a lunch box.  So then we had to find containers that fit the lunch box.  And then there was the thermos.  I talked him in to the blue one that matched, but then I felt such horrible guilt about it, knowing that he really wanted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle thermos (the kid has never seen an episode of TNMT in his life, he just thinks they look cool!).  So I ended up passing the first one off to Jude and surprising Jack with the one he really wanted.  And then he needed a matching food jar thermos for hot meals.  And an ice pack.  And then I found out he needs the thermos for his water bottle for recess/gym/snack time.   So I needed another drink container for lunch.  And I decided he HAD to have a reusable drink "pouch" since that would fit best in his lunch box.  Except I couldn't find one anywhere.  And there wasn't time to order one online.
Good news, he's the only Jack in his class!

So I decided to venture out to that place I avoid at all costs--Walmart.  And on a holiday no less.  Crazy was an understatement.  I looked everywhere.  The school supplies, lunch box aisle, food storage section, camping supplies, kitchen supplies.  Nothing.  Finally, I spotted one.  ONE.  While walking by the Legos.  I seized on it like a seagull on a sandwich.  And that was the end of my Kindergarten preparations.  Time to face the music, mama!

Night before school hair cuts!
So our whole family got to attend a "sneak peak" at Jack's school the week before.  And then Jack and I had a 20 minute conference with his teacher the week school started.  His school was a day late because of construction, and then they do staggered entrance for Kindergarten and he was assigned the last day.  Which meant that he didn't officially start school until the day after Labor Day.  And his entire class didn't start all at once until that Wednesday.  So we're technically not very far in to this.  But I think it's going well.  Not that I've heard anything from his teacher.  But I'll take that as a good sign.

First day of school smoothies!

She was just as excited as the ones who were actually going to school!
 I've met her twice now.  She seems nice enough.  Kinda to the point, which isn't a bad thing.  I was a little disappointed to find that, of the four K teachers, her classroom appears the least "cute."  But I doubt Jack cares about that.  All he cares about is that he has his own locker.  And there are Legos in his class.  And some sort of train that can carry cars and zoo animals.  And if you ask him about his teacher he just kinda looks at you like he has no idea who you're talking about.

She's smiling because everyone else is smiling! 
And he's fighting having his picture taken because he's in Kindergarten now ...
Now Charlie is a different story.  I've been asking him every day about his new friends but he just can't seem to remember anyone's name, except for Charlie.  Apparently Charlie has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack!  But his turtles are the "real" ones, not the kind on Jack's thermos. (??) They've been sitting next to each other every day at lunch and Jack has been SHOCKED (like wide-eyed, hands waving in the air shocked) that Charlie eats the SAME SANDWICH every day.  I've also heard all about Charlie's pudding and chocolate milk.

I took three grumpy pictures before I decided to yell "Legos" and he gave me this smile.
The only other intel I've been able to garner about his fellow classmates is that there's a girl allergic to peanuts and if you have peanuts in your lunch you can't sit next to her.  I haven't figured out her name yet (of course) but if I ever find out that she's putting the moves on my son, at least I know I can always start sending a daily dose of peanut butter in his lunch box.

Jack also made sure to inform me that he told his teacher that "she's a good teacher" yesterday and today he told Charlie that he liked his shirt.  And then Jack asked me if he could get a ticket (our reward system) for being so nice to his classmates.  Ummm ... we'll need to think about that one.

Waiting for Big Yellow.
Let's talk about the bus, shall we?  The school asks that if your child is going to ride the bus, that you start out that way from the very beginning.  So I did.  On the very first day of school I sent my little 5 year old out into the big, big world on a loud, yellow bus.  And then I heard nothing else from him for the next 7 hours.  It may have been one of the scariest things I've ever done.

 I didn't cry, though.  I was very, very close.  But then Jude was already late for preschool, and Joci was screaming in the car, and Julia was playing in the front seat, pushing random buttons.  And then right after preschool we went grocery shopping.  And then home to unload, and feed the baby, and make lunch, and do laundry ... and I never really had a chance to cry.  But believe me, I could have.

Jack looked so nervous the first time he got on the bus. But now, he's an old pro.  He LOVES the bus.  And the rest of us kind of enjoy it too.  We stand out by the driveway listening for the squeak of the brakes down as it reaches the corner and the first flash of yellow as it rounds the bend.  And then we patiently wait for the lights to flash and the stop sign to pop out before Jack confidently crosses the street, and turns to give me one last wave and "bye mom!!" before heading off to school.

And then the kids and I do the same thing in the afternoon, anxiously awaiting the little guy that has no qualms about running to his mom at the end of the school day.

My new favorite time of day!
The school assigns each Kindergartener a "bus buddy"--a 5th grader (or "teenager" as Jack calls them) that picks them up and walks them to their bus.  Jack's is "a girl" (no name, again).  She lives in our neighborhood.  Apparently, just one street over.  And Jack says we should have her over to play because "she can walk here."

And while we're on the subject of funny things he's said.  He also asked me to stop making him quesadillas with black beans in them because "the more you eat the more you toot.  And I stinkered THREE TIMES in school today!"

Then there was yesterday.  You see, each morning before the bus comes, Jack and I have prayed together for his school day--that he'd make new friends, be a good listener, be a blessing to his teacher... so on Thursday Jack grabs my hand and says "Can you pray that I finish all my lunch?"  I guess he was a little upset that he didn't get to eat everything on his first day (they only get 25 minutes total for lunch!) and needed a little supernatural assistance in that area.

And our favorite so far--apparently a kid on the bus was wearing a Raven's jersey so Jack told him, "If you like the Ravens, you're no son of my dad!" (The boys like to tease Jon by saying they like the Raven's and then Jon always responds with, "What?  You're no son of mine!"  Don't tell the psychologists!!)

So yes, as challenging as this week has been, we've had some comic relief along the way!

Dreaming over a Scholastic book order ... I used to do the same thing when I was a kid!
I think the hardest thing for me, about sending my son to school, is being away from him all day.   I HATE that I'm missing out on so much of his life.  Jack's pretty good at sharing random parts of his day, but even that is only a tiny glimpse into his little world.  There is so much going on that I know nothing about.  I don't even know what time he eats lunch, let alone the name of the poor girl who's allergic to peanuts!

I keep telling myself this is part of the process, the lifelong process of letting go, relaxing my grip on my kids.  This is good for him, and it's good for me.  But it's still hard.  But so far (as in 4 days down, 176 to go!) it's going well.  And there's a happy little boy in his bed tonight (that was able to finish ALL his lunch today), and that makes me happy too.

1 comment:

Jennifer Smith said...

I love the photo summary at the top of the post! A great way to take a snapshot of his life right now!

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