I feel a little late to the kindergarten game since in the North East, kids don't start school until after Labor Day. It didn't help that Michael's school sent out most of his information a little on the late side as well. But, last week we finally got to head to Michael's school for a two hour orientation.
I never know how much I should prepare Michael before a big event. I knew orientation would go fine until the end when Andy and I ha to leave so Michael could learn how to do the car line. I debated on whether to tell him or not beforehand, and decided that it would be best to let him know. So, I prepped him the day before and then the morning of, hoping to make the transition easier.
Orientation started well. We went to the auditorium with J from a few doors down and his parents. J sat still and paid attention through the entire thing. Michael wiggled and fidgeted and I finally had to distract him with a pen and some paper. Considering he is normally well behaved in situations like that, I knew his anxiety levels were rising.
After a quick assembly, we all lined up and went on a tour of the school and then into Michael's classroom. There are already 25 students in his class. Each student had at least one parent with them, and many had both parents and several siblings. There were at least 75 people in the classroom. It was loud and it was crazy.
We helped Michael find his seat. He was at a table toward the edge of the room where everyone was trying to stand to avoid getting in the way. Michael wanted me to come and stand with him, but I could barley move through all the people. I finally forced my way through and tried to help Michael figure out what he was supposed to do with the paper at his spot. I couldn't see the instructions on the smart board so Andy shifted around and finally found the computer and read the instructions off of there. I then tried to explain what to do while two dad's had a conversation over my head.
Let's just say that it was not an ideal situation.
We met Michael's teacher briefly. She seems very nice. She seems like she's a quick study and asked me if I was OK right off. (Not Michael, folks. ME) I was and I wasn't. I'm OK with Michael starting Kindergarten. I had no problem with the idea of leaving him for the pick up demonstration. It wasn't anything school related that was upsetting me. There were just too many people in the room. That's way more chaos than I can handle.
And guess what, the apple doesn't fall from the tree. Michael was not to keen on being left alone in that crazy room either. We waited until a lot of the people had left before trying to leave, but it was too late. Michael was not going to willing separate from me.
Now, I've been through this plenty of times at daycare. Miss Carmella would always come over and take Michael away and distract him while I left. No problem. But, kindergarten doesn't have a Miss Carmella. In fact, with the chaos in the room, no one even knew what was going on until the crying and the "NO!" started happening. An aide came over to help eventually, but Michael was too worked up for her at that point.
Finally, Michael's teacher came over and tried to help. We discussed a few options and I finally told her the best thing to do is for her to pry him off me and for me to run. And, to make the moment even better...I started to cry. You know, because seeing mommy cry makes it sooo much easier to be left with strange people in a strange place.
So, I ran crying from the room with Andy asking me if I was OK. I seem to remember snapping "yes" at him several times, but I don't think he was fooled.
The car line was huge, so it took about 25 minutes until I pulled up for Michael. He came running out and ran right up to J's car waving at J's parents and smiling. (They were in front of me.) I got out to let him in and the aide that was with him was completely confused that he was running to one car and his parent was clearly in a different car. "Do you know which car is yours?" He turned to her and calmly explained that he was just saying hi to his friend's parents.
He was fine when we got home. I asked him what he did during the time he was in his class, and he gave his typical "nothing" response. And that was it. He had nothing positive or negative to say about it.
So, we went to the beach for the weekend and distracted ourselves from the actual first day off school today. We didn't talk about school much, but when Michael over heard me saying "old school" he thought I was talking about his school and said, "I know mom!" OK, I get it.
I admit, I was really nervous about how things would go at the bus stop this morning. Would he freak out? Would he be fine because J was with him? Would he cry? Would I cry? Would there be a scene for the bus driver?
It went just fine. The boys talked on the way up to the stop, and then met some of the older boys who they will ride the bus with. And they ran around and laughed. When the bus came, they both ran up and climbed right on. They sat in the front seat and grinned and waved good-bye. My little baby looked so grown up and I was so proud of him.
And no tears were shed.
Now, I'm dying for him to get home so I can find out how his day went. Wish me luck that I may get something more than a big fat "nothing" out of him.