the Night Before Kindergarten

Today was "back to school day" in which kids (& their parents) headed to school to unload school supplies, meet the teacher, & buy new school shirts.
Will is going to kindergarten this year (late summer birthday) at a big new school.  Ideally, this will be a great fit for our kids and our family & Will will graduate from this same school with many of these same friends. 
Kind of a surreal thought.
Daddy met us at school this morning & Will led the way to his classroom.

He had fun having his first real desk.  We unloaded supplies and organized them somewhat.

He just "happens" to be in the same class with three of his good friends.  (Thank you, God, & the school for listening to my ideas on that!)  God worked it out well today & we just "happened" to show up at the same time as our other friends!
(Small world - this little girl's mom sat by Will's dad in a high school class in West Texas!!)

Will & his teacher.
He told me tonight he likes her face & might be in love with her.  Ha ha!

Ellie was rather nervous today about this whole school business.  We are going to miss having her brother around!
She was pretty shy around the teachers until the librarian told her she was beautiful.  And then, she smiled & walked straight to the librarian to hug her!   

After school supply drop off, we headed to the movies.  A friend and classmate met us there.  They had fun seeing a movie together!

I grabbed this on my way home & we enjoyed it after naps & dinner tonight for a fun treat.

I want to make back to school night a special time in our family.  I have to hide my own tears & grief that summer is ending which is a challenge for me!
I set the table with the "you are special today" plate for Will & school supplies & smarties for a centerpiece.

While I made dinner, Will modeled his new t-shirt we bought at school

decorated his new "Brave Kid" lunchbox

and did 25 pushups because he said he needed to get ready for P.E.
He is very, very excited about P.E.

We gave him a back to school card and superhero and I wrote him a letter about our desires for him this year.

He read stories to his sister

and stories with daddy & I.

So tomorrow is the day.
8 freaking AM.
Preschool & kindergarten last year started at 9:30am  (with pickup open til 9:40am... & I used up every last second of that window.)
We are not morning people.
We sleep in.
We love summer mornings and going from bed to cuddling and cartoons in pjs and to the pool.
R made us have a practice drill this morning.
But after I had been up at 1am SICK with nausea and anxiety, when my alarm went off this morning, I overrode that & slept in.
My theory is to go cold turkey.
It's going to be brutal.

Will vacillates between excitement & nerves.  He is anxious about kids staring but we did have a big meeting last week with his teacher, his art, computer, P.E., &  music teachers as well as the various monitors & librarian.  We wrote our annual book & that was read to the faculty on Friday.  I was told today that after I read it to Will's class in the morning and answer any questions they may have about Will & teach them that he is a kid just like them, etc, the book will then be passed around the school & every single teacher wants to read it to their class & help introduce Will to them (via our book) so that, hopefully, when they see Will on the playground or in the halls or cafeteria, they will already be familiar with him and maybe ask less questions or be more accepting of him?

I'm (hopefully) going to post a two part series this week:
part 1:  how we start a school year with ideas for other parents of kids with differences as to what has worked so far for us.  (Plus - if you have an idea, I'd love it!)
part 2:  for those of you with kids starting school, how to help your own kids accept others in their classes and schools who may look/act/sound different than them... simple ideas to teach your children sensitivity & compassion about others who are different.

If you think of it, would you pray for us tomorrow.  I'm a nervous wreck.  I feel affirmed that this is the right choice.  I feel confident that Will will make great buddies.  I saw compassion and intentional teachers who want to help Will and help others be sensitive.  I have been reassured that the teachers feel as we do - that Will has been created by God with intent and purpose and God has big plans for him.  He is not a mistake.
But I'm a mommy and besides the obvious heartache of taking my kid to kindergarten (thankfully - just half day!  Whew- not giving up naps yet!!), I'm also taking my child to a big school and will have to leave him (hopefully without a security escort.)  I have to trust other adults who have a roomful of kids to watch that they will notice if he is being hounded by big kids on a playground or in a bathroom.  I have to trust that phrases we have taught Will so far will have stuck and will be effective in helping him answer questions about his body and his abilities.  I have to trust safety procedures.  (Sandy Hook keeps running through my mind today.)  I have to trust his friends.
I told Will today in the letter that he can do this.  We do hard things.  These first days will be hard.  There's no doubt that kids will stare.  Kids will point.  They will ask questions.  Hopefully no one will be cruel but they will be curious because they are kids and he is different.  He will wear shorts and ill fitting prosthetics and endure the curiosity in faith that it will pass eventually.  These initial days will be hard.  They just will.  But he can do this.  
And maybe I can too.

2 thoughts:

Amanda M. said...

My daughter started 2nd grade today and there is another little girl in her class who wears hearing aids. I talked to my daughter a little about it and asked if she had any questions. Her response: "What is her name because she is going to be my best friend!" Kids are awesome... I love how you prepare others for the joy of meeting your son. You are an amazing Mom! Best of luck today ~ and this year!

P.S. My little guy cried this morning because his sister was leaving.... (:

ywilbur said...

Praying! I get so fearful when JK has to go to new settings.

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