"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Days of School

Before I share stories from our last week of summer, I wanted to give an update on how our first days of school have gone. Now that we are halfway through the first week, I can say that I couldn't be any prouder of how our two guys are doing. Especially Brandon. In fact, Cody and I both said late Monday night at the end of the first day that we felt like a little weight had been lifted off our shoulders. He absolutely rocked it.

With it being his third year now, Jaden wasn't nervous for school - he just wasn't ready for summer to be over. Brandon was the one we were nervous about because he was never excited to leave preschool or daycare. He had a great group of friends that he was content with, a teacher he loved, and he was comfortable in his routine. When people would ask if he was excited for kindergarten, he would simply say, "no." We knew he was ready from a maturity standpoint, but he is our shy one - slower to warm up to new things and people - and I just hoped so much that he wouldn't have any problems making friends or getting as comfortable with Ms. Kimpston in Kindergarten as he was with Mrs. W. in the daycare room. It turns out we had nothing to worry about.

I took their first day of school off work - the final day of my week-long vacation - so that I could devote all my attention to them before and after. The boys woke up that morning and Brandon immediately wanted to get dressed in his school "uniform" - even insisting on wearing the belt that came with his shorts even though belts are not required. We tried telling him that it would be harder for him to go to the bathroom at school if he had to unbuckle and buckle a belt every time, and then he stood there in his room and did it for us in about five seconds, proving us wrong. The first time he had ever buckled a belt himself, and he never needed any help. And though he never showed nerves that morning, he still kept saying he wasn't excited. We took the obligatory before school pictures before heading to our traditional first day of school breakfast at Village Inn...

They were perfect little men at breakfast, both ordering the Happy Face pancakes with sausage and scrambled eggs. And there again, Brandon surprised us by grabbing his knife and fork and cutting his own pancakes - perfect knife cutting form and everything. It might sound funny, but the whole first day of school he just seemed older.

And then it was time for drop-off. I had butterflies in my tummy, not knowing how drop-off would go, while Brandon started showing his nerves - just a little bit. The four of us walked in the building together to take Brandon to his room first. He hid behind me when we got to his teacher but he still knew exactly what to do - going straight for his cubby and hanging his backpack on the hook before finding his name on table #4. Ms. Kimpston had put out Pete the Cat coloring pages, and he sat down immediately to start coloring. However, he kept telling me he didn't want me to leave. That is until Ms. Kimpston, noticing we were going to need some kind of distraction, walked over and sat by him to ask if he brought his own lunch or wanted a hamburger from the school lunch. The two of them immediately bonded over their mutual love of hamburgers, and Cody, Jaden and I slipped out the door. I looked back, but Brandon never did.

I couldn't get a smile. "I'm coloring, Mommy!" He might have been nervous, but he jumped right in.

I didn't have time for tears since we needed to get Jaden to his room, as well. He has a locker for the first time this year, and we stopped there to hang up his bag before walking him into his room, where I was quickly reminded that my days of kissing him goodbye at school are probably over. I tried to give him a quick one but noticed immediately that he was embarrassed by it, and we walked out with just a quick goodbye and a quiet "I love you."

As Cody and I walked out of the school together, Cody congratulated me for not crying, and I was pretty surprised by it myself! I had a much harder time on Brandon's last day of daycare than I did on his first day of school, and I have realized since that it was in part because the last day of daycare was a goodbye, while the first day of kindergarten is the start of a whole new adventure, and I know that he was ready for it - even if he didn't know he was. I also know that they are in wonderful hands - Ms. Kimpston and I have a great relationship since she was Jaden's teacher in kindergarten, as well, and I have known Jaden's 2nd grade teacher, Miss Hess, since our high school days together.

And it only took three hours into the first day of school for me to get a message from Ms. Kimpston saying that Brandon was already doing a great job, that she loves his smile and that she was already falling in love with him. When 3:30 rolled around and I pulled up to the school for pick-up, I watched as Brandon gave Ms. Kimpston a big hug goodbye and then ran to me - his first words being, "I LOVE school and I really like my teacher!" He was in the best mood all night long, chatting about school for hours and hours - he loved having art class the very first day, had no problems with his belt when he had to go to the bathroom, made buddies with his first friend - Sailor - who he sits next to at lunch and plays with at recess, and couldn't wait to do his 10 minutes of reading homework on the first night. In fact, I told him after 10 minutes of reading that he could stop reading if he wanted to but he said, "Mommy! I don't want to stop. I want to keep learning!" Jaden had a good first day, too, but of course all he would talk about was lunch, recess and P.E. :)

The second day drop-off was a little different, as I simply pulled up to the curb in the hug-and-go lane and watched from my car as my two boys walked into school together side by side - without me. It was kind of a surreal feeling watching them walk off together - knowing we did it. We got them both through daycare, preschool, and into school. And now we're in for a whole new ride.

Brandon had music and P.E. on the second day, ate a chicken taco for lunch (after pulling off all the lettuce) and got introduced to math! When we were saying prayers before bed last night, he said an extra prayer on his own: "God, please make every day of school a good day. Amen." Then he opened his eyes and looked at me, "Every day IS going to be a good day! I like school more than daycare Mommy. Because we get to do MATH!"

I knew we'd be okay with the whole school thing but was expecting more of an adjustment period. Our brave little five-year old has surprised me once again.

Ms. Kimpston made this frame for the parents to use on the first day. We're lucky to have her for so many reasons.

We do have a whole new routine that's a little chaotic - two kids with homework, two kids to drop off at 8:30 and pick up at 3:30. Football practice at nights. I now begin my work hours at around 6am to make time for it all - starting my day extra early with emails and trying to mark things off my to-do list before the rest of the house wakes up. It's a crazy juggling act all day long to be everywhere I need to be and do everything I need to do, but I feel so thankful to be able to have the flexibility that my job provides.

We're doing good.