This post is aptly titled because we have officially entered the period of the kids' lives that will be their school days. Mairead is in Kindergarten five full days a week, and the boys are in preschool two half days a week. I spend a lot of time shuttling them all back and forth, making lunches, opening backpacks to find important notices, and even doing homework. All of the kids are in great environments with wonderful teachers. The boys are still with their teacher from last Spring, and Mairead has a wonderful new teacher. She also works with a SpEd teacher and a Speech and Language Pathologist. She is thriving in Kindergarten and we could not be more proud of her.
The first day of Kindergarten was harder for me than I expected. After all, she is at the same school she was at last year, and she has been in school of some kind for two years. It wasn't the first time my baby was leaving me, but it was still very emotional. As she walked in with her class, I welled up thinking about all it took to get her there. About how she has been nothing short of a miracle, and how there were times when we did not think she would be able to go to a regular school, to be in a regular class, and certainly not to do those things on time. Yet, here she is, just about the youngest in the class, and doing so well. She is reading on her own, talking to me about hexagons and notcturnal animals. She can't wait to do her homework when she gets home every day. Her teacher says she is making progress all the time. The other kids are so sweet to her and we are so thankful for that. She is fortunate to be in a class with some wonderfully sweet kids. I hope they are always as good to her as they are at this age.
'Real' school is a full time job for all of us. The first day was even difficult. Thankfully, Jen was able to help me because all of the kids had their first day on the same day. Jen showed up extra early and made special chocolate chip pancakes for the kids. They were mystified when the letters were shaped like the first letters of their names.
I am part of the PTO and there have already been fesitvals, fundraisers, field trips, bake sales, and meetings. Some of the moms on the PTO have kids in Mairead's class, and I am always so grateful to hear about how their kids speak so kindly of Mairead. I chaperoned a field trip (pictures to come) and saw how friendly all of the kids are to her, and it is just overwhelming. She still has trouble talking to other kids in a conversational manner, but when I pick her up each day, I see her wave to other kids and call them by name to say goodbye for the day. I see other girls run to her in the morning to give her a hug, or call loudly to say goodbye as they leave. When I drop her off, she can't wait to get in line and start her day. I am grateful every day for all of this.
The boys are doing well at school, too. We have had a bizarre period of hysterical crying when I drop them off, though. They say they will miss me, they are scared, etc. After I leave, they are ok, but it's hard to walk away from them. Their teacher says that they are doing well and that she just loves them. They come home and tell me about what they do during the day, about the stories they read, etc. They get progress notes that tell me what they are up to, and one section is: Your child's best friend at school is____________. Jack's best friend is Ben, and Ben's is Jack. Seriously. So cute.
We are so happy an so lucky to have the kids in great situations at school. Sometimes, it's a little sad to think that they are off in the world now, that my time at home with them is so limited. For the past three years, we have been a little team- traveling everywhere together. Now, they are growing up and doing all these things without me. I worry about them and how they are doing. I worry that the rest of the world will not see how wonderful they are, or that people will not be kind to them. I worry that they will be afraid, that they will be hurt, or that they will see the 'not so nice' things in the world. I know that they need to experience all of this to learn and to grow, but it's a tough pill for all moms to swallow. I just hope that we give them the tools and knowledge to be good people. To be smart and to be kind. To have confidence and to stand up for themselves and for others. I hope, most of all, that they know how much they are loved.