Today marked a milestone in the life of our son, Jackson, today was his first day at kindergarten. We had already been to the orientation with him yesterday to meet his teacher Mrs. Chalabian and to see what to expect. To be quite honest I think I was more nervous than him, how would he react, how would he take to the new surroundings and the other boys and girls who he had no association with. I’m sure I was not alone with those feelings as I looked around at the other parents. They all had that proud yet apprehensive look about them as the reality started to sink in, “My child is going to school,” that was yesterday, today is the real day.
I had decided that I would take a couple of days vacation after the long Labor Day weekend as those two days would be the beginning of the school year, with Tuesday marked as an orientation day and today, Wednesday, the first day at school. This morning started off sharp with the alarm set for 6 AM, not that I manage much sleep last night so getting up proved easy enough even though my normal routine requires an early 5 AM rise.
First thing is to get showered then get the pot boiling for a wake me up cup of tea. We’re tea drinkers rather than coffee, my wife cannot stand coffee which is fine with me although I do occasionally need one for my early commute.
With the mornings being that much darker the children are sleeping in longer which allows us to get ready before the mad rush. Children have a whole new speed when it comes to getting ready and that is SLOOOOW and knowing that, we made sure that everything was preset to remove as many obstacles as possible. The backpack already had his scissors, crayons and large glue sticks packed. His name had been inked on the scissors to reduce any melt down at school should there be two of the same, which no doubt will be the case. His small cooler that fits in the backpack has his nutritious mid-morning snack and bottled water so with that all set we can wake him up and let the fun begin.
Jackson had had a restful sleep so the fact that it was now his first day at school did not faze him one bit, he was his bouyant self. Giving him the choice of clothes can be a long process but he was determined to wear green, his favorite color with his jean shorts. The brushing of teeth, washing, brushing hair, the getting through that “get ready” period obsorbed 20 minutes of the precious time remaining, leaving a mere 15 minutes to have breakfast and last minute potty breaks before hitting the road.
During his breakfast of cereal and apple juice we go over the rules set by Mrs. Chalabian just to clarify areas that we know Jackson has a tendency to do, like giving personal space and keeping your hands to yourself. Boys tend to be very expressive when they are comfortable, they will be in the face of their friends shouting or poking just to make a point. We explain the reward policy for good behavior and his ears instantly perked up at the thought of getting a prize from the “treasure chest.” The consequences for misbehavior didn’t receive such an enthusiastic reception but I’m sure he understood the point.
With time now at a critical stage we have to leave, who knows how many vehicles are going to be trying to navigate the parking lot.
Although the school is less than a mile away we had to drive rather than walk because this is also a test run for when our daughter starts her playgroup. The start times are very close so my wife has to know what she is dealing with especially if she has to drop Jackson off first then drive on to the next destination.
As we approach, the organized chaos reminds me of the commercial with the smart credit card at the food kiosk, everything is running smooth as the cars enter and drop off their children, then move on. The last thing that is needed is a newcomer to disrupt the rhythm and cause a traffic jam, fortunately for us the rear playground has been opened up so we can park for the first day.
Once parked up everything is checked before we get out, we need the camera to record the event and don’t forget the backpack. The cars are coming in thick and fast now so let’s take care as we cross the playground to the kindergarten side. As we go through the gate you can see other parents with their toddlers in arms, some are playing on the playground equipment and others are standing in line waiting to go into class. You can see the nervousness of some of the children, for others it’s no big deal but as you know anxiety can spread like wild fire. It only takes a couple of kids in the class to break down and before you know it the rest will follow suit, we have to keep an upbeat tempo to reduce the impact of the change in surroundings. We need the door to open and start filing in the kids, the longer the wait the more time to think. Today of all days it’s overcast so there’s a chill in the air compared to the previous days heat, sweatshirts would have been a good idea.
Eventually the door opens and we start taking our children in, the backpacks need to be stowed away in cabby holes and there is already one child who has bolted. The reality hits home and a couple of the moms are sobbing as their precious one sits ready for instruction. We take the opportunity to snap a picture of our son with his teacher before sitting him down, he seems to be fine.
As we file out and the door is shut the children are ushered to the front of the class and sat down on the mat. I glance through the window as I pass by, control is already maintained as they listen intently to Mrs. Chalabian. I think to myself as we walk to the car he’s growing up fast yet he’s still our baby.
Getting out of the carpark was a lot easier than getting in, as we drove by everything was still in the playground apart from the few stragglers who were running late. A few minutes earlier it was a beehive of activity but now all you could hear was the sound of cars on the tarmac. I look at my watch and think, he’ll be having his snack break in just over two hours, what an odd thing to think of so soon.
I had already decided to press on with the Jungle Fort project for the few hours before schools out. I need to get it finished and with it being so close it gave me that added incentive to press on. All materials had been cut and it was a simple process of sanding smooth so that the preserve could be applied. I wanted to erect the Rock Wall this coming weekend and maybe the picnic bench as well, it was strange without Jackson demanding play time as I was sanding.
The first day at school is about to end as we wait for the gate to open and the children to file out. It looks like alphabetical order as our Jackson comes bolting out with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, drawing clutched in his hand and a good behavior token in the other. “It’s great,” he exclaims, “I really like my teacher. If you be good you get a ticket and after ten tickets you get a super ticket, theeen you get to pick out of the TREASURE CHEST!!! and and if your naughty you don’t get a ticket.”