Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Next first day down

FINALLY!  August 1 has arrived.  Luke can FINALLY go to his first day of kindergarten.  He has been talking about going to kindergarten for the past 6 months.  Then about 3 months ago, both his pre-K program and day care really started to talk up kindergarten to get the kids excited.  And Luke was drinking the Kool-Aid... with 3 months remaining until his first day, all he could talk about was going to kindergarten.

In late May, we went to kindergarten Meet the Teacher.  Luke thought he was starting kindergarten the next day.  Sorry bud.  In mid-June he had his day care graduation ceremony.  He thought he'd be going to kindergarten shortly thereafter.  Nope.  In late June he graduated from his pre-K program.  Please, kindergarten now?  No siree.  You've got to wait through the entire month of July, keep going to day care full time and say weekly goodbyes to some lucky friends who started kindergarten before you, Luke.

We were feeling really bad, it seemed unfair to Luke... but it wasn't like we had other options.  He knew that August 1 was the big day for him.    He knew that his last day of day care was last Friday.  And he was not sad to say goodbye (despite all the crying teachers saying their goodbyes to him).  It was FINALLY almost time for the big day.

He stayed with Oma during the first couple of days this week.  I was surprised that he went to sleep last night.  He woke up early today and shocked the crap out of me in the shower by walking into the bathroom at 5:45 this morning, announcing in a loud voice "MOMMY, I AM GOING TO KINDERGARTEN TODAY" with a huge smile across his face.  A smile so big I could see it without my contact lenses, through sleepy eyes, in the dark.

The kid was ready to go.  First day of kindergarten.  Awesome.  As he was eating his breakfast, he announced that when he saw his new teacher, he was going to give her a big hug.

He put on his big kid back pack full of school supplies.  He calmly got into the van.  He was totally zen.  Transfixed on the goal.  We rolled up to school, he put the pack back on his back, grabbed my hand, and we walked into the school. He was exuding a confidence, a swagger that I haven't really seen in him before. I half expected him to announce to the front office that he had finally arrived.

His kindergarten class is literally next door to his pre-K class, so he knew exactly where to go.  His new teacher greeted us at the door.  He gave her that big hug, and she flashed a big smile.  He was in.

Luke immediately found his cubby, and unloaded his backpack and lunch bag like a seasoned 2nd grader.  He looked around for a seat at the table and introduced himself to his new friends.  And in that moment, he was a big confident kid.  He noticed that I was still standing in the doorway, too afraid to ruin his moment by taking a lot pictures (of course I snapped a couple...).  He gave me a smile and a hearty wave, and I knew that he was ready for me to leave.

Mama can take a hint.  I quietly backed out the door and happily walked out to the van.  I think because both Luke and Will have been going to pre-K at their same schools for years, I am not sad about this step.  I am excited for both of them because they are both just so excited.  Its fun.  They're doing great things.  They're growing and thriving.  Its awesome.

The purpose of today's kindergarten intro was for the teachers to meet the students in a smaller setting and do some informal assessments of temperament, learning styles and to determine what they already know.  It also gave the kids an opportunity to get to know their teachers, each other, and the rules on a shortened day, without the pressure of a full day of school and riding the bus.

When I went back to pick up Luke, he greeted me with a sweaty-headed hug and an easy smile.  They'd just come in from playing outside.  He couldn't stop talking about playing with blue Play Doh, learning about letter sounds, and building with Legos.  Clearly in love.

He gave his teacher another big hug on the way out.  She asked him when he was coming back and he quickly answered "tomorrow."  She had to remind him that he wasn't coming back until Monday, because tomorrow was the intro day for another set of 5 of his new classmates.

Luke wasn't too keen on that answer.  He's been waiting with baited breath for the past 6 months for kindergarten to start, and now he's been given a little teaser.  Bait.  And he's hooked.  Monday can't come fast enough.  Because Monday is kindergarten again... AND he gets to ride on the bus.  How cool is that?

When we got home, Luke was excited to receive a call from Grammy to talk about his first day.  He told her about playing with toys and making new friends.  When he got off the phone, he asked me for a big glass of water because he was "parched from his long day of learning and talking." It was impossible not to laugh... and to not look forward to more Luke-isms as he moves on to this exciting next step.

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