Saturday, August 15, 2015

Week One Report

We survived the first week of Kindergarten! Nico and I made it through the first morning drop-off without crying, though poor Elliott was quite upset that he didn't get to stay at school. He briefly recovered during our grocery trip when he realized that he got to push the miniature cart, but when we pulled into the garage back home he burst into tears and cried, "Teacher, me! Teacher, me!" I did feel a little unmoored with the whole afternoon stretching out before us and no Nico, so when Elliott took his nap I took one, too. I think it'll get easier as we get used to it, and Elliott's music class starts again next week also. Nico has been tired in the evenings, but overall no big complaints. He seems to like school fine so far, and reports that he has made a friend. I'm hopeful he has made a good choice in this friend (he sometimes has terrible judgment when choosing a kid to hang out with at camp / school) and it's a little humbling realizing I have to rely on his word that said friend is a nice kid, at least until I get a chance to volunteer for a class visit or a field trip and observe him for myself. His teacher has a really good reputation as being one of the best at the school, so that has helped me relax.

I'm glad I thought to ask the teacher at the open house the week before school what their preference is for the kids' drop-off routine. She said that parents could walk the kids to their classrooms Monday, Tuesday and maybe Wednesday of the first week, but that we should plan to drop him off at the front of school after that. (Teachers are stationed on the sidewalk and through the halls to direct traffic.) Elliott and I walked Nico to his classroom Monday and Tuesday, walked him to the gym (where kids gather before the first bell) on Wednesday, and dropped him off curbside on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday morning I felt a swell of pride watching him walk confidently up to the door by himself, turning to smile and wave at us just before he went inside. He's got this, I think.

Elliott asked to go to school / meet his teacher every day this week. If he could read a calendar, he'd be counting down the days until he gets to start preschool in September. A few weeks ago a friend commented that she was enjoying seeing him come into his own as a little boy rather than a toddler in his photos, and she was right - he's hardly looking like a toddler at all these days. It's both heartbreaking and wonderful.

Other stuff, in no particular order:

1. Nico's school uses an online point system to track the kids' behavior, which I guess is a good way to keep parents informed / involved. There's a website for it and also a phone app, which may end up driving my husband to distraction. So far I have managed to not refresh it obsessively all day long, only to get texts from him reporting loss or awarding of points. I do like that it includes a reason when a point is taken away - Nico lost one for talking out of turn and one for not following directions, which turned out to be talking when he was supposed to be listening / doing something else. I wish it explained what they were getting points for, because I can't tell when he's being rewarded for good behavior and when the teacher is just handing out base points for the whole class. I guess it doesn't matter either way as long as he's gaining more than he's losing. No homework yet, though we were told to expect two tasks plus 15 minutes of reading every evening, Monday through Thursday to "establish good habits." I suppose this is a valid goal but I gave it a little side-eye, considering I'm pretty sure I never had homework before about fourth grade.

2. I went to my first PTA meeting on Thursday. I'm still not sure it's my kind of thing, but I'm pretty sure I'm their kind of sucker seeing as I'm considering volunteering to chair the family game night event because I felt bad that no one else offered. I can't decide if I'm hoping someone else beats me to it or not. Nico's friend Eleanor from preK is in his class, arranged by dual parental request for their teacher, so I texted her mom to see if she'd co-chair with me, and she said she would. So maybe it would be fun. Or maybe I'm crazy for even considering it.

3. I can't tell if it's just unacknowledged mental turmoil over my baybee starting school or if it's actually true, but I have felt a bit overly busy and disorganized lately. (One big reason I feel like maybe it would be nuts to take on this game night thing.) As much as I like and rely on having my whole calendar and digital life accessible through my phone, it's starting to not work for me as a reminder system to do things. First, I have started to ignore tasks and then forget about them. Second, the alarm going off all the time lately makes me want to throw the phone through a window. I used to keep a meticulous paper calendar / planner in the age before smart phones, and I'm thinking a return to some of those methods might suit me well. I tend to learn / remember things better when I write them out by hand (sometimes just writing a list is enough to lodge it in my memory, even if I don't look at the list again). After looking through several planners in various back-to-school aisles I ended up buying one at Barnes & Noble that I'm hoping will work for me. The cover is really dull / unappealing, so I might do some old-school craft projecting if I can find time this weekend. I'm hoping my slight guilt over spending $16 on this planner will spur me to be responsible about using it.

I also dislike how much time I waste on my phone in the evenings, and I truly mean waste - I will click through to facebook, twitter, my email, and my message board app and then continue cycling through them over and over even when nothing new is posted. It's ridiculous and yet I have done this for upwards of an hour on many occasions. Perhaps if I'm not picking up my phone every ten minutes to see why there's an alarm going off, I won't let myself get sucked into the time-wasting cycle quite so badly. I'm all for vegging out with some internet time, but this is not fulfilling or relaxing - it's just staring blankly at a screen and getting nothing out of it.

4. I'm setting up our annual blast of fall adventures, and it's making me eager for my favorite season to get here even though I'm also desperately wishing I could drag my heels and slow down time a little. Since we never get to travel in the summer because of my work commitments (and it's freaking hot anyway), we always try to get out and away and have fun once autumn arrives. We are hoping for two camping trips and a weekend away at a cabin, and we will all be extremely cranky if the weather ruins things for us. We haven't been camping in almost a year since both of our spring weekends got rained out and Nico and I are both pining for it. In looking ahead to these trips and in considering other hoped-for trips and requested visits, I am realizing how much having a kid in full-time school is going to cramp our freewheeling style. I feel like pouring one out for the days when long weekends were easy to come by and summer break lasted until Labor Day. Farewell, easy adventuring life! Don't abandon us entirely!

Reading:   X: a Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon

Playing:   some new mix CDs I got for Christmas in July from my friend Rachel. My favorite song so far:

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