Three Kid Circus : And She's Off!

Monday, August 30, 2004

And She's Off!

My oldest child, my big girl has started Kindergarten.

I'll spare you the details. Oh, wait, no. Why would I? It's MY blog, bwahahahaha! Go get a cup of coffee. Ready? Okay.

Last night after dinner, we got the kids through their bedtime routine, and then got them all tucked in bed. I kept my oldest up so we could read a few 'going to kindergarten' books together. Then she just wanted to snuggle. She was too excited to sleep, and kept popping up out of her bed, so we tucked her into our bed. I kept dreaming about cosleeping with her when she was tiny. She still smells like her baby self when she sleeps.

The alarm went off at 6, and I began to roust the kids so we wouldn't be a bunch of grump-butts when we had to leave. An hour later, everyone was dressed, had eaten breakfast, and the photo shoot began. "Show me your lunch box!" I demanded. "Smile! Stand by the gate. Act like you're walking. Look over your shoulder. Get your finger out of your nose. Don't give me that look! Come back here. Come back!"

We loaded the little'uns in the double stroller, and set out for the school. As we neared the campus, we saw parents and kids and strollers streaming in. I got honest to goodness butterflies. I recognized several moms from our preschool, and for some reason that put me at ease.

Outside the kindergarten classroom, there was a welcome sign and a handout. It was hilarious, written in very very simple language.

1) Say hello to the teacher.
2) Find your nametag.
3) Put down your lunch.
4) Circle your name on the big list.
5) Play at a table.

All around the room, there are panicked parents, running their finger down the list, focused with furrowed eyebrows. You could hear the thoughts: Said hello. Check! Nametags? Do we need nametags? Oh, the kid. Right. Lunch. Where do we put it? Where? OH MY GOD WHERE DO WE...oh, over there. Whew. WHAT'S THE BIG LIST? There are lists of kids names all over the walls! Which one do we choose? I don't see any circles!

I think this is when most of the parents started to cry. If we couldn't figure out these like, super basic instructions, how will our children do it? Mercifully, my daughter had already located the list, and made a heart around her name, because, you know, she likes hearts better, and was happily playing with several of her classmates.

The teacher rang the bell to let us know it was time to clear out. I had to drag my daughter away from the play kitchen to give her a hug and kiss. My husband gave her his hugs and kisses, and then we loaded the other two back into the stroller.

It was very bittersweet to see my husband standing in the doorway of the classroom, bouncing on his tiptoes trying to catch our daughter's eye for one last goodbye. She never looked up, and after five minutes, we left. We had a few tears on the way home, but were soon laughing when we asked my son what he was going to do without his sister all day. He said, in a very sarcastic tone, "I'm gonna play with all the toys by myself."

Unbelievable. My life has changed again. Walking away from that door was a moment that I'm sure will be imprinted on my mind forever. There'll probably be more tears for me today. I just saw my eaglet spread her wings and fly. Cue the crazy happy-sad crying. I puffy-heart my Clinque waterproof mascara.

Happy back-to-school!