Wednesday, September 03, 2008

T minus... oh wait. Here we are, already.

Hm. I guess my countdown kind of fizzled.

The Bean's first day of first grade, yesterday, went very well. The big change for her is that it's a full school day. Kindergarten was a half day. She's ready, but I think she may also be tired for a couple of weeks. It's longer than she usually has to focus, or sit, or interact with new people.

Actually, the biggest change for all of us is getting going in the morning! We didn't have many planned morning activities this summer, and the girls got used to hanging out in their pajamas, reading and playing quietly before breakfast. I don't think we got downstairs before 9:00 AM all summer long, until we did a week of nature classes at the natural history museum. Any discipline we gained from that was thrown off along with our internal clocks on our California trip. So we did a dry run on Monday to practice, set out clothes the night before to save morning time, things like that. It's working fine. (However! I have got to get to sleep earlier than I have been.)

I got the Bean a simple alarm clock so she won't worry about not waking up on time. We decided that if she gets up at 7:30, that's plenty of time. She set her alarm for 7:15, just in case.

Very early -- criminally early -- yesterday morning, I felt her staring down at me as I slept. I cracked an eye open. (Sometimes, standing completely still and staring at me like that, she briefly reminds me of those girls in The Shining. If she would just blink, or something!) Then a whisper: "Mommy did you forget about the first day of first grade?" "No, Bean," I whispered back. "Right now it is 5:52 on the first day of first grade. We don't have to get up until 7:30, remember?" "Oh." she went back to her room. I heard her alarm go off at 7:15, and heard her turn it off. At 7:18 she appeared, fully dressed, teeth brushed, and wondering if it wouldn't be helpful to wake up her sister? (Um, no. No thanks.)

So I guess we don't have a morning problem with the Bean, though the novelty will soon wear off.

After school, she took my hand as she got off the bus. I'm happy she still does that so naturally. "So BEAN!!!" I said. "How was your first day? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!" And she said, "good."

That's it.

I have learned that I will never get a linear narrative about how her school days go. So I turn it into a joke, and ask a thousand questions, most of them ridiculous, being a general pest until eventually she starts talking just to contradict me. "We did NOT ride an elephant at recess! We played good guys and bad guys!" "OHHHH, why didn't you say so! Who were the bad guys?" And so on. I would rather annoy her than have her think I'm not interested in the details :).

Today was the Peanut's turn -- she started preschool this morning. She's been psyched for it ever since her sister was going there and she'd cry because she couldn't stay, too. So the past few weeks have been a very exciting build-up, and she's been literally jumping up and down as she tells people she's going to PRESCHOOL! And she WIPES HER OWN BUM! Yeah, well, what can I say. It's a major accomplishment, and she's proud. It's all good.

So I wasn't expecting this from her, but last night, as I was lying in her bed with her to say goodnight, she burst into tears... full-blown, grieving, wailing, tears. "I DON'T WANT TO BE WITHOUT YOU!!!" she sobbed. We'd been talking about what a nice day we'd had together at the beach after the Bean went to school. She said that was her favorite part of the day, and then she just lost it. I held her close, murmuring about all the wonderful things she was going to get to do at preschool, and that if she felt homesick, she should say to herself, "Mommy loves me, and she'll be here soon," because preschool is only for the morning, and then we'll be together again. Eventually her sobs became shudders, then sighs, then she was asleep in my arms.

This morning: none of that. Everything went fine. But twelve hours after she cried her heart out at the thought of leaving me, I had my own sobfest in the car over leaving her. I don't want to be without her, either. Oh, my Peanut. I'm so glad we still have Tuesdays and Thursdays together. Oh yeah, and every afternoon. Preschool is a big step, but it really isn't a lot of time apart.

Now I'm off to pick her up... she'll tell me All About It. Later we'll meet the Bean's bus, ask her how the second day of first grade was, and she'll say, "good."

So it is, Bean. So it is.


  1. that's what my kids said! But eventually they came out with stuff. eerie, isnt it? the quiet.

  2. Were we counting? I'd chosen to let your crankiness slide.

  3. Such a lovely slice of parenting life; thanks for writing it!