Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Buddy and Me, We Can Climb up a Tree

After some angst on my part, and cheerful oblivion on his part, Hank started pre-K today. This morning, we packed his Boba Fett lunchbox. He was perfectly happy as we threaded our way through the fiendishly complicated carpool drop-off procedure. Color-coded traffic pattern map of the parking lot. Long, long line of minivans and SUV's. Then, as one of the teachers helped him out of the car, he was struck silent. He looked a little queasy. He went along though.

At this school, the teachers put the kids in the car again at pickup time, no parking and going to the classroom. Which is mighty convenient for the moms, but again, long long line of minivans. I approached the safety cone zone waving my carpool tag against the windshield and scanning for his orange shirt in the group of waiting kids. His teacher saw me right away, and through my open window I heard her say to him, "You said it was a blue car and it is!" She helped him up into his seat and said he had a great first day.

As we drove on, I asked him how it was and he said, "Awesome." Relief! Then he told me all about a game of pretend pirates he'd played on the playground, and how it involved jumping over spikes and also radioactive sludge. I asked him what had gone on inside the classroom. He reported that the snack was apples, and said he couldn't remember anything else. So I did the questioning routine that parents are expert at, and found out that he'd played at all the centers and that the teachers were nice, and everybody liked his lunchbox, even the teachers, he said. Okay, so far, so good.


Sleeping off pre-K

We went home and met Laura, who had a half day of school today, and went to the pool. After swimming a while, I noticed that Hank seemed out of sorts. He acted tired and fractious, not like him. So I took him home and created a nap trap on the couch. I lay down and invited him to climb up next to me, and then I covered us both with a blanket. It worked inside a minute. I may have succumbed myself.

When he woke up, he still had fragile feelings. I think it was just all the newness--new place, new people, new systems--and after a long summer of the familiar and comfortable it was a lot to metabolize. At bedtime though, he said, "I don't want to be tired for the second day of school!"

This morning I was filling out his paperwork, and his teacher had included an index card with the instructions, "Tell me anything you want me to know about your child." I paused over it, and Dad said, "Tell her that he is a golden snowflake, precious and unique in all the cosmos, and that they best be sure to recognize that."

I told him that I need those words made into a rubber stamp. There are a lot of school years ahead of us.

I hope your year is off to a smooth start, my buddies.

15 comments:

Aimee said...

Aww, so sweet.

One thing I miss about Atlanta - good carpool procedures. The elementary schools here are all "walking schools," meaning - in theory - everyone lives close enough to walk, so they expect you to, so there's no good carpool system in place. Considering the number of parents who ignore the walking goal, they really, REALLY need a system...

Michele said...

I kind of felt like Hank after my first day of class last week. This week was so much better. Hopefully, it will be for him also.

Common Household Mom said...

An after school nap is a good thing. My son, a high school junior, fell asleep the afternoon of the first day of school (Monday) while reading his math book.

Hootie said...

Oh man, I live for those "Tell me something you'd like me to know about your child" forms. Because it really means, "Reveal to me something about YOU, which I will divine from your response on this form."

I vacillate between, "My son is bright and personable, but may take a few days to warm up to the new environment," and, "My son's burgeoning superpowers may manifest themselves in startling ways over the next few months... better keep anything containing inert gases at home until at least winter break. Kids, right?"

That's MY way of getting the teacher to reveal something about his/herself.

Sjn said...

I see where you get your writing skills from. Your Dad is quite a wordsmith!

Monica said...

Your Dad's description of Hank made me teary. That's the kind of Dad & Grandpa every kid should grow up with.

I'm very jealous that your pool is open. Ours closed a few weeks ago (except from 4 to 6 pm during the week and some abbreviated hours on weekends) when big-kid school started. All our lifeguards were students. But really? We can't swim in our own pool lacking that supreme level of protection if we sign a waiver or something? Not everybody's life revolves around the school calendar. Just saying.

Elle said...

The ways of school are a mystery to me, but since you brought it up, I would love for you to enlighten me as to the culture:

Two elementary schools here snarl traffic for 1.5 miles in each direction with their snaking pick-up line and facilitators clutching clipboards + 2-way radios in the shoulder lane and what is the problem with parking the damn car to go in & get the children? I mean, my husband works in a secure facility where he would have to somersault down an bankment on the highway if he wanted me to pick him up, but what about school dismissal is so omghz No Visitors?

Michele R said...

Everyone around here was worn out too after first day of school. Youngest has his yearly back-to-school cold too.

Last year my son's 4th grade teacher (fortunately she was just one of three of his teachers) told him one day after he told her I'd be picking him up early for a dentist appt and he thought he was supposed to meet me up front as I had mistakenly advised him of such: "I know you think you're special but you will need to wait for the office to buzz my room before you head to the front office."

My Kids' Mom said...

"Tell her that he is a golden snowflake, precious and unique in all the cosmos, and that they best be sure to recognize that."

-lovely (as is taking a nap with our "babies" again)

Becky said...

I sometimes wonder how much longer he will want to cuddle with his mom. Sniff.

Michele R, "I know you think you're special"?!? Rude, omg. I know you were ticked.

Elle, I don't know why they do it this way, except maybe they think there isn't enough room for all the parents to park at the same time? At L's school I could see that being the case. But she has ridden the bus to and fro since the first day of Kindergarten.

Aimee, I love the walking school idea. I wish we had that here. Not that I really want to walk in all weather...

Hoot, I think you are exactly right that it's the teacher's way of finding out about the parent! Well, now that teacher knows ALL ABOUT me.

Kelly said...

Your dad summed him up perfectly!

Keely said...

I'm still hung up on "color coded traffic pattern map".

Well, of COURSE he's a golden snowflake, I'm sure they need you to tell them things they CAN'T discern for themselves.

crazylovescompany said...

Hi! It's been ages. I haven't found a balance to the whole, working full time, 3 year old, 1 year old, husband who would like acknowledgment now and then thing... But you, you are doing awesome. I just read a few posts since I'm hopelessly behind. You're kids and fantastic. I never tire of stories of Hank and you look great!

Star said...

May the Cosmos bless you all.

Aviva said...

OMG, I just LOVE the "golden snowflake." I may steal that for next year's school paperwork. :)

What is it with the crazy carpool system? And why do they call it carpool when no one at my kid's school picks up anyone but their own kid(s)? Back in the dark ages when I was a kid, everyone either walked or took a school bus. No one got picked up unless they were sick or had to go to the doctor/dentist/etc. (I have to admit now that my kid is a first grader, I can't believe my mom sent me to kindergarten on the bus all by myself. She didn't even wait at the bus stop for/with me like I see the few parents who don't pick their kids up doing these days.)

And grrrr! on Michelle R's son's 4th grade teacher. I'd be tempted to tell her "you bet my kid is special!" ... but probably wouldn't out of fear of ruining the rest of his year in her classroom.