Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chloe's First Day of School

Chloe became a kindergartener yesterday. It was rough. Mostly for me. I have been beyond nervous about the thought of her being gone 8 hours a day (8:00-3:30, but we have to be there around 7:45 so she's not late) and only being around me for about 3 hours a day. What if the world teaches her things I don't want her to know? I know I want her to be a capable, caring, independent adult, and she won't be able to if she hasn't ever had to do hard things, so this is good for her. I just keep telling myself that. These situations are good for her, and for me. She's growing up, and that's hard. I remember her as the tiny little baby that made me a Mom, not this big kindergarten girl.

I said this on my Instagram page on Saturday. It pretty much captures my feelings exactly, so I wanted to post it here. Today I had a mommy-daughter date with the girl that made me a mommy. We went back to school clothes shopping and out for hot fudge sundaes after. She told me she's mostly excited for kindergarten but she is scared of one thing..that everyone will laugh at her. She has told me me this fear before and it breaks my heart every time. It's the reason she is so shy and never speaks except on a much smaller level. She is getting better, but I'm terrified for her. The other night I cried myself to sleep thinking of her having to sit alone at lunch or play alone at recess because she is too afraid to make friends. I want her to become more brave and able to deal with these situations but I also just want to scoop her up and keep her at home with me forever. I don't know if I could ever be excited for back to school.. I'm mostly scared out of my mind and heartbroken. It's an awful combo. And while I wish I had some adorable pictures of just me and Chloe together on our MMD, I wanted to take it all in and not have any technology get in the way. I will always remember me saying- ooh, this dress is cute! And her replying, Yeah, I think I want to buy that one. (About every. single. thing!) 

Sunday night, Cody gave her a father's blessing for school. It was perfect and I bawled through the whole thing. He said that she "will be a leader in school…" and "teach those around her." That helped my heart to feel like she'd be ok. I kept thinking, "She's got this. She's got this."

On Monday morning, we snapped a few pictures and walked over to the school. (Side note, I'm going to have to take like 4 showers a day because even though the school is only across the street, it's HOT and HUMID outside! I can't wait to walk over in November when it's cool!) We found her classroom and said hi to her teacher. She sat down in her desk and got that nervous, scared look on her face. She was trying so hard to be brave and I just wanted to hold her and tell her to let out a great, big cry to get it out of her system. Of course she would never do that, but it would've been nice if we could've cried together!I knelt down beside her and asked if she was ok, and if she was happy. She said, "…kind-of…" Which in Chloe talk means, "I'm actually really nervous but I don't want to tell you… I almost started crying again, but Cody tapped my shoulder and told me I had to leave. Chloe wouldn't let go of my hand. Again, holding back tears. We walked out and walked home and then the phone calls and text messages began, and a friend even brought me a drink from Sonic as a pick-me-up. People are good. My brother, Noah, has been calling me a lot to get me through it. He kept saying, "It's hard. That's what being a parent is. But you can't raise kids. You're raising adults. They have to do these things so they can become the adult you want them to be." I spent a lot of time looking at this picture I have in our home - 
It's true for her, too. I want her to be a strong tree, even though I'd much rather her be able to stay under the shade of the mama tree and not have to deal with the harsh winds, rain and sun. 

We tried picking her up from school and it was pretty stressful and hard. I know it's the first day, which is always crazy, so I hope it gets a lot easier. Chloe's teacher gave us a green sign with her name on it. She said if we drive to pick her up, we have to have that sign, but if we walked up, we didn't. So I didn't bring it. When we walked up to the school, I saw all these other parents standing around holding their signs like they're drivers waiting for people at the airport. You can't really see into the school, and they didn't let any of the kids out unless they see your sign, so I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if she was standing right there and would see me walking away to sign her out from the office and think I was leaving her? So I just stood there until a woman came out and said they had taken the rest of the kids into the gym. I went to the gym and looked around. She wasn't there. I went to the front of the school where they said the rest of the kids were..She wasn't there. By this time I was freaking out. More for Chloe than for me. I knew she was there somewhere, but I was hoping she wouldn't be scared or think we weren't getting her and she was alone. 

Preslie has to wear her backpack every day when we walk to school. I always end up wearing it home..

I went in the office and they were worried I hadn't found her, so they were about to call her over the loudspeaker when she walked up with a faculty member. I saw her and said her name and they just let her go to me without showing ID or doing anything. So I was glad I didn't have to actually do anything, but I was also thinking, "Don't ever do that again! Don't let someone just walk out with my baby!!" When she walked up, she seemed SO much older. I know that's crazy because it had only been 8 hours, but she just seemed different. Like she's really not a baby anymore.

I started asking her about her day, and it all was sounding awful. She said they had recess but she couldn't play at all because there were so many kids and they weren't listening to the rules and would push her out of the way and she never got to go on the swings, "and the swings are my FAVORITE part." (Today as we were walking, I told her if someone pushes her out of the way to go down the slide or do something on the playground, to push them back and take her turn. Preslie looked at me like I was crazy and said, "But that's NOT NICE!" …Is it took soon to be teaching them to stick up for themselves?) I asked her how lunch was and if she talked to anyone. She said, "No. You have to be quiet during lunch. They won't let you talk." She also excitedly told me, "I made a friend! I don't' know her name, but she's nice." She said the girl had come up to her at recess and said, "Do you want to play with me?" Oh, my heart went out to that little girl and her mama when she told me that! I kept thinking, I'm sure they've been practicing that ALL week just like we have! Please, oh please tell me you said yes for the sake of that little girl and her mom!!! So I asked Chloe what she said, and she replied, "I said 'I don't know. There's way too many kids out here to even do anything.'" I could not stop laughing. I was like-Chloe!!! You have to say yes! Tomorrow, you have to ask that little girl to play with you! She wants to be your friend! I told her that they didn't have to play on the playground if there was too many kids. They could make up a fun game like she does with Preslie. Chloe said, "Oh, but I never remember that!" I told her it would be ok, she would figure out something, and next time, just say yes!! Preslie asked her what her friend looked like and Chloe said, "She had on a cat shirt and I think pants. Yeah, pants. And she wore long, brown hair." Haha! :)

She said she didn't have a water bottle (I didn't know they needed one) and couldn't get any drinks because their class was too far away and she said she kept telling her teacher and she kept saying no. She also said she raised her hand a lot and talked loud (usually she only talks right in the teacher's ear) and later when she was going to bed, I said, "I'm so proud of you, Chloe." She said, "I am, too. I didn't even remember I could talk quiet. I just talked loud and it was fine!" She's so awesome. 

After the crazy pick-up rush was over, we drove back to take her teacher a first-day of school gift.

Teacher gift

 I was glad to have a minute to talk to her about what was going on. I had e-mailed her on Sunday night about some of my concerns, and when we walked in she had just started e-mailing me back, so she was glad, too. Her teacher, Mrs. Williford, said she was so impressed and she had a great day. She said after reading my e-mail she figured she would be very reserved and quiet, and she actually raised her hand and participated a few times. She also said she felt awful about not letting her get water, but that she was scared she would get lost because the water fountain was far away from the class. She thought about having her go with a buddy, but then she knew all the kids would want to go. 
I could not stop laughing when she told me - "At snack time, we had animal crackers, and Chloe raised her hand and said, 'I'm gonna be reaaaal thirsty after I eat these animal crackers.'" Hahaha!! But the poor girl still couldn't get any water!

Oh, Chloe. You are my perfect little kindergartner. It's only going to get better from here, sweet girl.


LynnEl Springer said...

What a great GREAT blog post! I loved every word and will read it again and again! It was so fun to talk to Chloe again last night and to hear about her day! I'm so glad she was willing to talk about it with everyone, including me! Preslie is so darling in the pictures - wanting to be a part of the activities and such a little model. She and Charlotte will become even greater friends now too! Beautiful pictures of a wonderful first day of Kindergarten! I love that you said that Chloe had grown up and seemed older in just 8 hours! Wow! I just want to cry with happiness and a little sadness! What a fantastic family you have!

Amy said...

Love love love love love love love love love love love.

Karen M. Peterson said...

I'm glad she had a good first day. The sweet girl! I hope she learns that girl's name today!

Marlena Christensen said...

I remember having good friends and not knowing their names for a while :) Picking her up sounded super stressful and you handled it great. I would have lost it!

Ash Kelley said...

You have such beautiful girls! And it'll get better, she'll meet more girls that she won't remember their names (my kids do this every year :) and she'll start to like recess. It's a lot to take in for the kids and the Mom. You're doing great and she's so darling she'll get into the swing of things in no time and maybe her teacher will let her get a drink! And double score living across the street from the school!! That's awesome! (I hear you on the nasty humidity, we're almost a mile from school and we walk/bike and I am drenched by the time I get there, yuck!)


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