Surviving the Start of Kindergarten

It’s finally happened.  I can deny it no longer.  The sweet angel that I gave birth to just a few moments ago is starting Kindergarten.  I’m not sure how this is even possible.  She’s still so young.  Even though she can write her name and tie her own shoes and ride a bike, she still looks at me with those huge, angelic eyes, the same eyes that would stare up at me while she nursed, got a diaper change, played with her feet…  She’s still so young that it just seems unreal that she should be ready to start school.

Watching her during kindergarten orientation, I think I felt as many butterflies in my stomach as she felt in hers.  She looked so small sitting on that mat with the other kids.  I watched her listening, eyes wide, taking in her surroundings.  I found myself worrying.

Is she ready?  Will she make friends?  Will she get picked on by other kids or will she make friends quickly?  Will she like her teacher? Will the butterflies subside?

Last Monday was the first day of school, and seeing her with her backpack on and her lunchbox in hand, I felt this terrible sense of pride and loss.  My first baby just isn’t a baby anymore, but look at the amazing young lady she’s growing up to be!

Gabi has done so well the first week.  On the first day, she seemed to be more in shock than anything else.  She didn’t cry, but like that afternoon at orientation, she sat very still on the mat with wide, wide eyes.  The second day, she dashed off to the playground to play when we dropped her off.  The third day she cried quite a bit.  But by the fourth day, she was feeling much more confident.  She talked to the teacher and the other kids, played on the tire swing, and remembered the joke that Charlie the Joke Monkey told the class.  If you’re wondering what the joke was:

What is Charlie the Joke Monkey’s favorite Christmas song?

Jungle Bells.

Hardeeharhar.  Admit it.  Someone out there chuckled.

As with major life change, our entire family has felt a sense of chaos this past week.  Baby Katie has been up even more frequently at night and is clingier in the morning and evenings.  Gabi had a bad dream and wound up in our bed.  But as the week progressed, we seemed to settle into a routine a little more.  We certainly need more that a single week to figure it out, though.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to stay sane:

  • Put all school emails, newsletters, calendars, etc into a notebook so it’s together for easy reference
  • Pack everyone’s lunches and bags the night before
  • Write important things on a Do Not Forget white board that hangs by the door into our garage so I can review it last thing before walking out the door
  • Choose everyone’s clothes the night before and have them stacked up and ready to put on right away
  • Purchased and Erin Condren Life Planner
  • Scheduled an appointment with my therapist

It’s been hard for Juan and I to feel united with all the chaos around us.  It’s hard to be a rock when you feel like you’re spinning out of control, too.  We’re doing our best.  We’re taking one day at a time.  And we’re so proud of our Kindergartener!

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