New Beginnings

I enjoyed our discussion about blogging yesterday. It sounds like we’re all pretty much on the same page. We’d rather send and receive feedback through email instead of going back and forth in the comments. I’m interested in the Disqus system that Emily mentioned. I commented on her blog today using it and it seems fairly straightforward for the commenter. I need to do a little more research on how it works for the blogger.  Maybe Emily can put her teaching skills to good use and tell us more. I’ve also learned that Blogger doesn’t seem to be email friendly. Come on over to the WordPress team, friends! 😉

So what am I talking about today? How about this quotation:

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.  ~Edgar W. Howe

Well now, I don’t know about that, but I do know that for the first time in almost nine years, I will soon have three days a week that I won’t be with my children or someone else’s children. A friend asked me what I was going to do when my youngest two start three-day kindergarten on Monday and I had no answer. For the first few weeks I have plenty to do around the house, but after that? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with myself! I may be taking inventory at Target on a more frequent basis!

Today we worked on our school supply lists.

Dear Smokey the Bear, I’m so sorry for the trees who gave their lives so that my children could have 4 packs of notebook paper, one composition book, four packs of construction paper, ten packs of pencils,  five boxes of Kleenex, and 4 boxes of wipes.  Maybe we can plant a tree or two in memory. Love, Whimzie

Deforestation aside, I love buying school supplies. I’m not sure if it’s that I enjoy checking things off of lists or if it’s that the unused bottles of glue and unsharpened pencils feel like shiny New Year’s Resolutions that haven’t been broken yet. That whole “fresh start” feeling is intoxicating to me.

Tonight was kindergarten orientation. Ours is a small and fairly new school and my youngest two are the first set of twins in the school’s history. You’d think maybe we could get an extra “novelty discount” or something, but the board didn’t go for that. Originally I thought they should be in the same class and the school supported my right to choose that option. But tonight, as I watched my little girl find her name on the balloons taped outside her new kindergarten room, I realized that something was bothering her.

“Don’t you like your new room?”

“I like the room, it’s just that…” She looked down at her sandals.

“What is it? Whatever you’re thinking, it’s okay. You can tell me.”

“Well,” she said in a quiet voice that I had to bend closer to hear, “I thought it would be fun if  (her brother) and I were in different rooms this time.”

Ever feel twenty feelings at the same time? Right then, I felt like I’d missed a big question on the motherhood test. I shouldn’t have insisted that they be in the same room. What was I thinking?

But right then I also knew exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking about her brother. He’s not as sure of himself as she is. Although she doesn’t speak for him and in preschool you never found them in the same centers or at the same snack table, her presence in the room islike a safety net for him. He’s going through a fearful stage right now. He never wants to be more than a few feet away from another person, and she’s always been there for him….from even before they were born.  I thought having her in the same class would make the school transition easier for him.

But she’s ready to spread her wings and get a little bit of distance. This move she begged for her own room. Her dad and I decided that it was probably a good time to let her have her own space. I know that it’s not that she loves her brother any less. At random times throughout the day it isn’t uncommon to see them holding hands or laughing together.  I understand her need for places and people that belong just to her. He needs to find his own way, too. I just can’t help but ache a little for him.

She and I went to her teacher and she told Mrs. D how she was feeling. Mrs. D said that moving her to the other kindergarten room would actually help even out their numbers. We walked across the hall  and met her newer new teacher and she showed my little girl where she would sit.

I’m probably making it a bigger deal than it really is. I bet that before the second hour of the first day he won’t even notice she’s not there. Maybe the bigger deal is mine. I’ll know she’s not there. It feels like we’ve turned a little corner. The times they are a-changin’.

So Monday it begins…We’re all going to have to figure out what in the world to do with ourselves.

I know we’ll start by taking our obligatory “first day of school pictures” by the front door. I noticed that my college friend Sara takes a first and last day of school picture and on the first day picture the kids indicate by a show of fingers what grade they’re beginning. I think we’ll try that this year, but how many fingers do you hold up for kindergarten?

I want to know if you have any “first day of school” traditions. Do you eat a special breakfast? Do something special after school? Or did your family do something fun for the first day of school when you were little? Discuss.



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14 responses to “New Beginnings

  1. Wow…Kindergarten already, huh? Cute! My youngest is going in 1st grade!!

    We don’t have any traditions here because my kids have all been homeschooled from the beginning!

    But, now that I think about it, I should do something special for their “first day” back to the grind!!!!!!

  2. We only have two first day traditions. We always take pictures and we have pancakes and sausage for breakfast. My son started 8th grade this year and thought he was entirely too old for pictures but he humored me anyway.

  3. This was our first year to do the “first day of school” as my oldest started Kindergarten, too. 🙂 We homeschool right now, so I tried to do a few things to make it special – the first day of school picture in front of the house, we had a special dinner that night and she picked her favorite muffins for breakfast that morning. And, I bought her a new dress to wear for the first day. (She needed one and it made the day special to have something new to wear). 🙂

    And three whole days by yourself a week … I think we are doing the right thing for our family by homeschooling, but I have to say … that sounds pretty fabulous. 🙂

  4. Three whole days by yourself…days when you can clean and nobody messes it up for at least a couple of hours? Grocery shopping without a little person wanting something? Wow! I am so very jealous! 🙂

    I’ll be thinking of you as your little ones start kindergarten. It is always a big adjustment on the mommy heart. If it makes you feel better, mine is going into 7th grade. Prayers needed please! 🙂

    Happy Friday!

  5. Amy

    I’m looking forward to blocks of time alone this fall, too! Ah, the possibilities. . .

    I thought you were describing the temperaments and personalities of my children! We will have the same situation in a few years, although I had already considered requesting separate classes.

    I love this idea for the school pictures, but can’t shake the mental image of kindergarteners trying to make a K with their fingers. It will look like they’re flashing gang signs.

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  7. We do the picture thing outside the front door. My son doesn’t necessarily smile for these anymore. But my dtr wants to make sure I got the best shot possible.

    We usually do a special b’fast (ahem…there might be sugared cereal involved, or not) of their choosing.

    I also try to take that beginning picture of child and teacher at a time other than the first day, because s/he’s usually swamped. The teacher, not my kid, even tho, dangit, I need a picture of the moment! Because I am a good, memory keeping mom.

    I am also very adept at signing all permission slips and homeworks logs for at least the first 3-5 days of the new year. After that, I’m like the Taz, spinning around each morning with a lunch bag in one hand and a cup of coffee and soggy papers in the other.

    Our milestone this year is middle school for the girl. So unlike kindergarten, I’m not sure how welcome I’ll be in the classroom at all. I’ll have to wear a clean outfit and do my hair and make up. Then, we’ll see.

    I know…longest comment ever, but you told us to discuss. Now…I’ll finish by saying…well done, you for giving both twins roots and wings. Even when it’s hard.

  8. Wow, I remember that first day of Kindergarten for my third and final. Lets just say, there were tears. And this year he will be a senior. Oh dear, I feel the tears. Ugh
    We always took the first day of school shot on the porch too. And he puts up with us as we continue it still. We also measured their height at the beginning of a new school year, not sure why. Ha
    The Hubby would make a hot breakfast which would end up stuck to the plates until I got home later in the day because I would be so excited to be without children I wouldn’t make it back home until later in the day, in fact often right before I had to go back and get them. Kind of my first day of school tradition.

  9. three-day kindergarten? I have never heard of that but I think that is a great idea. I think having the kids go all day, 5 days a week like schools do here is just too much! I am in graduate school now but our only first day of school tradition growing up was the pictures 🙂 I cannot believe what I wore some days!

  10. Goodness, my heart is aching a little too for little man. I totally get Princess Diva’s needs, too and that’s what makes it especially hard, huh?!

    I’ll be saying a special prayer for all of you on Monday!!
    I always always try to make a HUGE deal about our first day even though we homeschool.

    I even stay up late the night before school starts so that there are surprises that they haven’t seen yet when they wake up, a scavenger hunt for their supplies, a goody bag…extra fun stuff.

    We also have a picture beside their desks and a special breakfast…

    We also have a “self-portrait” time. Each year on the first day they always draw a picture of themselves while looking in the mirror…precious to me (and this year I’m framing them for the school room, yay!)

    This year I’m writing them each a letter on the first day of school and putting it on their desk to read…just wishing them a great year and telling them something special to me about them.

    I’m SOOOOO excited!

  11. I can’t believe a school down here has 3 day kindergarten! We didn’t have a choice because we went to a public school. It was not only 5 days a week, but 7:55-3:00. We don’t have to worry about those hours now that we are homeschooling. We usually do the typical 1st day of school picture. I think starting this year we are going to order pizza from our fav pizza joint the first day of school. I need to hurry up and decide when that’s going to be!

    Your kids sound so sweet! I hope they have a great school year! I hope you enjoy your free time! I was at Target today & it didn’t give me the normal happy feeling it usually does.

  12. carpoolqueen

    I do a big breakfast and then I brush their hair for perhaps the only time that year. We take a picture. Two out of three smile.

    And then I go get a pedicure and/or a massage right after I drop them off.

  13. I always loooved school supplies. The pencil boxes when we were kids were so much classier than they are now! I used to spend hours rearranging everything in it. And who could forget picking out a new Trapper Keeper?

    Come to think of it… decades later, I still enjoy office supplies, so once a nerd, always a nerd, I guess!

    I have my school book of photos and things my mother kept for me– so keep up on the memory-preserving. The Snoodles will be glad of it someday.

  14. Lynda

    Hey Amy, I checked in on you to see if you had moved….seems like last we had “talked” you were moving. Anyway, saw this post about twins going to kindergarten. John & Grant started separate classes at Kindergarten year also. It was a great move! I hope it goes well for both of your little people and you. It makes for more administrative details, like diff snack weeks, coordinating birthday treats & parties in 2 diff rooms, field trips, etc., but I saw my guys emerge as complete people at that level. Without having to observe them in the same situation, you can be more objective about who your child is in a normative setting. They are in 2nd grade this year & still separate. The hardest part (for all of us) has been the result of their having different friends. One child is more social & gets invited to sleepovers (yes, already). While the other one really would be uncomfortable with sleeping over at someone else’s home, he feels slighted. It’s tough, but we’re encouraging them to be themselves, unique as that may be. For now, it’s working. As you know already, things can change quickly! I’ll keep you posted. Hope you’re doing great and finding a minute to read something fun! Lynda

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