I wasn't too worried about him. He's always loved school. Besides those first few weeks of preschool years ago, dropping him off has always been easy. And it was this time too. He couldn't wait to wear his new "pack-pack."
By mid-week, the story had changed. Wednesday when I picked him up, his teacher pulled me aside to say he had cried at recess, begged to go home. She thought he was overwhelmed, perhaps, by all the big kids. He greeted me with a bounce and a smile. The next morning we had to beg and cajole him to get in the car. Told him we couldn't be late for Parker's first day of school.
She was all smiles, a perfectly cooperative child. Didn't fuss at what I picked out for her to wear, only insisted on wearing pants. Didn't fuss when I did her hair. Ate her breakfast, brushed her teeth, put on her shoes. I only had to ask once. I turned to Josh and said, I have no idea who this child is. She insisted on wearing Fin's backpack for her picture.
Dropped a reluctant, teary brother off at Jr. K. No one tells you how hard this part is. They say you'll be sad, because they are growing up. But no one talks about the anguish of seeing the fear and the sadness and knowing you could just make it stop. You could just pick him up and walk out. But you can't. You say all the right things, he has to stay, he needs to learn, he'll have so much fun, while your throat tightens and you look up to stop your own tears from flowing. He's gotten a little better. He keeps a note in his pocket from me. I tell him he can look at it whenever he wants, that I'll always come pick him up.
She has to wait fifteen minutes for her classroom to open. She paces outside, says good morning to the birds, good morning to everyone who passes by. "I just can't wait!" Makes us breakfast of eggs and pancakes in the playhouse. She says hello to the kids as they wait outside with us. When they don't say hi back, she turns to me, hurt, "Dey aren't saying hi!" She bolts inside the second the door opens, the first one in. I have to physically drag her away from a toy to get a goodbye. She kisses us goodbye and is off again. We stand there, bemused and dazed.
When I pick her up, she gives me a huge hug. Did you have fun, I ask. "Yeah! I pwayed follow da leader, and dinosaurs in da sand, and rang da bell to clean up and had snack." Its ten times the information her brother has ever offered me. The next morning I told Fin to get dressed and he asked me why. I said, because you have to go to school. Parker squealed, "Me too?!" "No, baby, not today." "Awwww! I just wanna go!"
He feigned sickness this morning, a dramatic sniffle and a sad shrug, "I just can't go to school. *sniiifff* see? I'm sick." We went over it again. He needs to go. He'll have fun. I'll always be there to pick him up. Wrote him a new note, drew him a picture. Finally got him in the car with this: "We have to go to school, because you don't know what Mrs.Loranger's favorite ride at Disneyland is!" His eyes lit up. "Maybe its the Matterhorn, Mommy." "Maybe! Lets go ask her." "Okay, wet's go! And wets get her phone answer so we can call her to go to Disneyland with us."