Friday, September 07, 2012
Making it through the first few days of Kindergarten
Alex is super-excited to go off to school. Daddy stays home for the morning so that we can all take her to her first day of school. First, we drop Austin off at his school and then the three of us drive over to Alex's school.
At first she's doing ok in the schoolyard, but I think the mass chaos and sheer number of people started to intimidate her (Did I mention that there are 90+ students in Kindergarten at her school this year? Oh and did I mention that there is only three classes? You do the math on class size.) By the time it was time to go in she was hanging back and clinging to me.
Since it was her first day, we were allowed to go in with her and help her find her cubby. We did. We hung up her backpack and then she started crying and clinging to my neck. It took everything I had to not start crying myself.
After a few minutes of this, her teacher (who I know already and is wonderful) came over, took her by the hand and led her into the class. She was fine. I walked out of the school and was not.
I picked her up for lunch to give her a break on her first day and she was hesitant to go back after lunch but did so without tears. At the end of the day, her teacher said she had a good day.
The first words out of Alex's mouth when she woke up this morning were 'I don't want to go to school today'. Uh oh, bad sign.
So, being a good mom, I pumped up how much fun she was going to have. She reluctantly agreed to go and off we went -- first to Austin's school and then to hers.
As we arrived at her school, I reminded her that she now had to go in by herself -- it wasn't the first day so I couldn't go in with her. As soon as we got to the Kindergarten doors, the clinginess started. The mass chaos of parents and students intimidated her and by the time it was time to go in she was in tears, even though a little girl she knows offered to hold her hand as they walked in
I had to go into the lobby area with her (only because we were blocking the doorway) and she cried and cried and cried. She refused to walk through the second set of doors. She cried harder and clung longer than she had the first day. I kept telling her I couldn't go in and that she could do this, I knew she could. She kept crying. And then she broke my heart by saying to me 'mommy I'm trying to be brave but I just can't do it'.
After about five minutes, her teacher came and found her and took her by the hand. She reluctantly went over to her classroom. And I made a quick exit and was given hugs by two moms I know who waited for me and watched the ordeal.
I'm sure when I pick her up today, I'll be told she had a good day. She always gets anxiety when she has to walk into something new but gets better once she's there. And sometimes something is new many times before it's familiar. Which means on Monday, we'll likely be back at square one.
And so, it may be awhile still until she can work up the courage to be brave enough to walk through those doors by herself. And until then, I have to be brave enough to encourage her to keep going.