Hi! Remember me? I'll spare all the excuses and get right into it: My baby is now in first grade. This means she is in school all day from 9:10 to 3:25. I know I was supposed to dance my way down the halls when school started, but that was a big no-go. Instead I spent most of the first day fighting off tears. I only gave into them when I was driving. Be glad you don't drive the same roads I do. I ended up exhausted and with a crying headache that I couldn't shake for hours. That first day as I looked around and saw mothers with toddlers out on errands, I wanted to pull them aside and say, "I know it can be hard right now, but cherish this time...it's gone so soon." Good God, I needed to smack myself. I swear, I'm not usually this sappy, but damn I miss that girl when she's gone. She's my best helper and my mostliest companion (5 points to the first person to identify that reference). Sure, she drives me nuts sometimes--have I mentioned the ubiquitous perkiness (the other day she came downstairs with a handful of paper hearts on which she'd written love notes, then skipped and scattered them around all the while chanting: Here comes the Love Lady!) and the incessant talking? But how I miss having her to go places with. She makes me brave. With her by my side, I could walk into stores that would otherwise intimidate me. And she was always up for lunch out, which worked out well since I am all about not making meals.
I experienced these feelings to a lesser degree when David started first grade. I fought tears that day, too, and I remember having to run an errand that took me maybe 10 miles from the school. I felt panicky at being that far away. It somehow felt disloyal. It seemed like he was gone so long each day and it made me feel so obsolete. But, of course, I still had Juliana with me.
I've yet to have any days lying on the couch with a box of bon bons. In fact, I've been busier than ever thanks to my stepped up volunteering with the school and our synagogue. I'm both more committed and free-er than I've been in nine years. I need to get a few regular, weekly commitments to anchor the rest of my days and get me into a routine. Although school has been in session for three weeks, I'm still sort of feeling at looseends some days.
David is in fourth grade this year, and his is a blended class which means he has the same teacher for a second year. That minimized the back to school stress significantly. We waited anxiously for the first grade letter to arrive and the good news is that Juliana was placed in the classroom that I was hoping for. It's taught by two teachers who job share and they seem to be a really good team and clued into the entire first grade experience....not just academics, but social development as well. As an added bonus, Juliana is in the same class as her best friend Shannon. So, really, except for feeling like my heart has been ripped out, I'm extremely pleased.
Indulge me for a quick bragging session. David's teacher recommended that he be tested for the gifted program. She informed Ritu of it on the first day of school. I don't want to say that I doubted my kid was smart, but my first response was: She knows you're David's dad, right? Appparently he scored really high on both the math and reading sections of whatever testing they did last year. I have to say that I was a bit surprised. He always seems to be solidly in the middle of the pack and his school work challenges him, but maybe I've confused the difficulties he has with the physical act of handwriting with meaning he was having trouble with the work. But hey, it's like the Academy Awards around here. Whether or not he scores high enough on the gifted entry test, it's a yooooge honor just to be nominated. It's a great ego boost for my little guy who has had a series of nagging things to deal with (nine months of occupational therapy for fine motor issues, a year of speech therapy). Oh, and not to mention a mother who always thought he was dumb.
And while we're at it, Juliana's teacher pulled me aside to tell me how impressed she was with her writing. They've been doing "personal narratives" and she'll sit down and whip through page after page of writing. She's always been like that. Hell, she wrote a four page story one afternoon while she was in Kindergarten. With David writing was (and is) like pulling teeth, so to have a child who writes for fun just blows my mind.
OK, here's hoping that getting this posted will break the logjam in my blogging.