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Obligatory First Day of Kindergarten Picture (a week late)

It is funny how you can be so ready for something to start and then when it does it makes you immediately long for what you had before. As summer came to a close I thought it was more than time for the school year to start. Our blissful three months of having no obligations, no classes, nowhere to be, no agenda had begun to morph from happy-follow-our-whims to lots-and-lots-of-whining. So on Wednesday, when Pia had her first day of kindergarten, I thought the transition would be smooth and welcome for both of us. I wasn’t prepared for the tears or how empty the house would feel. As most of you know, Pia and I spend 98% of our time glued at the hip. We are a package deal. So while we were beginning to get on each other’s nerves, I guess we weren’t quite prepared to go from ALL of our time together to 7 hours apart each day.

To make the separation even worse, on the second day of school I helped out in the classroom and decided to peek into the cafeteria while Pia had lunch. And I saw her sitting all by herself. A room full of chatting, giggling, squirming 5-year-olds and there was my daughter, off to the end of one table, all alone. It made no sense. A teacher in the cafeteria saw me and asked me a question which alerted Pia to my presence. When she turned to look at me she broke down into tears. I went over to sit by her and for the next 20 minutes I sat with her sobbing in my lap. In between sobs she would choke out things like “I just need mommy and Pia time” and “I want to go home and play dolls with you”. It broke my heart in two. My little girl, all alone and sad at school. I had to mentally glue my feet to the floor to prevent myself from picking her up, carrying her home and promising to home school her all the way through medical school.

Thanks to her “favorite boy”, Jackson* who escorted my teary daughter out to the playground after lunch, I was able to go home without a child on my hip. And when I picked her up at the end of the day she seemed happy, especially when I said we would go right home and play with goop (sand mixed with water in the playhouse). The next day on the walk to school she asked “why did you sign me up for school? I just want to stay home with you.” Heart. Breaking.

This weekend I have been trying to fill her up with mommy love… playing dolls, climbing trees, making goop, cutting paper dolls, whatever she wants. I’m hoping if I fill her to the brim with love and attention then she will be better equipped to handle these first few weeks of school. Though maybe I am just making things worse and actually need to ignore her so that she sees school as wicked awesome in comparison. I know she will come around to loving school very soon, just like she loved 4-year-old kindergarten, but it might just take a few buckets of tears to get there.

*Note to Tea: I am certain that when Pia says “favorite boy” she means “favorite boy at her school” and not “favorite boy in the whole world”. That title is, of course, held by you, her betrothed.


7 responses »

  1. Aw, poor Pia. That’s so very sad for her *and* you. Thank goodness for little boys like Jackson (although now I’ll be keeping an eye on him for sure). I hope week #2 is easier. I bet she’ll soon be skipping off to school without a look back. (So, well, easier for *her* anyway.)

  2. I almost forgot – I love that picture. She’s adorable in her Kindergarten Camp shirt. Clever reflection placement – was that on purpose? I don’t see Kleenex in your hand, so that’s a good sign! 😉

    • I wish I could say the reflection was on purpose, but sadly, just a happy accident. And, alas, week 2 is not going any better. Apparently she was crying most of the day at school. When I picked her up after school she was a zombie and asked to go straight to bed to read books. That never happens.

  3. Tell Pia the other kids at her school don’t know what they are missing by not sitting with her – her cousins can attest to that. And, tell her that each of her Champaign cousins went through the same thing when they began Kindergarten, especially Van. In any case, I hope her second week goes better. And, remember, it really is a testament to you that she wants to be with you – you are a wonderful mother (and sister and aunt!).

    • Thanks Craig, you are so sweet. I keep telling myself this is totally normal… but it still breaks my heart. So much so that in a weak moment I may have promised to home school her. There has been much backpedaling on my part since then.

  4. =( So sad that she’s still unhappy. Do you have the book The Kissing Hand? Tea’s class read it every day for the first week of school and did a bunch of projects surrounding it, so I have heard about it a lot. Tea LOVES it. Apparently, Chester the Raccoon is scared and sad about leaving his mom to go to school so his mom kisses the palm of his hand and tells him that any time he misses her, he can press his hand to his cheek to get a kiss from her, and her love will go into his heart. (This is Tea’s explanation, so it might be slightly different – I haven’t read it.) Sounds like a great book that might help?

    • We have read that book, too, and do the ‘kissing hand’ before she leaves for school. It worked for awhile, but now it seems like her sadness has become it’s own entity, something bigger than both of us. Today she cried for at least an hour before school and couldn’t even eat breakfast. So I sent her to school sobbing and with an empty stomach, but what can I do? It is breaking my heart in two.


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