New School

Posted on | July 17, 2013 | 22 Comments

If you ask J how he’s enjoying his new school, he says he loves it.  He describes his days as “great” and both days he’s come home exhausted.  So it seems silly, I guess, that I’m still so nervous about how he’s adjusting.

On Monday, when I got there to pick him up, he was sitting alone on a swing while the other kids played.  His back was to the crowd of kids and his legs dangled slightly with the toes of his new blue shoes scraping the ground.  I watched him for a moment just to see if he would move, to see if he would suddenly jump up and run play with other kids the way he always seemed to do at his old school, but he didn’t move… he just sat there, head down, on a motionless swing.  It wasn’t until I called his name that he turned, his face lit up and he ran full speed into my arms.

No one said goodbye to him.

Not one child called out his name or waved.

No one seemed to care that my bright, sweet, caring child was leaving his first day of school.

He had on different clothes than he’d had on when I’d dropped him off because he’d had an accident, not at nap time but just while cleaning up his work space.  I asked if he’d made any friends and at first he shook his head no, then told me that maybe a little boy named Elijah might be his friend.

When I asked about inviting any new friends to his birthday party next month, he quietly told me he’d like to just invite his old friends if that was okay.

At his old school, he talked a mile a minute when I picked him up. He told me what he did, who he played with, what he learned. Now when I pick him up, he sits quietly in the back seat and doesn’t answer my questions.  He doesn’t tell me much about what he does other than to say they played outside or maybe that his lunch was good.

Still I take him back, hugging his sweet frame and telling him to have a good day… smiling all the while even though I want to grab the other children and shake them and tell them all that they’re missing out.  I want to yell at them that this is a good friend, a fun playmate, a sweet boy.  I want them to know how special and amazing and awesome he is in every stinking possible way.

Instead, I smile.  I wave goodbye to my special child.  I nod and smile at the teachers and the other parents.

Then I slide into my car, buckle my seat belt, and cry.


22 Responses to “New School”

  1. paralegalmom
    July 17th, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    ((hugs)) change is definitely hard! Montessori will be pretty different from what you guys are used to as well. Our teacher warned us that there’s a 6-8 week transition period with each transition – the move from daycare to school in the summer is one, and then another is the transition from summer ‘camp’ programming to fall ‘school year.’ Try not to worry too much right now; give it a few weeks for you both to really hit your stride there.

    Is your summer programming like the fall? At our school it’s different, and we have 1/10 the kids in summer that we do in the school year. That alone gives a whole different set of kids to play with and make friends.

  2. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    This is the start of their school year so I guess it will be the same until next summer.

  3. paralegalmom
    July 17th, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

    ahh, our school year doesn’t start until Sept. Right now there are 9 kids in the Children’s House (3-5) program. This fall there will be 4 classrooms with 14-20 kids in each. Apparently most of the kids get nannies or something for the summer, so there’s just a handful there. Hopefully over the next few weeks you will both settle in great.

  4. Jenna Sindle
    July 17th, 2013 @ 9:57 am

    it’s hard…A has just started at pre-school and we’re going through our own struggles. A wise teacher friend reminded me that they need at least a month to settle in at this age and that it will all be ok. Hugs to you and J

  5. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    Yeah…. I know. I know it will get better. It’s just hard to feel like your kid is hurting.

  6. Jenna Sindle
    July 18th, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    I’m right there with you. I had the vise-like grip too this morning. And yesterday when I picked A up we talked about why he cried on the days his dad has him and he said “I cry because I want to be home with you, Mama.” I feel like I’ve failed him on so many levels and I hate that I can’t fix it.

  7. KeAnne
    July 17th, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    Oh, K. Hugs to you and your sweet boy. We transitioned to the young 4s on Monday and in late August, we’re moving D to Pre-K at a tiny Catholic school in downtown Raleigh, so I’m anticipating feeling the same way.

    There have been so many times I have left daycare drop-off wanting to cry or crying in my car because I heard a child be mean to D or watching him refuse to smile as I leave. It was hard dealing with this for myself as a child, but it kills me to see my son going through it.

  8. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    I swear it feels worse on me than it is on him. He seems to really roll with it, even if he’s not sublimely happy.

  9. Delia
    July 17th, 2013 @ 11:14 am

    Oh man, being a parent is HARD! These kinds of things are the hardest, if you ask me. He will adjust – they always do. But waiting on it to happen can break your heart into a million pieces.

  10. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    Don’t I know it.

  11. Lola M.
    July 17th, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    Delia is right! It’s harder on us than them. But, I might suggest throwing a backyard party or invite some kids to do something really great like a trip to a bounce house … it’s a great way for him to get started …. and you’ll be a cool mom. 🙂

  12. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    That’s a great idea! We’re out of town the next few weekends but maybe in August.

  13. Carrie
    July 17th, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    He’ll get there. This is one of the best lessons in life. We all have to be stretched and uncomfortable from time to time, it’s good for us. At the end of the day, he’s got you. You are his rock and with that he’ll be able to move mountains. Hugs to you, hang in there!

  14. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    Ugh. I don’t want him to learn lessons. I want him to be perfectly accepted in all ways at all times. 😉

  15. smithe024
    July 17th, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    So tough! I have such a hard time when people think that my kids are anything less than 100% as absolutely fantastic, amazing, and wonderful as I do. I don’t care what people think of me…but I do want them to love my kids. I imagine its tough for J too and the fact that the feelings are new to him and he is not sure what to do with them is an adjustment as well. Perhaps he really doesn’t know how to put them into words and so that’s why he’s so quiet? I don’t know if it would be better or worse to acknowledge to him that this new change might be harder for a while and that he might feel different at his new school for a little while. I also love the idea of throwing a little get together for some of the kids to get to know him. Hang in there!

  16. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    RIGHT? This is my kid. He is fabulous. LOVE HIM AS I DO.

  17. Courtney
    July 17th, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    Same exact thing for us, right down to the birthday party. On day 3 of the new Montessori (at 4.5, after being in a home daycare), I asked my super social guy if he’d made any friends. He said ‘not really.’ I suggested that he pick one kid that day and go up to him/her and say ‘Hi, I’m R, what’s your name.’ He’s done it every day, and loves to tell me the new names and/or introduce me during pick up. Today I was thrilled at today’s drop off (3rd week) to when I heard another little boy announce, ‘Yay, R is here!’ To the gathered group. Definitely harder on us because we remember the struggles of making new friends and not feeling like we belonged yet. You’ll both get there!!

  18. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    That’s a great idea!!! I’ll try that with J.

  19. cindyw
    July 17th, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    We had the same issue when Catie started kindergarten last year. It doesn’t mean it will always be like this, or that the school is bad. Some kids just take a while to find their groove in a new space. (And especially with a new pre-K or kindergarten – it’s new for ALL of them, so all the kids are going through an adjustment phase, not just yours.) Give it a couple of weeks and see how he does, I’m willing to bet it will be a thousand times better.

  20. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

    Oh the school is great. I know it’s the right place for him. It’s just tough b/c most of the kids already know each other so it’s hard to break into the groupings.

  21. april east
    July 24th, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    I have something similar with my girl (who is now 13 and full of life and sass). She has this deep desire (and has since Kindergarten) to be like “the popular kids” … But I’m secretly glad she isn’t like them…many of them are mean, or involved in activities that are way too advanced for their young ages, or they’re just snobby jerks. And still her heart hurts because she wants them to include her. Sigh.

  22. Law Momma
    July 24th, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    It’s so hard being a parent. I have to bite my tongue and restrain myself sometimes because I really do want to be all “MY KID IS AWESOME YOU LOSERS!” But, you know… unproductive. 🙂

    Luckily he’s been really happy this week and I’ve been chopped liver at drop off!

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