Monday, August 24, 2009

Caleb's First Day of Kindergarten

Silas Willard Elementary School, built it 1912. Silas Willard was one of the founding fathers of Galesburg, and he helped bring the railroad here. Most famous alumnus? President Ronald Reagan, who attended first grade here in 1917-18. How cool is that?

This was the on the Friday night before school. The kinder and 1st grade teachers open up their rooms so you can bring all your supplies in, find your desk, meet the teacher, etc. This was especially nice because on Monday we had to say our goodbyes outside and not accompany them into the building! Too many clingy parents equals chaos, I'm sure. I was a bit of a basket-case that night though... quite a few tears, and I even lost the ability to make any kind of coherent comment to anyone, or even to look around the room much. I just love all things about school, and am so excited that he is at this stage in life!

On Sunday night, before the first day, we took the boys to play in the playground area. We also showed Caleb his teacher's name on the sidewalk, where he would be lining up in the morning.

This is the morning of, in front of our house, with his Transformer backpack.

His teacher, who we were thrilled to get, sent a letter in the mail last week that included nametags for the kids to wear this morning. Her classroom theme is "Clifford". I actually forgot his nametag, and when I walked up to his line I panicked. (How bad is he going to feel without one? Will they not learn his name all day? What will they think of me for forgetting it?) Fortunately, we had enough time that Weston was able to run home and grab it. And actually, being so flustered about that helped me not to over-emotionally invest in what was actually happening... my baby going off to school!

Caleb honestly did great. He has been SO looking forward to it, and so excited for months. He never expressed one worry about anything. His aide came by in line and asked the kids if they were ready for a fun day, and he responded, "I couldn't wait!" He was the picture of calm independence this morning. But while standing there waiting in line, still was sweet enough to give me a few extra hugs, as if he sensed I needed them. Then he marched right off in line without even looking back.

We really tried to focus him on being kind and friendly to the others in his class who might be feeling a little sad today, and he seemed to love to take on that challenge.

And the sweetest moment? I had read "The Kissing Hand" to him a few days ago, rephrasing the parts about the raccoon actually being nervous and worried to go to school (Do you realize that most 'going to kindergarten' books are about this anxiety? Since Caleb didn't express any, I certainly didn't want to introduce him to the concept!) And the basic theme of the story is that the mother raccoon kisses her son's palm, and wraps his fingers around it, telling him he can touch his cheek with his hand whenever he wants to be reminded of her love for him.
So of course I kiss his hand and tell him he can do the same. Cute story. But this morning I wasn't even thinking much about it, and as he is standing there in line, he looks at me and smiles, and holds his little hand up to his cheek.

When we picked him up at 11:30 (short day today), he was all smiles, and had nothing but great things to say. He is very much looking forward to Day 2, and especially to eating lunch there!

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