Sunday, July 28, 2013

The First Grade Blues

Alana started first grade on Thursday. Hugest miracle of the week: I didn't cry. Another huge miracle: neither did she, not until the second day of school anyway. 

I feel unprepared for her to be a first grader. First of all, with the school schedule we are on summer is only 2 short months. And secondly, first grade seems so grown up compared to kindergarten. She already knows how to read and write and stuff, so now school is more about her learning than just having fun. The first graders are all lumped together with the older grades (up to 4th) which seems to be a big jump from having their own playground in kindergarten. Now they're just elementary school kids, not cute little kindergarteners. First grade is old.

Despite my mixed feelings about school starting, we tried to keep it upbeat so Alana would be excited. She had a brand new outfit to wear, a new Sofia the First lunchbox, and a whole summer's worth of socializing to catch up on. She was hyped. I was happy for her, but anxious that she would cry. When given the choice between a kid who happily leaves you and doesn't look back or a kid that cries and begs you to stay and says they don't want to go to school, ALWAYS pick the first one. Its easier and doesn't hurt quite as much.

The first day she was so excited about seeing all of her friends that she kept yelling hello to people that were like 50 yards away. She's nothing if not friendly. Then she lined up with her classmates, some she already knew and loved from last year and some new ones whose names she already knows after two days of school, and walked off into first grade. Just like that. I held strong, no buckets of tears like last year, but that doesn't mean I didn't want to cry. I cried on the last day of school here people, so its not like there's no precedent. 

My girl is so grown up.

When I think about how quickly kindergarten went by it makes me sad. First grade is going to pass just as quickly. Read also: WHY MUST CHILDREN GROW UP SO FAST??? 
The only bummer that Alana sees about starting first grade is that most of her best friends have different teachers this year. In the big picture, where school is supposed to be about learning and crap, this shouldn't matter. You don't need your BFF in your class to be a Reader Leader. In Alana's world though, this is a travesty. She actually cried tonight because her friends have different teachers. She is friends with everyone, and she'll adjust, but for now she is sad even though she sees her friends at lunch and recess and I know their moms so she has playdates with them. 

The hardest part when your kids go to school is just being away from them. It sucks. I'd rather have her here with me, driving me crazy and fighting with Ava and watching Good Luck Charlie everyday, but that won't help her learn to read and make friends and grow up. That's the tricky part. Parenting takes some letting go. And I hate letting go. Its totally overrated.

I had my girl home with me 24/7 for over 5 years, then one day last year I had to send her off for 7 hours a day. Just like that, here you go world, here's my baby. Teach her stuff, then send her back to me in good condition please. Then before I knew it, last year was over. I got her back for the whole summer, 8 weeks. That wasn't long enough, I'd like to request a summer extension. A year should be okay, I'll get back to you. First grade isn't necessary right? I'll just keep her here with me and when we get to second grade we'll re-evaluate things.

 Alana loves learning, but just like me she hates leaving. She wants to make friends, she is a great student and will do everything her teacher asks of her and more. The only catch is that she wishes I was there watching her, learning with her. She doesn't want to have to choose between me and school, it makes her sad to leave me. I know she'll do great though, she just has to remember how much she loves school and I just have to hand her over to her teacher every morning and hope she forgets how much she misses me.

First grade will go quickly I'm sure, and Alana will do just as well as last year. As for me, I'm going to spend at least a part of every day sitting and missing my girl, counting the minutes and hours till its time to pick her up, and waiting for the weekend. Be kind to my girl first grade, and she'll be kind to you.


CatDee said...

For some reason that post gave me goosebumps.
You're a great Mum/ great parents!!!
And tbh Alana is secretly my fav. ;)
She just so..friendly and free and comes across as a nice girl who cares for others a lot!
You've done a great job and I'm pretty sure that Ava and Witten will turn out as well as Alana has!

Greetings from Germany

Kerri said...

I love this post. It's timely for me, as I alternate between being anxiety-ridden and wanting to cry when I think about sending Camden off to preschool in a few weeks. And what's worse-- I'm fairly certain he will be the Please-Don't-Leave-Me-Here crying type and just anticipating that breaks my heart. Why oh why must they grow up so fast?!

Jennifer said...

Thanks ladies! Kerri its 100 times worse when they cry, she has already cried a couple of times and we are on the second week of school, so I can't predict how she'll act the rest of the week. They grow up way too fast! Kat you're right, she is super friendly and nice, she's my lovable girl who is friends with everybody!


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