Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How quickly things change

I went to Papoosie Girl's school today to register Rosebud for Junior Kindergarten in the fall. It seems like yesterday we were registering Papoosie Girl. I remember so clearly heading over to the school so nervous and nauseous over the fact that my baby was going to be in school soon. Rosebud was an infant in her car seat and slept through the entire thing. I remember carefully gathering all the forms and required information before we went. Birth certificate - check - Baptismal certificate - check - Yellow immunization thing - check, check, check. Hubby came home early, it certainly was an occasion.

I remember walking into the school feeling very excited and scared and wondering how on earth is my little baby girl going to manage in this big bad school. It did not help that registration was two months after her third birthday and she was still in pull-ups at the time. I remember the reverence of the occasion and the fact that hubby left work early so we could be there right at 7pm. I remember the irrational, unavoidable things running circles in my head, would they like us, would they like her, would they see the unique, special, gifted girl that we so clearly did?

Once the forms were completed (there were many!) we looked around a bit and met the principal and vice-principal (both women) and felt a bit better about handing over our precious, delicate, no one knows her better than us firstborn; in a few short months. The school is relatively small, around 450 kids at the time and the atmosphere was very friendly. Despite my trepidations I did feel that Papoosie Girl would be in good hands. We left our registration experience relieved and thankful we had several months before September and this started for real.

After our meet the teacher night in early September and our staggered visits to the school throughout early September, it was finally time for her first real day of school with half of the class. I was so much more overwhelmed than I thought I would be. We got her dressed oh so cute in her skirt and top and Dora shoes and strapped on her Dora backpack that was as big as she was. I had a lump in my throat and tried to put on a brave face for everyone, especially Papoosie Girl. Once she was in the little yard, we waited for the bell and watched her walk inside. As you can see from the photo, letting go is so hard sometimes. Parents are not allowed inside at all in her school and what the photos don't show are some parents trying to pry off screaming children from around their necks. How was Papoosie Girl you ask? Fine of course, no tears, no drama, a smile and a wave and she was gone.

Once she was inside I told hubby to head to work, Rosebud and I were going for a walk. After walking and crying for a while I headed to our local grocery store that has a little cafe area. I grabbed a coffee and sat down. Hubby walks in about a minute later, he tried to go to work but decided he needed to see me again, to make sure I wasn't as unraveled as he felt. I remember thinking I have children and they are old enough to go to school, how did that happen? When did she get so big? I say this every day practically, with almost no recollection of the hundreds of times I have said it before. These kids, they get big so fast and each time you realize it - it is like realizing it for the first time again and again.

So back to today. Certainly, this was not an occasion on the same scale as it was for Papoosie Girl. I am a member of the School Council, I am familiar with the school, the principal, secretary and many teachers. I frequently visit the school and certainly do not feel nervous or sick upon entering these halls. I popped into the office, got the forms, filled them out and that was it. Rosebud wanted to visit the fish in the library before we left, so we did. And that was it, done. She is officially registered for JK in the fall. No drama, no anxiety other than I feel really old today. Me, school-age kids, what?

I am sure I will be nervous on Rosebud's first day of school, anxious even at the thought of her starting school. It really is a huge step when school enters a child's life. It is a lifelong relationship they are starting with school and learning. A relationship I enjoyed so much as a child and want to pass along in my girls - badly. I want them to love school, want to learn, be curious, make friends, grow up and save the world - a parent can dream. Actually, my dreams and goals for them are not so important. I want them to realize their own, whatever they might be. I know that a good foundation in learning will take them wherever their hearts desire. If I am measured by nothing else but this, I will have done a remarkable thing in my lifetime.

Today was the first step for Rosebud. Even if the day was not a colossal event of time's past, it was important and I am glad I have recorded it. The relaxed visit to the school today might have been a big change, but that is fine by me. Sometimes change is good.


Gabriella said...

What a beautiful memory. I had tears in my eyes because even though my daughter will only be doing this in another 2 years I can already feel the emotions starting! Thanks for sharing it.

NotSoSage said...

What was that B&P talked about? Pre-emptive nostalgia? That's what this post evoked in me. I'm already anticipating my unravelling (and it's two years away).

Wonderful post.

Haley-O said...

It's so great to have the blogs for recording all this and sharing it. The monkey will be going to nursery school in September, and I'm sure I'll freak out like you did with Papoosie Girl! :)

I LOVE the Dora backpack, by the way!!!

Anonymous said...

Last week I registered Dr. Know for Kindergarten. There is no Junior Kindgergarten here and we skipped over preschool - so it was a BIG step for me. Oh, yeah and for him too. But mostly ME.
I'm going to need you come September to talk me through the whole experience. Already I'm tearing up.
Cute photos. Does that Dora backpack come in my size?

Em said...

Starting school is SUCH a transition isn't it? My #2 is due to start next January and I'm already thinking about it all and preparing myself... (I don't have to register for another 6 months).

bubandpie said...

You're not allowed to go in your daughter's school? Is that just for the first day, or is it every day?

Jenifer G. said...

B&P-Everyday the school is locked and if for some reason you need to go inside you buzz and get let in. You must sign in the office and state your business. There is no "dropping in" to see your wee ones. I volunteer at the school and do the same routine each time.

The Kindergarten classes have their own "yard" it is all concrete mind you, that is fenced in all around. Parents are not really allowed inside the yard other than to pick up or drop off their child. On the first day I did walk her right into the yard.

When the bell rang no parents were allowed into the class at all. We watched them line-up and head inside. They strongly feel that it is better all around to not have parents in the class. The teacher did calmly take a few hysterical kids into the school. I did see a few parents waiting outside still as I left, so perhaps at some point they were allowed in, but I didn't see any.

There was one little boy who got off the bus crying every day for weeks and it was so hard to watch him. His Dad used to drive to the school and park and watch him from a parking lot next to the school. After a few weeks he was fine, but boy was it heart-breaking.

It is so strange to see total strangers with your child. It has been even stranger to witness the influence teachers have had over my child. I am thankful they have all been great so far because you can see how this can easily become difficult. You really lose your sole power of influence when school starts. A whole other topic altogether.

Melanie said...

Thank you for sharing! My first child goes to kindergarten fall of '08. So we start her pre-K preschool in August. I'm not nervous about the preschool. But the fact that I'll have a school ager in a year and a half? I'm freaking out! And I'm a teacher! I just can't picture my baby going off to school. She sure can! She keeps asking me, "Mama, how old do I have to be again...to go to REAL school???" Thanks for the awesome memories.

Mad Hatter said...

This was beautiful, Jennifer. I am a sucker for anticipating nostalgia. I welled up hal a dozen times reading this.