Monday, March 10, 2014

One Week In, School is Still a Great Adventure

It should come as no surprise that E1 loves school.

She loves the bus.

She loves the teacher, even though she may not remember her name.

She loves the cafeteria, which is so big and so full of children and noise.

She loves the new books she brought home to work on reading each day, and the activities, and the other children, and the fact that during her first week of school she was appointed timekeeper, even though she's never on time for school.

On Friday, when it had snowed about three inches -- the third weather interruption of a week that had her with an early dismissal on the first day and a snow delay on the second -- she declared that she was not coming to my house, she was going to school.

Mommy told her there was no one there and her teacher was at home in her pajamas.

It's Pre-K and there's a lot to love, and it's still a big adventure that may wear off in another week. Then we'll see if she really likes school and how well it's going to work out for her.

In the meantime, here at Ma's house we've had some adjusting of our own to do.

There's a different pace to the day without E1 to lead the way. And everyone's schedule has been advanced by about an hour in order to get up and get ready for school, which means earlier lunch, earlier naps, a longer evening post-nap, but more time to get ready for any evening activities.

I even took in an extra girl on Thursday, but she was too quiet to take E1's place.

I've missed the tornado of her activity around which her siblings swirl like so much storm debris, sometimes enjoying the thrill of flying and being part of the action, and sometimes wailing as they are dropped for something new. I've missed her endless questions, her joyful "Ma!" when she gets out of the car, even her naptime fidgets which often subside into a blissful slumber once she's threatened with bodily harm.

E2 has missed her most of all, however, as though the sun around which she has orbited her whole life has gone dark. She regularly asks when E1 will be home; will she be here before Mommy; will they go to Awana; to gymnastics; will she be here for snack or dinner. She's learning a new pattern and for just a few hours each day, she's the big sister -- a generally kinder and gentler big sister than she experienced as a toddler. She and "her baby" seem content to play and have lunch, to lie down and take their naps, waiting for their leader to return.

Thursday, her only full day of school (she won't be going on Wednesday yet due to her weekly therapy), she rode the bus home and emerged with the declaration that like the rest of the school experience, it was delightful. When we wound up behind her bus on the way to gymnastics, it was a source of delight to tell her sister all about how that was her bus and she had ridden it to my house just a short time earlier.

The phone call to her mom's work, which her mom feared would be word of a meltdown, was actually her teacher calling to say what a great little girl she is.

So the experiment in school has, at least, begun well. The new experiences have been offset by the routine. She's gone to bed earlier, but had no additional meltdowns. Perhaps the therapy she's already had, from which we've noticed a change, has helped. Perhaps the meltdowns are yet to come. Perhaps she would have been fine either way.

Today we start week two.

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