Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School

This morning was the beginning of our new normal around here: Annie at school all day, every day; Jemma at preschool two mornings a week. Back from our weekend up north, I scrambled yesterday afternoon and evening to pack Annie's lunch, get today's clothes laid out, post Annie's new morning routine, and gather all the paperwork and cameras we would need for today so that this morning could go smoothly. We took pictures on the front stoop, like we have every year since Annie was headed off to preschool the week she turned three. Things have changed a little:

She picks out her own clothes now, does her own hair, paints her own toenails, reads the checklist to make sure she has everything in her backpack before she heads out the door. She has friends with whom to walk to school (moms still watching from nearby):

She had a great, long day of first grade. Around 11:15, the time I had to leave the house last year to start walking to pick her up, I felt fidgety and a little sad. It felt so strange not to be getting ready to go get her. It felt odd to eat lunch without her, knowing she was eating at a long cafeteria table with her friends. But she went off with a confident smile and a note in her lunchbox, and she came home telling me her new teacher is "even nicer" than her much-loved kindergarten teacher. She came home exhausted, too, and asked to lie down and rest for half an hour. When I went to check on her, she had fallen asleep the wrong way on her bed, on top of the covers, and was sleeping the open-mouthed sleep of exhaustion that can apparently be brought on by full days of school that last until 3:30. I let her sleep for an hour, then woke her up, and she whimpered her way through dinner, making me wonder if she's getting sick or if the transition to first grade is going to wipe her out even more than I'd anticipated.

Then there was Jemma. She's seemed unsure and less-than-completely-enthusiastic about preschool when people have mentioned it to her in the last few weeks, and she wasn't that happy about having her picture taken on the front steps this morning, either. So I wasn't sure what she'd do when we walked up the steps of the school and went to find her classroom. But she was immediately taken with the fact that she's in Annie's old classroom and made herself right at home in the kitchen while I met briefly with her teachers.

I didn't leave her there for actual school today - that will happen on Thursday - but she did stay long enough to have to use the bathroom (a just-her-size toilet) and wash her hands. While she was sudsing up at the teeny little sink, she said, "This is just my size! What a lucky classroom!" and I hope she'll do OK on Thursday when I kiss her good-bye.

And just like that, it's really fall.

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