As for TJ. Well, the first day of school and the drop off went so well...but the transition has not been an easy one. As of today, we are two days now without tears. He got a Halloween prize from us on Thursday and today for shedding not a single tear. Let me back up and say again that TJ LOVES school. But he does not love lunch and recess. Or, I should say, the process of lunch and recess. His little voice quivers and shivers every time he talks about it. That first week, he came home every day with a full lunch box. My heart broke every time I saw his untouched food and pictured him sitting at the little lunch table unable to open some of it and just too choked up to eat any of it. I hate not being there and I just want to kiss that little neck and be there to make it all okay.
So what about the process is he not cool with? More than missing us, it's the fact that he "doesn't know who is in charge and what he's supposed to do." He's afraid of doing the wrong thing or getting lost or not knowing exactly what to do. He woke up every night that first week crying in his sleep, "where am I?" and "where do I go?" He also verbalized this to us under the covers in a dark room prefaced by "I'm embarrassed to say this...please keep it a secret but...I don't know what I am doing!" Well my heart mended up enough after that to break again when he said he "raised a quiet hand" the whole time at lunch for help and no one came to him. And that's when Tim and I decided that I should go in and "help out" with the kids. Buyers have to put in a code and the PTA was asking for assistance so I gladly signed up. The rest of that week and the next, there were a few other moms helping out too and I just cheerfully opened up ketchup packets and fruit snacks and milk cartons and encouraged those little beings that they were doing the right thing. I admit, I was overwhelmed myself by the number of kids (160+) and the noise and chaos of it all. Of course my 5 year old was feeling unsupervised and unsure of himself. I was too and I'm thirty-...well, not 5!
So, in addition to the aides' direction, I was able to reinforce the specifics of where to go, when to throw trash away, when and how to line up for recess and so on...over and over. Sounds simple, but it really isn't to them. There is a lot going on and a lot that they have to do themselves. I now have 20 new best friends and they all hug or high-five me when they see me. I am officially known as TJ's mom. Friday, my status was upgraded to 'hero' when I saved the day and separated two little kids' backpacks that had become connected at the zipper. I am now the cool kid in class. Finally! : )
Once TJ got the hang of lunch, I didn't want to mess it up by doing it every day and being more of a problem than a solution so last Wednesday was my last one. He's only cried once since then and I think we're gonna be on a roll. So far, this week has been awesome! (And yes, today is Monday.)
I do want to touch on school rules. TJ is terrified of these rules and had a nightmare about them as well. Apparently they drilled them into the kids the first few days and had them scared to death. I'm all for rules, of course. The delivery of them may have been a little harsh. I really can't say though because I am one of many moms and he is one of many kids. Each one of them probably heard them in a different way! Anyhow, TJ had to tell us in private and in the complete darkness of night that he broke a rule....but that no one saw him. Because of this, he was afraid to go the next day. I'm pretty sure he thought a jail sentence was to follow. He even told us that he drew a picture of him breaking the rule with a red 'X' through it so he wouldn't forget to tell us about it. I kid you not! He brought it home the next day. See below. (He is climbing up the slide.)
The next day, I introduced him to the woman in charge. He felt much better and now they are tight. : )
On a different note, TJ's drawing of Killawog and Green Lantern was published in this week's Green Lantern The Animated Series, Issue 6. We are pumped and it was a thrill for our fam. Thanks, Uncle Paul Reese!!!
Since school started, I've been working on painting my old white dresser to fit TJ's style. I'm pretty proud of it and T loves it. I love projects like this.