Manic thoughts from a first time Kinder Mom
For years when the back to school photos would start to circulate, I would tear up thinking about my babies, but I would also feel myself being slightly envious. Amidst the tears and the tantrums and the diapers, it seemed the school stage was lightyears away and I thought I would be jumping for joy a little when we got to that stage, because it meant I could finally breathe just a little more.
WELL, let me tell you. I just dropped my oldest off at full day kindergarten yesterday and there was no jumping for joy and there was no breathing. There was depressed, psychotic, manic behavior…all day long. Please excuse the drama, but these were my legitimate thoughts throughout that day. I knew they were crazy when I was having them but they felt real none the less. They were so absurd that I just had to write them down…
430AM I wake up with a pit in my stomach, today is the day. I feel like I am going to throw up. My baby cannot possibly be old enough to be away from me for 7 hours a day. Why is the school day so long? They can’t possibly need THAT much time.. She springs out of bed, ready to go an hour before we have to leave, I am getting more anxious by the minute.
Driving to school, Rocky wanted an upbeat song because she was so excited, I wanted to play something depressing. It Won’t Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker anybody? No? Okay.
We are pulling up to the school, my heart starts pounding. I calmly get her out of the car and walk her to the door. Kids everywhere, drop off is chaos. I don’t know what exactly to do or where to tell her to go. I don’t like this. Panic. Maybe I will just take her back home and try again tomorrow. Who needs Kindergarten anyways. She sees a friend and gets excited, dang it.
A teacher announces that all the kids can now enter through the door to walk to their classrooms, she looks back at me a little confused since she’s not sure where to go, I nudge her along and tell her a teacher will help her. But really I just want to take her back to the car- why is there nobody helping her right now? How are they supposed to remember where to go? What is this god awful place?? Breathe Jill.
She walks in and I turn back to the car when I can’t see her anymore, trying not to hyperventilate.
I wonder if she made it in the classroom. What if she got lost? What if she is left all alone wandering the halls crying because she never found her classroom? What if she thinks I abandoned her?
Get it together Jill.
I get in the car. Dont cry dont cry dont cry. I am trying my best to hold it together, if my 4 year old sees me sob she will wonder what is happening to her big sister on the inside of that building and will not want to come back for preschool drop-off tomorrow.
My husband (who drove because you know, notice all the hyperventilating, not safe to drive) pats me on the leg and says- “you did a great job, she is going to be fine”. I want to punch him in the face.
The whole drive home the panic continues in my head: What if she gets overwhelmed? I should have waited around longer. I should have given her more direction on where to go. What if she gets in trouble? She’s a good kid, but she is chatty. What if she gets yelled at on the first day for being chatty and decides never to talk again? Kindergarten is the worst.
Husband goes to work. Me and the 4 year old decide to hit up a Target and spend our feelings and eat cake pops. I don’t feel any better.
We get back home and I look at her first day of school picture for a while that we took earlier that morning. She has a cute little choker necklace on and a skort, gosh she is so cute. OH NO. I think there was a dress code thing about jewelry. And is her skort too short? Will she get scolded? I am the worst mom, sending her in inappropriate clothing on the first day! Goes into bathroom and cries.
I checked the photo app to see if the teacher posted any pictures. Nothing. It’s been three hours into the school day …WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN? You don’t have time amidst wrangling a classroom of 5 year olds to put up a picture? How rude. She has got to be safe in her classroom, right? Can’t the teacher just put up ONE picture so we know they are okay? Surely she must know how unstable kindergarten moms are. We are so unstable. Cries some more.
As the day goes on I am in a haze. I wander from room to room knowing I should be doing something. Working, organizing, cleaning..ANYTHING but I literally cannot do anything. My 4 year old plays quietly with her toys most of the morning and leaves me to my awkward anxious presence. Until she randomly starts crying about missing her sister and then we sit down and hold each other and cry together. It was a sad scene.
Lunchtime rolls around and I wonder if Rocky is eating all of her food. Was her sandwich soggy? Did her yogurt stay cold? What if it didn’t stay cold and she gets sick from eating warm yogurt? Cries some more.
Oh no, she always poops after lunch. Will she be able to poop at school? Will she be embarrassed? Will she announce to the whole classroom that she has to poop? What if she poops her pants? Will somebody help her? Will she be able to reach the sink? Will she miss an entire lesson because she takes forever to poop?
Get it together, Jill.
2 hours until pickup time, I put my 4 year old down for her nap. Maybe I will nap too. I need to shut off my brain. I try to lay down and my brain just ramps up even more.
Is she tired? She’s never been out of the house this long before. Do they have any downtime? What if someone is being mean? Good lord what am I going to do when it’s time to drop her off at college? Starts sobbing thinking about college.
Have we raised her right? Does she know what to do if someone needs help? Will she be kind to others? Does she know how to stand up for herself? Did we teach her enough?
My four year old wakes up early from her nap, we leave to go pick up Rocky. School doesn’t get out for another hour but I don’t care I cannot even stay in this house anymore. So we drive around, run a few errands and get in the pickup line 20 minutes early and wait. And wait. And wait. My body is physically shaking at this point.
I see her running up to the car. Smiling from ear to ear. I jump out to pick her up and squeeze her harder than I have ever squeezed her before. I literally feel my entire body relax. She’s here. She’s happy. She’s safe.
We start driving home and I want to know everything about her day. She tells me that she did in fact get a little lost getting to her classroom but she “figured it out” and that she sat with friends and made new friends and loved everything. Then after a few minutes of silence she says to me: “Sorry, Mom but…I didn’t miss you THAT much today.”
I like how she laid it on me gently knowing it would both make me proud and destroy my heart. Lord help all of us kindergarten moms, we need it.