Thursday, August 28, 2008

Starting Kindergarten

This was the scene last week, as Alex, Bella, and I waited outside her new school--ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Bella would specify--for the doors to open on the first day. The first day of kindergarten. Wow. I swear it seems like it's only been about a year since she was standing up for the first time, grinning that toothless grin beneath a nearly-bald head, and all of a sudden, she's wearing a backpack and standing on the sidewalk outside an elementary school, clutching a getting-started-bribe of watermelon pickles for her teacher.

waiting for the school to open, first day of kindergarten

She almost didn't let us go with her that first day. After the school's open house earlier in the week, when the principal was instructing weepy parents on how to leave their weepy children on their first day at school--that they should say goodbye and leave quickly, then go to the school's library for a "Boo-Hoos and Bagels" breakfast, so as not to break down in front of their children or give their children the chance to break down more than they surely were going to anyway--MY daughter leaned over and said, to me, "Um, Mom? I think you can just stop the car in front of the school, and I'll just hop on out and come in by myself, OK?" We had to negotiate for the right to at least walk her in to the classroom ONE TIME. We had to promise not to hang around too long, though, and to do any crying in the library with the other parents.

Once we got to her classroom, Bella wasted no time in cozying up to her new teacher, warming her up with some jokes and giving her a gift that "we made ourselves!"

warming up the new teacher with a joke, obviously

She had delighted in picking out her own comfortable clothes to wear that morning, remarking more than once that we should give her old private preschool uniforms to "some other poor kid" who had to go to that school. It was heart-warming seeing her so happy and at ease in this new place, and she settled right in to her place, practically giddy to be there.

all in our places with bright shiny faces

She went right to work on the project in front of her, promptly ignoring her father and me.

work to do

We were able to talk her into one goodbye hug for each of us, thankfully.

indulging mommy

hug from daddy

She sat back down at her place, and her father and I watched her for several more minutes, waxing sentimental (look, she is our only child, and this is the only time we'll have this experience, so give us a break), until we got this LOOK--the look that plainly said, "Hey, guys? I got this. You can GO, NOW."

I got this.  You can go now.

So, we went. And despite all the sobbing parents out in the hallway, we held it together. We skipped the whole "Boo Hoos And Bagels" experience. We were proud of the independent, fearless, confident little character we'd somehow produced, and we left her at school with no concern whatsoever for whether she'd be all right, but with considerable pangs of sadness for ourselves, and our own loss of our wee little baby.

And then, outside the front doors of the school, inexplicably, there was a giant anthropomorphized wiener, obviously sent from above to let us know that everything was going to be OKAY. Or sent from Sonic to remind us that hot dogs are tasty. Whatever. A good omen is a good omen. Don't look gift-wieners in the mouth, people.

Because nothing says, "Welcome to Elementary School" like a giant anthropomorphized wiener.  From Sonic.


  1. " clutching a getting-started-bribe of watermelon pickles for her teacher."

    Which looked for all the world like a big ol' cup of Starbucks at first glance. I think I can see her future.

  2. She seems ok with school now, but wait until that serious stuff starts, like algebra (I'm still amazed I made it this far).

  3. I decided this year it wasn't a good idea to follow my daughter into 5th grade for the traditional at your desk first day photo.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

    P.S. Why have I never seen your blog before????

  4. That was a touching post. The moment you left, a classmate likely leaned over and asked, "Are you famous? What was with the camera crew?"

    One question: why pickles?

    I'm sure I'll be an emotional wreck when my son (who is only 16 months old) goes to Kindergarten.

    By the way, I found you via Flickr, when I happened on your Charlie Brown Thanksgiving picture (which I used on my blog today and credited you). I just want to say hi and that I enjoy what I've read so far on your blog. You'll quickly become a regular read.

  5. Belinda~~~ Wow! She has grown into a mini young lady! She looks so completely at ease in all the pictures. That's the best you can hope for when you send them off to "big school" for the first time.

    Good job Mom and Dad!

  6. Yay, Bella! I can tell it's going to be a fabulous year.

  7. Bella is awesome. But this is no surprise.

    Also, I am terrified that a gift weiner HAS a mouth.

  8. Haha! Arianna was totally the same way.

    Just a "Bye mom. You CAN leave now." and an impatient wave towards the door.

    Nothing like having 30 year old 5-yr-olds...

  9. To have such confidence! Wow, I hope mine has that when she strikes out for the first time next Friday. And I'm really hoping I've got a big wiener to help me not cry too much.

  10. i thought the gift looked like coffee as well ;-) .... thanks for sharing this with us!

  11. Glad I'm not the only one who say a latte in that jar of pickled melon. Not sure what that says about us all.

    Also, you cannot pass up a well-placed wiener. The timing. Wow. The poor individual inside Given your daughter's confidence, I'm guessing you won't have to worry about her growing up to be the wiener hanging out at the first day of school. Hm, that came out wrong. I give up.

  12. When my kids started kindergarten , lo there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. From all parties. I'm glad it was at least easy for Bella, and clearly she's already the teacher's pet. BTW, since she can read so well, sometimes teachers will send kids to other grades, just for reading. Or the TAG teacher might do reading with her.

  13. That is fantastic that Bella was so ready and did so well. I love her confidence!

    Sweet Pea started kindergarten as well, this Monday, but since she's back at the same school with one of the same teachers and some of the same kids (Montessori school - she's in their Primary program, which means a 3-5 year-old room), it was an easy slipping back into the old routine for her. I'm terrified (for my quiet, observant daughter) of putting her in a big scary public school so *whew* that we were able to put that off for one more year. :o)

    But Bella - no problemo! Looks like she's got it under control already!

  14. I love, love your Bella! I remember when my daughter told me I didn't need to walk her to the bus stop any more. Yes, in kindergarten.

  15. Bribing the teacher - good moves! In fact all round good moves. Proud parents, you must be.

  16. Ha ha, I thought it was Starbucks, too. I hope it doesn't take too long for them to advance beyond coloring an apple. Your precocious beauty is going to be bored. I suspect she'll be having a thing or two to teach the teacher.

  17. Phew, I am glad I am not the only one that thought she was clutching a Starbucks. I am sitting here thinking 'Man, they start them early in the U.S.!'

    And that look? Get used to it babe. It gets more and more frequent.

  18. Aww, sweet story! Your daughter looked so confident. How proud you two must be :)

    My girls go back to preschool this week. I think the oldest one, who just turned four, is ready to explode she is so excited.

    Congrats on the nice send off!

  19. I like the photo of her giving the pickles to the teacher. What a cute outfit! Congrats on getting through the first day of kindergarten :)

  20. I totally thought it was Starbucks. Yay to Bella for Kindergarten!

  21. OK, Wiener Man is really freaking me out. I don't know that I could ever walk out that door again, knowing that he might be lurking nearby.

  22. So, I went to walk arianna to school today, and she was all "Why are you walking me? I don't need you to walk me."

    I said "Because you have a few things to carry, and we need don't know where your classroom is."

    Her response? "I can find it. You don't need to go."

    Needless to say, she didn't win out...but, as we walked to the front door, she noticed all the parents going to and from and was horribly incredulous. "What? Is this PARENT day, or something??"

    I swear, she's like ready to be emancipated at 8.

  23. err...that was supposed to be "We need TO know where your classroom is"

  24. Aww I can't believe she started Kindergarten already! Where the hell have I been? Heh. Well, I thought it was a cup o starbucks too, just so you know. Which made me laugh, but not as hard as the big weiner!

  25. I'm glad you recognized what a good job you've done in raising a confident, independent girl. Who also happens to be just gorgeous.

  26. Wow, what a beauty and so poised on her first day of big girl school! I can still see that little pipsqueak posed on the 6-9 month PCA podium in her pink, poodley best! How fast she's grown up. You and Alex are doing a marvelous job. Give yourselves a big hug, and a honkin' jar of pickled watermelon. (oh, wait...your celler's bustin' with them!)
    -Barb 'n Yogi

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