We live just down the road from our grade school, and pass it often. I’d look at it and try to imagine Henry and Eleanor being old enough to attend, and then tell myself, “well, at least we’ve got 6 years.” But then 6 years became 5 became 4 became 3 became 2 became 1 became Henry and Eleanor began their lives as big-kid grade-schoolers two weeks ago Monday.
This school year is one of many transitions for us. After lots of discussion, Andy and I made the decision to place the kids in separate classes, their first major separation since the petri dish. We were leaving our MUCH-beloved, tight-knit co-op for a school with 700+ students. Henry and Eleanor would be in school seven hours instead of kindergarten’s three or five. Things like free play would be replaced by new rules about voice levels and hallway behavior.
Henry and Eleanor expressed nervousness the weeks leading up to their first day. I assured them they’d be fine, but I was pretty nervous, too. We all had butterflies that first Monday morning, as we hurriedly took a few photos and went to drop off the kids at their new adventure.
Andy and I walked the kids to their new classrooms, right next door to each other. I managed to make it back out to the parking lot before I started crying. (I wasn’t the only one crying *coughcoughANDYcough*.) Aaaaaand I pretty much cried the rest of the day, with a 2-hour break for breakfast with a co-op friend who had sent off her kids that morning, too.
It’s been a way harder transition than I thought it would be, this “I’m a housewife while my babies are away for seven hours” thing. We don’t have any daycare experience, and I was in class regularly at the co-op, so this is my first experience in handing my babies over to relative (albeit highly-trained) strangers and trusting them to take good care of my kids. Luckily our grade school is highly regarded and one of (if not THE) best in the school district, so I know they’re in good hands. But STILL. MY BABIES.
And it’s taking me a while to get in my groove of managing all things household-related during my newfound child-free time. It’s been nice to get errands and cleaning over with during the week, freeing up weekends for family time. But OMG I never thought I could spend SO MUCH FREAKING TIME thinking about and acquiring groceries. And scrubbing toilets and cleaning kitchens in a seemingly endless cycle sometimes has me questioning why I bothered to get those college degrees. But overall, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Sure, I occasionally wonder why I don’t have more career ambition. But I can’t imagine any office fulfilling me more than being the first face Henry and Eleanor see when they get off the school bus. I’ll get in my groove eventually, and still feel like I’m where I need to be.
But enough about me and my “being a SAHM is SO HARD GUYS, I had to go to Costco like TWO TIMES last week” ways. How are the new first graders doing? Henry and Eleanor settled into their new school culture faster than I thought they would. They’ve complained that the days are too long, and while inwardly I’m all “NO SHIT SHERLOCK” I’ve reminded them that every experience they’ve had has been new, and that’s a lot to get used to. They both seem to love their teachers. They talk favorably about their Chinese and art classes. They think they’re big stuff getting to ride the school bus home. Homework quickly lost its new-experience sheen. They get to see each other at lunch and recess, and we’ve avoided any separation issues. We’ve forgotten lunchboxes at school twice, and almost didn’t get off the bus once, which I think is a pretty good record for such a steep learning curve.
So tl;dr: transition hard, first grade good, my babies still keep growing WHY WON’T THEY STOP.