Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Starting School and Entering a New Era


Oh, y'all.  I thought this would be so hard.  Sending my wee first babe to school for the first time.  Not Mother's Day Out, guys.  No, legit, hardcore SCHOOL. You know, in the sense that a two day a week strongly Christian homeschool supplementation program is legit, hardcore school.  Don't mock me, okay?

Like the recent haircut, I had prepared myself for this to be way, way hard.  And it was hard.  But not hard like I thought it would be.  I've actually sailed through the week without any major breakdowns and I haven't exactly "mourned" anything the way I typically do as Annie's babyhood slips slowly through my (sometimes tightly clenched) fingers.  I'm shocked, and frankly I think it must be a God thing because it's not lost on me AT ALL that really her babyhood has done gone and slipped while I wasn't looking.  Or while I was.  Whatever.  I don't know. The point is it's gone and I'm (seriously scared to type this, but) okay

Practically, I knew it wouldn't be too bad. I mean it's really not that many hours and also, she had been going to Mother's Day Out since she was five months old.  Of course, I was in the building with her, but over the three years that we did it she wasn't always in my room.  I don't guess I can say I was truly home full time with her in the most literal way of thinking of it (although, I always considered myself to be).  Of course, it was perfect for a family for a season and I have no regrets, and in fact, I think it prepared my heart for this week in ways I didn't know it would.

For some reason, I did kind of have a suspicion that this wouldn't be as hard as other transitions, like weaning or even like Graves's first haircut.  That sounds weird that a haircut would be harder than sending a child to school, but for me it was.  I think it has to do with how much something changes my day to day life.  Weaning changes everything because you just stop doing something you're used to doing every day and because it's so final.  When I stop nursing Graves I won't ever do it again.  And I guess I won't ever have Annie home every day again, either, but the difference is that five our of the seven days of the week we exist as we always have.  Every time I look at Graves with his haircut, I see a different (though I now think, even more precious) child.  Or when they start walking or crawling or sitting up...they do it all the time, as they should. It's just different with this.  It's not something I think of much the other days of the week.

The one reason I did fear it would be so hard was because I knew, like I said, that it would mean her babyhood was entirely over.  I know some of y'all are probably laughing at me thinking "it's about time you come to grips with that, SD".  But for some reason, I just tend to see my kids as babies for longer.  I think part of it is them- they're tiny and they both (but AP more so, in my opinion) just have a baby "look" about them.  People are always pretty shocked when I tell them her age and I don't think it's just her size.  But part of it, I think Peyton and I do to them. I dress her babyish and I tend to steer her toward babyish things.  Partly, because I favor those things, in general, but partly because I intentionally wanted to savor, draw out even, her babyhood.  For example, I mentioned awhile back that I was so glad she still loved babyish characters like Elmo, instead of princesses because I wanted her "stretch her childhood out".  A more articulate thing to say would be that I was trying to stretch each stage of her childhood out.  Of course, now she's totally into princesses and it's fine...darling, even. Some friends and I had a conversation awhile back about Barbies and (although, after talking to other friends, I realize I'm clearly in the minority) I think of them as being kind of a grown up little girl toy.  [This is probably because Cookie and I didn't start playing with them until we were in upper elementary school and at that point wanted to create dramas about boyfriends and RVs and such, rather than simply play "house".] Anyway, I'm so glad she's still content with Baby Huggums and Little People and a bunch of stuffed animals, even though I'm sure that's so "toddler" to most people. All of that to say, I cling to and try to stretch out stages.  Doing this program was one case, though, I knew clearly what I thought was in her best interest and I knew that it needed to take precedence over my desire to keep her a baby any longer. 

As far as how the first week went, I actually had a harder time the second day.  I think it was because the first day I took a long walk with Peyton and Graves and then had lunch with Carrie and then it was time to get her.  The second day Peyton took Graves and went walking with his brother while I stayed home.  I got some things done and did things I enjoy doing for myself (working on a blog project and reading), but I was lonely without my babies.  It seemed a strange dichotomy- enjoying the time to myself but also longing for my little ones.

The hardest time I've had yet, though, was last week at Meet the Teachers night.  Annie fell asleep on the way and for some reason I just felt like that was such a baby thing to do and my heart nearly stopped and I thought "What are you doing, Woman? NO WAY is she ready for this.  She's such a tiny thing and this will be much too much for her."  She wanted me to carry her in and it felt much the same way it does when I get Graves out of the car when he's falling asleep.  Within a few minutes of going inside, though, she had become a little spit fire and was asking to sit in the chair beside me instead of my lap because, as she announced loudly, she's a big girl.

The first day was much easier than I expected. Darlene had told me that if I was going to cry I didn't need to go in at all.  I knew that was a non option and I couldn't live with myself if I did that, and I was sure I could hold it together long enough to get out the door.  I really assumed I'd melt into a puddle as soon as I got back in the car and even brought Peyton and Graves for support. Not a tear, y'all.

  It ended up easier because of the drop off. Ann Peyton near pitched a fit because she wanted her water bottle.  I ended up taking her and getting a sip after we had put it up and then we came back to the ballet room.  She almost lost it again (I'm sure some people would say she did loose it), crying and saying pretty loudly that she wanted to drink "the whole thing".  I found a compromise and told her we'd go back and get a sip one more time.  Again, I'm sure some people would think I was a pushover but a) I bet she was thirsty because Peyton had really limited her liquid intake to try to prevent a tee tee accident b) I really didn't want to further escalate the situation and c) I wanted the first morning to be super positive for her.

Anyway, all that to say...it was slightly hard, which in a weird way, made it easier.  I'm not saying it was easier to leave her because she was being bad....I was slightly worried she was going to give the teacher fits about more water.  I really do think, in some way, the Lord blessed me by showing me something that morning.  He revealed to me what a grown girl she was.  I'm sure for some people that fit would equal baby, in fact Carrie and I talked about how Aubrey is pretty much out of that stage.  But to me it was different from the babyish temper fits Graves throws.  It was an assertion of her "strong determination of purpose" as my dad would say.  Mickey's super positive, here is the real world we call that "stubborn as a mule" and we pray that she channels that character trait better than her momma did/does.  Either way, though, it's a side of Annie that I don't connect at all with babyishness (she was such a compliant- even complacent- little baby, a friend even confessed she was worried she'd end up being a push-over). It was the little push I needed that said "Go on, Momma, get over this.  She's strong.  She's got it.  Let's do this."

And we did. 



1 comment:

Kristal said...

strong determination of purpose

Love that! Totally stealing it. ;)