Despite the fact that it is still possible to swim in an unheated pool in Maine, school has started here in Nashville. Where it is always, always 97 degrees and humid -- but I digress. Sophia, who was naught but a gleam in her mother's blog back when I started writing, has begun kindergarten! Cue trumpets! And thank God!
The lead-up to the first day of school consisted of three of the most challenging weeks of my parenting career to date, and people, that is saying something. Maybe what it's saying is that my threshold for challenge is too low, but never mind: it was awful. That child sassed her mama like it was going out of style, earned time-outs before breakfast most days, and slammed her bedroom door so hard and so often I feared for the glass in the transom. I was afraid we were going to make the news, and not for my clever back-to-school themed crafts.
And every night, she asked me to tell her about kindergarten.
But I bought her a special hook for her closet door so that she could hang up the next day's outfit each night; I organized all her school clothes; we went to the school to meet the teacher and check out the classroom. To say that went well would be an understatement; when I realized I'd forgotten something and needed to walk back home for it, Sophia insisted on staying with her teacher -- by herself -- while I ran home.
First day of school was delightful; ditto the second day. Those were half days. Third day was a full day, and she came home happy but then chose to play in bed until right before supper. Yesterday she came home and said: "You better not send me to school any more. My neck hurts from looking up at the teacher!"
She loves and respects her teacher, though; I hear her using her best manners with Mrs. I-Don't-Have-A-Clever-Name-For-Her-Yet. The teacher, in turn, is one of those adults who takes little bitty kids seriously -- she's kind but not cloying, and has definite and high expectations for the kids. Which is a really good fit for Sophia. She's happy to go to school and we are all benefiting from the structure. The neighbors have warned us that there will be the inevitable crash, probably a couple weeks in, when it sinks in that this is pretty much forever, this school thing -- but I'm enjoying the peace while it lasts.
It's also strange to have Daphne alone, all day: it reminds me very much of being home with baby Sophia, except now we have structure to our days (boy, wouldn't that have been a blessing) and I don't have OCD (wheee!).
I am still a big believer in homeschooling, but I'm an even bigger believer in it not being right for us -- especially not for me -- at this age. We'll see how school goes, but so far, so good.