I forgot to set my alarm last night, but thank goodness I have morning birds for children. Tornado S came in to tell me he wanted to cuddle. After cuddling, it was time to hassle boys into clothes and get them ready for the day. Somewhere along the line, I realized I needed to get ready too, and I had a bad feeling that would mean getting up before the boys. Shudder.
Amazingly everyone was dressed and ready with a minute to spare. Piece. Of. Cake.
Sure, it was the first day, so Tornado E was more excited and helpful than usual. Tornado S was still excited about school. But it set the tone, and I knew we could be ready within an hour. Because we should be. We piled in the car and made to the school with plenty of time, and I was about to congratulate myself, when we pulled into the parking lot.
It was a complete madhouse. Not total chaos because there was some semblance of order and there were parent volunteers, but it was pretty close. The parking lot was too small, and people misjudged how to park in the dirt lot. It was the first day, so of course, there were more parents and more cars. But I had the feeling I should arrive earlier until the mess sorted itself out. By the time we parked and hiked into the school yard, we made it just in time for the bell. But we made it, and that is what truly matters.
I kissed Tornado E goodbye, hoping yesterday’s talk went well.
Me: How do you feel about tomorrow?
Tornado E: Scared.
Tornado E: I don’t know.
Me: All emotions, all feelings, like mad, sad, happy, frustration, have a reason. Until you know the reason, you can’t deal with your feelings and do something with the big ones. I want you to think about it and let me know.
Tornado E: I’m scared my school will be longer than my last one.
Me: I understand why you’re worried that this school day will be longer than at your old school. You’re starting school much earlier. But, guess what. You get out much earlier.
Tornado E: Really?
Me: Yup. This school day is longer, but you get two recesses.
Tornado E: TWO!
Me: Yup. They want you to have plenty of time to run around and play and talk to your friends so that you will sit still and listen well to the teacher.
Tornado E: So I have a morning recess and an afternoon recess and a play time after lunch?!
Tornado E: Cool!
Me: Anything else you’re scared about?
Tornado E: I’m scared I will have too much homework.
Me: Hmmm. Having too much homework is a big worry. How about this? Let’s not worry about it. Maybe you won’t have a lot of homework. You’re job is to come home, sit down, and focus on your homework. If you jump right to it, then you’ll get done sooner and start playing sooner.
Tornado E: What if it is still too much?
Me: We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Let’s work on sitting down and focusing on homework right away.
Tornado E: Mommy, did you focus on your homework when you were a kid?
Me: No. I had a hard time buckling down to do my homework when I was your age. I used to day dream a lot and make up stories in my head. So some days I didn’t get to play at all. I did homework all afternoon long. It took me a long time to learn to focus right away. I want you to be able to play every day.
Tornado E: Ok.
Me: Is there anything else you’re scared of?
Tornado E: I’m scared I won’t make any friends.
Ah, yes, last year was hard on Tornado E. He made only one friend, who moved away during the summer. It started with the popular boy and Tornado E having a personality conflict, and then it spiraled out of control with both boys antagonizing each other with lines drawn firmly against Tornado E. Not that Tornado E didn’t help draw those lines. No one likes their likes and opinions to be called stupid.
Me: Tornado E. You’re a bright, funny, friendly guy. You tell great jokes and stories. You like having fun. You’re good at playing with other people. If you are yourself, you will make tons of friends. You just have to remember to say nice things to people even when you disagree. Share. Be respectful. You will make friends.
Tornado E: I had lots of friends from kindergarten.
Me: And you will make more. Are you scared of anything else?
Tornado E: No.
Me: Ok. If you think of anything else you need to talk about, you can always talk to me. Or Daddy. Or Grandma or Papi. Or Uncle Friendly Giant. Or Face. There are many adults, who love you, that you can talk to.
Tornado E: Ok, Mommy.
Me: I love you.
Tornado E: I love you.
Tornado E had only a half day, so I arrived early to observe the parking situation. On normal days, Tornado E’s school will get out five minutes earlier than Tornado S’s school. The schools are five minutes apart. The margin of error was very small.
Even arriving 15 minutes early, the parking lot was in chaos as parents arrived super earlier to wait to pick up their kids without leaving their cars and other parents tried to figure out the best parking. (One van was the first vehicle in the pick up lane and actually was still there fifteen minutes after the bell rang.) Luckily Tornado S’s teacher agreed to keep him after school as long as I promise not to drive recklessly to get there.
When I saw Tornado E, I couldn’t wait to hear about his day.
Me: (with a hug) How was your first day?
Tornado E: I didn’t get to play at recess.
Me: Well, it was a short day. Maybe they didn’t have time for recess.
Tornado E: I had to sit it out. It was only suppose to be five minutes, but I sat the whole thing out.
I sat down on a bench to look him in the eye.
Me: Why did you have to sit out of recess?
Tornado E: I talked in line.
Me: I see. Did the teacher tell you not to?
Tornado E: Yes.
Me: Your consequence was sitting out at recess. Are you going to talk during class time again and miss recess again?
Tornado E: No.
Me: Tomorrow will be a better day. Come on. Let’s get lunch.
I figured it wasn’t a good time to tell him how many recesses and lunches his own mama missed for talking in class.