Friday, September 11, 2015

Week 1 of JK is in the books!

We laughed. We cried. Week one is done.

I definitely didn't anticipate that this level of emotional and mental exhaustion would be associated with the first week of JK. Sure, I knew that it would be hard and there would likely be tears, but I didn't expect it to be this tough. But, we all made it through!

Day 1 of JK

A rainy walk to school

On Tuesday morning, Teagan and Quinn's first day, we arrived at the school to find some ordered chaos outside (and inside) their classroom. Parents and kids were lined up to say hello to the teacher and get the run down. It was an unusually and muggy hot day, so the school was a sauna. Poor Jenn was dripping sweat while she waited in her suit. After saying hello to the girls' teacher and ECE (early childhood educator), they reluctantly walked into the room on their room. They found their name tag that had been laid out and started decorating it with markers and stickers. I give them credit. They were very brave and likely a bit shocked. When I picked them up for lunch, they were happy and full of stories. There were a few kids from their preschool who are in their class, so the familiar faces were nice for them to see.

Not surprisingly (to me), Wednesday morning was tough. They knew what to expect. Teagan lost it and clung to me. She begged for me to take her home. She asked me if it was the last day of school. That broke my heart. Little did/does she know that this is only the start of many years of schooling. The kid is quite articulate and in touch with her feelings, making it that much harder on both of us. When I left her, she was in hysterics. While I would have wanted nothing more than to scoop her up and take her home, I wouldn't have been doing her any favours. I left her in the hands of her teacher. Fortunately, after a little walk with the teacher, she was able to calm down and finished the day well. I walked home in the rain crying that morning. By the time I picked them up at the end of the day, Teagan was smiling. They had done some painting. They sang songs and played outside. They talked about making new friends. They told me about some of the classroom rules. "If you play with something, you clean it up before moving on to something else." Great rule. If I only I could make it work at home as well as it works at school. They stayed for lunch. I was very proud to open their lunch boxes to see that they ate every bit of the lunch I packed! (Rotisserie chicken, tzatziki, caprese salad, carrots, cucumbers and grapes)

Thursday was similar to Wednesday without the drop off drama, which was MUCH easier on this Mommy. It was a gorgeous day, so they got lots of outdoor time. They got to visit the library for the first time and learned how to take a book out. They each came home with a book, to be returned the following day. They had stories of playing with new and old friends. Each day has one period of quiet time. The kids can decide whether they would like to have a rest/nap or read books. Both girls said that they read books.

And today, Friday. Drop off went smoothly. After two days of eating lunch at school, I brought them home today. It was nice to have lunch together and hear about their morning. We played for a little while after lunch. I guess I hadn't made it clear that they go back to school after lunch. Teagan told me that she wants me to pick her up for lunch everyday. They reluctantly got their shoes on to return to school (a 5 minute walk). We approached the kindergarten playground and they happily talked about the friends they would play with. After a kiss and a hug, they walked in smiling. I walked around the corner to make sure that they went to tell their teacher that they had arrived. They put their heads up and saw me. Quinn started sobbing and ran to the fence. I managed to get her to stop crying, only to have Teagan run over sobbing moments later. Once again, she begged me to take her home. She begged for me to lift her over the fence. She promised that she would go back to school after a kiss and hug. We met at the gate. She stayed true to her word and took the hand of the ECE after our hug. The tears started streaming down her face again. It never gets easy to walk away from them like that.

It's a long day for a 4-year old. The kids notice it. It is definitely going to take some time for us all to adjust. They are tired and moody by the end of the day. Teagan usually chats on the way home. I'm having some challenges with Quinn, who immediately becomes rude and mean to me upon leaving the school. I'm usually met with some grabbing (of my hand or shirt) and some yelling, "I'm hungry!" or "I'm tired!" While I understand that it's been a long and overwhelming day, I'm trying to help her understand that she can't treat me as her punching bag. Hey, I get it. You take things out on those you're closest with, but it is a tough one to rationalize after it goes on for three hours straight. I'm cutting her lots of slack, but trying to set some clear rules. I usually pick her up for some hugs and cuddles, because it seems like that's what she needs, in addition to a good snack.

It isn't even 7pm and they both just fell asleep. School has affected their sleep as well. Teagan has been having nightmares. Quinn was up for nearly 2 1/2 hours at 12am last night, struggling to settle. I've been impressed by my patience this week (usually not my strong suit).  My babies are growing up and whether we're ready or not, they're moving onto a new chapter of their lives.

Teagan was shocked to learn that they will be returning to kindergarten on Monday…Can I fast forward to a month from now when it supposedly gets easier?


  1. I always WISHED they had full day kindergarten here. I can see that it would be hard for 5 year olds...pre K even harder. It's a transition in 1st grade to go all day. Eating at school was only fun the first couple of days :-) Here's to things getting easier for you and those sweet girls. I've had 2 of mine say that they don't want to go to school at some point in the early morning. ugh ! At least there are lots of breaks coming up. (for them I mean...lucky for them :-) )

    1. The idea of full-day kindergarten definitely sounds great! Hopefully they will adjust soon enough. I've spoken with many parents who pull their JK kids (4 years old) out of school frequently for the afternoons. I can always do that here and there if needed. Hopefully this week will be easier!

  2. And you can't even have a drink after they've gone to bed! (I'll have an extra one for you.)

  3. Yay for first day pictures!!! The one of them with the umbrellas and boots is ADORABLE!!!

    A month in sounds about right. We are 3 weeks in and things are just starting to settle. We have also seen a surge in nightmares. For Little Monster and me. Our minds process stuff in peculiar ways. I am positive they are going to do awesome. I think sometimes it is harder on us then them because we know the brevity of the situation. When there is a "bad day" all I can think is there is 13 more years of this to go! Well we have to add on years for the younger ones now, about 15-16 more years of this first day stuff to go?! Lol!

    1. Haha seriously! I wanted to tell Teagan that little does she know, she has another 18 years of school coming up (elementary, high school and university). It never ends!
      I wasn't sleeping well for part of August…maybe it was my mind processing these big changes?!

  4. The first week is emotionally exhausting every year, I find. But JK is the toughest for sure. I always waited outside the fence until mine went in most days right through SK. Not that they needed me but I liked watching them interact with other kids etc. Ian is in grade one now and will walk without me two days a week with the 12 year old neighbor and Erik. I'm nervous. Every year there is some sort of major transition it seems. The good news is the girls WILL settle in and love school. It just takes a bit of time and there will likely be phases on and off where they won't want to go etc. Hope next week they love it!

  5. It is always rough in those first days. I hope it gets easier. Honestly, Riley wasn't good at drop off if I was doing it in JK and SK. I had to do a reward chart to have good drop offs after being frustrated with her clinging/crying and this was at the end of SK so I knew she was able to go to school without issue. Now she's awesome and has been since grade1. Jackson is my "I'm sick" boy and tries to avoid school every single day. He's still that way in grade 1. Quinn was always fairly easy to drop off at daycare so I'm hoping kindergarten will be that way. He gets a little clingy and asks for kisses and hugs as a stalling technique (over and over) but he generally goes without tears. He cried this week as his first week in JK but it's new and overwhelming. The first day he fell asleep at 5 pm!