Super Kindergartener started Kindergarten today. The school he is at is under the misconception that he is in something called Begindergarten because Awkward Dad and I chose to enroll him in Half-Day Kindergarten. This is the last time I will refer to Begindergarten because, frankly, I am getting tired of typing it out and having spell check scream at me in red wavy lines. Yes, I have a million worries and thoughts about him being in half-day school while the rest of his friends are in full-day school, but I have mostly come to terms with the fact that I am doing the best I can for my child and his needs. He is a smart cookie and I think he will ultimately conquer his academic career with aplomb regardless of how much time he spends there his first year. No, Super K. is fine. Like most parenting battles, this one is about me and my own insecurities about fitting in with the other moms. Do they know something that I don't? Did they get a memo that I didn't get about the benefits of full-time Kindergarten? Are they all talking about me and my lazy decision to not deal with packing lunches? Of course not. They are all doing the best they can for their children and their needs. But I am not named Awkward Mom for nothing; this insecurity battle will rage on in various forms for awhile yet. I am cool with that. What I am not cool with is Begindergarten, so henceforth, Super K. will simply be in Kindergarten. Makes me, and spell check, feel better.
But on to today's battle; the first day drop off! Any of you who have had children go to school know what this is like. Heck, those of you who have gone to school yourselves know what this is like. This odd mixture of excitement and panic, as children mill about in slightly stiff new clothes while trying to maintain their balance in backpacks, laden with brand-new school supplies, lovingly organized like they will never be again. Parents stand around nervously, trying not to cry or laugh too loudly, so they constantly rearrange zippers and smooth down cowlicks in an attempt to stay busy but mostly to just touch their children one more time before they disappear behind those doors for the rest of the day. Kindergarten through 8th grade are present at Super K.'s school, so we get to watch the massive variety of parental reaction; from the Kindergarten Moms tearfully hanging on to their babies to the Middle School Moms who barely slow down the cars, before kicking their kids out and peeling away in a cloud of gleeful laughter.
One of the benefits of Beginer....I mean, Half-Day Kindergarten, is that he doesn't get picked up at the door. I have to bring him to his classroom every day. I am not entirely sure if this is going to stay a benefit as the year drags on and I have to drag the other Supers in with me, but today, with the other Supers at home with Awkward Dad and my emotions running high, it is a clear benefit. We wade through gossiping moms and pigtailed little girls, as we make our way to the front door. Then, we are bumped from behind by a 6th grade girl trying to maintain her backpacked balance on her bike. It doesn't go so well for a group of middle school boys, as she passes us and plows into them. Frankly, I am more worried about her. That isn't going to be easy to live down. We step over that social status crushing scene and serpentine our way through the parents taking pictures on the steps. Finally, we are through the doors, but there is more wading and picture avoiding to do, as we make our way to the far end of the basement hallway. I don't mind. I am trying to drag this out as long as possible. In his infuriating manner, Super K. gives nothing away but calmly and benignly looks around him. He could be quietly freaking out or casing the joint; I can't tell.
We arrive at his classroom way before I am ready. We are pros, having attending the orientation yesterday, so we know exactly where to stash his backpack, hang his sweat-top, and place his snack. I hand in his folder, stuffed with all the paperwork I filled out last night, to his teacher, whose name I remember today. I pronounce it clearly and correctly, as I mention that I also included the photo of Super K. she requested for a future art project. She beams and says "Well, someone read the introduction letter!" I am shamefully pleased by this and the look of panic it causes the helicopter mom that I already don't like. I back away and let go of Super K.'s hand. I feel the tears pop into my eyes as his little fingers slip out of mine, so I busy myself smoothing down the little bag that hangs off the back of his chair. I run my now empty fingers over the bag and trace his name; the official adult version of his name, proudly lettered in big and bold permanent marker. He is officially in Kindergarten now. I hold back the tears and look up to watch him approach a little boy who is building a tower in the middle of the rug.
Super K.: Hey.
Potential Friend: Hey.
Super K.: Whatcha doing?
Potential Friend: Building a tower, wanna help?
Super K.: Sure.
And with that, he is gone. He is safe and sound in his Kindergarten class and I am superfluous. I know it, so I don't delay any longer. I bravely rip off the band-aid. I smile at the teacher, and I walk through the doorway and into the hallway. I don't look back. Because that's the secret, isn't it? Never look back.
Never look back. At least, until you are at home and can safely bawl your eyes out while blogging, that is.